On Aug 14, 5:56*pm, Andy <a...@b.c> wrote:
> OT: So long Les Paul. RIP
> Les Paul died. Complications with pneumonia.
> Wonderful creations he gifted to the music world.
Revered guitar player-inventor Les Paul dead at 94
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY (AP) – 4 hours ago
NEW YORK — Musicians worldwide are paying tribute to Les Paul, the
music icon whose solid-body electric guitar paved the way for rock 'n'
roll. He died this week at age 94.
Paul, a guitar virtuoso, performed with some of early pop's biggest
names and produced a slew of hits, many with wife Mary Ford. But it
was his inventive streak that made him universally revered by guitar
gods as their original ancestor and earned his induction into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the most important forces in popular
"He actually taught himself to play guitar in order to demonstrate his
electronic theories," said Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
"All of us owe an unimaginable debt to his work and his talent."
Paul, who died Thursday in White Plains, N.Y., of complications from
pneumonia, was a tireless tinkerer, whose quest for a particular sound
led him to create the first solid-body electric guitar. His invention
became the standard instrument for legends like Pete Townshend and
"The name Les Paul is iconic and is known by aspiring and virtuoso
guitar players worldwide," said Kiss front man Paul Stanley. "That
guitar is the cornerstone of a lot of great music that has been made
in the last 50 years."
Paul also developed technology that would become hallmarks of rock and
pop recordings, from multitrack recording that allowed for multiple
layers of "overdubs" to guitar reverb and other sound effects.
"He was a futurist, and unlike some futurists who write about it and
predict things, he was a guy who actually did things," said Henry
Juskiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar, which mass produced
Paul's original invention.
Private services are being planned for New York and Waukesha, Wis.,
Paul's home town, according to an obituary posted by the Iridium Jazz
Club in New York City, where until recently Paul had played every
week. Public memorial tributes also are being planned.
A musician since childhood, Paul experimented with guitar
amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called
"The Log," a 4-by-4 piece of wood strung with steel strings. He later
put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a traditional guitar
The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s.
Leo Fender's Broadcaster was the first mass-produced solid body
electric on the market in the late 1940s.
Gibson solicited Paul to create a prototype for a guitar and began
making the Les Paul guitar in 1952. The Who's Townshend, Steve Howe of
Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Page all made the Gibson
Les Paul their trademark six-string.
Born Lester William Polfuss on June 9, 1915, he began his career as a
musician, billing himself as Red Hot Red or Rhubarb Red. He toured
with the popular Chicago band Rube Tronson and His Texas Cowboys and
led the house band on WJJD radio in Chicago.
In the mid-1930s he joined Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians and soon moved
to New York to form the Les Paul Trio, with Jim Atkins and bassist
His first records were released in 1944 on Decca Records. Later, with
Ford, his wife from 1949 to 1962, he earned 36 gold records for hits
including "Vaya Con Dios" and "How High the Moon," which both hit No.
He had met Ford, then known as Colleen Summers, in the 1940s while
working as a studio musician in Los Angeles. For seven years in the
1950s, Paul and Ford broadcast a TV show from their home in Mahwah,
N.J. (Ford died in 1977, 15 years after they divorced).
Paul had made his first attempt at audio amplification at age 13.
Unhappy with the amount of volume produced by his acoustic guitar, he
tried placing a telephone receiver under the strings. Although this
worked to some extent, only two strings were amplified and the volume
level was still too low.
By placing a phonograph needle in the guitar, all six strings were
amplified, which proved to be much louder. Paul was playing a working
prototype of the electric guitar in 1929.
His work on recording techniques began in the years after World War
II, when Bing Crosby gave him a tape recorder. Drawing on his earlier
experimentation with his homemade recording machine, Paul added an
additional playback head to the recorder. The result was a delayed
effect that became known as tape echo.
Tape echo gave the recording a more "live" feel and enabled the user
to simulate different playing environments.
Paul's next idea was to stack together eight mono tape machines and
send their outputs to one piece of tape, stacking the recording heads
on top of one another. The resulting machine served as the forerunner
to today's multitrack recorders. Many of his songs with Ford used
overdubbing techniques that Paul had helped develop.
Paul's use of multitrack recording was unique. Before he did it, most
recordings were made on a single tape. By recording each element
separately, from the vocals to instrumentation on different tracks,
they could be mixed and layered, adding to the richness in sound.
In 1954, Paul commissioned the first eight-track tape recorder, later
known as "Sel-Sync," in which a recording head could simultaneously
record a new track and play back previous ones.
In the late 1960s, Paul retired from music to concentrate on his
inventions. His interest in country music was rekindled in the
mid-'70s, and he teamed with Chet Atkins for two albums. The duo won a
Grammy for best country instrumental performance of 1976 for their
"Chester and Lester" album.
In 2005, he released the Grammy-winning "Les Paul & Friends: American
Made, World Played," his first album of new material since those 1970s
recordings and his first official rock CD. Among those playing with
him: Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Richie Sambora.
"They're not only my friends, but they're great players," Paul told
The Associated Press. "I never stop being amazed by all the different
ways of playing the guitar and making it deliver a message."
Paul was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.