Les Paul and the State of the Axe
Yesterday, legendary guitarist and inventor Les Paul passed away at the age of 94. Paul’s innovations, including multi-track recording and the Gibson electric guitar that bears his name, forever changed the landscape of popular music. The guitarist’s own compositions, ranging from lilting country ballads to frenetic flat-picking hootenannies to sentimental jazz pieces, highlighted not only his electronic wizardry but also his incomparable musician’s touch.
In 2008, Paul lent his insights to a collection of essays by contemporary guitar players entitled State of the Axe: Guitar Masters in Photographs and Words. Featuring more than sixty intimate black-and-white portraits of guitar masters playing their instruments, State of the Axe taps into the feeling of true joy from creating music that Paul relished so notably over more than 60 years of performing.
For a sample of Paul’s pioneering work with his then-wife Mary Ford, click on the video below.