Jimmy Page: Legendary Guitarist, His Iconic Guitars, and Equipment
Jimmy Page is undeniably one of the most influential and revered guitarists in the history of rock music. As the founder and lead guitarist of the legendary band Led Zeppelin, Page’s unique style, innovative techniques, and choice of equipment have left an indelible mark on the world of music. In this blog post, we’ll explore the incredible life and career of Jimmy Page, delving into his fascinating biography, iconic guitars, and the equipment that helped shape his sound.
Born James Patrick Page on January 9, 1944, in Heston, Middlesex, England, Jimmy’s love for music began at a young age. He was first inspired to pick up the guitar after hearing Elvis Presley’s “Baby, Let’s Play House.” By the age of 13, Page was already performing in local bands, eventually becoming a highly sought-after session musician in the 1960s.
Before forming Led Zeppelin, Page was a member of The Yardbirds, where he shared guitar duties with Jeff Beck. When The Yardbirds disbanded in 1968, Page formed Led Zeppelin with vocalist Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. Together, they went on to create some of the most memorable and groundbreaking music of the rock era.
Jimmy Page’s Guitars
- 1959 Fender Telecaster Jimmy Page’s first notable guitar was a 1959 Fender Telecaster, which he acquired in 1964. This guitar played a crucial role in Page’s early career, both as a session musician and during his time with The Yardbirds. He later adorned the Telecaster with mirrors and hand-painted psychedelic designs, dubbing it the “Dragon Telecaster.” Page used this guitar to record Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album and played it during many live performances.
- 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number One” Arguably Jimmy Page’s most iconic guitar, the 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard, nicknamed “Number One,” was purchased from Joe Walsh in 1969. This sunburst Les Paul became synonymous with Page’s sound during his time with Led Zeppelin. He used it extensively, both in the studio and live, for classics such as “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven.”
- 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number Two” In 1973, Page acquired his second sunburst Les Paul, a 1959 model, which he called “Number Two.” This guitar featured a push-pull system that allowed Page to achieve various pickup configurations, giving him a wide range of tonal options. He often used this guitar as a backup for “Number One.”
- Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck The Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck is another iconic instrument associated with Jimmy Page. The 6 and 12-string combination allowed him to perform songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “The Song Remains the Same” live without switching guitars. Page’s use of the EDS-1275 helped popularize the double-neck guitar among rock musicians.
- Amplifiers Throughout his career, Jimmy Page has been closely associated with Marshall amplifiers, particularly the 100-watt Super Lead model. He often used multiple Marshall stacks to achieve his signature, powerful sound. Additionally, Page occasionally utilized Vox, Orange, and Hiwatt amplifiers.
Page’s choice of effects pedals played a significant role in shaping his sound. Some of his most commonly used pedals include:
- Vox Cry Baby Wah-Wah: A key component of Page’s sound, this pedal helped him create the distinctive tones on tracks like “Dazed and Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
- Maestro Echoplex: This tape-based delay unit was a crucial part of Page’s sonic arsenal. The Echoplex allowed him to create complex, layered textures, as heard on songs like “Achilles Last Stand” and “Kashmir.”
- Sola Sound Tone Bender: As one of the pioneers of fuzz guitar tones, Page often employed the Sola Sound Tone Bender fuzz pedal to achieve a thick, distorted sound. This can be heard prominently on tracks like “Heartbreaker” and “Communication Breakdown.”
- MXR Phase 90: A popular phaser pedal, the MXR Phase 90 was used by Page to create swirling, psychedelic tones on songs such as “No Quarter.”
- Boss CE-2 Chorus: Although not used extensively, the Boss CE-2 Chorus pedal can be heard on some of Led Zeppelin’s later recordings, adding a lush, shimmering texture to Page’s guitar sound.
- Roland Space Echo: This tape-based echo unit was another favorite of Page’s. The Roland Space Echo was used on several Led Zeppelin tracks, including the iconic intro to “When the Levee Breaks.”
Beyond his choice of guitars and equipment, Page’s innovative studio techniques also played a significant role in shaping his sound. As a producer, he pioneered techniques such as reverse echo, which can be heard on “You Shook Me” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Additionally, his use of multi-tracking allowed him to create dense, layered guitar parts that became a hallmark of Led Zeppelin’s sound.
Jimmy Page’s legacy as a guitarist and producer is unparalleled. His unique approach to the guitar, combined with his selection of instruments and equipment, has left a lasting impact on rock music. From his iconic Les Pauls to his pioneering studio techniques, Page’s contributions to the world of music are still felt today, inspiring countless musicians to follow in his footsteps.