back to article Les Paul dies at 94

Les Paul - the inventor of the solid-body electric guitar and one of the most important developers of multi-track recording - died Thursday at age 94. Born Lester William Polsfuss on June 9th in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Paul began his life-long affair with music at age eight, playing harmonica and piano. He got his first guitar …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Here's a toast. RIP

    Dang, my eyes are leaking again.

  2. AngrySup
    IT Angle

    A Tech 'till the End

    "I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one," he said in 2002, "and it will probably whip the guy with 20 notes." /l. Paul (oh, and some guitar thing and that multi-track recording get-up that he put together.)

  3. Justin S.

    This space for lease

    Les, thank you for changing music and, by extension, the world. You'll be missed, mate.

  4. jake Silver badge

    RIP, Les.

    I play Bass (Precision Big Block), but I learned guitar on, and still own, a Les Paul. There aren't a lot of people who truly make a mark on the world big enough to be heard by almost everybody, everywhere on Earth. Les was one of them. He will be missed by many, and remembered by more.

  5. Chris iverson

    Thank You

    Dear Mr. Paul,

    I wish to thank you for the contribution that you have made to this world. You have given so many of us a voice that we may have not had if you had not invented what you have. It is merely a tool yes but a powerful one that can bring joy, tears, satisfaction, and mourning with a simple movement. So before I start rambling I wish you the best of luck wherever you happen to find yourself now.



    I believe this calls for a somber pint all around

  6. Herby

    Then others are ruined the sound

    By converting the nice full range audio tracks to MP3s or compressed (to always sound loud) CDs.

    The lower bit rate MP3s just muddy up the sounds, and the "always sound loud" CD have absolutely NO dynamic range, and are almost as bad.

    Yes, Multi-track was a great "invention" and in these days it might even be granted a patent. Even more so if it were a computer program.

    Things were simpler in the 50's.

  7. Virag0
    Gates Horns

    A good time to mention

    Gibson is now owned by the evil Henry Juszkiewicz. He ruined some big deals in the

    music tech industry. Have a look on the web for what Gibson did to Oberheim, Opcode

    and a poor person by the name of Lynx Crowe.

    Mine is Evil Bill, since Henry Juszkiewicz can't be properly seen in a mirror, or photographed.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thank you Mr. Paul,

    Perhaps without realising, you have given us the most versatile and expressive musical instrument the world has ever known.

  9. Steve Evans


    Les, thanks you. May you rest in a beautiful symphony of sustained notes,

    I shall raise a bottled drink to you, and when empty, play slide guitar with it.

  10. jake Silver badge

    @Herby &@Virag0

    You two are both fuckheads. Your comments have absolutely nothing to do with the wonderfulness that Les Paul brought to the world. Learn what a wake is for, youngsters, before you lose someone important in your own RealWorld[tm] lives ... If you have lives of your own, that is ...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    If you watch one video today, watch

    Thank you Les. What a way to be remembered!

  12. Witty username
    Thumb Up


    Ive owned 3 LP`s, and my dad had another one when i was growing up. Awesome guitars.

  13. Matt.Smart


    So passes a great man. Thanks, Les.

  14. Rob Crawford


    You saved me pointing that out.

    Also to correct Herby it's not actually compression it's "hard limiting" which is the issue with the horrible modern mixes. Compression itself even out the dynamics usually used to either limit the attack of a note or sustaining a note (in the case of a guitar)

    Les Paul will be sadly missed as he was both a true innovator and a what I would term a gentleman.

    Sorry to see you go Les

  15. Neil 4

    Still playing at 90

    At over 90 years old he was still playing live - a complete and utter legend of a man.

    My Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus is my most treasured possession (yeah yeah wife and kids yada yada yada) and is the one thing I will never get rid of.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Where would modern music be without Leo F. and Les P.?

    Picked up a guitar at aged 13 and I'm still learning to play it properly at almost 40! Without innovations that these two guys made I would nothing to escape to when everything else in life gets just a bit too much.

    Thanks and RIP

  17. Paul Young

    I Need a job

    RIP Mr Les Paul

    A Toast to the worlds greatest

    I Salute You Sir

  18. Piers

    Just listen to the sustain....

