This is the story of how Les Paul created the world's first solid- body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player's arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. Featuring richly detailed, dynamic illustrations by Brett Helquist, this unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.
According to his teacher, young Les Paul who preferred playing piano by ear over sight reading would "never be musical." Undeterred and with his mother's support, Paul pursued his interests, musical and otherwise. After designing and building a radio set, he learned to play guitar, banjo, and harmonica, performing for audiences that expressed their wish to hear the music better. Through trial and error, Paul created contraptions to amplify the sound of his guitar but the guitar's vibrations caused unwelcome feedback. A steel rail and an electric guitar prototype (called the Log, because of its shape) led to a design that resembles modern-day instruments. In Helquist's expressive oil paintings, Paul's music is visualized as colorful orbs and swirling lines. Good ideas require persistence, determination, and lots of experimentation, Tomsic implies through Paul's story. A note from the author explores Paul's contributions to the world of music in greater detail. Ages 5 8.