In the event that some who visit this site aren’t totally sure who Les Paul was and why his accomplishments and contributions to making music will be long remembered. Here it is in a nutshell.

In the event that some who visit this site aren’t totally sure who Les Paul was and why his accomplishments and contributions to making music will be long remembered. Here it is in a nutshell.

Driven by the Big Band sound of the ‘30s and ‘40s, and the need for guitars to be heard over all the other instruments in concert, and on studio recordings, several inventors had gone to work record on finding a practical way to capture the sound of the vibrating string and send it to an amplifier.

Also See: Remembering Les Paul

While it’s widely accepted that Les Paul was the one to who invented the electric guitar, it was actually invertor and musician George Beauchamp working with engineer Adolph Rickenbacker. Rickenbacker’s early models were Spanish-style, hollow-body guitars equipped with tungsten pickups, and, while they were an instant hit with swing bands, there were technical difficulties. Such as: the sound resonating in the guitar body created an annoying feedback loop prompting players to stuffed rags and newspapers into their guitars.

On a guitar with electric pickups, there was no longer a need for big hollow body to project sound, so why not do away with it all together? That’s were Les Paul came into the picture, building his own guitar using a solid 4×4 wood post as the body, and a telephone mouthpiece for the pickup. He dubbed it "the log," and recalled that when he first played it in for an audience, people looked at him like he freaked out, so he went home, sawed a Spanish-style hollow-body in half and glued the sides to his creation.

The enhanced esthetics went over great. This ignited a new wave of development in electrified instruments and led to the mass production of relatively inexpensive electric guitars designed by radio repairman Leo Fender and musician Doc Kaufman. As the Fender electrics gained popularity, Les paul approached the Gibson Guitar Company who brought his idea to market as the "Les Paul."

But that’s only part of the story. Along with being an inventor, Les was a fantastic player and arranger, with a real ear for creating music for the mass consuming public. Keeping in mind that this is some 70 years ago—not only is digital recording in the far-distant future, analog recording leading edge technology. Working with his then wife, and recording partner, Mary Ford, Les pioneered the concept of multi-track, sound-on-sound and sound-with-sound recording and was rewarded with gold record after gold record.

As such, Les inspired a generation of musicians and sound technician to invent new tools and work with the all available technologies to take their talents to new arenas of creativity. Yes. It really was like this — a lot of Les Paul videos have surfaced since his passing last Thursday. Here’s my personal favorite:

Originally posted 2009-08-17 14:09:18.