    RIP Les Paul.

  19. Elmer Phud

    The man who changed the world

    To the man who gave us dub, thank you.

    Without the electric guitar we'd might have ended up with the Theremin as lead instrument.

    (smiley face as no leccy guitar =no Hendrix, Gilmour, Beck . . . )

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We had a knob - all we had to do was to turn it

    ... hopefully all the way to 11

  21. exit...quit...bye...quitbye.ctrl-C..ctrlX.ctrl-alt-X...aarrrr*slam*


    Cheers sir.

  22. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    Virag0 has a valid point, L.P. & L.F. were creators of beautiful musical instruments, and they made these beautiful things because they wanted to make them, in the end they were made by companies who only want to make money.

    It seems when the big corporations take over they fuck it up big time, like CBS when they took over Fender and couldn’t read the spec and bought a shitload of ‘Ash’ instead of ‘Swamp Ash’ and made crappy sounding guitars with it anyway.

    It’s had to believe that in the 50’s Gibson were unable to sell a significant number of solid body guitars as the C&W set preferred the twang of a Fender, Gibson only created the flying V, Firebird & Explorers in an attempt to attract people away from the futuristic looking Strat.

    The great big gig in the sky is gong to have an awsome lineup now.

    Here's to you L.P. (raises glass)

    P.S. The Rickenbacher ‘Frying Pan’ lap steel electric predates Les Paul’s log as the first solid leccy guitar (let the flames begin).

  23. scotchbonnet

    The Angels Are No Doubt Happy... have Les Paul in accompaniment to their heavenly choir. A true heavyweight in modern music has passed on to their realm.

    RIP, Les Paul.

    While I'm partial to the sound of my Strat played through the full Marshall stack, my Les Paul is right up there alongside it, and probably a bit more playable for my hands.

  24. Richard 102

    Normally ...

    ... when one of my musical heroes dies, I spend the evening playing some of his old songs on my late grandfather's '29 National. Doesn't seem fitting.

    Thanks for everything, Les. And I'm sure you've got a few admirers to meet you when you show up at your final destination.

  25. Luther Blissett

    American Myth plucking at the heart-strings

    Edison did not invent the phonograph. Edison did invent the electric chair though - as a marketing gimmick for promoting his preferred DC method of distributing the leccy. Edison was competing against Tesla's AC method. Tesla had worked for a time for Edison, until Edison reneged on a deal when Tesla came up with the goods for Edison. The Great Niagara turn on, tune in, drop out you know.

    Had Edison's DC system won out, only the rich ghettos would have electric lighting, little better than fanny by gaslight - Tesla, after all, invented the fluorescent tube too. Also, you would never have had audio amplifiers, electric guitars, rock concerts. Or jobs in IT, etc. You would still be listening to Gilbert and Sullivan, barrel organs, and occasionally bump and grind. Instead, we have Steve Vai cranking it out at 20 notes per second.... isn't it a wonderful world.

  26. unitron

    ""I tried an accordion..."

    Just think, if Les had stayed with it, Zepplin's lead player would have been Weird Al.

    Okay, mines the one with an unopened pack of Black Diamond Flat-Grounds in the pocket.

  27. Gilgamesh

    cheers Les

    awwww hell, I wanted him to live forever

    Every time I pick up a Gibson LP it amazes me to think that those instruments have been in pretty much continuous production, virtually unchanged since 1954. I can't think of any other piece of design that has endured as long as that and it's very sad to say goodbye to the last great pioneer of music technology.

    Well done Les, you got it absolutely right first time.

  28. Mark 49

    A true performer and gent

    Strange that of all the comments, there's nothing from anyone saying they saw him perform. Back in Jan 1990 I saw Les Paul in the Irridium Jazz Club in New York. A wonderful setting, a narrow room that saw our table barely 10 feet from the stage. It's an evening I never forgot largely because he was a man relaxed with himself and his surroundings, he was in his element.

    I can’t help smiling as I think of Les jamming tonight with Jimi Hendrix with John Bonham and Keith Moon battling on drums. Oh, and watching on in awe and screaming with joy at the top of his voice would be one Bill Hicks. So long guys and thanks for passing by this way – you made a difference.

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