ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, one of rock's most lauded exponents of the Gibson Les Paul, has paid tribute to the guitar inventor and studio pioneer Les Paul, who died 13 August.
Gibbons says: "Les Paul brought six strings to electricity and electricity to six strings. Les Paul was an innovator, a groundbreaker, a risk taker, a mentor and a friend.
"Try to imagine what we'd be doing if hadn't come along and changed the world. There will always be more Les to come. That's certified."
"He was the original guitar hero, and the kindest of souls.
"Last October, I joined him onstage at the Iridium club in NYC, and he was still shredding. He was and still is an inspiration to us all."
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons with the late Les Paul IMAGE: courtesy of Billy Gibbons
Aerosmith's Joe Perry, a noted Les Paul player for years, says:
"As a guitarist and a fan of music in general, I know the amazing contributions Les Paul made in his lifetime to the art of making music. I think if the general public knew how much of that influence is heard every day in the music that they listen to, they would be amazed.
"He was a true genius. The few times that I had met him, he made me feel like I had known him forever. He was always sharp, ready to rock and he was always talking about his next gig. Knowing that he is not walking the earth anymore is sad and I have lost a friend. But every time I pick up a guitar I'll know that his spirit is alive and well right next to me."
Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ricky Medlocke says: "I'm so thankful that this guy was such an incredible genius for developing such a great guitar. I am a 3rd generation Gibson user and I always will be.
"God bless Les Paul."
There will no doubt be more tributes paid in coming days to a man who, truly, changed 20th century music.