A Legend Passes

I’m a guitar player. I started at age 10, when I didn’t even have one. For my 13th birthday, my parents bought me my first acoustic. By the time I became an adult I’d hardly put it down.

Today, the music world lost a legendary guitar player. Les Paul, just four years after releasing his latest rock album, passed away due to complications of pneumonia.

Paul invented the solidbody electric guitar. Just after Fender released the Broadcaster, Gibson Guitars enlisted Paul’s help and the Gibson Les Paul was introduced to the world in 1952 (he first began tinkering with electrifying guitars as a much younger man; 1929 was the year he first managed to create a fully-amplified electric guitar).

Paul also created overdubbing, a style of recording that layers tracks to give the impression of multiple vocalists or instrumentalists. Today’s pop and rock artists owe their sound, at least in part, to Les Paul. Pete Townshend, Steve Howe, Al DiMeola, Ace Frehley and Jimmy Page all adopted their own personalized versions of Gibson’s Les Paul guitar as their signature axes.

I have a guitar tattooed on my right arm. It’s the image of a Gibson Les Paul series III that I once owned (and mourn regularly that I had to sell). Paul was born on July 9, 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He passed just two months after his 94th birthday.

Godspeed, buddy.

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One thought on “A Legend Passes

  1. Imagine the world fo rock of Les Paul never invented his version of the electric guitar? Would there have been a Jimmy Page and many more? What a frightening question to ponder.

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