Les Paul

Les Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss on June 9th, 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

At age 8 he became interested in music and began to play the harmonica. He later attempted the Banjo but settled on the guitar. This led him to invent the neck-worn harmonica holder so that he could play the harmonica and accompany himself on the guitar. His original design is still used to manufacture the device.

He was performing semi-professional by the age of 13 as a country music singer, guitarist and harmonica player. At seventeen he dropped out of high school to join Wolverton’s Radio Band in St. Louis, Missouri.

He was dissatisfied with the sound of acoustic-electric guitars so he began to experiment with his on designs. In 1940 while conducting his experiments he nearly succumbed to electrocution and during nearly 2 years of recuperation he moved to Hollywood and earned money producing radio music and forming a trio.

He was drafted into the army at the beginning of World War II where he served in the American Forces Network backing artists like Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters and performing on his own.

“The Log” was Les Paul’s innovative guitar. It was built after hours in a guitar factory in 1940 but until the release and successful marketing of Leo Fender’s Esquire and Telecaster models the Gibson Guitar Company showed little interest in Paul’s design. In the early 1950’s Gibson incorporated Paul’s design into a new design of there own and ask Paul to give it a try. Paul was impressed with the performance and signed an endorsement contract for what became the Gibson “Les Paul” model. As part of the contract he agreed to never been seen in public of photographed with anything other than a Gibson guitar.

Paul also made innovations in the field of multi-track recording, hosted his own radio program and television show.

He died due to complications with pneumonia on August 13, 2009. He was buried at Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

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