Les Paul

Les Paul
Paul playing a Gibson Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, 2008
Paul playing a Gibson Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, 2008
Background information
Birth nameLester William Polsfuss
Born(1915-06-09)June 9, 1915
Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedAugust 12, 2009(2009-08-12) (aged 94)
White Plains, New York U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Inventor
  • musician
  • songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1928–2009
LabelsRCA Records
Associated actsMary Ford
Websitelespaulfoundation.org
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Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, and his prototype, called the Log, served as inspiration for the Gibson Les Paul. Paul taught himself how to play guitar, and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music.[1] In the 1950s, he and his wife, singer and guitarist Mary Ford, recorded numerous records, selling millions of copies.

Paul is credited with many recording innovations. His early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound),[2] delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.[3] His licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day.[4][5][6][7]

Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[8] He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an "architect" and a "key inductee" with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed.[9] Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.[10]

  1. ^ "Voices from the Smithsonian Associates. Les Paul, Musician and Inventor". Archived from the original on October 20, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2007.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Guitarist and recording pioneer Les Paul dies, aged 94 Archived August 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. The List. August 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "The Wizard of Waukesha". Pbs.org. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012.
  4. ^ Houston, Frank (July 8, 1999). "Father of invention". Salon.com. Archived from the original on August 16, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
  5. ^ Staff writer (October 12, 2005). "Les Paul, 90, Releases Tribute Album". CBC. Accessed August 24, 2009. Archived January 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Swing Licks for C6th Lap Steel Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. The Steel Guitar Forum.
  7. ^ Benson, John (November 12, 2008). Rock hall to honor Les Paul Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Vindy.com.
  8. ^ "Exhibits | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
  9. ^ "The Architects of Rock and Roll featuring Les Paul, Alan Freed and Sam Phillips | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  10. ^ "Les Paul Foundation Website". Archived from the original on February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.