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Les Paul

Updated on August 14, 2009

Les Paul June 9th 1915 - August 13th 2009

Lester William Polfuss an american inventor and jazz guitarist. Les was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin to parents George and Evelyn Polsfuss. From early on Les had shown great intrest in music at age 8 he began playing the harmonica, then attempted to learn the banjo and by age 13 was playing the guitar quite professionally. By the time he was 17 years old he dropped out of highschool to play for a radio band in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1936 Paul released his first two records.

In 1948 Mr. Paul was in a near-fatal car accident which shattered his right arm and elbow. The surgeon told Les they wouldn't be able to reconstruct his arm in a way that would allow full use, and that what ever position they put it in would be permanent. At this he responded that he would like his arm be put into a position that he could cradle a guitar and be able to pick. It took a year and a half for him to recover.

Les Paul died today August 13th 2009 at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, NY due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 94 years young.

Some of his most noticeable achievements include the invention of the solid body electric guitar which led to alot of the more modern rock music we have today. Also many recording inovations which include overdubbing, delay effects, tape delay, phasing effects, and multi track recordings. He also took his talents to new levels with licks, trills, chording sequences and fretting techniques.

In 1978 he was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. In 1988 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1991 the Mix Foundation named an award after him the Les Paul Award for individuals and institutions that set a high standard for excellence in the application of audio technology. In May of 2005 he was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame for his invention of the solid body electric guitar. In 2006 he was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of fame and was named an honorary member of the Audio Engineering Society.

In July of 2005 at his 90th birthday Gibson Guitar dedicated a commemorative guitar to him. And finally in November of 2008 he received the American Masters Music Award from the National Hall of Fame.

He will be missed.

-Thomas M.


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