Thursday, August 13, 2009

And another one bites the dust...

Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording has died today of complications from pneumonia at the age of 94. As an inventor, Paul helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll and multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the "tracks" in the finished recording (or, as in the case of many experimental artist, to not do so). Les Paul, earned 36 gold records and 11 number one pop hits from 1949 to 1962, and many of these songs used overdubbing techniques that Paul had helped develop.
A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called "The Log," a 4-by-4 piece of wood strung with steel strings. He then proceeded to take it to a nightclub and play it, where he was called a complete nutter by everyone there. However, in 1952, Gibson Guitars began production of the Les Paul guitar. Pete Townsend of The Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string. Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. And they called him a nutter... :)

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