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Cover Image of Sideways : A Novel by Rex Pickett published by St. Martin's Griffin
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Les Paul Dies at 94

abstract:There is perhaps no other person more renowned for the development of the electric guitar and advances to sound recording in the twentieth century than inventor and jazz musician, Les Paul. He died from complications of pneumonia today, surrounded by family and friends in White Plains Hospital, New York. Remarkably as late as last year, Les Paul age 93, played two sets every Monday night at a club in NYC. He was the inventor of mulit-track recording and the hard body electric guitar. The latter was first in commercial production by the Fender Guitar Company in a model called the Stratocaster. The following year, 1950 Fender's competitor the Gibson Guitar Company brought Les Paul on board to create their own solid body electric guitar bearing his name. Ironically, they had earlier turned him down when he first presented his design, named "the log" made with a 4 x 4 solid piece of wood, a bridge and strings mounted on top back in 1941. A little know fact is that a near fatal car accident shattered Les Paul's left arm and elbow such that doctors said they could only repair it to a fixed position, and asked what he preferred. He told them to fix it in a 90 degree angle, and this disability is said to have contributed to the early design elements of the Les Paul guitar. Today the Gibson Les Paul is the widest used electric guitar in the industry. Paul McCartney used a "cherry burst left handed" Les Paul, Neil Young favoured his "Old Black" as did other guitar legends: Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. An award winning musician, Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford recorded dozens of pop hits that went gold. Tunes like, "Vaya Con Dios," "How High the Moon," "Nola" and "Lover." In February 2006 at the age of 90 he won two grammies for his album, American Made World Played and his wonderful comment was, "I feel like an old building with a new flag pole on it." Join us in listening to and learning about Mr. Les Paul. Following is list of book and CD recommendations. Watch this YouTube video of Les ripping it up.


August 14, 2009

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