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Les Paul: The Original Doubletracker

Les Paul and Mary Ford - The original doubletrackerYesterday, we piggybacked off of Pete Celi’s Premier Guitar article and, with the aid of the Omega Studios and David Goodermuth, demonstrated how a reel-to-reel tape machine can be used to double-track a song portion and create a flanging effect.  Today, we’re going back to double-tracking’s original innovator, Les Paul, whose experimentation with multi-track recording and early tape effects such as slapback echo (which he achieved by using two tape decks and mixing the playback from one deck with the recorded signal on another deck) opened up new sonic possibilities and pushed the boundaries of popular music.

In fact, as you’ll hear in this video, many folks who had heard Les Paul’s music at the time were under the impression that his music was reliant on “studio magic” and could not have been created by just one or two people.  Well, call it studio magic, but Les Paul had the skills as both a musician and a sound engineer to create recordings that were vastly ahead of their time.

Enjoy this awesome time capsule of Les Paul and Mary Ford showing off their chops as musicians while demonstrating their groundbreaking, multi-track recording techniques.

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2 Responses

  1. These guys are amazing musicians, and this is great footage 🙂 Just hearing Les bash out a few chords is incredible.

    But I believe the multiple decks are for ping ponging. For slapback, Les gets that from feeding the playback head back into the record head of the same deck (and that’s how I did it as well).

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