Posted on by Walter Bryant

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from Gibson.com- (written by Anne Erickson)

Les Paul was a man with vision and instinctual genius— an inventor, virtuoso guitarist, performer and technical visionary. His solid-body electric guitar and studio advances changed popular music in the 20th-century, and his original designs will live on forever.

Paul passed away on Aug. 12, 2009, from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York, surrounded by family and loved ones. In honor of what would have been Les Paul’s 100th birthday this month, here are 15 facts about Les.

  1. Les Paul’s original name was Lester William Polfuss. (A “Lester Polfuss” guitar just doesn’t sound as cool.)
  2. Paul was creating at an early age. He built his first crystal radio at age nine.
  3. Paul was a semi-professional guitarist at age 13, playing country music and starting to dabble in sound innovations.
  4. Paul built his first solid-body guitar in 1941 and continued to work on in through that decade.
  5. Paul’s experiments sometimes put him as risk. He almost electrocuted himself in 1940 during a session in the cellar of his Queens apartment.

Read the rest of the list at Gibson.com! Click here!