Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Rocked 'n' Rolled

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

This morning, a small service was held in San Luis Obispo to honor the passing of Los Angeles musical icon Ernie Ball, who passed away September 9th. Even if you aren't a guitar player, chances are you've seen the brightly colored packages that hold Ernie Ball strings—a staple amongst nearly all guitar players.

A native of Santa Monica, Ernie Ball was a successful musician, playing in many bands and on television before starting up his own music shop in 1958. Located in Tarzana, it was the first shop in the country that only sold guitars. Fittingly, it was also the place where Ball developed Slinky Strings, the first guitar strings made especially for rock guitar.

"An artist and a business man in one, Ernie single-handedly revolutionized the music industry with the creation of Slinky Strings, so much so that everyone from the Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix to current artists like Blink 182 have Ernie Ball strings in common," said Sterling Ball, president of the Ernie Ball Company and one of Ernie's sons. "Super Slinkys are one of the top products in the music business, and it all started in a small store in Tarzana because my dad understood what players needed.

Support for LAist comes from

"He changed the way people thought of guitar accessories, and how they sold and marketed them, and to this day the Ernie Ball way is the industry standard. My dad understood how to make tools for musicians, and our family is deeply proud of being part of this creative process. We will all miss him immensely, and are grateful for the legacy he created for us."