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Lou Pallo, Longtime Les Paul Trio Guitarist, Dead at 86

Lou Pallo performs at Iridium Jazz Club on March 10, 2014 in New York City
(Image credit: Al Pereira/WireImage/Getty Images)

Lou Pallo, a guitarist who performed for decades with Les Paul in his trio, has died at the age of 86.

Aside from his time with the guitar pioneer, Pallo was an incredibly accomplished session musician, who played on countless recordings throughout the '50s and '60s. His virtuosity earned him the nickname "the Man of a Million Chords."

“Foundation are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend Lou Pallo," wrote the Les Paul Foundation in a statement (opens in new tab) on its website. "With grace and style, an extraordinary talent and smiles that would light up a room, Lou was always there for Les. 

"He is admired by many of the world’s greatest musicians and made his mark on many of us. There was never a moment where you would not be assured of seeing him seated next to Les on stage for decades. What he has left us is an abundance of amazing musical sounds, memories of shows that just can’t ever be duplicated and a sense of an era that profoundly changed the music industry.”

Keith Richards, a friend of Pallo's who performed with him on stage and in the studio, also paid tribute to Pallo, writing "Rest in Peace dear friend" on Twitter (opens in new tab).

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Jackson Maxwell
Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.