Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul is dead, long live Les Paul! Innovator, player and inventor of the electric guitar

Aug. 13, 2009
Posted by Noah

Les Paul is dead at the age of 94. If you know anything about rock and roll, country or guitar music in general, then you are pondering the life of one of modern music's greatest innovators right now as news is breaking of the death of the one, the only, Les Paul.

I think I can say, unequivocally, that Les was the most influential guitarist, innovator and technician of the 20th Century. What else would you say about the man who not only invented the electric guitar - at least in the form we understand it today - as well as the multi-track recording system? That's right, nothing! Les was a guitarist's guitarist, and a gentleman's gentleman. His fleet-fingered stylings influenced the way that several generations of great guitarists play their instruments, the way countless musicians record their music and certainly what the top musicians in the world came to expect from their instruments.

Let's put it this way: When Clapton locked himself in his room for months in the 1960s to become the ultimate Guitar God, what kind of guitar do you think he had? Of course: A Gibson Les Paul. If you've ever heard one played, and played well, then you know that the sound is superior and you know why the very best always insist on a Les.

There are Les Paul guitars autographed by various musicians, and Paul himself, throughout our archives. It's no coincidence, thought, that the top-selling Les Paul guitar in the Heritage archives is not an autographed axe, but rather a 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG, one of the original solid body guitars that dropped the "Les Paul" designation for most of the rest of the 1960s before picking it up again. No autograph, just plain ol' amazing craftsmanship that brought more than $22,000 in October of 2007.

You can read all about Paul's life and innovations in any number of online outlets right now, so I won't go into a tremendous amount of detail. It's not surprising when a man of his advanced age passes, but it is right to honor a life decidedly well lived. He was a legend and will remain so throughout the history of pop culture. The world will not soon see his ilk again.

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-Noah Fleisher

1 comment:

  1. Les was from my hometown of Waukesha, WI, and that is where he will be laid to rest. He was indeed a true gentlemen and a musical pioneer. Vaya con Dios Les!