Sad news from the music world just came in: legendary guitarist and guitar design pioneer Les Paul died today (Thurs. Aug. 13) complications of pneumonia in White Plains, New York. He was 94.

There’s a colorful and in-depth feature on Paul by writer Jon Pareles in today’s New York Times.

Early in his musical career, Paul (born Lester Polfus) played guitar and harmonica with a variety country and western bands, pop singers, and jazz musicians. He enjoyed successful collaborations with vocalist Mary Ford, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, and the NBC orchestra.

Paul may be best remembered for his revolutionary guitar designs more than for his musical skills and accomplishments. In 1941, he built what is considered by many to be the first prototypical solid-body electric guitar. He also worked on new ways to record music, working on overdubs, multitrack recording machines, and electronic effects. The Gibson company hired Mr. Paul to design a Les Paul model guitar in 1952.

Rock music may not have been born if not for Paul’s sense of invention and determination.

See for more.