Appreciation for Les’s inventions and especially the Les Paul and SG continued through the 70s. heavy metal, heavy rock, punk, folk, soft rock, and country rock artists all hailed Les as a savvy innovator and an artist with great integrity. Les’s experiments with guitar effects and his pioneering work in multi-tracking were now part of everyday life for professional and amateur musicians. Terms that had been previously known to only engineers like “overdubbing,” “mastering,” “phase” and “feedback” were now common knowledge.
Les and Gibson continued to work on ideas for the Les Paul guitar. Gibson adapted to the times by creating the “Dirty Fingers” humbucker, an overloaded pickup that supported the modern sound, but still held true to Les’s standards of giving players the widest possible range of tones.
In the mid '70s, Les’s old friend Chet Atkins persuaded him to return to the recording studio for a guitar duet album at RCA Studio B in Nashville. The result, “Chester and Lester,” showed Chet and Les at the top of their game, and fans loved it. Chet and Les cut a follow-up album, “Guitar Monsters”. They received a nomination for Best Instrumental Performance at the 1978 GRAMMY Awards and performed regularly on television to promote the album.
The continued success of the Les Paul guitar, a re-fortified relationship with Gibson and the GRAMMY nomination, encouraged Les to start thinking about getting back into performing. Les’s had been jamming regularly with longtime pal and Les Paul devotee Lou Pallo. “He was scouting around for someone like myself that he could work with,” said Pallo. “So we started playing locally at different venues, just the two of us. And it was great.”
With a hit record, a new band, and new instruments to invent, Les Paul was back and players from every genre lined up to say thanks and to see what else he had up his sleeve.
This was the decade that put the heavy into heavy rock, Les Paul and SG '70s Tributes carry a pair of high-output Dirty Fingers humbucking pickups, along with the medium neck profile characteristic of that decade.