Hawaiian Music Collection - Ho'opi'i, Sol: Performer Biography

Sol Ho'opi'i was born in Honolulu in 1902 and was the first of 21 children in his family. He was dubbed a musical genius at the age of 3. At the age of 17 he and his friends stowed away on a boat traveling to San Francisco. He played various nightclubs and recorded with fellow musician Lani McIntire in the group "Novelty Trio". Ho'opi'ii was dubbed "King of Steel Guitar" and "Fritz Kreisler of the Steel Guitar" and it was rumored that he played the first electric guitar on stage in front of an audience. Hollywood also played a role in his success. Known at the "Hollywood Hawaiian", he was often asked to play his music to help actresses prepare for an emotional scene. In later life he dedicated himself to gospel music and though he lost his vision near the end of his life, he continued to play and teach gospel. He died at the age of 51 and was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1979. He had a complex style of music that other musicians tried to match, but his style was the most sophisticated in Hawaiian music.

Ruymar, Lorene. The Hawaiian Steel Guitar and its Great Hawaiian Musicians. California: Center Stream Publishing. 1996. pg 90.