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Digital Subscriptions > The Guitar Magazine > Mar-18 > All About… Les Paul

All About… Les Paul

Lester Polsfuss was much more than the iconic guitar that came to bear his name. Les Paul was also a musical pioneer and a recording trailblazer. HUW PRICE examines the life of a true innovator…

TUITION

If ever there was a figure in the guitar world who was deserving of the title ‘renaissance man’, it was Lester William Polsfuss.

At various times during his life, Les could have listed his occupations as guitar virtuoso, radio presenter, guitar builder, pioneering audio engineer, record producer, inventor, TV star, hit-maker, studio designer, electronics engineer and hugely successful performing artist. He even came up with the idea of a musical alter ego about 35 years before David Bowie dreamed up Ziggy Stardust.

Born in 1915, Les began playing harmonica and soon graduated to guitar. As a teenager he built a harmonica holder so he could play guitar and harmonica simultaneously, and by age 13 he was already a semi-pro country singer and guitarist.

To get heard at venues, Les wired a phonograph needle to his acoustic and fed the signal to a radio speaker

To get heard at venues, he wired a phonograph needle to his acoustic guitar and fed the signal to a radio speaker. Then to get himself heard even wider, he built his own radio transmitter and made a recording device from a Chevrolet flywheel to cut his own discs. He also experimented using a length of rail line to improve sustain. These early recording and guitar building experiments clearly weren’t to be his last.

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About The Guitar Magazine

The March 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now, featuring Fender’s brand new 2018 flagships and a with free Taylor Guitars supplement for every reader! This month inside the UK’s best-loved and most affordable guitar magazine, we get to grips with Fender’s brand new for 2018 American Originals guitars in a UK exclusive first review. Find out if Fender’s reimagined golden era electrics will need to be on your must try list inside, and chose from our two special collector’s edition covers - will you pick Strat or Tele, or get the set? As if that wasn’t enough of a big deal, the March issue also comes with a free 24-page magazine dedicated to Taylor Guitar’s brand new V-Class bracing system – a hugely innovative way of making acoustic guitars that made serious waves when it was launched at last month’s NAMM show. Inside, we sat down with Taylor design guru Andy Powers to find out just what makes the new bracing system so remarkable, and got our hands on one of the first V-Class guitars Powers has built for an in-depth review. But we’re not all about shiny new gear here at The Guitar Magazine, and we’ve got plenty in store for vintage fanatics inside, too. For starters, we had the rare privilege of getting up close with a £230,000 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard in Vintage Bench Test, while we also spent some time with a gorgeous 1963 ES-335 made famous in the hands of Sweet guitarist Andy Scott. If vintage guitar speculation is more your game, however, then take a trip with Huw Price to Paris as he wanders through the incredible vintage guitar shops of the City of Love’s ‘Music Village’ area - you might want to book a trip yourself. For all that and much more - including new gear from the likes of Vigier, Rivolta, Swart, Danelectro, Joe Satriani’s essential gear and the latest in our DIY Martin acoustic build project – pick up your print or digital copy of the March 2018 edition of The Guitar Magazine today.