Guitar Torchbearer Lester 'Rusty' G. Paul, Les Paul's Son, Dies at 74

Les Paul Foundation
Lester "Rusty" G. Paul & Les Paul

Lester “Rusty” G. Paul, son of guitar innovator Les Paul and a huge proponent of the instrument in his own right, died yesterday (Dec. 31) at age 74. 

The Les Paul Foundation confirmed the news today (Jan. 1) that Paul had died following a long fight with diabetes. 

The eldest of two sons the elder Paul had with wife Virginia Webb, “Rusty” Paul was born in 1941. Throughout his life, he worked alongside his father to spread the family’s contributions to music. 

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He performed around the United States with his own Rusty Paul Band and was an experienced sound engineer. Later on in life, he often performed at New York City’s Iridium Jazz Club, carrying on a regular Monday night gig his father held down for decades. He was close with many in the industry, including including Richie Sambora, Slash and Eddie Van Halen.

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“Rusty” Paul is survived by his children Stephen, Gary and Beth Anne, as well as his former wife, Glori. He had seven grandchildren. 

The elder Les Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94. He is widely credited for laying the foundation for the rock and roll era with his contributions to the design of the electric guitar and numerous recording techniques. The Gibson Les Paul is named in his memory.