Courtesy of Gibson

Like many kids growing up, I had to pick a musical instrument to play when I entered a certain grade in elementary school. Most kids played because they had to and never picked up an instrument again after their first year. For others, It was a starting point that lead to a music career or a great hobby. Although I loved music from an early age, I could never settle on an instrument I wanted to play. I started with the piano, moved on to the trumpet and then ended up with the saxophone. After a few years of mediocre saxophone playing, I went to a friends house and watched his older brother play the guitar. When I picked up his guitar, I knew I had found my instrument. The guitar was sexier and more powerful than the instruments that I had previously tried. Plus, as I had seen in the movies, girls seemed to flock to guys who played the guitar so I knew that might come in handy later on in life. Like so many kids before me, I wanted to be a rock star. My love of the guitar grew strong and fast and I was soon soloing with it in front of my entire school as a member of the Jazz band. My blue Strat was my baby and I practiced all the time. Unfortunately times change and I started playing less and less. Different sports took over my life and then there was college. Although my Strat has not been out of its case in a few years, it’s like riding a bike. Once you pick it up after a long hiatus, you get inspired again. My goal is to pick it back up this year and start playing again.

The passing of Les Paul only enforces my love of the guitar and the fact that I should be playing it more often. When I was young I obsessed about different pedals and amps with friends and drooled over the pricey guitars that hung on the store walls. I was lucky to have a U.S. made Strat which is a classic, but The Les Paul always seemed to be the one people dreamed about. It was hard to beat the classic lines on it, the look and the sound that came out of it. Whether you were a country star or a rock wanna be, the Les Paul was the one. With the passing of Les Paul yesterday, we lost a legend and an innovator that was responsible for so much of our music history. An acclaimed guitarist and innovator, he helped to change the face of how music was made. Whether you are an avid guitar player or just like music in general, you have been touched by the life and work of Les Paul whether you know it or not.

Below is a brief write up from the Gibson guitar site about Les:

New York, NY…August 13, 2009…Les Paul, acclaimed guitar player, entertainer and inventor, passed away today from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York, surrounded by family and loved ones. He had been receiving the best available treatment through this final battle and in keeping with his persona, he showed incredible strength, tenacity and courage. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the thoughts and prayers from his dear friends and fans. Les Paul was 94.

One of the foremost influences on 20th century sound and responsible for the world’s most famous guitar, the Les Paul model, Les Paul’s prestigious career in music and invention spans from the 1930s to the present. Though he’s indisputably one of America’s most popular, influential, and accomplished electric guitarists, Les Paul is best known as an early innovator in the development of the solid body guitar. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson’s best-selling electric, the Les Paul model, introduced in 1952. Today, countless musical legends still consider Paul’s iconic guitar unmatched in sound and prowess. Among Paul’s most enduring contributions are those in the technological realm, including ingenious developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects, and the mechanics of sound in general.

To read the rest of his bio and view the beautiful guitars that are still at the top of the industry over 50 years later, go to the Gibson website.


2008 Les Paul Standard ($3,899 MSRP)

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