jueves, 9 de junio de 2011

Les Paul

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 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.

Paul's innovative guitar, "The Log", built after-hours in the Epiphone guitar factory in 1940, was one of the first solid-body electric guitars. Adolph Rickenbacker had marketed a solid-body guitar in the 1930s and Leo Fender also independently created his own in 1946. Although Paul approached the Gibson Guitar Corporation with his idea of a solid body electric guitar, they showed no interest until Fender began marketing its Esquire which later became known as the Telecaster models.
The arrangement persisted until 1961, when declining sales prompted Gibson to change the design without Paul's knowledge, creating a much thinner, lighter and more aggressive-looking instrument with two cutaway "horns" instead of one. Paul said he first saw the "new" Gibson Les Paul in a music-store window, and disliked it. Although his contract required him to pose with the guitar, he said it was not "his" instrument and asked Gibson to remove his name from the headstock. Others claimed that Paul ended his endorsement contract with Gibson during his divorce to avoid having his wife get his endorsement money. Gibson renamed the guitar "Gibson SG", which stands for "Solid Guitar", and it also became one of the company's best sellers.
The original Gibson Les Paul-guitar design regained popularity when Eric Clapton began playing the instrument a few years later, although he also played an SG and an ES-335. Paul resumed his relationship with Gibson and endorsed the original Gibson Les Paul guitar from that point onwards. His personal Gibson Les Pauls were much modified by him—Paul always used his own self-wound pickups and customized methods of switching between pickups on his guitars. To this day, various models of Gibson Les Paul guitars are used all over the world by both novice and professional guitarists. A less-expensive version of the Gibson Les Paul guitar is also manufactured for Gibson's lower-priced Epiphone brand.
On January 30, 1962, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Paul a patent, Patent No. 3,018,680, for an "Electrical Music Instrument."

On August 12, 2009, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York. His family and friends were by his side. Paul is survived by his four children and his companion Arlene Palmer. His attorney told the media Paul had been "in and out of the hospital" because of illness. His last concert took place a few weeks before his death.
Upon learning of his death many artists and musicians paid tribute by publicly expressing their sorrow. After learning of Paul's death, former Guns N' Roses and current Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash called him "vibrant and full of positive energy.", while Richie Sambora, lead guitarist of Bon Jovi, referred to him as "revolutionary in the music business". U2 guitarist The Edge said, "His legacy as a musician and inventor will live on and his influence on rock and roll will never be forgotten."
On August 21, 2009, he was buried near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin at Prairie Home Cemetery which indicated that his plot would be in an area where visitors can easily view it. Like his funeral in New York on August 19, the burial was private, but earlier in the day a public memorial viewing of the closed casket was held in Milwaukee at Discovery World with 1,500 attendees who were offered free admission to the Les Paul House of Sound exhibit for the day.

Les Paul, de nombre real Lester William Polsfuss (Waukesha, Wisconsin, Estados Unidos, 9 de junio de 1915 - Nueva York, Estado de Nueva York, 13 de agosto de 2009), fue un guitarrista de jazz estadounidense y una de las más importantes figuras en el desarrollo de instrumentos musicales eléctricos y técnicas de grabación. Les Paul fue pionero en el desarrollo de las guitarras de cuerpo macizo con el diseño de los modelos Gibson Les Paul, que adoptaron su nombre, y en la grabación multipista. Su destreza en el manejo de la guitarra y las innovaciones técnicas que introdujo en el instrumento le hicieron ser conocido como «El mago de Waukesha».

Nació en Estados Unidos, hijo de George and Evelyn Polsfuss. Su nombre de nacimiento fue principalmente simplificado por su madre a Polfus, antes que adquiriera su seudónimo. También fue conocido como "Red Hot Red". Comenzó a interesarse por la música a la edad de 8 años, cuando empezó a tocar la armónica. Después de intentar con el banjo, empezó a tocar la guitarra. A los 13, Les Paul ya era semi-profesional como guitarrista de música country. A los 17 tocó con Rube Tronson's Cowboys. Poco después dejó la secundaria para unirse a Wolverton's Radio Band en St. Louis, Missouri en KMOX.
En los años 1930, Les Paul trabajó en Chicago, Illinois en la radio, tocando música jazz. Realizó sus primeros dos discos en 1936. Uno fue acreditado a Rhubarb Red, y el otro fue como acompañante de la música de blues Georgia White.
En enero de 1948 Les Paul sufrió un accidente automovilístico casi fatal en Oklahoma, en el que se lesionó sus brazo y codo derechos. Los doctores dijeron que no había manera de que recuperase el movimiento de su codo, y que su brazo permanecería siempre en la posición en la que los médicos la dejaran. Les Paul entonces les pidió a los cirujanos que ubicaran su brazo con un ángulo tal que le permitiera sostener y tocar la guitarra. Le tomó un año y medio recuperarse.
Falleció el 13 de agosto de 2009 en el "White Plains Hospital" en Nueva York debido a complicaciones con una neumonía.

En 1941 Les Paul diseñó y construyó una de las primeras guitarras eléctricas de cuerpo macizo (Aunque Leo Fender, independientemente, también inventó la suya propia alrededor de la misma fecha y Adolph Rickenbacker había comercializado una también en los años 1930). Gibson Guitar Corporation diseñó una guitarra incorporando las sugerencias de Les Paul a principios de 1950 y se la presentó. Él estuvo lo suficientemente impresionado como para firmar un contrato por lo que se convirtió Rhubarb Redel modelo Les Paul (originalmente, sólo en versión "golden top"), y aceptó nunca volver a tocar en público ni ser fotografiado con otra que no fuera una guitarra Gibson. Dicho trato persistió hasta 1961, cuando Gibson cambió el diseño sin previa consulta a Les Paul, quien dice que la primera vez que vio la nueva Gibson fue en una vidriera de una tienda y que no le gustó. Aunque el contrato requería posar con la guitarra, él dijo que no era "su" instrumento y pidió que su nombre le fuera retirado a la misma. Gibson, entonces, renombró la guitarra "SG", a la vez que se convertía en uno de los best-sellers de la compañía.
También se ha dicho que Les rompió su promoción con Gibson porque estaba pasando por un divorcio y no quería que su esposa se quedara con tal dinero. Más tarde, Les Paul retomó su relación con Gibson y la cual siguió durante toda su vida. En la actualidad, la Gibson Les Paul se usa en todo el mundo tanto por novatos como por profesionales.

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