The legendary musician and inventor still mesmerizes crowds every Monday evening at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York and plans on celebrating his 90th birthday with music with a tribute concert at Carnegie Hall on June 19.

An amazing array of guitarists has signed on for the celebration. Derek Trucks, Edgar Winter, , Jose Feliciano, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Madeleine Peyroux, Neal Schon, Omar Hakim, Pat Martino, Peter Frampton, Steve Lukather, Tommy Emmanuel, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Will Lee are on the bill.

The electric guitar brought Paul international renown as a musician, won him five Grammys, put him on television for eight years with his wife – Mary Ford – and made Gibson Guitar Corp.’s signature Les Paul Standard a guitar of choice for garage bands and virtuosos.

“In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would see so many people using them,” Paul recently told the Washington Post. “I owe it to the rock ‘n’ roll players, especially the Jeff Becks, the Paul McCartneys and Jimi Hendrix. All of them were playing a Les Paul guitar.”

A professional musician before he was 20, Paul worked for the Armed Forces Radio during World War II, and afterwards began working with NBC Radio.

By 1952 he was one of the most popular guitar player in America and a leading innovator in guitar and electronics design.

Paul had been experimenting with electric guitars for as long as there had been electric guitars. He had once mounted a guitar string on a railroad tie to confirm his belief that a solid-body guitar would maximize sustain, and he had incorporated a mini-railroad rail -a 4″x4″ piece of pine- into the body of a homemade solid-body electric guitar he nicknamed The Log.

Paul had approached Gibson in the ’40s with his ideas for a solid-body electric guitar, but the company was already leading the industry with archtop electric guitars. Furthermore, Gibson had always been very conservative when it came to aligning with artists.

In the early ’50s, when the solid-body guitar first became commercially viable, Gibson designed an instrument that would change the image of the solid-body electric from a simple plank of wood to an elegant, stylish piece of art.

Such a guitar would be a radical move for a traditional company like Gibson, which had been founded on the radical mandolin and guitar designs of Orville Gibson back in the 1890s. This new model would have the same carved-top contours that had set Orville’s instruments apart from all others.

With the new model almost ready for market, Gibson approached Les Paul, the obvious choice to help launch it. Les was already intimately familiar with the unique characteristics of the instrument.

And he was at the top of his career. His 1948 hit, “Brazil,” featured six guitar parts, all played by Paul in a virtuoso demonstration that would eventually earn him recognition as the father of multitrack recording.

When he combined his guitar and electronic talents with the vocals of his wife Mary Ford, the result was gold-two million-selling records in 1951, “Mockin’ Bird Hill” and “How High the Moon.”

The Les Paul Model, as it was originally called, has changed little since its debut in 1952. Except for an updated bridge and humbucking pickups, the Les Paul Standard of today is still the same guitar.

The Les Paul has been the driving force behind many changes in popular music. It powered the blues rock sound of the late ’60s and the southern rock of the late ’70s. By the ’90s the Les Paul was providing signature sounds for every genre of rock, from alternative to metal.