The Log was a crucial step in Les’ development of the solid body electric guitar. He began experimenting with building a solid body guitar as a teenager living in Waukesha. Les used a discarded piece of rail from the train tracks near his childhood home as the base for one of his first solid body electric guitars. Museum visitors can view the evolution of Les’ experiments.
Les demonstrates how the Log’s wings were an afterthought.
About 10 years after his rail experiment, Les used a 4” x 4” piece of wood as the base for his Log, a name bestowed by the inventor. Les added the acoustic guitar “wings” so that his audience would recognize the invention as a guitar.
In 1941 when Les showed his invention to the people at the Gibson Guitar Company, they laughed and called it a “broom stick with a pickup.” Ten years later when Leo Fender began mass-producing his Stratocaster, Gibson called on Les to help design its solid body electric guitar.
The Waukesha County Museum, located at 101 W. Main Street, Waukesha, Wisconsin, in open Tuesday through Saturday.
Andrew Swanson, Curator of Collections at the Waukesha County Museum, stands with the Log.