Bio: James Patrick Page was born on 9th January 1944. He spent his first couple of years living in a London suburb, and in 1952 he moved to a new house in Surrey. This is where Page was first met with a guitar, finding an old Hofner Senator lying around in the house where they just moved in. He started playing, and took a few lessons, but he was mostly self-taught – learning by ear while listening to records.
Around this time Jimmy met Jeff Beck through his sister who was a classmate of his. Page had quite a big collection of records for a young kid, and they would often listen to them together and dream their ways of one day becoming guitarists themselves.
Jimmy began his career as a studio session guitarist in London, and in 1965 he was approached by the Yardbirds, who were looking for a new guitarist since Eric Clapton left the band. Jimmy didn’t wanna join right away, so he recommended his friend Jeff Beck instead. Soon after though, Jimmy also joined – first as a bassist, and then as a lead guitarist together with Jeff.
After the break-up of the Yardbirds, Page recruited vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham, and was contacted by John Paul Jones, who also eager to join the new band. During the Scandinavian tour same year the new group appeared as the New Yardbirds, but soon renamed them selves to “Led Zeppelin”.
Jimmy Page is considered to be one of the most influential guitarists of all time. He ranked third on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list and number two in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”, with Jimmy Hendrix taking the 1st place.
He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; once as a member of The Yardbirds, and once as a member of Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page’s Electric Guitars:
1959 Futurama Grazioso
This was Jimmy’s first electric guitar, the one he bought second-hand after realizing that his old Hofner just wasn’t good enough for him anymore.
Althought we don’t know for sure, but it’s safe to presume that Jimmy played this guitar during his early time as a session guitarist in the 60s, before getting the Les Paul.
1959 Fender Telecaster
This guitar was given to him by Jeff Beck in 1966 as a gift shortly after Page recommended Beck to replace Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, instead of him, which was Clapton’s first idea. Jimmy eventually joined the Yardbirds and played alongside Beck as a rhythm guitarist/bassist. After Jeff left the band later that year, Jimmy took over the role of the lead guitarist and played with the band until it’s break-up in 1968. During all his time with the Yardbirds, this Telecaster was his main instrument.
When Jimmy first got it, the guitar was painted completely white, but at some point in 1967 he glued 8 circular mirrors on the body of the guitar (4 behind the bridge, 3 bellow the pickups and one on top of the body). After a while, Jimmy decided to take the mirrors off, strip the paint of the guitar completely and repaint it himself. The guitar ended up looking the way it’s most known for. This re-modeling also included adding a metal/mirror pickguard.
Jimmy finally replaced the Tele with his Number One 1959 Gibson Les Paul in 1969, but picked it up again only to record the solo on “Stairway to Heaven”.
“I still have it (referring to the Dragon Tele), but it’s a tragic story. I went on tour with the ’59 Les Paul that I bought from Joe Walsh, and when I got back, a friend of mine had kindly painted over my paint job. He said, “I’ve got a present for you.” He thought he had done me a real favor. As you can guess, I wasn’t real happy about that. His paint job totally screwed up the sound and the wiring, so only the neck pickup worked. I salvaged the neck and put it on my brown Tele string bender that I used in the Firm. As for the body… it will never be seen again! (laughs)” Jimmy Page
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number One”
His “Number 1″ guitar is 1959 Les Paul – the “Holy Grail” of Les Pauls. Page got his ’59 from Joe Walsh (James Gang; later Eagles) in April 1969, and it very soon took the place of the Fender Telecaster he was using at that time. Walsh did an interview for the Guitar World magazine in which he shared the story about this transaction:
There have been many modification to Page’s No.1. The neck was “shaved” and it ended up being very thin, which was the thing Page really liked about this guitar. Jimmy also changed the Kluson tuning pegs with Grovers gold plated.
The electronics were modified as well. Pickups were changed numerous times. First the guitar had Seth Lover PAF pickups, but after a tour of Australia in 1972 the bridge pickup broke, and was replaced by a chrome T-Top humbucker which remained there for the duration of Led Zeppelin. The T-Top was eventually replaced with a custom wound Seymour Duncan pickup sometime in the 90’s. The neck pickup remained the same until the 2000’s when it was replaced by a PAF humbucker from 1960s.
Interesting thing about this guitar is that it’s still unknown what year model it is. Due to some sanding, the serial number on the back of the guitar is no longer visible, but most people agree that this Les Paul is probably a late 1959, or early 1960.
