Before There Was Les Paul Guitars, There Was Les Paul

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The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1952. The Les Paul was designed by Gibson president Ted McCarty, factory manager John Huis and their team, along with guitarist/inventor Les Paul.

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Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible. Paul taught himself how to play guitar and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music.

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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.

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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.

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Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an “architect” and a “key inductee” with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed. Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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The Les Paul was originally offered with a gold finish and two P-90 pickups. In 1957, humbucking pickups were added, along with sunburst finishes in 1958.

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The sunburst 1958–1960 Les Paul – today one of the best-known electric guitar types in the world – was considered a failure, with low production and sales. For 1961, the Les Paul was redesigned into what is now known as the Gibson SG.

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This design continued as a separate guitar when the traditional single cutaway, carved top body style was re-introduced in 1963.

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The Les Paul has been continually produced in countless versions and editions since. Along with Fender’s Telecaster and Stratocaster, it was one of the first mass-produced electric solid-body guitars. Les Pauls have been used in many genres, including rock, country, pop, soul, rhythm and blues, blues, jazz, reggae, punk, and heavy metal.

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Les Paul’s music is as incredible, if not more, as the strums he used to play it…

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(Sources: Huffington Post & Wikipedia)

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