Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul dies at 94

Guitar master Les Paul, who created the famous Gibson Les Paul electric guitar {my dream guitar}, died today of severe pneumonia. He was 94.

Les Paul played guitar in clubs even in his 90s.

Paul likely will be best remembered for the Gibson Les Paul, a variation on the solid-body guitar he built in the early 1940s -- "The Log" -- and offered to the guitar company.
"For 10 years, I was a laugh," he told CNN in an interview. "[But I] kept pounding at them and pounding at them saying hey, here's where it's at. Here's where tomorrow, this is it. You can drown out anybody with it. And you can make all these different sounds that you can't do with a regular guitar."

Gibson, spurred by rival Fender, finally took Paul up on his offer and introduced the model in 1952. It has since become the go-to guitar for such performers as Jimmy Page.

"The world has lost a truly innovative and exceptional human being today. I cannot imagine life without Les Paul," said Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar, in a statement. "He would walk into a room and put a smile on anyone's face. His musical charm was extraordinary and his techniques unmatched anywhere in the world."

Paul is enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Inventors Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is survived by three sons, a daughter, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Until recently he had a standing gig at New York's Iridium Jazz Club, where he would play with a who's who of famed musicians.

He admired the places guitarists and engineers took his inventions, but he said there was nothing to replace good, old-fashioned elbow grease and soul.

"I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one," he said in 2002, "and it will probably whip the guy with 20 notes."

Rest in peace, Les.


bluepitbull said...

Les Paul is responsible for all modern day music that uses solid body guitars.

He was incredible as a lead guitarist before there was such a thing. He was metal before there was metal.

Anyone who wants to really hear what Les accomplished, listen to his recordings with Mary Ford. Some of his techniques are still used today such as multitracking.

I'll miss him, but he can say that he lead a great and incredible life.

Maybe one day, I'll own a Gibson Les Paul, they are sooooo expensive.

James' Muse said...

Yeah, he will be missed. I want a Les Paul so bad, but you're right. SOOOOO expensive...base price is around $1,000. Right now I'm saving up for a good acoustic. I have my eye on a $1,000 Taylor to replace my $200 Ibanez. But before that, I need to buy a gun.

bluepitbull said...

Taylors are nice guitars. Ibanez are pretty nice too and at a good price.

I have a Yamaha now.

James' Muse said...

Yeah. The Taylor 314ce is what I fell in love with off the rack at GuitarCenter. The ibanez I have is the blue one in my profile pic.

Right now I'm saving for a revolver while I'm testing at all the PDs around. I figure if I don't get in right away I'll get some firearms experience, and if I do get in right away I'll have a good backup.

Once I get the revolver and bedside safe for it, I'll get the guitar.