Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meeting Les Paul in 1994...The inventor of the electric guitar,

Memories of a great and fun man Les Paul 1915-2009 I wrote this article a few years ago about my meeting with Paul in conjunction with others at the Edison site around 1994. It was about 15 years ago. Now I re post it in his memory. He was a musician, an inventor, a designer, a showman, and a interesting fellow. I will leave this article as I wrote several years ago. But Les Paul lived a long and most interesting life. It was my honor to meet and share some time with him.

I was working at the time at the Thomas Edison museum in New Jersey. I was able to spend a bit of time with Les Paul as he was going to make some cylinder recordings at the site. The night before the recordings were to take place, I got to spend some time with Les and we took an Edison Phonograph apart, so he could see how it worked. It was fun. We talked about multi track recording and the like...and I will write more about that later... We also took apart an Edison phonograph reproducer and studied it. I always recall what he said at that time, and that was that he was around when old Mr. Edison was and he should have paid him a visit.

But I wanted to tell the story as I recall it, what Les Paul said about his invention of the electric guitar.
He said he was working on the Sam and Henry Show on radio. Later they would be called Amos and Andy..He played guitar in the background...He was told to play he brought a pick..that did not go over too well with the microphones of the time..So he played by hand...He said his fingers were bleeding....So now we come to the "Ah Ha" moment....

He went home that night and was listening to his phonograph at home...In those days the electric phonographs used steel needles that you would change. The phonograph played sounds through an early speaker.

He said he looked at the phonograph for moment and took the tone arm and broke it off his phonograph!! He said then he stuck the phonograph arm with the steel needle into his guitar and he played the guitar and the sounds came out the speaker of the phonograph.....

The beginnings of the electric guitar was born....He said the next day he came to work at the radio station with the guitar and the broken phonograph...and the rest as we always say is history...

He changed the world with his guitar and his recording techniques. He has spent 75 years since that invention having a great time in life. He made wonderful recordings with his wife, Mary Ford...Still at 89 years of age he plays....That is the truly the description of a trooper....

After playing with the phonograph we took apart he signed this card for me, and we posed for this picture.
He is a really cool and fascinating man.

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