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