Thursday, August 7, 2014

American Masters : Les PAUL Chasing Sound

Les Paul one of the great American Inventors is probably the most responsible person for how the recording music process has evolved today, especially multi track recording. Bing Cosby gave Les a tape machine which the Germans had invented and Les added another recording head.  He called up Ampex and within an hour of mounting the second recording head, multi-track recording came to life. Doing this gave birth to multi track recording and overdubbing as we know it today. 
Prior to this moment in recording you had only one track, so if a musician made a mistake or a singer sang a wrong note, you would have to stop and start all over again. In today’s music industry you have 12, 24, 48, or an infinite amount of input recording tracks, all of this would be attributed to Les Paul for being the first person to come up with that idea of a second recording head which lead to overdubbing and multi-track recording. I would be remiss if I did not mention Les Paul had a loving and supportive mother which helped fuel Les's curiosity as a young child taking apart the paper roll from her piano trying to figure out what made it work, taking a cinder block, broom, and telephone to amplify his voice during a performance in the local bar, taking the needle from his father’s phonograph player, along with a piece of rail road track to amplify his guitar. One could make the case that these experiences started Les on the idea of making pickups to amplify the guitar. This brings me to his other most memorable and important invention which is the Les Paul solid body model guitar. Prior to the invention of the solid body guitar most of the guitars used were acoustic, semi acoustic, semi hollow bodies. The solid body guitar added more sustain and dynamic sound which came into demand and still is in some of today’s music. Les also develop a great deal of electrical and engineering aptitude which has left its mark on the recording industry up until today.
Les tried to introduce his solid body guitar idea to Gibson up to ten years before they took him seriously. He had a hit record with Bing Cosby which put him on the map as a great guitarist and later inducted in the inventor’s hall of fame Waukesha Wisconsin. Les's unique guitar playing along with new overdubbing tricks and techniques he used made him a maverick recording artist and a successful impact on the music seen. He continuously worked on his solid body guitar idea until around 1950, when Leo Fender put out the first solid body guitar into mass production. The following year Gibson finally agreed to put his guitar in production. This Les Paul solid body guitar invention became a hit for its dynamic sustain and quickly became an industry standard and it still is today. So his inventions has affect todays music industry in many ways because when people are looking for a certain solid body guitar sound, the two leading guitar names are Les Paul (Gibson) or Fender. The Les Paul solid body guitar is considered an industry standard by guitarist worldwide. Inventing the multi-track recorder has changed the way we record music forever. To make one industry changing invention is phenomenal, so to invent two is just genius.

No comments:

Post a Comment