Les Paul Dies at 94

Very sad news for music lovers today as Les Paul, who invented the solid-body electric guitar, has died at the age of 94.

This is a tremendous loss for the industry as a whole. I don’t know where music would be today without him!

From the Associated Press:

According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side.

As an inventor, Paul also helped bring about the rise of rock ‘n’ roll with multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the tracks in the finished recording.

The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s, and then exploded with the advent of rock in the mid-’50s.

“Suddenly, it was recognized that power was a very important part of music,” Paul once said. “To have the dynamics, to have the way of expressing yourself beyond the normal limits of an unamplified instrument, was incredible. Today a guy wouldn’t think of singing a song on a stage without a microphone and a sound system.”

A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called “The Log,” a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings.

“I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut.” He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape.

In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar.

Pete Townsend of the Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string.

Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie’s auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600.

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One Comment on “Les Paul Dies at 94”

  1. Honeydog0629 Says:

    What a Long and Credible Life. My Comment is not so much for myself, but for my Father, who led a Talented and Successful “Big Band” Orchestra for nearly 50 Years, and whose Admiration for and Talk of Les Paul was something I grew-up knowing, hearing, and fondly remembering. Dad actually Played the Trumpet and Sang most of his Orchestra’s material when Performing on Stage, but at Home, it was his old Classic Les Paul Guitar that he brought out of its Case and Played faithfully every night in our Living Room, and which melodically Echoed through a small Amplifier at every Family Gathering. On his 90th Birthday, we all Chipped-in and Surprised him with a Special Edition Les Paul, over which he shed Tears of Disbelief and Happiness, and began telling the room-filled Birthday Guests the History of this Remarkable Man and his Distinctive Top-Quality Creations. Along with his Trumpet, my Father’s two Cherished Les Paul’s stood Proudly on their Stands beside his Casket when he died at Age 92 two years ago. Les Paul was not only an Accomplished and Distinguished Master on the Guitar, but the most Recognized and Respected Guitar-Designer and Pioneer of Recording Methods of All Time, who— Yes, undeniably, every Musician has Benefited from, and will Forever be Grateful to. I Hope my Father gets to meet him in Heaven. RIP


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