Thursday, 13 August 2009

Les Paul: 9 June 1915 - 13 August 2009

Many people more qualified than I will write about the life of Les Paul, so I thought I would simply mark his passing with a personal recollection...

78 RPM
Originally uploaded by bitzcelt
I first heard Les Paul on some of my dad's 78s. He tried to explain ovedubbing to me but I don't think I fully understood at the time. In particular I remember being obsessed with Tiger Ragwhich I loved. I played that particular 78 over and over again.

Unfortunately, I also remember destroying a number of these precious discs through a mixture of foolishness and carelessness. Some I stood on, some I just dropped, but Tiger Rag I wrecked by spinning it on the turntable while holding a sewing needle in the groove to see if I could feel the music. (I was about seven at the time - old enough to know better but young enough to not be fully aware of the consequences of my stupidity.) As far as I remember, my dad reacted fairly well to the destruction of his records - much more calmly than I suspect I would if my daughters ever did anything as daft!

Finally, some thoughts about the Gibson Les Paul. The Fender Stratocaster is an iconic rock guitar and was probably the first type of guitar I noticed and identified when I saw it played on Top Of The Pops etc. I also remember being stunned when I saw the Flying V (being played by Michael Schenker if I remember correctly). However, as I got older (and wiser?) it was the look and the sound of the Gibson Les Paul that grabbed my attention. When I won the chance to build my own guitar, the sample specification they sent me was for a Stratocaster-ish rock monster, but it didn't take me long to decide that I wanted something more like the Les Paul. :-)

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