Tom became Dad's confidant and trusted friend. He not only shared his musical tastes, but Tom's gift for restoring and maintaining Dad's lifetime guitar collection, from the mid 1960's to his current Number One, made him indispensable. Sometime around 1970, Dad and Tom were going through some old archives and photographs at the house.
Among the items they found was the original 1953 photo of his first Les Paul Guitar, his # one, from a now-famous Audio Engineering Magazine cover. Tom was taken with the photo and told Les how much he admired the classic picture. With that, much to Tom's surprise, Les smiled and gave it to him.
By 1975, now working together for about 11 years, Tom had long since proved himself to Les, and Dad trusted him implicitly. Dad did not put up with mediocrity, excuses, half measures, and most certainly was aware of people trying to wiggle their way into his orbit and saw through most of it. Anyone who knew my father would tell you that he never did anything without a purpose. He always was thinking ahead, connecting the dots, and thinking several moves ahead....one of Dad's assets that served him well.
Dad always regretted not knowing the person who sent the note which read, "I can't hear your guitar" back to him at the age of twelve after his small show at the Bar-B-Que stand. That started it all for him and brought back memories for me of the first time Dad told me the story of this guitar. Dad never brought this instrument out in mixed company; it was always private and personal for him and maybe his best-kept secret. When Dad was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall Of Fame in 2005, he walked up to the podium and said, "Of all my dreams... this dream I never thought would happen." I knew at that moment he was thinking of his "Number One" and how it became more than just his dream; it became an iconic guitar.
Les' Number One was the beginning of a legacy of the Les Paul Guitar now ongoing for nearly seventy years.