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.”