The music industry lost a pioneer yesterday. Les Paul, at the age of 94, passed away surrounded by family at his bedside.
The name "Les Paul" has become more synonymous to younger generations as the brand of guitar named for him than the man himself.
However, the naming of the brand by the Gibson guitar company comes with good reason. Les Paul was undoubtedly the creator of electric guitar music. As a budding Jazz guitarist, he was frustrated with the tone of acoustic guitars and their echoing tone when played, he set about building a guitar from a solid piece of wood instead of the more traditional hollowed wooden shell in order to find the rich warm tone he craved. A number of evolutions of his idea followed and after signing an agreement with Gibson in the early 50's, in 1952 the original Gibson Les Paul Gold Top was released. More variations of the model by gibson followed and the rest as they say, is history.
Solid body electric guitars are now heard in nearly all forms of amplified music. From blues to jazz, rock to reggae, the electric guitar is not tied to any one genre. The legacy Les Paul leaves is the music that generations of guitar players and listeners aplenty enjoy is all down to his perseverance in finding the perfect sound.
Having tinkered around on guitars for some years, I myself am lucky enough to own one of the Gibson models and I can honestly say that for me, no other guitar I've played gives you that rush of elation as you hit those perfect notes.
I leave you all with a clip of Les Paul together with Chet Atkins playing the classic "Avalon".
RIP Les Paul.