Frequently Asked Questions

What is “Les Paul’s House of Sound?”

Les Paul´s House of Sound is an exhibit designed around the innovative and creative spirit of Wisconsin native Les Paul. Les Paul grew up in Waukesha and though, he left at age 17 to embark on an eight decade entertainment, music and technology career that took him to Chicago, Hollywood and New York, he never forgot his hometown. His career included numerous top ten hits like “Vaya Con Dios”, “How High the Moon”, “Tennessee Waltz”, “Mockingbird Hill” and many others. Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford had their own five minute television show, sponsored by Listerine, for more than five years in the 1950s, and Les´ radio shows were widely listened to in the same era. Throughout and after his own successful recording career, Les produced and played with countless others on their hits, including the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby.

The title for the Discovery World Exhibit comes from a conversation Les had with Bing Crosby 60 years ago about the totally different sound the Les was able to produce with his guitar and his recording technique. The exhibit features innovations and creations from Les´ personal collection (record cutting lathe, multi-track recording equipment, sound layering devices) and guitars from Les Paul´s personal collection. Guitars in the collection from Les Paul include the Klunker, used to produce several of Les´ greatest hits; an original 1929 Gibson L-5; an early two-necked guitar used only once on stage by Les in the 1950s; and Les Paul #1, the first Gibson Les Paul produced (and modified by Les).

The exhibit lays out Les´ life from his humble beginnings in Waukesha, Wisconsin through to the present day, including recreations of Les´Los Angeles “Garage,” where he helped usher in a new era in music and sound in the 1940s and 1950s. The exhibit includes a Les Paul timeline with opportunities for guests to leave their own comments and notes about their “Les Paul moments.” The House of Sound also features 21st Century technology in sound that, while not invented by Les, captures his spirit of innovation and has its roots and inspiration in his creative spirit.

The exhibit also includes a “Friends of Les Paul” section with historic guitars and items from other notable musicians and institutions. Contributors to this one-of-a-kind exhibit include Les Paul, Gibson Guitars, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, John Sheily, past CEO of Briggs & Stratton (and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Board Member), Cheap Trick guitarist and world-renowned guitar collector Rick Nielsen and caricature artist Phillip Burke. Other “friends of Les” continue to loan items throughout the run of the exhibit.

How long will the exhibit run?

Les Paul´s House of Sound will be open indefinitely.

What is the admission cost for the exhibit?

Les Paul´s House of Sound is included with the regular admission price to Discovery World, visit the Tickets page for more information. Discovery World members can view the exhibit for free.

Where can I learn more about Les Paul?

You can visit to read stories about Les Paul, watch interviews of Les, and even hear how Les layered his recordings.