Marking the Birth of Polsfuss

Today marks the birthday – 96 years ago – of Lester William Polsfuss – a US country and jazz guitarist, songwriter and inventor. The man lived from June 9, 1915 until August 12, 2009, passing away at the ripe old age of 94-years-old.

Largely known for his work in “making the sound of rock and roll possible,” Polsfuss was a major player in the development of the solid-body electric guitar. Although an inventor, it wasn’t Polsfuss who was behind the creation of techniques like tape delay and overdubbing, but the man certainly had a huge impact on developing these techniques for more popular audiences.

Polsfuss was well-known in music circles for his playing style that comprised: “licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing.” It was these style formats that probably made him famous and also was the source of inspiration for many guitarists even today.
Polsfuss wasn’t a loner at all (like many talented musicians) and even actually worked with his wife. Indeed, Mary Ford and William Polsfuss became quite a team, selling millions of records in the 1950s.

The man was greatly honored for his work, including having a permanent stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he is named as an “architect” and “key inductee.”


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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