Short interview with Jimmy Page talking about his Number One
Here is Jimmy Page’s opinion on Les Pauls:
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number Two”
1969/70 Gibson Les Paul Custom “Number Three”
First seen on stage around 1970, and up until this day the details about this Les Paul remain mostly unknown. It been guessed that Jimmy bought this guitar to replace the stolen 1960 Les Paul Black Beauty, and that it originally came with a gold-top pancake body, and one piece neck, and that at some point the top of the body was repainted red.
As for pickups, the guitar probably had Saymour Duncan humbuckers (although some argue those were mini humbuckers). The guitar remained in this state up until mid 80s when Page had the B-Bender installed.
Page also had another similar guitar which drags even more confusion into this topic. The other Les Paul was also red, and was set up very similarly, with two exposed pickups, but it didn’t have B-Bender installed. There’s a lot confusion going around these two guitars, that we can’t precisely separate them from each other.
Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck
The famous guitar Page used for playing “Stairway to heaven” on stage to avoid switching guitars mid-song, but he also used it for live renditions of other Led Zeppelin classics such as “The Rain Song,” “Celebration Day” and “The Song Remains The Same.”
The guitar is completely stock except for the pickup covers on the bottom which were removed in 1971.
1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty
Jimmy bought this Les Paul in the early 1960’s and used it as his main instrument during his session work days. It had a mahogany body with three PAF pickups, two volume knobs, two tone knobs, a three way selector switch, and was equipped with a Bigsby tremolo system.
The guitar was stolen in April of 1970 during a Led Zeppelin tour in America. Jimmy decided to post an ad for the missing guitar in Rolling Stone Magazine, but unfortunately he never got his guitar back.
“Black Beauty, which got nicked in the States; it disappeared in airport, somewhere between Boston and Montreal. A lot of my studio work had been done with that guitar. I didn’t want to take it out of the house. Funny that once I did take it out, it got nicked!” Jimmy Page for the Guitar World 1991
Page used this guitar to record “Whole Lotta Love”, and most of the songs he did as a session guitarist.
1961 Danelectro 3021
He used this Danelecto in the Yardbirds on White Summer and in Led Zeppelin and beyond on Black Mountain Side, Kashmir and In My Time Of Dying.
It’s a standard vintage Danelectro, with a Leo Quan Badass bridge installed on it sometime in the 80’s. The only change made to the guitar before that were the tuners.
1967 Vox 12-string
|Used during the recording of the Yardbirds album “Little Games” and with the Zeppelin on “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid”.|
1964 Fender Stratocaster
One of the very few Stratocasters that Jimmy actually played and recorded with. He bought it in 1975 and used it on “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “No Quarter”.
What came to be interesting about this particular guitar is that the guy who actually sold this Stratocaster to Jimmy is an active member of The Les Paul forums. His nickname is Plankspanker and here’s what he said about the guitar:
“It’s a extremely nice ’64 LPB Strat that came from Sam Ash on 48th St. Lenny the store manager called me up about it.
1953 Fender Telecaster
Jimmy used this Tele around 1977 with Zeppelin for for “Hot Dog” and “Ten Years Gone”, and also later in the 80s as the main guitar with The Firm.
The guitar has a string bending system and originally came with a maple neck, which stayed on up until 1979 when it was replaced with the rosewood neck from Jimmy’s 1959 Telecaster from the Yardbirds era.
1990s Gibson Les Paul TransPerformance submitted by Tom K.
Jimy used this guitar on Kashmir from the 1994 album “No Quarter, and he uses it since then very often for live gigs. The guitar is equipped with Transperfomance self-tuning system, which allows Page to chose from literally hundreds of different tuning without turning a knob.
Jimmy has three guitars with the Transperfomance system built-in – his favorite one being a gold-top Les Paul from the early ’90s.
Jimmy Page Acoustic Guitars:
1963 Gibson J-200
This guitar actually didn’t belong to Jimmy but was borrowed from his friend Jim Sullivan, because Jimmy needed acoustic guitar to record Led Zeppelin’s first album. He used it to record all of the acoustic songs on that album, from “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” to “Black Mountain Side” and “Your Time is Gonna Come”.
This J-200 was produced in 1963 and had a spruce top, with figured maple used for the back and sides. The neck was made out of five laminated pieces of maple, and the fret-board was ebony with crest inlays. All of the hardware is gold plated.
He later gave the guitar back to Jim and began using the Martin D-28.
