Les Paul celebrated with Google doodle of playable ‘guitar’


Paul, who died in 2009, was an American guitarist and inventor who is best remembered for his work in the development of the electric guitar, which made new styles of music such as rock and roll possible.

Having built one of the world’s first solid-body electric guitars in 1940, Paul’s design – called The Log – was only put into production by manufacturer Gibson in 1946 when rival company Fender put its Esquire model on the market. But he was immortalised in 1961 when Gibson, without Paul’s knowledge, changed the design to create a lighter and sleeker instument which they named the Gibson Les Paul.

Google’s tribute paid further testament to the country and jazz music star’s innovation by letting users create – and record – their own tunes on the search engine’s home page.

It was one of a hundreds of doodles the company had featured on its home page in recent years, but was also one of the most complex and interactive. Instead of seeing the Google logo above the search bar, users were presented with 10 stings of different pitches, set out to look like both a guitar and the company’s name.

The ‘guitar’ could be played either by hovering the mouse over the strings, or by clicking a button below the strings that enabled users to hammer out riffs using the buttons on their keyboard.

On some versions of the site, the keyboard was replaced by a record button which saved every note and created a URL that aspiring muisicians – or bored office workers – could send to their friends or colleagues, allowing them to play over the top of it and create a duet.