Born Lester William Polfus, Les Paul has long been an innovator in both the world of musical instruments and studio techniques. Paul began dabbling with electronics at age nine, and by 13 he was working on sound-related inventions.
He constructed his first solidbody electric guitar in 1941 – a design he would continue to tweak for the next decade. He was also busily working on technologies surrounding sound, and pioneered techniques such as echo delay, close-miking, and multitracking. Recording as a duo with his then-wife Mary, Les Paul blazed new trails with the use of overdubbing. In 1952, through Gibson Guitars, the Les Paul electric guitar was introduced, and it went on to become a staple of guitar legends spanning the decades. That same year, Les Paul introduced the world’s first 8-track recorder, and needless to say the studio world has never been the same. Both as an innovator in the music technology arena and as an instrument designer, popular music as we know it would be completely different without Les Paul.