Amazing Snippets From Les Paul’s Wikipedia.

Today I decided to try and educate myself on Les Paul because apart from seeing his name on Gibson guitars and owning one of his records, I realised that I knew almost nothing about him.

I turned to Wikipedia for my introduction and it turns out that I already knew the basics:

“Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009)—known as Les Paul—was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.
His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records.”

Further reading proved that I actually knew nothing about Les Paul and here are the amazing snippets that made me shout aloud “What? No way man!”

“While living in Wisconsin, he first became interested in music at age eight when he began playing the harmonica. After an attempt at learning the banjo, he began to play the guitar. It was during this time that he invented a neck-worn harmonica holder, which allowed him to play the harmonica hands-free while accompanying himself on the guitar. Paul’s device is still manufactured using his basic design.”

What? No Way man!

“While playing at the Waukesha area drive-ins and roadhouses, Paul began his first experiment with sound. Wanting to make himself heard by more people at the local venues, he wired a phonograph needle to a radio speaker, using that to amplify his acoustic guitar.”

What? No way man!

“Paul’s jazz-guitar style was strongly influenced by the music of Django Reinhardt, whom he greatly admired. Following World War II, Paul sought out and befriended Reinhardt. After Reinhardt’s death in 1953, Paul furnished his headstone. One of Paul’s prize possessions was a Selmer Maccaferri acoustic guitar given to him by Reinhardt’s widow.”

What? No way man!

“Paul was dissatisfied with acoustic-electric guitars and began experimenting at his apartment in Queens, NY with a few designs of his own. Famously, he created several versions of “The Log”, which was nothing more than a length of common 4×4 lumber with a bridge, guitar neck and pickup attached. For the sake of appearance, he attached the body of an Epiphone hollow-body guitar, sawn lengthwise with The Log in the middle. This solved his two main problems: feedback, as the acoustic body no longer resonated with the amplified sound, and sustain, as the energy of the strings was not dissipated in generating sound through the guitar body. These instruments were constantly being improved and modified over the years, and Paul continued to use them in his recordings long after the development of his eponymous Gibson model.”

What? No way man!

“While experimenting in his apartment in 1940, Paul nearly succumbed to electrocution. During two years of recuperation, he relocated to Hollywood, supporting himself by producing radio music and forming a new trio. He was drafted into the US Army shortly after the beginning of World War II, where he served in the Armed Forces Network, backing such artists as Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, and performing in his own right.”

What? No way man!

“In January 1948, Paul shattered his right arm and elbow in a near-fatal automobile accident on an icy Route 66 just west of Davenport, Oklahoma. Mary Ford was driving the Buick convertible, which rolled several times down a creekbed; they were on their way back from Wisconsin to Los Angeles after performing at the opening of a restaurant owned by Paul’s father. Doctors at Oklahoma City’s Wesley Presbyterian Hospital told him that they could not rebuild his elbow so that he would regain movement; his arm would remain permanently in whatever position they placed it in. Their other option was amputation. Paul instructed surgeons, brought in from Los Angeles, to set his arm at an angle—just under 90 degrees—that would allow him to cradle and pick the guitar. It took him nearly a year and a half to recover.”

Wait a minute…WHAT?
NO. WAY. MAN.

Did I also mention that he built the first 8 track recording console or that he basically invented analog delay and multi-tracking?

Read the full thing HERE.

Advertisements

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://alancook.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/amazing-snippets-from-les-pauls-wikipedia/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: