Jimmy Page was born on 9th January 1944. He is an English musician, songwriter and record producer who achieved international success as guitarist and the leader of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
Page began his career as a studio session musician in London and, by the mid-1960s, had become the most sought-after session guitarist in England. He was a member of the Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968. In late 1968, he founded Led Zeppelin. Page is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked him number 3 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. In 2010, he was ranked number two in Gibson’s list of “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time” and, in 2007, number four on Classic Rock’s “100 Wildest Guitar Heroes”. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; once as a member of the Yardbirds (1992) and once as a member of Led Zeppelin (1995).
Jimmy is of course mostly known for playing Gibson Les Paul guitars, and he is perhaps one of the people responsible for making the guitar one of the most popular models among guitarists. But even though he played Les Pauls for most of his career, Jimmy started of his professional career playing a 59 Telecaster, which he used in the Yardbirds and later on to record the solo on “Stairway To Heaven”. He’s also known for occasionally picking up a double-neck Gibson SG on stage, as well as a black Danelectro which is mostly used for “Kashmir”.
Jimmy Page’s Electric Guitars:
|This was Jimmy’s first electric guitar – the one he bought second-hand after realizing that his old Hofner acoustic just wasn’t good enough anymore. The guitar was made by a Chzechoslovakian company Drevokov located in the city of Blatná, who named it Grazioso for home market and Futurama for foreign markets (read more about it at The Futurama Guitar Story) . It featured sunburst finish, three single-coil pickups with individual switches below them, and a maple neck with dot inlays.
Although 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 ’59 Telecaster and his Les Paul.
1959 Fender Telecaster
|This guitar was given to Jimmy by Jeff Beck in 1966 as a gift shortly after Page recommended Beck to replace Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, instead of himself – which was Clapton’s initial idea. Jimmy did eventually join 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 its break-up in 1968. During all his time with the Yardbirds, this Telecaster was Jimmy’s main instrument.
When Jimmy first got it, the guitar was painted completely white, but at some point in 1967 he glued eight circular mirrors on the body – four of them behind the bridge, three below 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 and repaint it himself. The guitar ended up looking the way it’s mostly known for – featuring yellowish finish, and red and black dragon decal. This remodeling 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”.
1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom
|Jimmy bought this Les Paul in early 1960s and used it as his main instrument during his session work days. The guitar was later stolen in April of 1970 during Led Zeppelin US tour. Jimmy decided to post an ad for the missing guitar in Rolling Stone Magazine, but unfortunately he didn’t get it back until just recently.
Page used this guitar to record “Whole Lotta Love”, and most of the songs he did as a session guitarist. The guitar was made in 1960, making it one of the last original Customs ever produced. It was equipped with three PAF (Patent Applied For) pickups designed by Seth Lover in 1955, a Bigsby tremolo, and Grover Rotomatics tuners.
In most recent news it was revealed that the ‘Black Beauty’ guitar was returned to Jimmy. The source of this information is Henry Smith, who recently did a Q&A session on Facebook. No official statement has been released from Jimmy though.
1961 Danelectro 3021/DC59
|Jimmy bought this guitar sometime in mid 60s and used it for his early studio work, with the Yardbirds, and later on with Zeppelin. It was first used on stage on “White Summer” with the Yardbird circa 1967 tuned to DADGAD – also known as Celtic tuning.
Jimmy used this guitar occasionally with Led Zeppelin in early to mid 70s on “When The Levee Breaks” and “In My Time Of Dying”. After the release of Physical Graffiti in 1975 he started using the guitar on “Kashmir” – which is probably the song this guitar is mostly known for.
The guitar was made in 1961, and features black finish on a semi-hollow body with a poplar center and a masonite top, back, and sides. I has two Lipstick single-coil pickups with Alnico magnets, and it was equipped with Quan Badass Bridge sometime in the 80s.
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number One”
|This is widely known as Jimmy’s Number One guitar – but on paper it is a 1959 Les Paul, also known as the “Holy Grail” of the Les Pauls.
Page got his ’59 from Joe Walsh (James Gang; later Eagles) in April of 1969, and it very soon took the place of the Fender Telecaster which he was using at that time. Walsh did an interview with Guitar World magazine in which he shared the story about the exchange:
This guitar had a few modification done to it before it got into Page’s hands. The back of the neck was sanded down and shaved, making it very thin and easier to play – which was the thing that Page really liked about this guitar. After Page got to play the guitar for couple of gigs, he decided to swap the original Kluson tuners with gold-plated Grovers – since he was already familiar with them from his Les Paul Custom.
The electronics were modified as well. Pickups were changed numerous times. Firstly, the guitar had Seth Lover PAF pickups, but after a tour of Australia in 1972 the bridge pickup malfunctioned, and was promptly replaced with 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 humbucker sometime in the 90’s. The neck pickup remained the same until the 2000’s when it was replaced by a PAF humbucker from the 1960s.
Another interesting thing about this particular guitar is that it’s still unknown what year model the guitar is. Due to sanding of the neck, and the fact that none of the pickups are original, the serial number on the guitar is no longer present. 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:
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number Two”
|Jimmy’s second 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard – aptly dubbed “Number Two”. He bought it in England shortly after the 1973 U.S. tour, but didn’t use it on stage until January 1975, when it was brought out on tour as a backup for the Number One.
Page usually had this guitar tuned to DADGAD, and played “Kashmir” on it. It was sometimes also used for “Dazed and Confused” – when Jimmy played with a violin bow, “Moby Dick”, and “Over the Hills and Far Away”.
Jimmy wanted his Number Two to feel and sound as similar as possible as his Number One, so the neck was shaved and sanded down to replicate the neck profile on Number One, and the Kluson tuners were replaced with Grovers.
His Number Two had switches for series/parallel and phase switching. Four push pulls were also installed to add the ability of coil splitting each pickup and the option of putting all four coils in parallel. The wiring mods were all done by engineer Steve Hoyland.
Number Two is visually distinguishable from Number One by somewhat darker finish, and overall more “brownish” look.
1969/70 Gibson Les Paul “Number Three”
|First seen on stage around 1970 – which means that this guitar came prior to the Number Two Les Paul.
Up until this day details about this particular Les Paul remain unknown for the most part. It’s been guessed that Jimmy bought this guitar to replace his 1960 Les Paul Custom which was stolen in 1970, and that it originally came with a goldtop pancake body and a one piece neck, and that at some point the top of the body was repainted red.
This guitar was used briefly in 1970 as a backup for Jimmy’s main Les Paul. It reappeared again in 1973, when it got significantly more stage time, and then it was put away again in 1975 when Page started using his Number Two 59′ Les Paul as a spare instead. Towards mid 80s, Jimmy installed a B-Bender in it, and started using the guitar again more extensively.
There are theories of another red Les Paul appearing in 1977, supposedly being some sort of a clone of this guitar. From the looks of it, there appears to be some visual difference between the guitars, but until we find some time to dig deeper into this topic, we’ll leave the alleged clone out of this list.
1965 Fender Electric XII
|Jimmy used this guitar in the studio to record “Living Loving Maid”, “Stairway to Heaven”, and later on “The Song Remains The Same” from Houses Of The Holy released in 1973.
Fender Electric XII model was introduced in late 1965, and it was a purpose-built 12-string guitar with individual saddles for each string. The guitar had a Jazzmaster-shaped alder body, rosewood neck with “hockey-stick” headstock, and two split single coil pickups/
Although most people agree that this was the guitar used in the studio on Led Zeppelin IV, Andy John who produced the album mentioned Jimmy useing a Rickenbacker 12 string (Andy Johns on the secrets behind the Led Zeppelin IV sessions).
1970s Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck
|This guitar was made famous for it’s stage usage on “Stairway To Heaven”. It features double-neck design – having both a six-string and a twelve-string neck, and therefore allowing Jimmy to avoid switching guitars mid-song. He basically used the bottom neck for the intro and solo, while playing the verses on the twelve-string neck.
Jimmy also used this guitar occasionally for live renditions of other Led Zeppelin songs such as The Rain Song, Celebration Day, and The Song Remains The Same.
Jimmy’s EDS-1275 guitar was actually custom-made for Page, since this particular model was no longer in production when he requested one from Gibson. This resulted in few difference over the stock model – main one being a slightly different body shape, and a one-piece mahogany neck instead of the three-piece maple.
1967 Vox Phantom XII 12 String
|Used during the recording of the Yardbirds album “Little Games” and with the Zeppelin on “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid”.
The guitar features black finish with white pickguard, three single-coil pickups, and a Bigsby tremolo.
1964 Fender Stratocaster
|One of the very few Stratocasters that Jimmy actually played and recorded with. He bought it in 1975 and first used it out of necessity on “Over the Hills and Far Away” after a string broke on his Les Paul during one of the shows from Earls Court in 1975. This should be taken very lightly though, as there is not enough proof to confirm it.
This guitar was used in the studio on “For Your Life” and “Hots On For Nowhere” from the 1975 album Presence (although this might’ve been a different white Strat given to him by John Paul Jones), and later on “In the Evening” from the 1979 album, In Through the Out Door.
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:
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 B-Bender system built in – which enables the player to bend the B-string up a whole tone (two frets) to C-sharp.
1990s Gibson Les Paul TransPerformance
|Jimy used this guitar on Kashmir from the 1994 album “No Quarter”, and he used it since then occasionally for live gigs. The guitar is equipped with the Transperformance self-tuning system, which allows Page to chose from literally hundreds of different tuning without turning a knob.
Jimmy has three guitars with the Transperformance system built-in – his favorite one being a gold-top Les Paul from the early ’90s.
Jimmy Page Acoustic Guitars:
|Sometime in June 1970 Jimmy purchased a Martin D-28, and played it on stage for the song “That’s the Way” at the Festival of Blues & Progressive Music Festival. Sometime later he installed a Barcus-Berry Model 1355 Transducer connected to a Barcus-Berry Model 1330S Preamp to allow him to play through the amp, rather than just through the microphone.
Assuming the guitar was bought second-hand and was built sometime prior to 1970, it most likely featured a solid sitka spruce top with Brazilian rosewood (which was changed to Indian rosewood in 1970) [The Martin Dreadnought Story by Richard Bamman]. The neck was mahogany with ebony fretboard featuring pearloid dot boltaron inlays.
1963 Gibson J-200
|This guitar actually didn’t belong to Jimmy but was borrowed from his friend Jim Sullivan, because Jimmy needed an acoustic guitar to record Led Zeppelin’s first album. He used it to record all of the acoustic songs on that album, including “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, “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.|
The mentioned model was Supro 1690T modified with a small 12 inch speaker.
|He used it this amp on stage from Aug. 7, 1971 through the 1973 US Tour together with a Theremin. It was supposedly sold on an ebay 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