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Guitar String Legend Ernie Ball Dies in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Guitar string maker Ernie Ball, famed for strings that almost single-handedly allowed rock groups in the 1960s to play wailing riffs and belt out endless vibratos, has died in San Luis Obispo, California, at age 74, his family said on Friday. Roland Sherwood “Ernie” Ball founded the Ernie Ball Company in 1962 after his strings became the hottest-selling item in his family’s music shop. The Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix used Ernie Ball Slinky Strings, sold in distinctive neon-colored packages. “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,” said Sterling Ball, Ernie’s son and chief executive of the private San Luis Obispo company.