The electric guitar just could hardly stand out in that kind of environment. CH: ByLes Paul was making a name for himself, not just as a star, but as an innovator. He'd set up a recording studio in his garage. IP: It was kind of like a magnet for everyone in Hollywood who would just show up, whether they just came to record or came to hang out, came to drink beer in the back yard.
And a lot of tinkerers would come and follow these musicians, and one of those tinkerers who came one day was Leo Fender. CH: If Les commanded attention — outgoing, a born performer — Leo was introverted and a little bit awkward. He could take 20 minutes to answer a simple question. And not only was he not a rockstar, he didn't even play guitar. IP: Leo Fender could not play an instrument. He was not rhythmically gifted. He had such a lack of player's romance. Since he couldn't play an instrument, he looked at it almost just as a problem to be solved.
And so he would think about mechanical details and the practicality and how sturdy it would be and how long it would last and he had that talent for sort of usability as well as just that ability to craft a circuit to make it sound the way the players wanted. So you got this great contrast between these two people who came together at this key moment in music where Leo the introverted tinkerer was trying to build a business and wanted to hear how musicians use their equipment. And Les, who was trying to build a popular reputation as a musician, wanted better equipment for his own purposes.
So they are sitting there watching these musicians play, watching them use this primitive gear. And they both had this ambition to improve that gear.
IP: They both knew… It was clear by then that the electric guitar as had been envisioned was too quiet. That the amplifier technology was too primitive and that it needed to get louder and clearer and more reliable in order for music to keep going the way it was going.
CH: Les and Leo were both already working on solving this problem by building solid-body guitars, or instruments that weren't hollow. In fact, Les had created a prototype of his own that, at one point, he pitched to the famous Gibson guitar company. But they'd basically laughed him out of the room.
In California, however, musicians were taking this idea seriously. One man, Paul Bigsby, was developing his own electric guitar… it became the first one to look anything like the ones we see today. But the guitars Bigsby made were one-offs Bespoke masterpieces.
IP: And Fender thought, 'hey, if everyone could have one of these simple, solid body electric guitars, we could sell a million of them and musicians would have a lot of their problems solved. The thing would sound good, The Voice Of Breaks - Wayward Soul - The Voice (Vinyl), it would get loud, it would be durable, it would be reliable and they would want to use my amplifiers if they bought one.
And that's when he ultimately had the series of breakthroughs that led to the Telecaster. He's plucking out these bright little notes that just ring out. And you can hear these accents, you can hear so much fine detail of how he's playing this. And the instrument is not woody like an acoustic guitar. It doesn't have that airy thickness. It's bright and thin and sharp, which was the signature of a solid body electric guitar that had no hollow ring out.
IP: For one thing, they liked that they could turn it up as loud as they want. Guitar players are always turning things up loud. And that was part of how they got here. The other thing they liked about it was that it really cut through a band. And for the first time you could be playing with horns, you could be playing with drums, you could be playing with a huge ensemble and with this Telecaster you could turn it up and people in the room could hear you all the way in the back.
Even playing single notes. So you didn't just have to play chords in order to play with a big band. You could solo over one. CH: And what happened once Fender guitars started getting into the hands of the stars of that day? IP: So I mean then you just really hear it go everywhere in music. You heard it on stage with a large number of country-western stars of the s. IP: Les Paul was working his magic of multitrack recording, where you play one instrumental part and then you go back and layer another instrumental part over it.
So that can mean four layers of guitars or three layers of vocals or all of the above. You can hear those high twinkly notes are Les speeding up the recording of different layers of guitars. He is just playing them and then speeding up the record and recording that onto another record. And we are not even talking about tape here, we are talking about vinyl shellac discs. Like being spun one after another.
And he has to play each of those parts exactly right or the entire recording is broken, the entire recording has to be thrown away.
Byhe was one of the biggest pop stars in the country, selling millions of records, touring all over the country, touring even to London which was not common then, and using his new wife, Mary Ford, and her beautiful voice, to kind of rise up the charts in a record time.
We are talking multiple tracks in the top Number one hits. I mean 15 million records a year. You know, their face in every magazine, every newspaper, playing sold-out shows for months at the big city theaters. And it was kind of centered around their domestic life interspersed with these songs and really painted them as the first family of American pop music.
LP: Well how do you like that? You can't trust these women! Mary Ford, you get up here this minute with my Paulverizer! MF: Okay, I'm coming up- I didn't know you were looking for me. CH: Les and Mary were pre-rock 'n' roll stars. And Les, who was becoming famous for his multi-track recording technique and his guitar-playing, was exactly what Leo Fender needed to take his new instrument to The Voice Of Breaks - Wayward Soul - The Voice (Vinyl) next level. IP: Leo knew that Les would have been an amazing endorsement for the Telecaster, The Voice Of Breaks - Wayward Soul - The Voice (Vinyl).
Having the Telecaster in Les's hands would have elevated it from just this country-western, this California thing, to a really respected, national kind of instrument in a way that it wasn't quite yet in the early '50s. And they tried to do it.
So Leo Fender's business partner actually drove up to Les Paul's house in Hollywood one day with an amplifier and a Telecaster, one of the very first that rolled out of the factory and said, 'Hey Les, why don't you take a look at this, we want to know what you think about it and if you'd think about endorsing it.
IP: Well, according to Les, he called up the head of the company that owned Gibson and said, 'Hey, Fender is building this solid body guitar. I know you guys think it's crazy, but you should really build something like it because if you don't… Fender is going to take over the world. Les Paul and Leo Fender were racing to change the way music sounded. And Leo Fender's Telecaster was leading the way. But when Leo offered one of his guitars to Les Paul, the rockstar said 'no thanks.
