Heralded as one of the greatest musical pioneers of the 20th century, Les Paul’s legacy remains strong even today. On top of building one of the first playable electric guitars, he also invented multi-track recording – both of which completely revolutionised the recording and music industry.
Today would be the innovator, inventor and musician’s 96th birthday.
Although Paul was no doubt a talented musician and guitarist with a string of top ten hits throughout his long and diverse career, he is most fondly remembered for his namesake guitar model, first sold in 1952 by the Gibson guitar company.
The instrument of choice for a host of modern-day guitar heroes such as Jimmy Page, Bob Marley, Noel Gallagher and Slash, there is almost no doubt that the model’s distinctive powerful tone will have been heard by the majority of music lovers worldwide.
Bosses at Gibson had originally turned Paul away when he came to them with his prototype electric guitar, known as the Log, which he had built out of a railway sleeper.
But when Fender released their first electric model – the Esquire – in 1950, Gibson called Paul back in to help them create a rival product.
The result was the Gibson Les Paul.
It wasn’t the last of Paul’s inventions, however. He developed the eight-track tape machine in co-operation with Ampex and built a controller mounted on his guitar that allowed him to control pre-taped guitar tracks during his live performances.
Elsewhere, he developed low-impedance pickups and a host of other devices.
His birthday has sparked a host of tributes from around the world, with the most recognisable coming in the form of a Google Doodle.
Anyone logging onto the Google homepage today will see the authentic-sounding doodle above the search box and can strum away using either their mouse or keyboard.
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