Les Paul honored by musical Google Doodle

Les Paul was an accomplished guitarist, but his technical innovations made modern music possible.

By , Staff

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    Les Paul celebrates his 92nd birthday at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City in 2007. Paul, who passed away last year, is honored today in an interactive Google Doodle.
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Google has replaced its homepage logo today with an interactive doodle commemorating the birthday of Les Paul, the father of the solid-body electric guitar. Paul's inventions shaped the sound of rock and roll.

In his long career, Paul played alongside some of the greatest jazz and pop artists in America, including Chet Atkins, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters and Nat King Cole. By the 1950s, he was one of the greatest jazz guitarists of his generation. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Paul's dissatisfaction with acoustic-electric guitars led him to experiment with his own designs in the 1940s. His first solid body electric guitar, known as "The Log," solved the two of the biggest problems with conventional acoustic electrics: without a hollow body, the guitar would produce much less feedback, and without having to vibrate the whole body of the guitar the strings could ring much longer (think Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton). Paul's namesake guitar, developed in the 1950s with the Gibson Corporation is one of the most iconic instruments of the 20th century, played by Led Zeppelin, The Who, Paul McCartney, Bob Marley, and The Rolling Stones.

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Paul was also a pioneer in multitrack recording, first on acetate disk machines and later on magnetic tape, enabling him to become a one-man band on songs like his 1948 hit "Lover."

Google's Doodle today pays tribute to both sides of Paul's career. The site's logo has been turned into a playable guitar on which you can strum any song (as long as it's in C-Major), with your mouse or keyboard. There's also a recording device so you can share your masterpieces with others.

While some searchers might prefer the Google Pac-Man game (which, by the way, you can still play for free) or the deep-sea dive in honor of Jules Verne, this is clearly one of the most inventive Google Doodles so far. Let us know in the comments if you prefer today's guitar over the Robert Bunsen virtual laboratory or maybe the fake Google Charlie Chapman movie.

Want to jam on the Google guitar? Here are a couple songs you can try out yourself. (Make sure to hit the record button, which is just below the strings, before trying to type out these notes.) Post the URL for your best performance in the comments.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

A,A,G,G,H,H,G

F,F,D,D,S,S,A

G,G,F,F,D,D,S

G,G,F,F,D,D,S

A,A,G,G,H,H,G

F,F,D,D,S,S,A

Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

A+D+K (play together)

A+D+K

A+D+K

F+H

F+H

S+G+J+L

S+G+J+L

S+G+J+L

F+H

F+H

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