The Les Paulverizer

See how WPI students put theory into practice through projects.

The capstone project is a Humanities & Arts requirement designed to support a student’s self-designed and independent scholarly research. The Les Paulverizer project was part of the “Les Paul: Experiencing the Innovative Process” series in VJ Manzo’s practicum Developing Technology for Music.

The prototype of the Les Paulverizer

The Big Idea:

Make an adaptation of the Les Paulverizer using modern technology that can be affixed to or embedded within a guitar. This includes sending MIDI information to a computer (via wired or wireless technology), playing audio clips, and adjusting levels inside of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) on Mac or Windows computers.


Joseph Calcasola ’22 (ME), Ethan Campbell ’21 (ME), Theodore Campbell ’22 (CS), Justin Moy ’22 (BCB)


VJ Manzo, Scott Burton, Jeff Duquette


Explore the original Les Paulverizer; how did Les Paul use this device live? How did it really work originally?


The complete project consists of a fully playable, self-contained, ready-to-go Les Paulverizer that can be attached to an instrument and used to play back audio from a computer.


Students analyzing the Les Paulverizer initially explored modern-day adaptations. The purpose of this approach was to allow students to focus on developing a system that could easily be adapted to other operating systems and expanded to include additional features. This allows the users to readily integrate the technology into their own music performance and composition ideas, as Les Paul ultimately did on stage with the Les Paulverizer.

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