R.I.P Les Paul

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Les Paul, “the wizard of Waukesha” who invented the solid body electric guitar and multi-track recording, died today at the age of 94. Here’s a piece from the t.v. show he had with his wife, vocalist Mary Ford.

A couple of years ago, PBS’s “American Masters” did a great documentary on Paul called “Chasing Sound”. No doubt they’ll be running it again soon, so be on the lookout. Even if you don’t care a whit about electric guitars, this portrait of an indefatigable man who found his calling is thoroughly entertaining.

2 thoughts on “R.I.P Les Paul

  1. I probably have told you I had a chance to meet him a few years back when he was in Waukesha for a fundraiser and visited the music store where my brother works. Without a pang of guilt, I cancelled my classes and drove down with my largely unplayed Les Paul guitar and got him to sign it for me. He was 90+ then, but still sharp and very funny. Fascinating to chat with. His presence created a stir in the store when people who didn’t really know who he was sensed that he was a celebrity. The funniest moment was when a very busty teenage girl came over and asked him to sign her very tight t-shirt. As he was doing his best to sign her boobs with his sharpie, he turned to me with a huge smile, winked and said “I’ve got a great job”.

  2. Yeah, the PBS documentary on him nicely depicted his sunny personality. I always associate him with my first real electric guitar, a gold-top Les Paul Standard that I loved. I only gave up playing it in my mid-20s, when I was working 6 nights a week in L.A. clubs. Those guitars were just too damn heavy (I think they gave me a permanent bend in my spine and an over-developed left shoulder). But their action was unparalleled in those days.

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