Jimmy Page Gear Guide

Guitarists don’t get more legendary than Jimmy Page. Universally regarded as one of the most beloved and influential guitarists of all time, Page was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for his work with Led Zeppelin as well as The Yardbirds. After a career that’s already spanned 60 years, the British guitarist, songwriter and record producer shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

If you’re interested in learning about what guitars, pedals and amps Jimmy Page rocked with over his six-decade career, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the net to build together this ultimate guide to help save you time and money if you’re interested in learning about what gear Jimmy used over his career.

Jimmy Page's Origin Story

Born in 1944, Jimmy Page spent his early years in the west London suburb of Heston (which incidentally isn't far from our office!).

our office

A move in 1952 to a home with an acoustic guitar left by the previous owners in Surrey proved to be something that would change the world of music forever. 

"I don't know whether [the guitar] was left behind by the people before, or whether it was a friend of the family's—nobody seemed to know why it was there,” Page later said in an interview.

Aside from a few lessons he took in Kingston, Jimmy Page mostly taught himself how to play the guitar.

“When I grew up there weren't many other guitarists ... There was one other guitarist in my school who actually showed me the first chords that I learned and I went on from there. I was bored so I taught myself the guitar from listening to records. So obviously it was a very personal thing,” Page said in an interview

Jimmy Page’s early influences range from Elvis to rockabilly guitarists Scotty Moore and James Burton.

Page’s first electric guitar is said to be a 1950s Futurama/Grazioso. It was a used guitar that he purchased second-hand after realizing that his old acoustic guitar wasn’t doing the trick anymore.

Crafted by a Czechoslovakian company, this guitar featured featured three single-coil pickups and a warm sunburst finish. It’s likely that this guitar was integral in helping Page develop his musical prowess and signature sound before becoming a professional session guitarist in the early 60’s.

futurama jimmy page

The Futurama/Grazioso - Image Source

By age 13, Page was good enough at guitar to be featured live on BBC1.

“There was a lot of busking in the early days, but as they say, I had to come to grips with it and it was a good schooling,” Page said in an interview for Guitar Magazine.

After performing with various bands and battling a devastating case of mono in his teens, Page briefly put music on hold before taking up a career as a session guitarist.

In the early 60’s, Jimmy bought a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom. He’d later name the guitar “Black Beauty.” Tragically, the guitar was stolen during an American tour as Jimmy explained in a 1991 Guitar World interview: “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!”

The guitar was used to record “Whole Lotta Love” and the majority of his session recordings. In a stunning turn of events, this guitar was miraculously returned to Jimmy and it’s now for sale. If you’ve got 70k lying around, “Black Beauty” can be yours.

After performing with various bands and battling a devastating case of mono in his teens, Page briefly put music on hold before taking up a career as a session guitarist.

In the early 60’s, Jimmy bought a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom. He’d later name the guitar “Black Beauty.” Tragically, the guitar was stolen during an American tour as Jimmy explained in a 1991 Guitar World interview: “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!”

The guitar was used to record “Whole Lotta Love” and the majority of his session recordings. In a stunning turn of events, this guitar was miraculously returned to Jimmy and it’s now for sale. If you’ve got 70k lying around, “Black Beauty” can be yours.

black beauty jimmy page

Gibson Les Paul Custom 1960 Ebony aka Black Beauty - Image Source

Jimmy purchased a 1961 Danelectro 3021/DC59 in the mid 60’s. He used this guitar in his session work as well as with The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Avid Zeppelin fans will recognize this as the guitar Jimmy played on “Kashmir” during live shows.

Danelecto Jimmy Page

Danelectro Jimmy Page/DC59? 1963+/- Black & White - Image Source

Check out this video of Jimmy Page showing U2's The Edge and Jack White of The Whitestripes how he came up with the Kashmir chord sequence on his Danelectro:

Jimmy Page and Telecasters

When Page replaced Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds in 1966, Jeff Beck gave him a 1959 Fender Telecaster.

Known as the “Dragon Telecaster,” Jimmy painted a swirling psychedelic dragon over the ash body of the guitar after receiving it. Beck considered the gift as repayment for Page’s help throughout his early career.

Page still considers the instrument to be “magical,” and it went on to be featured during the iconic solo for “Stairway To Heaven.” Tragically, the guitar was later ruined during a tour in America.

“I still have it,” he told Guitar World in 1998. “But it’s a tragic story. I went on tour with a ’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 favour. 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.”

