Watch Les Paul’s Son Gene Reveal His Father’s Incredible Journey In Developing The Iconic Electric Guitar


Les Paul’s favorite LP, “Number One,” Gibson, will be up for auction soon and in this exclusive video you can hear Les’s son Gene Paul talking about his father’s journey designing and designing the album. emblematic instrument.

It’s full of fascinating little glimpses into the process and personality behind the iconic Gibson Les Paul.

For example, Gene says the seed for an electric instrument was first planted when his father was performing at a barbecue stand in the late 1920s, around the age of 12. A member of the audience reportedly told young Les that he could hear his voice. and the harmonica, but not his guitar.

“Dad said that’s where this guitar started,” Gene recalls. “[He said] “Looking back, the only regret I have is never having known the name of this man because he is the reason I made this trip.”

Gene discusses the incredible evolution of Les’s electric guitar experiences, using spare electric items found around and around his mother’s house – from a phone and radio to a piece of railroad tracks discarded.

Les Paul rail guitar

The first experimented by building a primitive amplified electric using a piece of railroad tracks, an old telephone and a radio … (Image credit: Tom Doyle / YouTube)

He also reveals that Les experimented with his existing acoustics as well, trying to create a better sound to amplify by filling it with lye and, at one point, plaster of paris.

He later talks about Les’s initial collaborations with Epiphone (which predated his relationship with Gibson) and his subsequent experiences with the first solid wood electric design he dubbed The Log.

Interestingly, Gene also remembers Les describing his experience playing a show with The Log at a muted reception and how he decided to attach wings to the solid block in order to make it look more like a guitar. The next show was a complete success.

“When he got home that evening, my mother asked him again, ‘What happened?’ Gene remembers. “He said, ‘It was perfect… They loved it. I think I learned something new. She said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘I believe people hear with their eyes.’ “

That certainly seems to have been the case when Les brought his initial Log design to Gibson as well.

“They said, ‘Thank you but no thank you,’” said Gene of that first meeting. “Gibson even came up with the thing where they branded daddy as ‘the guy with the broomstick with the mics on it!’ And that didn’t bother him, because he knew one day, “It’s gonna be Gibson.”

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Les Paul’s “Number One” (Image credit: Justin Borucki)

Of course, Gibson did return to Les in 1950 to ask if he was interested in developing an electric solidbody with them.

“It took dad two seconds to answer that one!” Gene laughs. “They started to move forward with the idea of ​​daddy’s guitar, with Gibson. It took two years… It went back and forth and finally, around 1952, they sent him a guitar for approval… When it arrived, that was it. Dad said, ‘We have it. It is with this that we are going to start manufacturing. And daddy said to me, ‘This is MY number one …’ “

You can hear the rest of Gene’s story in the video above and if you’d like to learn more about the instrument in question, check out our previous video with Tom Doyle and Gene Paul for a preview of the 1952 Gibson Goldtop. which Les Paul considered his ‘Number One’.

Finally, keep an eye out for new number Guitarist magazine, which is on sale now and covers the full and in-depth history of this very special instrument.


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