Yesterday in New York City, a small group of friends and admirers got together in New York City to pay their respects to late guitar legend Les Paul. Paul — who invented and lent his name to the Gibson model axe that may be one of the most identifiable instruments in the world — passed away last Thursday at the age of 94. Another service is planned for tomorrow in Paul’s hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin. The attendees at yesterday’s service included Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, Joan Jett, Tony Bennett and Slash. In the wake of Paul’s death, Slash said, “[He] was a shining example of how full one’s life can be. He was so vibrant and full of positive energy. I’m honored and humbled to have known and played with him over the years. He was an exceptionally brilliant man.” Like Sambora, Slash was not only an admirer of the legendary guitarist but also a friend.
Jett also had somber and appreciative words for Paul’s memory. “He was a genius inventor, musical innovator and a wonderful person. Without the advances he pioneered, the recording sciences and the electric guitar would have been left years behind. I will miss him so much,” she said. In addition to the burial tomorrow in Waukesha, Paul’s memory will also be celebrated at the Discovery World museum in Milwaukee. Their “Les Paul’s House of Sound” exhibit tells the story of Paul’s life, explains his many musical innovations and features a number of his instruments on display.