The Guitars of Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page Les Paul

Jimmy Page is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and influential guitarists of all time. The music he made with the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin is still recognized as some of the best rock music ever made, and he influenced countless generations of guitarists. 

To this day, people still obsess over his playing and his gear. From cheap acoustics to high-end electrics, Page played just about everything you can think of. So today, let’s take a look at all of the guitars Page has used throughout his career. 

Pre-1966

This list will be roughly chronological based on what he got and started using each of these guitars. However, there aren’t exact dates for a lot of these instruments, so the timeline may not be 100% accurate. 

Hofner President

According to Page himself, the very first guitar he ever had was a Hofner President archtop. He says that his father purchased that guitar for him, presumably after showing some interest in learning to play. 

Hofner Presidents were relatively cheap archtops, but a good guitar for Page to get started on. He played this in some of his earlier bands as a teenager, as well as on his first TV appearance in 1957 at the age of 13. 

1950s Futurama Grazioso

The first electric guitar and first guitar Page bought himself was a Futurama Grazioso. These guitars were Czechoslovakian and were imported into the UK as another budget alternative to Hofner.  

They’re vaguely Strat-like, featuring three single coil pickups and a tremolo bar. Instead of a traditional pickup selector though, they had three large switches instead that just scream 50s/60s.

Despite being fairly unknown today, these guitars were everywhere in the early 60s. George Harrison used one during the Beatles’ Hamburg days, Clapton used one early, and tons of other up and coming bands had them at the time. 

Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman

Unknown to many, Page actually used a Gretsch Country Gentleman early on as well. According to the book “No Quarter: The Three Lives of Jimmy Page,” he used this guitar at least once while playing with Neil Christian & the Crusaders. 

Other than that, basically nothing is known about this guitar outside of the basic Country Gentleman specs. There aren’t any photos of Page with this guitar, and he hasn’t talked about it personally either.

1962 Harmony Sovereign H1260

Page acquired this guitar at some point in the early to mid 60s, but this is by far the most well known of his early guitars. 

This guitar was used consistently by Page from 1970 to 1972. It was used for the recording of Led Zeppelin III and IV, meaning it’s featured on countless Led Zeppelin classics.

Though Harmony is most known these days for their super-cheap low-end guitars, they did make some nicer stuff back in the day. This guitar is an example of Harmony’s higher end, and it was clearly good enough for Page. 

1966 – 1970

With the early years accounted for, let’s move onto the mid 60s when Page was beginning to establish himself as a professional guitarist. 

Photo Credit: Jorgen Angel

“Dragon” – 1959 Fender Telecaster

Page’s 1959 “Dragon” Telecaster is easily one the most iconic instruments he ever played. When Jeff Beck recommended Page for the Yardbirds, he also gave him this guitar. 

Originally it was white, but Page decided to add eight mirrors to the body in 1967. Funnily enough, Syd Barret of Pink Floyd did the same with this Telecaster at one point. However, the guitar we recognize today as the Dragon Tele came about when Page removed the mirrors, stripped the paint, painted it yellow, and added the Dragon painting. 

This guitar saw a lot of use, using it with the Yardbirds as well as Led Zeppelin. It was the main guitar used on Zeppelin’s debut, and it also saw some use on Led Zeppelin II and III. On top of that, it was the guitar used for the “Stairway to Heaven” solo.

Sadly, the guitar was not well preserved. A friend of Page’s repainted the guitar as a gift while Page was on tour, but the paint job damaged the electronics. The neck would later be salvaged for another one of his Teles.

That said, the guitar was fully restored in 2018. This resulted in a collaboration with Fender to release two signature Jimmy Page Telecasters, one of the Dragon Tele and another of the earlier Mirror Tele. 

“Shorthorn” – 1961 Danelectro DC-2 3021

Page acquired this guitar at some point in the mid 60s, using it with both the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. It’s a fairly standard Danelectro for the time with two lipstick pickups, a three way switch, and volume/tone knobs. 

Most Zeppelin fans will likely recognize this guitar for its use on “Kashmir.” Page used this guitar on-stage with Zeppelin often in the mid to late 70s, mainly for songs with alternate tunings. It may not have been one of his main guitars, but it did get used enough to be an important part of his guitar history. 

“Black Beauty” – 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom

Most know Page for his Les Pauls, and this 1960 Black Beauty Les Paul Custom was his first ever. He supposedly acquired this guitar in the early 60s, but little is known about how exactly he got it. Some say he traded a Gretsch for it (possibly the Country Gentleman mentioned earlier), but there is no real evidence. 

This guitar was used by Page frequently when he was a session musician in early to mid 60s. He had this guitar for the recording of the early Zeppelin albums, but the only song we know it with confidence it was used on is “Whole Lotta Love.”

As for the guitar itself, it has three PAFs, Grover tuners, and a Bigsby. Page made some modifications throughout the years. He added three independent pickup switches, allowing him to quickly turn pickups on or off. He also swapped out the neck and bridge pickups for Seymour Duncan Humbucks. 

This guitar eventually was stolen in 1970 while Zeppelin was on tour. He supposedly even ran an ad in Rolling Stone looking for it, but he got no responses. There is a happy ending though, as Page was reunited with the guitar in 2015. 

1967 Vox Phantom XII

Though Page is well known for his Les Pauls, he’s also well known for 12-strings. This was Page’s first 12-string and another guitar he acquired during his time as a session guitarist according to one of his books. He used this with the Yardbirds as well as Led Zeppelin on the songs “Livin Lovin’ Maid,” “Thank You,” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

1965 Fender Electric XII

Page also used a 1965 Fender Electric XII. In the interview linked in the Vox section, he says he used the Vox until he got this guitar. However, he ended up using both on “Stairway to Heaven.” This guitar was also used on “The Song Remains the Same.”

1963 Gibson J-200

Page’s 1968 Gibson J-200 is a pretty unassuming guitar, but it actually ties into one of rock’s most odd and enduring mysteries. 

When heading into the studio for the first Led Zeppelin album, Page wanted a good acoustic for the various acoustic songs on the album (such as “Black Mountain Side” and “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” It’s interesting that Page wanted a better acoustic considering he already had his Harmony, which he would end up using on later Zeppelin albums. 

What’s interesting however is that he borrowed it from a friend named Jim Sullivan. Sullivan was an American singer-songwriter who released two good but mostly unsuccessful albums in the late 60s/early 70s before disappearing in 1975. 

Some speculate that he was abducted by aliens, fueled by his first album being called “U.F.O” and featuring a song that references being abducted. However, the mystery is still unresolved to this day. There is next to no information about his disappearance other than that he disappeared while driving from LA to Nashville, and it’s unlikely the truth will ever be known. 

As for the guitar, it was returned to Sullivan. Some online blogs indicate the guitar ended up in the hands of Mickie Most, a producer who worked with Page and Sullivan. They also indicate the guitar is owned by one of Most’s children, but this is all unconfirmed. 

Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

“Number One” – 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Next up is the guitar commonly called “Number One,” which is a 1959 Les Paul Standard. This is Page’s main guitar, hence the name. He got this guitar in 1969 from Joe Walsh, and he’s played it consistently ever since. It likely featured on most Led Zeppelin albums. 

Page has made numerous modifications to this guitar over the years. The neck was sanded down before he got it, possibly by Walsh. He installed Grover tuners to replace the Klusons that were on it. 

None of the original pickups are remaining, and they were swapped numerous times. It was loaded with Seth Lover PAFs when he got it, but the bridge pickup was replaced with a T-Top humbucker. That T-Top was then replaced by a Seymour Duncan humbucker in the 90s. 

The most well known mod however is to the electronics. Page swapped one of the knobs out for a push-pull pot so he could reverse the phase of the pickups. This likely occurred at some point in the 80s, but it’s still become synonymous with Page. 

Photo Credit: guitar.com

70s and On

Now, let’s delve into the later half of Page’s career and the guitars he used from the 70s on. 

Martin D-28

Page purchased a Martin D-28 sometime in 1970, and it became his main acoustic. This is a standard D-28 from the late 60s/early 70s, so there isn’t a whole lot to say about it in particular. Page did make one modification though, which was the addition of a Barcus-Berry Model 1355 Transducer so it could be more easily amplified. 

“Number Three” – 1969/1970 Les Paul Deluxe

Not much is known about Page’s 1969/1970 Les Paul Deluxe, known as “Number Three.” He was first seen with it in 1970. It was played a lot in 1973 but went back into hiding after that. It didn’t pop up again until the 80s when he added a B-Bender. 

Giannini GWSCRA12-P Craviola

The Giannini Craviola is an odd guitar of which Page had multiple. He used this to record “Tangerine,” as well as to perform the song live. Other than that, Page’s use of these guitars is minimal. They feature a lute-like body shape, slotted tuners, rosewood back and side, and a spruce top. 

Photo Credit: Michael Putland/Photoshot

1971 Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck

The 1971 Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck is easily one of Page’s iconic guitars. Jimmy got this guitar directly from Gibson so he could play “Stairway to Heaven” live. And despite never really using it for anything else, it’s one of the guitar’s most associated with him. 

As for specs, it has everything you’d expect on a typical Gibson other than having two necks. It’s a surprisingly normal guitar despite being such a unique design. 

“Number Two” – 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Number Two, another 1950 Gibson Les Paul Standard, is one of Page’s other most used guitars. He first got it in 1973, but it didn’t see much use until a few years later. He often played “Kashmir” on this guitar, and he also used it occasionally for his violin bow sections. 

What’s most notable about this guitar though are the mods. This guitar has been modified heavily, particularly the electronics. There were various switches, pots, and more added that result in this guitar having an absurd variety of tones. The Jimmy Page wiring is now a fairly popular mod and is based off this guitar. 

“Brown B-Bender” – 1953 Fender Telecaster

This 1953 Telecaster was acquired by Page in the mid 70s. After getting the guitar, he added a B-Bender and would later swap out the neck with the neck from the Dragon Tele. Page used this guitar a fair amount, but it wasn’t one of his main ones. 

It’s also worth noting this guitar has a unique color. It’s painted in “Botswana Brown,” but there is no evidence of any other 1953 Telecaster having that color. 

1964 Fender Stratocaster

Jimmy Page isn’t known for Strats, but he at least had one. This guitar was used scarcely live and in the studio. This guitar was supposedly sold to Page by a guy after it was shown to him at Electric Ladyland Studios in 1975, but the story is unconfirmed. 

Gibson Les Paul TransPerformance

Page is no stranger to experimentation, and this Les Paul TransPerformance is an example of that. Gibson introduced these guitars in the late 80s/early 90s, and they feature an automatic tuning system. Page was an endorser of these guitars and had many, and he still owns at least one. 

Despite his endorsement though, these guitars didn’t sell well. Players simply weren’t interested in a self tuning guitar. And judging by more recent attempts to introduce a self-tuning system, they still aren’t. 

Jimmy Page and His Many Guitars

For a guitarist of Jimmy Page’s stature, it’s no surprise that he’s used many guitars over the years. Whether they be iconic classics like Les Pauls and Telecaster, unique instruments from the likes of Giannini, or regular guitars with incredible stories like his borrowed J-200, Page’s guitars tell a story that parallels his own musical journey.