influential guitarist and inventor, was “the most important individual ever in the music industry.” And he’s not saying that just because he’s the executive director of the Les Paul Foundation.
“It’s a big statement and some people may roll their eyes,” Braunstein says. “But when you start to think about what Les did, his influence as a performer on the next generation of guitar players, his status as a hit maker, all the recording techniques that Les invented that are still being used today, it’s an accurate statement.”
Braunstein, Paul’s former manager, will give a talk titled “The Les Paul I Knew” on May 10 at the Ramapo Reformed Church in Mahwah.
Paul lived in Mahwah from 1952 until his death in 2009 at age 94. The nearby Mahwah Museum is home to the “Les Paul in Mahwah” exhibit. The collection features the first Ampex reel-to-reel tape recording deck, given to Paul by Bing Crosby in 1948. Paul modified the recorder to create his “sound-on-sound” method of multi-tracking instruments, which revolutionized the recording industry.
Other items on display include a recording console from Paul’s Mahwah home studio and a lathe that he built in the 1940s. The tool allowed Paul to emboss his recordings onto aluminum discs. In addition, the public may play guitars from Paul’s collection at the museum by appointment. The cost is $25 for 45 minutes.
Several artifacts from the Les Paul exhibit and archive will be on display during Braunstein’s talk at the church. Braunstein will tell stories about Paul and also discuss the Les Paul Foundation, which carries on Paul’s legacy through music education grants and exhibits. A 2013 grant funded the creation of the Les Paul Studio for Music Recording and Sound Design at Ramapo College.
Braunstein managed Paul for the last 20 years of his life. Previously Braunstein’s father and grandfather oversaw Paul’s business dealings.
WHO: Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation.
WHAT: Lecture: “The Les Paul I Knew.”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10.
WHERE: Ramapo Reformed Church, 100 Island Road, Mahwah. 201-512-0099 or mahwahmuseum.org.
HOW MUCH: $3.