The One Time When Les Actually Is More on Les Paul's Birthday


It's kind of like the battle to 'let there be light' between Tesla and Edison. In 1952, Les Paul famously invented the solid body electric guitar, thereby giving birth to Rock n Roll simultaneously. Les was a Jazz guitarist, so maybe he didn't realize what was born in his moment of inspiration, but we at WLLZ understand that the brilliant creator opened the floodgates for so many future generations of love,rebellion, and pure joy at the fingertips of future guitar prodigies like Jeff Beck, Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Slash all who fell in love with Les Paul Gibsons. But there's an argument about whose came first. Les' or Leo Fender? Like the space race, or Ford vs Chevy, Leo had the Telecaster in production at Fender in 1952, with Gibson playing catch up in the market by hiring Les to design his version of the solid body electric guitar for manufacturing. However, as the story goes, Les pitched Gibson his idea in 1945, and they apparently laughed in his face. He never gave up the passion though, and Gibson learned it's lesson about innovators, crafting some of the most beautiful instruments in their factory out of the abundant woods available in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the 80's Gibson shifted it's guitar-making to two towns that banged out a lot of music on their product, Nashville and Memphis. I toured the factory in Memphis before it was consolidated into the Nashville guitar works back in 2018. Best field trip I've ever taken. Then to walk the halls and see famous guitars played by my favorite rockers, including the Gibson SG that Angus played upside down and while swinging on a giant bell during AC DC concerts. Les Paul, the creator, was so married to the guitar, that he broke his arm in a car crash once, and had the doctor set the cast at an angle advantageous to play one. Les Paul's birthday is a holy holiday for people whose lives are shaped and inspired by Rock n Roll. Certainly mine has.