• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

"The electric guitar is a retarded instrument".... says Les Paul?

Redhod

Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Messages
501
Just stumbled across the February issue of Milwaukee Magazine. An amusing little feature by Mario Quadracci on Les Paul, and it includes some nice bits, including his explanation of his axe. "It's an experimental guitar that I screw around with. It's very advanced compared to other guitars. It reproduces the sound of the string correctly. Guitar makers follow one another and continue to go down the same path. The electric guitar is a retarded instrument, but I'm about ready to come out with my new guitar, which will be first big, big revolution in the instrument since it was invented."
He takes a sip of beer. "I bette hurry," he laughs.


Another choice bit. He's on the sixth floor at Paramount in 1946 when somebody announces that a guy named Django is there to see him.
Les shouts back: "Send up Jesus Christ and a case of beer!"


Final good line. It comes from Jeff Beck, who once said: "You pick up a Les Paul and it's heavy and it really means something. It means business."

Aw, man. My epitaph.
 

phil47uk

New member
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
6,534
That's OK coz we are all retards in here anyway... :spin :spin

Phil. :)
 
Last edited:

Tom Wittrock

Les Paul Forum Co-Owner
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
42,567
Considering that the most popular electric guitars are virtually exact designs from the 1950's, the growth of the instrument is "retarded".
Perhaps he meant it that way? ;)
 

bluespckr

New member
Joined
Jun 8, 2005
Messages
2,073
Better to be retarded than retired. And Mr. Lester P. is living proof.

He da man!!!!
 

SimonF

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
119
"The electric guitar is a retarded instrument".

That's funny, my wife says that too. :wha
 

Gibsononly

New member
Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Messages
809
That's a great quote. Being 1946, I am sure he meant it in the traditional definition and also as a tub thump for himself. He probably did see the development of electric guitar as being held back by the lack of innovation of that time ( because everyone was copying each other).
 

Redhod

Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Messages
501
Maybe it wasn't clear. What he was saying was that the instrument just hasn't been developed.
Which might be true.
I haven't bothered trying out a Variax. I played a Roland equipped axe... just once.
But I would bet there are a LOT of different ways the guitar could be pushed, and someday I'd like to try.

Lester's quote, though, should come as comic relief to those of us who aspire most of all to possess an instrument that possesses virtues held over from the Eisenhower Administration.
 

Tom Wittrock

Les Paul Forum Co-Owner
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
42,567
Gibsononly said:
That's a great quote. Being 1946, I am sure he meant it in the traditional definition and also as a tub thump for himself.

The quote was from 1946?
 

wildelectric

New member
Joined
Sep 15, 2003
Messages
752
TW59 said:
Considering that the most popular electric guitars are virtually exact designs from the 1950's, the growth of the instrument is "retarded".
Perhaps he meant it that way? ;)


I agree with this. The basic designs we're working with today were devised 40-60 years ago, and the one this forum honors was laid to wood some 55 years ago. The exact numbers may be a little different, but hey, who's counting when its been this long? I say bless Les for still trying new things, and being enough of a true tone freak to not continuously try to wrench different looks and sounds out of old gear.


-John
 

DonP

Active member
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
3,020
Hey, when's Intel going to release those vintage re-issue computer chips - Have you guys checked out the 8088's yet?
 

Sixstringhotshot

New member
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
433
Stevedenver said:
yes yes lets all go to the chapman stick forum.......


I have one of those....I think it's pretty much impossible to play. If you thought learning electric guitar was difficult at all (I know I did), then the stick is a complete mindfuck. :bug
 

sinner

Active member
Joined
Jul 23, 2004
Messages
3,704
"The electric guitar is a fraud"
--Mance Lipscomb






Retarded, or fraud...I don't care, if it's got strings and makes sound I feel at home.
 

sgtJoe

Active member
Joined
Oct 25, 2003
Messages
2,242
I remember watching Alan Gitler on street corners in Manhattan in the 70's, he had the stainless steel version of the stick. It was pretty revolutionary at the time, but it didn't catch on. The wheel can't be re-invented. I think he's refering to a lack of what he sees as progress and/or re-design.

I think we all like what we can call traditional when it comes to guitars and tone. What's different is how we all do our own thing, sound and technique wise on the same types of instruments although we can start with something very general, and almost generic, dare I say.
 

Gibsononly

New member
Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Messages
809
TW59 said:
The quote was from 1946?

Hmm. Okay, I stand corrected. I saw that date but it refers to another quote. But, judging by the other things in the post it would seem to be around the time of his guitar development. Although, I may be confused.

And, having re-read it ten times now, I believe I am. So I am going to back slooowllly away from the keyboard.
 

RBscrim

New member
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Messages
46
Ya know,
I heard a Hammond B3 with twin Lesley Tone Cabinets last week. I hadn't heard one in a band for 35 years. I was reminded that nothing sounds like a B3...NOTHING! Sometimes you stumble on the right combination of everything. There is no need to improve on it. You can make it different but you can't make it better. How long and how hard have folks been trying to replicate a 47 year old instrument? My point is, if it ain't broke...don't fix it.
 
Top