Mister Rock Riff is 14 years when he hears Elvis’ “Baby, Let’s Play House” for the first time. From then on he is fascinated with the Blues and learns every Blues-song he can lay his hands on. He practices so much, he even takes his guitar to school where it gets confiscated on a regular basis. All the practice pays off when he starts playing with Neil Christian & The Crusaders aged 15.
As he doesn’t like touring too much he soon becomes one of the hottest session guitarists in London and plays on many records of the stars of the day like The Rolling Stones, Donovan, John Mayall, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones and The Who. He later joins the Yardbirds and handles all Rhythm and Lead-parts after Jeff Beck’s departure.
After the breakup of the Yardbirds he forms The New Yardbirds, who later turn into Led Zeppelin. They released their milestone debut album “I” (1969) that was recorded in only 15 hours. The rest, as they say, is History.
Jimmy’s first guitar was a cheap Strat-copy by ‘Grazzioso’, but once he joins Neil Christian & The Crusaders he can afford a real Stratocaster. Later he swaps this guitar for a Gretsch 6120 ‘Chet Atkins’ and also tries his luck with a Gibson ES-345. Finally he gets a Gibson Les Paul Custom ‘Black Beauty’ with three Humbuckers that he upgrades with a Bigsby-Vibrato. Ampwise he prefers Supro Amps and later the more established Gretsch Amps. For acoustic pieces he uses old Martins and Gibson-Steelstrings.
When he forms the first twin-lead-guitar section with the Yardbirds, his colleague Jeff Beck gives him a ’60s Telecaster with rosewood fingerboard as a present. During that time Jimmy uses a Vox AC-30 with treble boost. Occasionally he uses his 59′ Les Paul with Bigsby-Vibrato, a Danelectro Standard 3012 for Open Tunings and a 12-string Vox Phantom.
He also starts using exotic techniques (like playing the guitar with a violin bow) and experiments with effect units. These include a Vox Wah, Echoplex Tape-Echo, Sola-Sound Tone-Bender Fuzz as well as a Roger Mayer custom-made fuzzbox.
For Led Zep’s debut Page used his trusted Telecaster/Supro combination and a Gibson J-2000 for the acoustic parts.
It took until the recording for Led Zeppelin ‘II’ until he changes to the classic Gibson Les Paul ’58 Sunburst and a Marshall-100-Watt ‘Plexi’ Full Stack that he’s famous for.
The classic set up can be heard on milestones like ‘Heartbreaker’ or ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and is the classic Hardrock-Sound per se.
He also upgrades this Les Paul, his #1, with Grover Tuners and changes the Bridge PU with a Double-White PAF (a rare example with two white coils). After it fails from all the sweat of the live performance it gets replaced with a black Gibson Humbucker from the less coveted ‘T-Top’ series.
Later he gets a second Les Paul from Joe Walsh as a gift. It’s a ’59 Les Paul in Sunburst. Again this guitar gets modded with, among other things, Grover Tuners and Seymour Duncan Pick-ups and a special wiring that allows in and out-of-phase sounds for each pick-up.
‘Pageys’ backline consists of the classic Marshalls, usually three or four heads and four to six cabs. All the heads are usually upgraded with the popular Rock star-modification of the time (pimped for up to 200 watt power – a Richie Blackmore favourite)
Jimmy Pages only uses a handful of effects for the Led Zeppelin live-shows, usually a Vox Wah, Echoplex Tape-Echo and MRX Phase 90 as well as the psychedelic ‘Theremin’.