In the 1900s music was big. Rock-n-roll and Jazz were two of the biggest genres in music. What makes both genres very popular was the invention of the electric guitar. The electric guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the music industry considering it is nothing like the standard acoustic guitar. In 1931, the first ever electric guitar was created. The guitar was named the frying pan because its design made it look like a frying pan with a guitar neck attached to the side of it. In 1942 Les Paul designed a guitar called the “Log” made from a block maple wood with a bridge, guitar neck, six-strings, and pickups.
It was until 1952 that Les Paul came out with another guitar that was even better than his first creation and that would soon change the way music was played. His new guitar helped create the sound for rock-and-roll and American popular music. Les Paul had and an interesting life, with his first guitar, and then his last and most successful creation. Lester William Polsfuss also known as Les Paul, was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 9, 1915 where he lived with both of his parents and developed the passion for music. Paul was never good as a musician as a younger boy but he still loved music.
His music instructor wouldn’t speak very highly of him; as she wrote a note to his parents saying: “your boy, Lester, will never learn music”. Paul never let that comment or any other negative remarks bother him. He kept learning to create and play music. Paul taught himself to play the guitar, banjo, and the harmonica. In his early teen years, Paul played in bands around the Midwest. He got his first professional opportunity playing country music. At the age of 19 Paul moved to Chicago where he joined a Radio Company under the name Rhubarb Red. WLS in Chicago was one of the premier radio shows at the time that howcased country music where Paul performed. Although Paul had an interest in country music, Paul had developed the secretly love of jazz music. “He would sometimes have to duck out of jazz gigs to do his radio performances. He lived in two worlds: jazz developed his musical abilities, and country increased his professional and entrepreneurial skills”. By the 1940s Paul moved to New York and established himself in the jazz music world. In 1943 Paul moved west to Hollywood were he would hope to perform with Bing Crosby who was a popular singer at the time.
Paul formed a new trio and worked at NBC. By the end of the year Paul had been drafted into the U. S. Army. Paul stayed in Los Angeles to perform and produce radio programming for the Armed Forces Radio Service, a job that would soon spread his name and music to soldiers all over the world. Paul was discharged in 1944. Paul finally met Bing Crosby by booking at Crosby’s favorite space and time where Crosby rehearsed. Crosby walked-in on the group that Paul was with at time. Paul continued on radio but this time with the popular Bing Crosby at his own radio station, the Crosby’s Kraft Radio Hall.
This was the biggest radio show at the time. Crosby went on to sponsor Paul’s recording experiments and recorded several times with Paul. Not only was Les Paul a musician, he was an inventor too. At the age of nine he built his first radio. At the age of 10 he built a harmonica holder from a clothes hanger. The neck holder allowed him to play harmonica handsfree while playing his guitar. Later in life he constructed his own amplified guitar. He wired a phonographic needle to his guitar and connected it to a a radio speaker.
His invention allowed him to play to a larger audience and allowed his guitar to be heard at a further distance. Many musicians modified their own guitars trying to create the perfect their sound. In 1941, Paul experimented with many different designs until he created a non-vibrating guitar body. Paul developed the electric guitar called the “Log”. He added six strings and two pickups to a block of maple wood with a guitar neck. Les Paul offered his guitar to the Gibson guitar company to mass produce it, but Gibson turned him down. “A broomstick with Pickups”: is what the people at the Gibson Company called it.
He received too many negative comments on the appearance of the guitar, but that didn’t discourage Paul from the design. Gibson guitars were not pleased with Paul’s electric guitar because this meant that guitarists would have to carry around two instruments – one acoustic and one electric which they thought was prohibitively inconvenient. “You could go out and eat and come back and the note would still be playing “: the remark the Paul had told the Gibson Company. Paul had very high hopes that his guitar would take off in the music world and would be a huge hit.
The “log” was the first solid-body guitar. Trying to find his distinctive sound, Paul went back to his garage studio where he developed a new sound that would change American music. By the 1960s the rock world loved his guitar and embraced it. Rock and roll music blossomed with his new electric guitar. The guitar helped create the sound for Rock and Roll. Gibson reevaluated the Log guitar because it caught the eye of some rock-n-roll people for its sound. Gibson asked Paul to team up with them for to create a new guitar. Ted McCarthy the president of Gibson guitars brought Paul into the company.
It took fifty to sixty tries to get right until he finally found what he had been looking for. The Gibson Les Paul guitar was created. Inspired by the “Log”, the Gibson Les Paul guitar became one of world’s most popular electric guitar. Paul also focused on recording overlapping music. Dubbing is the new sound where it can be recorded on his guitar and played simultaneously with other guitar parts in the same song. “This new approach was focused on a process of recording layers of music — overdubbing — to create recordings that soon featured only Les’s guitar”.
With this device this allowed guitarists to only use one guitar but make it sound like multiple guitars. In the 1930s, Les Paul began working on multitracking. He initially used acetate disks, a fly wheel from a Cadillac, and dental belts. He was able to record different sounds at different speeds and with delays creating sounds of echoes and bird songs. In 1948, Les was given one of the first Ampex Model 200A reel-to-reel recording decks from Crosby. He used the Ampex for multitracking. He recorded a song titled “Lover (When You’re Near Me).
The song featured Paul playing his guitar with eight different parts. Some parts were recorded at half speed and when played back at doubled speeds. Multtasking became the norm in recording. Bands like The Beetles, and The Beach Boys used multitasking in the 1960s. Les maximize the track recorder from 8 tracks to 72 tracks. Paul was an inventor who saw the future of music. Paul incorporated his ideas into the Gibson “Les Paulveriser. ” The “Paulveriser” included multitracking, sound-on-sound, and overdubbing. Les influenced recording massively. He made playing music easy with digital technology.
Keyboards, delayed guitar pedals, and sound-on-sound lyrics all emerged through his technology. Les Paul was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 9, 1915. Having teachers and other going against him, Paul never let anyone discourage him from wanting to play music. Paul was a musician and inventor who always tried to create the perfect sound. He achieved the perfect sound through his electric guitar. His new guitar helped create the sound for rockand-roll and other American popular music. Les Paul will forever be associated with the Gibson guitar and the development of American popular music.