But this time, Gibson was happy to see Les Paul walk in the door. Because, as it turned out, it was already working on its own answer to the Telecaster IP: But they were very concerned that the solid body electric guitar was so radical and so controversial that it would hurt their brand a little bit by putting it out. So they wanted to have a celebrity endorser who could put their name on it and they would make that person's name as big on it as the Gibson was and try to get it out there in a way that people would forgive Gibson for making such a wild instrument.
So of course who did Gibson think of? They thought of Les Paul. So in some Gibson execs and Les' accountant go and find Les and Mary and they show them this prototype, Les is kind of strumming on it, they are at this cabin up in the woods, and Les is like, 'I think we've got a contender here.
And the next year Gibson announces the Gibson Les Paul model. Its very first solid body electric guitar. IP: Yes, it was. The moment that Gibson had put out the Les Paul model, Fender knew it had to answer with something. And at this point the two guys are really both in their trenches fighting for the success of the guitars that have their names on them.
CH: So for musicians who are trying to make a choice between the two guitars, what's the difference between them? IP: On the one side you have the Fender Telecaster and its incredibly successful follow-up, the Fender Stratocaster, which have these thin, spanky, twangy classic sounds which you can hear in, for example, the music of Buddy Holly. So you can hear the staccato notes there, the way they don't really sustain, the way they are sharp.
And they're almost just short and snappy. And that was really a signature Fender sound. So on the other side you have the Gibson Les Paul which is the grand dame, the Cadillac of electric guitars. IP: It's got a real thick wooden body and a glued-in neck. And it has this warmer more growly, somewhat mellower sound that you can hear in Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes. I P: So there is a brownness or a warmth, a sense that those notes aren't quite as prickly as they are with the Telecaster.
And there's just a little sense of the power that's in that guitar and how much you can really wring out of it that people would discover later on. Fender's Stratocaster was scrappy and technical—just like Leo Fender. And the Les Paul was a crooner… growly and powerful and made for the spotlight. Who does that remind you of? IP: So basically at this point, Paul and Fender basically have no relationship as far as The Voice Of Breaks - Wayward Soul - The Voice (Vinyl) can tell. Leo Fender was back in California, head The Voice Of Breaks - Wayward Soul - The Voice (Vinyl), trying to grow his company, trying to run a factory which was not something he was great at.
And they knew that both of their instruments were really gunning for the kind of prize of the electric guitar market which was growing very quickly at the time. So they are in their trenches going at it. CH: This is the period where really rock 'n' roll starts to emerge. Where did that term even come from?
IP: Well, rock 'n' roll is old, old black slang for doing it. It had been a term used to describe music of a certain kind for a long time. A certain kind of boogie beat.
It goes way back to before… Long before Elvis or any of those folks. CH: And that's what's interesting is that so much of the history of the music from this time period, while it's also tied into these guitars, it's also tied into issues of race and white musicians taking from Black musicians.
How did the guitar feature into this? IP: The guitar was important because Black musicians had adopted it and used it to advance Black blues music, Black rock 'n' roll long before it was even acceptable for white people to listen to it.
And they had really defined, even going back to the late 40s, long before rock 'n' roll, the styles, the moves, the way to play it like how to get that great sound and what to do with it. One of the examples of this is Muddy Waters. He electrified blues music, brought it from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago, started playing it with electric instruments and really kind of gave it that impact, that guttural power that it had that the electric blues had.
He came to England in the mids and brought that sound, that really deep, electric sound to white audiences in England who were completely scandalized by it. Had never heard anything by it. IP: And one of the people he would influence most were the early members of the Rolling Stones who saw him on that first tour and heard him and adopted that same style, that same kind of shuffling rhythm and that heavy blues sound for a lot of their early hits.
Like Satisfaction. IP: Just by putting that really dirty electric guitar front and center and letting it shape the rhythm of the entire song and giving it that gritty, guttural quality. IP: The new electric guitars are really driving the sound of the music forward. But which of course really excites a lot of the kids listening to it.
What is happening at the same time to Les Paul's guitar from Gibson? IP: All through the s, Fender is on this huge upswing. Meanwhile, the Gibson Les Paul is kind of proving to be a little bit of a failure in the market. They sold a couple thousand inbut by,even though they had revamped the model a little bit, the sales figures were going down. And so Gibson was a little worried about this. So the music was going in the wrong direction for them, their guitar was not futuristic enough, it was not sexy enough immediately.
And they were looking for something new. CH: So from the late '50s into the s, really Fender is winning this rivalry with the Les Paul Guitar and then something changes. What is that? IP: Eric Clapton goes into a London pawnshop, pulls out a Les Paul Gibson guitar and uses it to record an album that guitar fans would remember forever.
CH: That song, "Stepping Out" and Clapton's amplifier, cranked up to the max, would impact the sound of music for decades to follow. ByGibson's original Les Paul guitar had been off the market for five The Voice Of Breaks - Wayward Soul - The Voice (Vinyl).
Send me an email! When singing I can sing up to g and then I need to switch to head voice at gsharp is this the right thing to do? Thanks Keith. Keith that is sort of correct. But the more important question is now where, but how. Learning to bridge requires motor skills training, strengthening and understanding resonance in your voice. It is good that you recognize the problem, that is a start.
If you are interested in fixing it, you need to train which is what my training program found in this web site is all about. Your email address will not be published. Join me on a myth-busting, mind-blowing journey that will help you drastically improve your singing ability. The Passaggio an Italian word meaning passage is a popular term that denotes the mid-point between what is commonly referred to as the chest voice and head voice.
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