Roland Sherwood

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Roland Sherwood was born in Santa Monica, California back in 1930 to Roland A. and Frances. His father taught Hawaiian steel guitar. He took up playing the guitar at age nine, by his early teens he was a member of the Musicians Union. Still in his early teens he began playing professionally in South Central Los Angeles beer bars.

During the Korean War, he did a tour of duty in the United States Air Force Band, playing guitar and bass drum. After being discharged he opened up what was arguably the first music store in the United States to sell guitars exclusively. That business has grown to sell its products in more than 5,500 stores and exported to more than 70 countries of the world.

What he did not create anything new, he took a product, modified it as a better way to fulfill market demands.

What you may not know about Roland Sherwood Ball (Ernie Ball), is that he invented the guitar string, he called the “Slinkys” making the strings easier to hold down. This simply was to take a lighter gauge of string instead of the stiffer 29-gauge string. In 1997, he kicked off the Battle of the Bands which is still going strong to this day. He died in 2004 at 74. His company is now located in San Louis Obispo, California with annual sales of US $40 million a year.

Until tomorrow give someone the free gift of a smile

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Come for a visit stay for a lifetime.  



Comments (13)

Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY

Good morning James,

The only string I played with were on hay bales!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Jan 26, 2019 04:39 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi James... I've heard of the Battle of the Bands... but that's about all I knew vis-a-vis your post today.

Jan 26, 2019 04:52 AM
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

Great inventions last the test of time.

Jan 26, 2019 04:56 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again James. This is an interesting story and what an invention.

Jan 26, 2019 05:14 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Wow, that is quite a story and one that I am sure musicians really appreciate.  The battle of the bands is a big deal these days.

Jan 26, 2019 05:28 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Good morning, James - interesting information and "news" to me. It's good to know more about someone with a local California connection. 

Jan 26, 2019 05:46 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Just that he created the battle of the bands which I remember vividly from my youth is a reason for me to smile today.

Jan 26, 2019 07:14 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I have always loved the slinky and did not know its inventor.  And San Luis Obsipo is up the cost from us, not far at all...A

Jan 26, 2019 11:04 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi James,  Thanks for sharing a bit of history that is like music to my ears.  I'm sure many guitar players have appreciated his "slinky" invention.

Jan 26, 2019 09:16 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

James Dray That is an incredible story of success. this could also be known as string theory

Jan 26, 2019 09:32 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

James, we came to Los Angeles in 1998 and we lived six miles from him how interesting about six degrees of separation, had no idea and I wonder how many times we were eating in the same restaurants...Endre

Jan 26, 2019 10:20 PM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Music is the fabric of our lives, and so glad he opened a music store!

Jan 27, 2019 05:37 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Fantastic story, James; beautiful and successful life.  I have a 12-string Hummingbird guitar and also a Gibson Hawaiian guitar - took Hawaiian lessons on the Gibson from 2nd grade through high school.  Played my Hummingbird at numerous events and at weekly guitar masses at churches and summer weekend camp outings.

Jan 29, 2019 11:01 AM