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VIA CON DIOS, LES PAUL (1915-2009)

Les Paul hasn’t died, he’s just changed his address. 

 

He’s now answering the question How High The Moon? from an aerial view, sitting in with Django, Charlie Christian, et al in a jumpin’ jam session with St. Peter’s band in his new, do-it-yourself custom-built heavenly home recording studio on high, laying down infinite multi-tracks. He’s with the angels now and, because Les is Les, probably tinkering with their harps, trying to get all the sound out of them that the heavenly cosmos will allow - and then some: Les didn’t recognize limitations. Right now he’s figuring out how to get music out of angel wings and record it. 

 

The next time you hear rolling thunder it’ll probably be Les messing with a cosmic sub-woofer trying to boost its performance.

 

Lightning strikes? Les experimenting again, working out the electronics in Elysium for God who’s subcontracted the work – even He knows who’s the boss when it comes to music and electricity.

 

Meanwhile, back on this, the material side of life, his signature guitars – the Les Paul Standard, Custom, Special, Junior, and TV – stand as his monuments and sing his praises with every note on every string that is struck. Hold a Les Paul model and you hold a piece of Les himself. Play one and the sound you hear is the sound of Les, the way he thought a guitar should and could sound like. Which is to say, clean and clear, raw and nasty, and everything in between with sustain that never stops. And the older the model year the closer you are to Les and his original vision. No other guitar sounds like a Les Paul. They’re singular and unique in this or any other world. Just like Les.

 

This is why people collect vintage Les Paul guitars. They have it all. Just like Les. 

 

The Les Paul guitars have stood the test of time, and the older they are, the better they are. Just like Les.

 

The wood has seasoned on these vintage guitars, making them better than ever. Just like Les.

 

Those who collect vintage Les Pauls wish for the ultimate in tone. Just like Les.

 

Les Paul was the Siddartha of Sound, a seeker in search of sounds that only he heard in his head but by using his creative ingenuity brought into the world for the rest of us to enjoy.

 

Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Freddie King, and countless other guitar stars in the firmament worship at the Church of Les Paul where the Sabbath is a celebration of a man who never rested – musically or otherwise.

 

Look to the night sky: There’s a new constellation in the heavens and its name is Les Paul.

 

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Here are a few of the better Les videos that bless cyberspace:

 

From the New York Times, a fifteen minute video obit, Les Paul: The Last Word.

 

 

Here's a clip from a documentary about Les for the 2005 JVC JazzFest:

 

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Here’s Les and Mary playing their classic hit, How High the Moon?:

 

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Here’s a clip from Chasing Sound, the PBS documentary about Les:

 

 

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Les Paul at Iridium August 1996:

 

 

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Watch Les Paul & Jeff Beck kick it:

 

 

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Here's the amazing Phil X playing the ultimate, a 1959 Les Paul 'Burst - the Holy Grail of electric guitars:

 

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Finally, Les playing Over the Rainbow.

 

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