It’s a sad day for guitar players and recording artists with the passing of one of the originators of the hard body electric guitar. He was Lester William Polsfuss but musicians around the world knew him as Les Paul. He considered himself an inventor first and a musician second though he was an exceptional guitar player. In fact, he actually taught himself to play the guitar in order to experiment with some of his theories on converting an acoustic guitar into what we now know as the electric guitar. He became one of the most respected and innovative guitar players with many of the greatest guitarists citing him as a major inspiration.
Some other innovations Les Paul gave the world include multi-track recording, overdubbing, delay and phasing effects and also created some original guitar playing techniques used to this very day. He’s inspired generations of musicians and many fine guitars still bear his name to this day while some of the earlier models are in the prized possessions of many famous artists who won’t be parting with them anytime soon. Here’s what a few of them had to say about Les Paul:
“Les Paul was a shining example of how full one’s life can be, he was so vibrant and full of positive energy. I’m honored and humbled to have known and played with him over the years, he was an exceptionally brilliant man.” — Slash
“Les is single handedly responsible for the direction and evolution of the modern rock movement. Period. If you are a fan of modern music, you owe Les Paul an enormous THANK YOU!” – Dave Navarro
“He was a genius inventor, musical innovator, and a wonderful person. Without the advances he pioneered, the recording sciences and the electric guitar would have been left years behind. I will miss him so much.” — Joan Jett
“The music industry has lost a giant! I’m very saddened by the news of Les Paul’s passing. I was lucky enough to have known Les as a friend, and admired him as a musician and innovator. He forever changed the way we listen to music.” — Ace Frehley
Here are a few examples of his work from the man himself and a few of his many admirers: