“Les Paul – Chasing Sound!” Documentary

Incredible documentary for anyone with an interest in modern music. The name Les Paul is synonymous with guitar manufacture, but way before the endorsement deal with Gibson the man Les was going well outside the box with equipment and technique.

Starting at age 8 Les Paul created the neck harmonica holder, used by the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young or anyone who might want to play harmonica and guitar at the same time (you know the ones). They’re still using that initial design today. Back then Paul was messing around with creating electronic sonics for his guitar using nails and bits of railroad tracks, which sets the tone for his career; ideas and innovation through constant experimentation.

Out of everything covered in the feature-length documentary however the two stand out revelations were multi-tracking and overdubbing (with reverb and echo running close behind). These tools we take for granted, the way we make music, were shaped in Les Paul’s workshop. Check out the trailer below:


Les Paul – Chasing Sound! is a stunning piece of work that focuses on one man’s astounding offering to music, a life dedicated to sound, shining light on what everyone should know about Paul, who’s 90 years of age at the time of shooting. And although his body might depict his age, the interviews, memories and story telling of a legend show his mind was still as sharp as ever. 90 years old and still playing regular gigs, recording and producing with the likes of Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Steve Miller and B.B. King. Chasing Sound draws on headliners like these to give testimony to Les Paul, leaders of the industry who are aware of an incredible life in music and how much he’s given to us.

Inventions and pioneering electronics aside Les Paul was a recording star on his own. Teaming up with his then wife Mary Ford, between the years 1950-1954, Les and Mary had 16 top-ten hits, and remember this was back before ‘pop’ was a dirty word. Ford herself was an incredible vocalist and Les at the time was experimenting with ways of playing the instrument, his style drawing comparisons with his hero Django Reinhardt for it’s uniqueness. The couple even had their own tv show that lasted for ten episodes, shot in their house where they lived and recorded. There’s various episodes floating around but check below for them guesting on Omnibus, skip straight to about 2:50 for when they start explaining about overdubbing.


For all it’s amazing feel good moments Chasing Sound does skirt around the abusive relationship that went in to making Les & Paul a group, vicious law suits that were filed in regards to their separation, the alcohol problem during this time and her premature death in 1977 aged 53. In between bits of archive from their time together Les states that at this time he wasn’t dedicated to being in a relationship, his whole life before and after being dedicated to sound exploration.

We owe a lot to Les Paul, see if you can get a hold of this film and you’ll see there’s a whole lot more than you may’ve initially thought. Out to John Paulson and his crew who’ve done a brilliant job putting it together.

via lespaulfilm.com

The legendary Les Paul, father of the solid-body electric guitar, inventor of overdubbing and multi-track recording, king of the ‘50s pop charts and architect of rock ‘n’ roll, tells his own rags-to-riches story in a performance-documentary by filmmakers John Paulson and James Arntz, with a wall-to-wall soundtrack of the greatest hits from “Tiger Rag” to “My Generation.”

A joyous 90th-birthday celebration at the Iridium Jazz Club and the accolades that follow (induction into National Inventors Hall of Fame, Grammy-winning “rock duets” album with Jeff Beck, lifetime achievement award from Songwriters Hall of Fame) provide the verité framing device for Mr. Paul’s lively recollections of his remarkable life.

An evocative blend of interviews, vintage film and television clips, recordings, radio show excerpts, still photographs, advertising art, personal memorabilia and a rich variety of stylish location B-roll illustrate Mr. Paul’s narrative and examine his accomplishments in the distinctive in-depth style of American Masters.

The intricate technology and sensuous beauty of solid-body electric guitars would not exist without the contributions of Les Paul. He gave birth to what is now, hands down, THE most influential instrument in modern American music.

Les Paul has been “chasing the perfect sound” since his boyhood in Waukesha, Wisconsin, when he punched new chords into his mother’s piano roll and turned his bedsprings into a radio antenna which would pull in the raucous jazz broadcasts from Chicago and the lonesome harmonica from the Grand Old Opry.

Irascible, egotistical, indefatigable, an inveterate tinkerer and practical joker, he’s the last of that self-educated, brilliantly innovative generation of musicians and media pioneers who revolutionized popular music and re-invented the global culture. At 90, Les Paul is still bursting with curiosity and brimming over with optimism, exuberance, and unadorned charm that’s one-hundred percent contagious. Les Paul – Chasing Sound! catches it all!