Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Memorium: Les Paul

This past week, one of the 20th century's certified geniuses passed away. Les Paul left us and re-joined Mary Ford where the two of them can make heavenly music again.

Why should we care about Les Paul?
  1. The solid body electric guitar: this singular invention, often derided by critics, has become the standard instrument of our time. It is an instrument entirely its own, able to make sounds in the hands of a skilled player that defy all others. It is an orchestra by itself. And les gave it to us by first fastening strings and a neck to a piece of railroad track.
  2. Multi-track recording: there is no film score, no Beatles record, no pop music recording that is not a product of Les' genius. Just think about a world without multi-track recording. Then bow your knee and thank God for Les.
  3. The echo box: the Les Paulverizer was a masterful little invention and created a style that gave us repeat echos in country music, and ultimately the Edge, from U2. All of this emanates from Les.
And I could go on and on. The recordings that he did with Chet Atkins are masterpieces of improvisation. I can only hope that somewhere, in eternity, the Wizard of Waukeshaw and the Country Gentleman will meet up again.

Farewell, Les. You have guided me long and well.


  1. Don,
    Nelson, my son and I were just commenting on this very subject.
    Sad day.
    I was startled to read, as well that Kenny Rankin is gone.
    Both musicians - so incredibly unique.
    - Coni

  2. Yes, this has been an expensive year as far as guitar talent goes. I am waiting, yet, for the emerging guitar talent to come to full fruition.


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Musician, educator, audio engineer, guitar junkie!