#1
Here is a description of Les Paul's inventions and inovations in the music industry, including the creation of the multi-track recording process and, of course, one of the first solid body guitars-the Les Paul. I think this article could serve a purpose because, even though there are many articles on the guitar, there dont seem to be any on his innovations in multi-track recording.
here it is, and any critiques are greatly appreciated:


Les Paul, born Lester William Polsfuss, was and is an American hero of the 20th century. He is the Frank Sinatra, Leonardo DiVinci, Babe Ruth, and Thomas Edison of guitarists and one of the most influential and innovative musicians to grace the world. Not only is he a brilliant guitarist, but he also invented multi-track recording, developed the modern solid-body electric guitar, and has his name on one of the all-time greatest guitar models as well. Through each of his amazing inventions and innovations, Les Paul has forever changed the music world (An American Original, Guitar Player.)

Multi-track recording, also known as ?sound on sound recording?, ?multi-tracking? or simply, ?tracking,? is a method of sound recording that allows for separate recording of sound sources to form one whole sound. The techniques used to perform this task can be rather simple. A musician will record a piece, or part of one, onto one track of the recording device. Then, they will have that track played back while they record another part of the composition over the first track onto a second track. This process will be continued until all of the parts to the composition are recorded. Then each track is mixed through a mixing consol into a format that can be duplicated and distributed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-track_recording.)

Multi-track recording is the most common method of recording music in today?s society and has been for quite a few years due to its ease of use and due to the fact that advancements in technology have made multi-track recording devices fairly cheap. This was not always so, and many improvements have been made to the original concept invented by Les Paul. Les Paul himself was making improvements and advancements to recording devices of the 30s and 40s when he invented the multi-track recording process.

Thomas Edison was the man who invented the first recording and playback machine in 1877 and within 12 years many commercial recordings were made available to the public. From the time the machine was invented, the main goal has been to improve the quality of the sound, ease of recording, and its overall efficiency. The first major breakthrough was when, in 1930, Les Paul recorded several guitar tracks onto the inside and outside bands of acetate, or wax, discs, (all recording of the time was done on these wax discs and would only later move on to tape recording and then on to digital recording.) To accomplish his task of recording multiple parts onto acetate discs, Les Paul used two disc machines. He would send each track back and fourth between the two machines, adding a new track each time. For example, he would record a rhythm track onto one disc, and then he would play along with the rhythm track and lay the needle down on the second disc, which would simultaneously record both tracks. The second disc would now have two guitar parts on it. He would then send both of these parts back to the first disc while recording another guitar part or instrument part and repeat the process until the composition was complete.
(http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/courses/g6630/recordproduction1.html)

In the late 1930s and early 1940s tape recording became available. The Germans had invented tape recording and used it excessively for radio propaganda broadcasts during World War II. In 1949 Les Paul would get his hands on this new means of recording and would take the next step in innovating multi-tracking by converting the process from wax discs to tape. While working for Bing Crosby, Crosby brought over an Ampex 300 series tape machine for Les Paul. After studying the machine for 3 or 4 hours, Les Paul realized that he could modify it to achieve multi-track recording capabilities. All he had to do was add a fourth head to the device and sound on sound recording would be possible. He got this fourth head by calling the Ampex Company and telling them that he blew a head and needed a new one, which they then shipped to him. (http://music.columbia.edu/cmc/courses/g6630/recordproduction1.html)

From that point on, Les Paul used modified tape recorders, with the added fourth head, to record all of his works. He would later go to Ampex with his idea and they would commercialize the invention, allowing other musicians to use this new technology. There would later be 3, 4, 6, 8, 16, 24 and even 32 track analog tape recorders, and once the digital age rolled around there would be digital recorders that could record nearly limitless amounts of tracks recorded onto computer hard drives, all of which would never have been possible if it weren?t for Les Paul?s original design. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-track_recording)

Along with changing the way musicians recorded music, Les Paul also changed the means by which guitarist?s played music. Since the advent of the electric guitar in the early 20th century, Les Paul had been modifying and experimenting with their structure, trying to discover new tonalities. The original electric guitars were hollow bodied, like the acoustic guitars of past generations. Les Paul?s main experiment was with a solid-body electric guitar, which he believed would maximize sustain and harness new tones. To prove this he once mounted a guitar string on a railroad tie. He would later incorporate a mini railroad rail, (a 4?x4? piece of pine,) into his homemade solid-body electric guitar nicknamed ?The Log.? This guitar would be the prototype to further solid-body electric guitar experiments and is widely considered as one of the first solid-body guitars ever constructed (http://www.gibson.com/products/gibson/Stories/LesPaul.html.)

Les Paul had approached a leading guitar manufacturing company, Gibson, in the 1940s with his ideas for a solid-body electric guitar and had been turned away. It wasn?t until Gibson?s main competitor, Fender, started producing solid-body guitars in the 1950s that Gibson agreed to move on with constructing and selling solid-bodies. Gibson, along with great help by Les Paul, designed a guitar that changed solid-bodies from a plank of wood into a stylish, elegant, piece of art. Les Paul would then help launch this new product and Gibson would put Les?s name on it. The guitar model was originally known as, and is still known as the Les Paul. (http://www.gibson.com/products/gibson/Stories/LesPaul.html)

The Les Paul model has changed little since 1952 when it was released. The original version contained a mahogany body and maple top, a mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard, the same curves and contours as all other Gibson guitars, along with single coil pickups that were the standard on electric guitars of the time. Gibson originally released the guitar with a gold finish because Les Paul had said it made it look ?fancier.? Over time the model would be released with many different finishes. The main finishes would be gold, sunbursts, flamed maple tops, quilted maple tops, and solid colors such as black or white. Later versions of the model contained a different, new bridge, along with new humbucking pickups, which had become the standard as well. Neck shapes and thickness would also change slightly in future years but in essence, the Les Paul is the same guitar as it was when Gibson and Les Paul designed it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Les_Paul)

Les Paul was an extraordinary man who helped to change the music industry enormously. He did it all through the invention of multi-track recording, later transferring the process from acetate discs to tape recording, and through experimenting with solid-body electric guitars, bringing his idea to Gibson, and eventually designing one of the most popular guitar models ever.
Quote by happytimeharry
ig·no·rant

1. Lacking education or knowledge.
2. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
3. Unaware or uninformed.

also see: elitist asshat
Last edited by atc228 at Jul 1, 2006,
#2
That first paragraph was from Guitar Player, I'm reading it right now. Otherwise, good, but I don't see it becoming an article.
#4
Quote by MastaBassist10
That first paragraph was from Guitar Player, I'm reading it right now. Otherwise, good, but I don't see it becoming an article.


Well not all of it, but that key line in it was, i think i cited it too didnt i? i forget what month that was from, but i remember reading it and thinking it was such a powerfull, and true statement that it had to be put in the article.

EDIT: woops youre right, i put guitar world, its fixed now. thanks
Quote by happytimeharry
ig·no·rant

1. Lacking education or knowledge.
2. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
3. Unaware or uninformed.

also see: elitist asshat
#6
quite possibly, i wouldnt put it past him haha. he is still inventing and inovating but i figured id put his top 2 and the ones that had the most impact. otherwise it would be ay too long.
Quote by happytimeharry
ig·no·rant

1. Lacking education or knowledge.
2. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
3. Unaware or uninformed.

also see: elitist asshat