Les Paul, Guitar Innovator, Dies at 94

Les Paul, the virtuoso guitarist, entertainer and relentless innovator whose drive to produce the sounds he wanted from his recordings and instruments helped pave the way for rock ‘n’ roll, died today. He was 94.

Les Paul 1915 – 2009

Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in New York state, said a spokesperson for the Gibson Guitar Co. He had been in failing health for some time.

Les Paul, who changed the face of modern music through his development of the guitar, has died aged 94.

According to a statement issued by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, which first released the seminal Les Paul guitar model in 1952, Paul passed away today (August 13) due to complications arising from a case of pneumonia. He died at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.

Wisconsen-born Paul, real name Lester William Polsfuss, was a musician before he turned his hand to inventing. He recorded as Rhubarb Red as well as playing in bands including the Les Paul Trio.

Through Gibson he released the Les Paul Goldtop guitar followed by the Les Paul Custom and the Les Paul Standard – the current edition of which is hugely popular today.

Paul was influential in the rise of multi-track recording – allowing musicians to record different musical parts and vocals separately then fuse them together as a complete recording.

Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson, paid tribute to Paul in a statement.

“The world has lost a truly innovative and exceptional human being today,” he said. “I cannot imagine life without Les Paul.

“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.”

Post Your Thoughts