The inventor

Acclaimed as the “Godfather of the Modern Recording Studio,” Les Paul is known for numerous inventions and innovations that changed the way musicians play music, the way engineers record music and the way fans hear music. Arguably, Les Paul is the most important individual in the history of the modern music industry. His influence is profound, having been a pioneer in the development of the solid body electric guitar as well as numerous recording techniques including multi-track recording, digital delay, reverb, and more.

At 12 years old, Les used a wire hanger to create a harmonica holder that could change keys. As a teen in the 1920s, he experimented with various designs for a solid-body electric guitar. He strung a two-foot piece of rail from a train track like a guitar. Eventually, he created the first playable solid body electric guitar using a solid 4” x 4” piece of wood, that he affectionately dubbed “The Log”. That invention led to the world-renowned Les Paul solid-body electric guitar. This iconic instrument changed the face of modern music.

According to Guitar World magazine, “Les Paul’s influence on the development of the guitar is incalculable. To say Les Paul was an innovator would be the greatest of understatements. Although we might take his inventions and ideas for granted, his influence on the development of music – and the way it is recorded – is immense. He saw the technological limitations of his day not as an impediment, but as a source of motivation to think outside the box and find his own solution.”

Celebrated record executive and producer, Don Was, adds, “(Les Paul) was really trying to make sure that everyone had a unique voice and he melded the technology with the music, I think really for the first time. He made the technology a musical instrument. I think we’re all deeply in his debt…”

Les Paul

SOLID BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR

Solid Body Electric Guitar Is Born

Broomstick with Pick-ups on it

“The Log”

The Les Paulverizer

SOUND ON SOUND

Sound on Sound Demo

The First Tape Machine

“800 Guitars in the Bedroom”

Les Talks Sound on Sound

MULTI-TRACK RECORDING

“Father of Modern Music”

The Lathe and the 8-track Tape Recorder

Multi-track is Born

Recording Anywhere

HOME STUDIOS

The Les Paul Studio Tour

“He Changed the Music”

The Wizard of Waukesha Speaks

Les Paul Accepts Lifetime Achievement Awards at 25th Grammys

RECORDING INNOVATIONS

“Technical Wizardry”

“The Thomas Edison of Recording”

The Invention of Phase Shifting

The Invention of Digital Delay

INVENTORS HALL OF FAME AWARD

To see more of Les Paul’s awards click here.

Les at Inventors Hall of Fame

Inventors Hall of Fame Ceremony

Les’ Acceptance Speech