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    Senior Member Array PointnClick's Avatar
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    For the musicians here...

    A giant has fallen... Les Paul dead at 94


    Les Paul, whose innovations with the electric guitar and studio technology made him one of the most important figures in recorded music, has died, according to a statement from his publicists. Paul was 94.

    Paul died in White Plains, New York, from complications of severe pneumonia, according to the statement.

    Paul was a guitar and electronics mastermind whose creations -- such as multitrack recording, tape delay and the solid-body guitar that bears his name, the Gibson Les Paul -- helped give rise to modern popular music, including rock 'n' roll. No slouch on the guitar himself, he continued playing at clubs into his 90s despite being hampered by arthritis.

    "If you only have two fingers [to work with], you have to think, how will you play that chord?" he told CNN.com in a 2002 phone interview. "So you think of how to replace that chord with several notes, and it gives the illusion of sounding like a chord."

    "The world has lost a truly innovative and exceptional human being today. I cannot imagine life without Les Paul," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. "He would walk into a room and put a smile on anyone's face. His musical charm was extraordinary and his techniques unmatched anywhere in the world."

    Lester William Polfuss was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1915. Even as a child he showed an aptitude for tinkering, taking apart electric appliances to see what made them tick.

    "I had to build it, make it and perfect it," Paul said in 2002. He was nicknamed the "Wizard of Waukesha."

    In the 1930s and '40s, he played with the bandleader Fred Waring and several big band singers, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters, as well as with his own Les Paul Trio. In the early 1950s, he had a handful of huge hits with his then-wife, Mary Ford, such as "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios."

    His guitar style, heavily influenced by jazzman Django Reinhardt, featured lightning-quick runs and double-time rhythms. In 1948, after being involved in a severe car accident, he asked the doctor to set his arm permanently in a guitar-playing position.

    Paul also credited Crosby for teaching him about timing, phrasing and preparation.

    Crosby "didn't say it, he did it -- one time only. Unless he blew the lyrics, he did one take."

    Paul never stopped tinkering with electronics, and after Crosby gave him an early audiotape recorder, Paul went to work changing it. It eventually led to multitrack recording; on Paul and Ford's hits, he plays many of the guitar parts, and Ford harmonizes with herself. Multitrack recording is now the industry standard.

    But Paul likely will be best remembered for the Gibson Les Paul, a variation on the solid-body guitar he built in the early 1940s -- "The Log" -- and offered to the guitar company.

    "For 10 years, I was a laugh," he told CNN in an interview. "[But] kept pounding at them and pounding at them saying hey, here's where it's at. Here's where tomorrow, this is it. You can drown out anybody with it. And you can make all these different sounds that you can't do with a regular guitar."

    Gibson, spurred by rival Fender, finally took Paul up on his offer and introduced the model in 1952. It has since become the go-to guitar for such performers as Jimmy Page.

    Paul is enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Inventors Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is survived by three sons, a daughter, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Until recently he had a standing gig at New York's Iridium Jazz Club, where he would play with a who's-who of famed musicians.

    He admired the places guitarists and engineers took his inventions, but he said there was nothing to replace good, old-fashioned elbow grease and soul.

    "I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one," he said in 2002, "and it will probably whip the guy with 20 notes."
    "Who is to say that I am not an instrument of karma? Indeed, who is to say that I am not the very hand of God himself, dispatched by the Almighty to smite the Philistines and hypocrites, to lay low the dishonest and corrupt, and to bust the jawbone of some jackass that so desperately deserves it?"

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Pure Kustom's Avatar
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    Rest In Peace
    Les Paul



    Jimmy Page and a Les paul

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    He was the father of modern recording. He was the creator of the multitrack recording which expanded the possibilities for musicians and engineers to augment their creativity in the studio and concerts.
    All Recording Engineers will mourn his passing. He was the Einstein of the Audio world.
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    VIP Member Array JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    May the souls of the departed find eternal peace.

    I'm a drummer, but very familiar with Les Paul, and his guitar. I didn't know about the other things, such as multi-track recording that was his innovation. A true musical pioneer. He will be missed.
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    Senior Member Array PointnClick's Avatar
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    In 1948, after being involved in a severe car accident, he asked the doctor to set his arm permanently in a guitar-playing position.

    That right there tells ya what sorta dedication to his craft he had...
    "Who is to say that I am not an instrument of karma? Indeed, who is to say that I am not the very hand of God himself, dispatched by the Almighty to smite the Philistines and hypocrites, to lay low the dishonest and corrupt, and to bust the jawbone of some jackass that so desperately deserves it?"

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    A real legend... RIP
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    I've played and owned allot of guitars, and a Les Paul is my current Axe,. I''m sure it will be from here out (as far as I can see)... Truly was a gifted man for making guitars,.. RIP

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    VIP Member Array ron8903's Avatar
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    Sad day for us guitar players
    RIP
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    Distinguished Member Array Bunny's Avatar
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    So sad! :(
    R.I.P. Les Paul.
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    This may help the memory...

    YouTube - Les Paul - Chasing Sound!
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    Member Array PiperLambie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PointnClick View Post
    "I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one," he said in 2002, "and it will probably whip the guy with 20 notes."
    Truly a giant in the music world...he was proof that the simple could always override the complicated and still be musical.
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    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    What an amazing life! His music and his inventiveness have enriched us all. And in his 90s he could still wail, even when severely hampered by arthritis.

    I loved this Coors commercial:
    YouTube - Les Paul (the legend!) in cool "Coors" beer comercial
    Cheers,
    Rod
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    Senior Member Array PointnClick's Avatar
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    Awesome post, Rod... never seen that...
    "Who is to say that I am not an instrument of karma? Indeed, who is to say that I am not the very hand of God himself, dispatched by the Almighty to smite the Philistines and hypocrites, to lay low the dishonest and corrupt, and to bust the jawbone of some jackass that so desperately deserves it?"

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    VIP Member Array Pikachu711's Avatar
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    My Dad who passed away last year had a Les Paul guitar. He bought it back in the late 40's or early 50's. My Dad enjoyed playing his Les Paul very much. It was one of his more valued possessions. He bought it when he first started playing guitar while he was in the military. At one point he had it appraised for insurance purposes at a local guitar store at a value of around $45,000.00!!! Talk about a shock of shocks! Unfortunately, noone is the immediate family plays the guitar.

    Fortunately my nephew who's currently attending college DOES play the guitar very well. My Dad made sure to let us know before he passed away to see that my nephew was to get his valued Les Paul guitar. My nephew now has one heck of great guitar to play! He's one lucky 20 year old young man!!!
    Last edited by Pikachu711; August 13th, 2009 at 07:00 PM.
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    Anyone who enjoys listening to recorded music of any genre owes a debt to Lester. What an extraordinary thinker, experimenter and go getter. I am amazed at his ideas and more amazed at the execution of them. I am currently playing my Stratocaster a whole lot but my 1970's Les Paul Custom is definately without equal.

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