Solano SBDCFairfield, CA

"I found SBDC to be an excellent resource for entrepreneurial encouragement. The classes and personal consultant time have proven to be very valuable assets to our endeavor.  We applaud SBDC’s efforts and wish them every success as they hold the door open for other entrepreneurs."

Dennis Cheatham

The idea for the Guitar Wheel™ began over 13 years ago as Dennis Cheatham tried to grasp the mystery of music theory.  During this learning process, he envisioned a “tool” that would serve as a reference library of music theory and act as a teaching aid, chord finder, transposing dial, and composing tool all in one.  It would have one side for guitar and the other side for piano.  After many years of balancing family life, his job, and product development, he completed work on his teaching aid; the Guitar Wheel™ was born!

Dennis now had a product but needed professional advice regarding business start-up, copyright/trademark protection, recordkeeping, and marketing.  He contacted the Solano College Small Business Development Center for assistance in protecting the product and getting it to market.

In 2004, Mr. Cheatham met with the Director of the Solano College SBDC for assistance with manufacturing and distributing the Guitar Wheel™ product.  The SBDC referred Dennis to a Business Advisor with the SBDC.  They worked together to determine a timeline for development of the business.  Over the next few years, Dennis, his wife, Nancy, and son, Dustin met with their Business Advisor and attended SBDC workshops to learn more about business management, preparing for trade shows, producing press releases, recordkeeping, QuickBooks, and marketing.

Protections were secured via copyright and trademark. Music Master Publishing was formed to publish and distribute the Guitar Wheel™.  Powerful presentation displays were developed; music conventions were identified; participation in the exhibit areas of these conventions led to recognition in the music industry and product sales.  A website was developed; artist endorsements and testimonials were added to the site; a Guitar Wheel™ Online Music Store was just launched on the site to provide guitar and music related items.

Since its launch, the Guitar Wheel™ has been sold to retail stores and individuals in all 50 states and to over 14 nations.  Numerous well-known and respected musicians have endorsed the product.  Many of these artists commit to spending time in Music Master Publishing’s booth at the NAMM (the International Music Products Association) convention to show their belief in the product.  Work is continuing on a companion book.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.