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Les Paul
Les Paul live 3.jpg
Paul playing a Gibson Les Paul as the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, 2008
Background information
Birth name Lester William Polsfuss
Born (1915-06-09)June 9, 1915
Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died August 12, 2009(2009-08-12) (aged 94)
White Plains, New York, U.S.
  • Inventor
  • musician
  • songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active 1928–2009
Labels RCA Records
Associated acts Mary Ford
Gibson '58 Reissue Les Paul guitar (2005)

Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, and his prototype, called the Log, served as inspiration for the Gibson Les Paul.

Paul taught himself how to play guitar, and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music.

He is credited with many recording innovations. His early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

His licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many present day guitarists.

In the 1950s, he and his wife, singer and guitarist Mary Ford, recorded and sold millions of records.

Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an "architect" and a "key inductee" with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed. Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The solidbody electric guitar Les Paul which is named after him is made by the American company Gibson. It is one of the most famous guitar models in rock music history.

Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.

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