When unveiling a classic Doodle, Google sure knows to pick ’em.

In terms of interactivity, Google has designed what is arguably its coolest home-page logo yet — surpassing even its Pac-Man banner and the colorful and initially mysterious “Google Balls.”

Today, the California company offers an animated Doodle you can strum and share — a gift of music entirely befitting a birthday celebration for the legendary guitarist and inventor Les Paul.

The pioneering designer of the solid-body, “rounded sound” electric guitar, who died in August of 2009, would have been 96 today.

Today, thanks to Google, the trill isn’t gone.

You can hit the record button (near the bottom of the second “g” in Google), pluck a tune — then send the URL of your recorded music to other people, who can even “duet” with your recording.

Paul himself never seemed to cease sharing his talents and ideas.

Paul first burst onto the scene as a flashy jazz guitarist during World War II, backing the likes of Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters while in the service. His style openly revealed the distinct influence of the great Django Reinhardt, whom Paul would befriend. (BTW: Another guitar-playing Django enthusiast, Johnny Depp, coincidentally was born today, too.)

Not content with how the guitar once had to compete sonically with so many other instruments on the bandstand, Paul ended up revolutionizing music.

“With a solid-body, guitarists could get louder and express themselves,” Paul once said. “Instead of being wimps, we’d become one of the most powerful people in the band. We could turn that mother up and do what we couldn’t do before.”

Just a few of the rock gods who would eventually wield Gibson Les Paul guitars are Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend.

Paul, who became known as “the Wizard of Waukesha” (a nod to his native Wisconsin) — as well as “the father of the electric guitar” — also was an innovator with overdub tracks in the studio.

As the day goes on, Comic Riffs is curious to see just how virtuosic some of these recordings become from the Google Guitar, which was the brainchild of the company’s Alex Chen , who’s both a designer and a musician. (Update: The Doodle, so popular that Google gave it a second-day encore on its home page, also spawned the site Googuitar.)

Les Paul is celebrated for building a state-of-the-art guitar. Kudos to Google for building a state-of-its-art Doodle.

MORE: TOP GOOGLE DOODLES: Our Fave Five logo animations so far

MORE: How to play “Google Guitar” chords

NINE “GOOGLE GUITAR” SAMPLINGS from ’round the web:

“Here Comes the Sun”

“Stairway to Heaven”

“Blister in the Sun”

“Hey Jude”

“I’m Yours”


“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”

“Pachelbel’s Canon”

“The Star Spangled Banner”