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Les Paul Biography


Home > Music > P > Paul, Les > Biography


Birth Name: Lester William Polsfus
Born: 1915/06/09
Birth Place: Waukesha, Wisconsin, United States
Died: 2009/08/12
Years Active: 1928–2009
Genres: Jazz, Country, Blues


Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009) — known as Les Paul — was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which "made the sound of rock and roll possible". He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was certainly not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects, and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s and they sold millions of records.

Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an "architect" and a "key inductee" along with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed.