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Les Paul turns 91

Posted by Davbmn on 06/08/06 at 09:46 PM

imageToday, an inventor and music legend celebrates another birthday

Les Paul, born Lester William Polsfuss, celebrates his 91st birthday.  Paul hails from Wisconsin and was getting paid to play guitar by age 13.  He was playing all around the midwest from Chicago to St. Louis.  Where he appeared on KMOX radio and soon after, at age 21, released his first record.

Unhappy with the sound of the modern guitar in the 30’s he built his own guitar from a 4"x4" fence post and a cut-up Epiphone hollow-body.  This created the solid-body sound that Les Paul became famous for. 

In 1938 Pauls music career began in earnest when he moved to New York and started playing with Bing Crosby and some of the other music legends we know today.  1941 was the year that Les Paul designed and built his first true solid body guitar. (Rickenbacker and Fender were building solid body guitars as well).

In the 50’s Gibson presented a solid-body model to Paul.  He was so impressed that he signed a contract with Gibson and put his name to the guitar and used only the Gibson until ‘61 when Gibson created the now famous SG model with Paul’s name on it. Not liking the guitar Paul went to Gibson which removed his name, and renamed it the SG.  This rift was later resolved and to this day the Gibson Les Paul signature guitar is one of the most popular guitars among professionals and amatuers alike.

Les Paul was also a pioneer in multi-track recording.  Capitol Records released a recording in the 40’s that Paul had recorded on wax discs that contained 8 tracks of guitar.  The recording mechanisms were designed by Les Paul himself.  Without this breakthrough modern recording would be impossible.  Many artists owe their careers to Les Pauls inventions and techniques, with the ability to over-dub.

At 90 years of age Paul won 2 Grammy’s just earlier this year. It is reported that he still plays at a jazz club in New York City. 

Happy 91st Les Paul!!!!!!!!!!  and thanks for your immense contribution to the music that we Love.

Read the complete Les Paul Bio at CMT.com

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