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Remembering guitar innovator Les Paul

August 14, 2009 | 12:53 pm

Coverage from the Los Angeles Times on the passing of Les Paul. 


Les Paul dies at 94; guitarist whose innovations paved the way for rock 'n' roll. The virtuoso picker influenced a generation of guitarists and had a series of hits in the '50s with wife Mary Ford. He invented an early solid-body electric guitar and pioneered new recording methods

Les Paul was often called rock royalty, but for the people who knew the man before his death Thursday at age 94, that term often inspired a gentle chuckle.

Born in Wisconsin in 1915, Paul was a Midwestern jazz man who went on to make high-polish 1950s pop recordings, a style of music that was snuffed out by the reckless energy of rock 'n' roll. Still, the rock demi-gods of the 1960s and '70s adored Paul for what he handed them, the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, a beast of an instrument that has endured through the years whether the band on stage was Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols or Green Day. The six-string became such an American institution that, like Levi Strauss, Jack Daniel's and John Deere, it became more a symbol than a mere brand name. Read more...

Photos: Les Paul | 1915-2009. A 20-picture look at the life of Les Paul. 

Photos: Les Paul: The master's disciples. Les Paul helped make the electric guitar sound clean, and in his experiments with multitrack recording, he also made it sound grand - the perfect tool for the guitar virtuosos who followed.A look at those influenced by the man and the guitar, from Chet Atkins to Green Day. Read more...

Photo credit: Chris Lentz / PBS