Les Paul

According to National Public Radio, Les Paul’s influence on electric guitar and recorded music in general is inestimable.In the words of former Led Zepplin guitarist Jimmy Page, Paul was "the man who started everything".(Group,2004) Paul had a knack for learning and innovation that built his legacy both on and off the stage. On the stage, Paul’s self-taught play style set him apart from his competition and inspired many guitarists for future waves of rock and roll. His most notable accomplishments, however, came off the stage through developing a number of technological advances for the music recording industry.

Paul had long been experimenting with recording over himself so that he could play multiple instruments in the same song when, In 1954, Paul convinced a tape recorder company to build him a 3-track recorder- the world’s first multitrack recorder. Multitrack recorders allow different channels or layers of sound to be recorded separately. The process of multitrack recording is invaluable to the music community and is still in use today- though the industry standard is now a 24-track recorder. (Mcgrath, 2011). Paul also invented the process of overdubbing, which allows for the tracks to then be played back synchronously. (Music Production School, 2014) Without multitrack recording and overdubbing, the music industry would not have been able to move past one take recordings- many of the songs we have come to know and love would have been impossible to make without the help of Les Paul.

Paul was also an early pioneer into the solid body guitar after becoming frustrated by his electric guitar's sound being too soft made it difficult for him to play in outdoor environments and alongside other instruments. This frustration led to the famous Gibson Les Paul solid body guitar. Paul was approached by the Gibson Company in the mid 1940’s to design a range of solid body guitars; the solid body guitar became the instrument that made the sound of rock and roll possible. The Gibson Les Paul guitars were re-designed and re-released to Paul’s liking until the Gibson Company and Paul had crafted a tremendous guitar, able to compete directly with the Fender Stratocaster. The Gibson Les Paul was toted around by many influential guitarists of the 1960’s and beyond including Eric Clapton, Slash, Peter Frampton and Jimmy Page. You can still buy a Gibson Les Paul guitar, and the design has changed very little from the original. Just in case anyone would forget a name attached to one of the most famous guitars still on the market, Les Paul is also part of a select group that has a permanent standalone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio, and was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of fame on his 90th birthday. (Gugliotta, 2005).


{C}Group, T. G. (2004). Les Paul. Retrieved from

Gugliotta, G. (2005, May 16). The Log' Puts Paul in Ranks of Top Inventors. Retrieved from Washington Post:

Guitar Master Class. (2009, July 19). The history of the Gibson Les Paul. Retrieved from guitar master

Mcgrath, J. (2011, February 23). How Multitrack Recording Works. Retrieved from Howstuffworks:

Music Production School. (2014). The Music Production Process Step5: Overdubbing. Retrieved from Music Production School: