Who could imagine that an 81-year-old man could have changed rock music when he was younger? Well it’s true, and Les Paul did it. This musician and inventor has sold hundreds of thousands, if not millions of albums. He has also created something that has changed rock and pop history, the solid-body electric guitar. Music and inventing all started before he became famous, when Les Paul was very young.
Les Paul was born on June 9, 1915 in Wankesha, Wisconsin. At a very young age, Paul developed a big interest in music and electronics. His first electronic construction was a crystal radio set. On that radio, Les Paul listened to his favorites like Carson Robinson, Gene Autry and Nick Lucas. These musicians inspired Paul to play music himself.
Paul began to play music a very young age. On his mothers player piano, he learned notes. He then started to play the harmonica and banjo. It wasn’t until then that Paul had an interest in the guitar. His first was a Sears Roebuck mail-order guitar. Les became attached to his guitar and started to develop talent. As Les got older, he started to sing and play his guitar at local road-houses and drive-ins. To make himself more audible to the cars at drive-ins, Les Paul made his first attempt at guitar amplification. He amplified the sound of his Sears Roebuck with a phonograph needle wired to a radio speaker. Around the same time, Paul improvised his first crude recording machine. As Les became more popular, he started to travel to places out of his local area.
Les’s traveling leads him to get a job at a Chicago radio station. While working at the station, Les practiced his music on the side. From 1932 to 1937 Paul stayed at the station. He then took a four-year break, to return in 1941. He only stayed one more year. In 1941 Gibson Guitar Company allowed Les to develop guitars for a living. While working there, Les came up with the idea of creating a solid-bodied electric guitar. At the time, all guitars were hollowed out, so to make them solid, Les stuffed them with towels and blankets. After a while he realized that all he needed was a solid piece of wood, and so “The Log” was created. “The Log” was a four-by-four slab of wood with an Epiphone neck attached, along with all of the hardware of a regular guitar. Gibson turned down the idea, but Les didn’t give up. He kept making modifications, until 1950 when Gibson agreed to start selling them. The guitar slowly became a success. Today there are many different models of the Gibson Les Paul, and it is also one of the most popular electric guitars ever.
During the 40s when Les Paul was creating his guitar, he was also becoming a very popular musician. In 1942 he formed his own trio which became somewhat famous. After a few years they disbanded, and Paul started a solo career. During the late 40’s he applied his knowledge of engineering techniques to the production of trick recordings in a studio in his garage. In 48, Paul’s first multiple track recordings were published. The names to these instrumental solos were”Lover” and “Brazil.” “The New Sound” was another hit album in which Les released in 1950. During the time that Les was making that album, he married Mary Ford. With Les on guitar and Mary singing, they made many famous hit songs. Some include “Tennessee Waltz,” “Mockin’ Bird Hill,” and “How High the Moon” which were followed by many others. This fabulous duet came to an end in 1964 when Les and Mary divorced. At the final end of Les’s career, he had made a ton of money in which he bought a mansion with.
Les’s mansion is extremely nice, but it is a wreck. Les’s many inventions are laying all over the place, taking up most of the space. Les still performs occasionally, and always delights the crowd. Now and then he goes to music shops to make appearances and sign autographs.
All of the autographs that Les Paul signs are due to his great life achievements. As a performing musician, Les was the best. He sold tons of albums and gained great recognition. As an electronic genius, Paul has changed rock music, due to his inventions. Some of Les’s most famous and important creations include, the floating bridge pickup, the first guitar with fourteen frets and the multi-track recorder. None of these inventions have changed music nearly as much as his solid-body electric guitar. The 81-year-old Les Paul has probably made the biggest impact on rock music ever.