Les Paul: 1915 – 2009

I was going to post something else before I jump on the Woodstock anniversary bandwagon this weekend (oh yeah – you think I’m missing that?), but I just heard this afternoon about the passing of Les Paul.

I’m pretty old, but not quite so old as to know much about the Les Paul and Mary Ford records or the music Les Paul made as a younger man. But I can attest to the influence Les had on the rock ‘n’ roll that I know and love. You would be hard pressed to find a rock guitarist who hasn’t played a Gibson Les Paul at some point. Even me – and I’m not a musician by any stretch – the first guitar I bought that I never learned to play was a Les Paul copy.

To sum up his achievements in a paragraph seems almost blasphemy, but Les Paul created the solid-body electric guitar. Called “The Log,” it was the precursor to his Gibson Les Paul guitar. He then began working on new studio techniques: putting microphones close to individual instruments to reduce noise and help separate specific sounds, playing and recording along with other recordings to create multiple tracks. By the late 50’s, he had invented an eight-track recording machine that would pave the way for producers like George Martin, who created much of the Beatles’ mid-Sixties works using Paul’s multitrack technology.

I wanted to somehow pay tribute to Les Paul’s genius and I guess the best way to do that is post something by a guitarist I admire and that Paul had so much influence on. After much casting about, I decided on Slash and a track from the 1992 Guns N’ Roses album Use Your Illusion I.

Guitar World magazine dubbed Slash’s “November Rain” solo as the sixth greatest rock guitar solo of all time. “When it came time to do the record,” Slash told Guitar World, “I just went into the studio, played the solo through a Les Paul Standard and a Marshall and said, ‘I think that sounds right. It was as simple as that.”

November Rain.mp3

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At 9:34 AM , Blogger Blind Mind said...

Great post. I am a casual guitar player and dont own a Les Paul but a friend of mine does. He just owns one for show haha. Ive played it before at his place and I dont think Ive ever sounded that good playing outside of that session. Beautiful sound and effortless to play.

Slash is one of the greatest of all time for me. Thanks for the link to the best guitar solos of all time too. I enjoyed reading about the Stairway solo and how the song came about. Good shit.

At 9:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:43 AM , Blogger a Tart said...

thank you hun, i knew this would be a place to come for something real about Les Paul. even if I am a week late, xoxo

At 2:45 AM , Blogger a Tart said...

oh and yeah, Slash is seen as a joke in the part of the world that doesn't listen to that genre of music, but for us guitar solo addicts, genre simply don't matter one little bit, does it? thanks for that too, xox

At 3:11 PM , Blogger aikin said...

I think Slash gets a bad rap because he's a "heavy metal" guitarist.

In truth, he's played many, many genres (he's on a few Michael Jackson songs, fer cryin' out loud!) and will probably be considered one of rock's greatest guitarists when it's all said and done.


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