Friday, October 26, 2007

A Nod To Guitars With Knobs

Now that’s a guitar with a lot of switches and knobs.

Last month I wrote about how I like electric guitars that keep things simple. [Knobs] Today’s post is about the guy that got the whole knobs-on-guitars thing started.

Les Paul.

There’s a new documentary out on DVD about Les Paul and it’s very good. It’s called, “Les Paul: Chasing Sound!” There aren’t as many extended performances as I would have included, but it’s great seeing Les Paul play. Even now, as an old guy, he still can play rings around almost everyone.

The documentary was created using a lot of Apple technology. There’s an interesting ‘making of’ at the Apple web site: “Les Paul: Invented Here

Les Paul was a country music guitar guy who became a jazz guitar guy who became a pop music guitar guy who ended up becoming an all-around legendary guitar guy. Along the way he pioneered the very concept of the electric guitar, sound-on-sound recording and multi-track recording. And any number of other amazing things.

But for Les Paul the music always came first. Technology was always just a tool to create and capture the sounds.

Along with his wife, singer Mary Ford, Les Paul created some of the most beautiful guitar/vocal recordings in the history of pop music. They are still unique, still beautiful today.

I like an electric guitar with no switches and one knob. But I’m a fumble-fingered, tin-eared strummer who plays a guitar as if it’s a stretched-out autoharp.

Les Paul is the real deal—a musician so comfortable with the sounds and the technology that all the switches and knobs disappear behind his right arm and never get jiggy with his thinking.

Les Paul’s Web site

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