Giannini GWSCRA12-P Craviola
|Jimmy used this guitar to record “Tangerine” and on stage from 1971 to June 1972. It had gold plated tuners, rosewood sides and back and sitka spruce top.|
Harmony Sovereign H-1260
|He used it for studio recording of Led Zeppelin III during acoustic session and on-stage from 1971 to 1972.|
Jimmy Page’s Guitar Amps:
|Used on Led Zeppelin’s first US tour|
Fender Super Reverb
|Used on-stage around 1969.|
Hiwatt Custom 50 and 100
|These amps were custom versions of Hiwatt’s Special All Purpose amps with a few modifications. Page used them on stage from July 1969 to November 1971. The amplifiers were powered by four EL34’s, with three 12AX7, and a 12AT7.|
|Used on “Led Zeppelin II”|
Marshall SLP-1959 Super Lead
|The amp is a 100 watts, with two channels, and four inputs. Jimmy used it first on stage in March of 1969. The KT66’s were changed in 1975 with KT88’s in order to increase the headroom and output of the amp.|
|Original T-boost model, seen on-stage from April 1968.|
|“I was using the Supro amp for the first album and still do. The “Stairway To Heaven” solo was done when I pulled out the Telecaster, which I hadn’t used for a long time, plugged it into the Supro, and away it went again.” Jimmy Page. The mentioned model was Supro 1690T modified with a small 12 inch speaker.|
|He used it on stage from Aug. 7, 1971 through the 1973 US Tour together with the Theremin.
This amp was supposedly sold on an e-bay auction in 2009.
|Used during the US tour in June 1972.|
Jimmy Page’s Guitar Effects:
- Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone
Used in the very early time – 1964, when he was a session guitarist in London.
- Sola Sound Tone Bender Professional MKII
Very old, and perhaps little known pedal designed by Gary Hurst on which the better known Arbiter Fuzz Face was based. Page was one of the very first people to own this pedal, way before it hit production line. He used it in the Yardbirds era, and on Led Zeppelin I. Page stated that this particular effect was a huge part of his sound.
- Roto Sound Tone Bender MKIII
Quite similar to the Sola TB, major difference being the 3-transistor. If you wanna hear it yourself watch Led Zeppelin – Tous En Scène live 1969.
- Vox Grey Wah
Jimmy’s first Wah pedal that goes back to the Yardbirds time after he started playing rhythm guitar with Beck. Used up until late 1970.
- Vox King Wah
From late 1970 to mid-1971 Page switched to King Wah. After that he still used it ocassinaly, for instance in February 1972 on the Australian tour.
- Vox/Thomas Organ Crybaby Wah
Used ever since 1971, with only few exceptions.
- Vox V846 Wah
Used briefly in 1975.
- Univox UD-50 Uni-Drive
One of the oldest overdrive pedals. Page used it during the 1971 “Back to the Clubs” tour.
- VOX CO2 Deluxe Echo
Tape loop effect that works on a principle of recording the guitar/sound on the tape and then playing that recorded signal back at a slightly delayed time. Page has used it in the late 1969 – early 1970.
- Binson Echorec 2
Jimmy was seen using on on stage in the early 70’s. It has also been used on the drums in “When the Levee Breaks.”
- Maestro Echoplex EP-2
Used from the late 1970 to 1972. Can be heard on Zeppelin I.
- Maestro Echoplex EP-3
Page eventually replaced the EP-2 with this newer model, and kept it ever since.
- Sonic Wave Theremin
Used primarily on “Whole Lotta Love” paired with EP-3.
- MXR M-101 Phase 90
Used since 1975 for songs like “Achilles Last Stand” and “Wanton Song”.
- MXR M103 Blue Box Fuzz/Octave Pedal
Used in the late 1970s.
- Eventide Harmonizer
Page used the H-910 model in studio from 1976 to mid 1980s. He then switched to the H-949 model and used it on stage with the Firm. At that time he was also using two pedals from Boss: SD-1 Super Overdrive and CE-2 Chorus.
- Pete Cornish Effects Pedalboard
Ever since the 1993 Page has been using the Pete Cornish Pedalboard which has great number of effects built into it. Here’s a list of some of them: MXR Phase 90, Yamaha CH-10Mk II Chorus, Boss CE-2 Chorus , Digitech WH-1 Whammy, Jen Crybaby Wah…
Jimmy Page’s Guitar Strings:
- Ernie Ball Super Slinky .009-.042 Strings
- Ernie Ball Earthwood Acoustic Strings
Jimmy Page’s Guitar Picks:
- Herco Flex 75 Picks