Here's the Dragon Telecaster in action on Dazed and Confused in 1968:

“I really made it my own, so it was like no other Telecaster,” confessed Jimmy in a 2014 interview with Wondering Sound. “I felt that it was like a consecration. It’s quite a magical guitar.”

Jimmy Page and Gibson Les Pauls

In 1969, Jimmy was given a J1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard by Joe Walsh, and it quickly became his favorite guitar.

“Jimmy was still playing the Telecasters that he played in the Yardbirds,” Walsh said in Guitar World interview. “He was looking for a Les Paul and asked if I knew of any, ’cause he couldn’t find one that he liked. And I had two. So I kept the one I liked the most and I flew with the other one. I laid it on him and said, ‘Try this out. He really liked it, so I gave him a really good deal, about 1,200 bucks. I had to hand-carry it; I flew there and everything. So whatever my expenses were, that’s what I charged him. But again, I just thought he should have a Les Paul for godsakes!”

This incredible instrument underwent a few customizations to perfectly suit Jimmy’s playing style and physique. The neck was shaved and sanded down slightly and the electronics have undergone significant modifications over the years. Jimmy explains here in an interview why he loves the guitar he refers to as his “Number One:”

“As soon as I played the Les Paul I fell in love. Not that the Tele isn’t user friendly, but the Les Paul was gorgeous and easy to play. It just seemed like a good touring guitar. It’s more of a fight with the Telecaster but there are rewards. The Gibson’s got all that very stereotyped sound, maybe, I don’t know, but it’s got a really beautiful sustain. I do like sustain. It relates to bowed instruments. Sustain speaks for itself, that’s the whole thing. It’s the whole are that everyone’s been experimenting in, once it became electric, if you think about it – it was mainly sustain.”

But if money isn’t a concern, you can purchase a Gibson Les Paul Standard to replicate the sound of Jimmy’s most impressive electric guitar work. Be warned, though.

The only snag is the price tag. It’ll cost you upwards of $200k USD to own one of these bad boys! Since they were only produced from 1958-1960, they’re incredibly rare.

reverb les paul


Jimmy Page's Other Guitars

For Jimmy’s 12-string guitar duties he relied on a 1965 Fender Electric XII to get the job done. This guitar’s headstock strongly resembles a hockey stick. It can be heard on the songs “Living Loving Maid,” “Stairway to Heaven,” and on “The Song Remains The Same.”

If you’ve ever wondered what in the world Jimmy was playing if you happened to see him playing a double-necked electric guitar on “Stairway To Heaven” during live performances, the beast you were looking at was the 1970s Gibson EDS-1275 Doubleneck (take a look at the main image of this article).

As legend has it, Jimmy was frustrated with having to switch guitars during live performances of the song, so he had this guitar custom made for him. One neck is reserved for the intro and solo and the other is used for verses.

To record “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,”  “Black Mountain Side” and “Your Time is Gonna Come,” Jimmy borrowed a 1963 Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar from his friend Jim Sullivan.

“That was a Gibson J-200, which wasn’t mine; I borrowed it. It was a beautiful guitar, really great. I’ve never found a guitar of that quality anywhere since. I could play so easily on it, get a really thick sound; it had heavy gauge strings on it, but it just didn’t seem to feel like it,” Jimmy said in an interview.

For “Tangerine,” Jimmy recorded with a Giannini GWSCRA12-P Craviola. This instrument looks like a mandolin, but it is actually a small 12-string acoustic guitar. It featured gold-plated tuners and a sitka spruce top.

Which guitar should I buy to sound like Jimmy?

In case you can’t already tell, Jimmy played with a ton of different guitars over his career. Unless you’re flush with cash, you won’t be able to buy all the models he played with. But don’t worry! We’ve got some great alternative options that’ll help you play like Jimmy.

First up is a Les Paul. Gibson are the first choice obviously, but you don't need to pay over the odds for a Gibson Les Paul. There are plenty of cheaper Les Paul copies that will sound perfectly fine. 

If you do want to push the boat out, the one to go for is the Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst. 

Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst.

Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst. Image Source

If you’re interested in being able to pull off his live work with “Stairway To Heaven,” the Epiphone Limited Edition G-1275 Double Neck Electric Guitar is a solid choice that won’t bankrupt you.

For his acoustic guitar work, a great option is the Gibson Limited Ed 2018 J15 Walnut Burst Acoustic Electric. It’s got a sitka spruce top and LR Baggs pickup. This is a solid, reasonably priced acoustic option.

A great electric option to help you replicate the sound of Jimmy’s early session work is the Danelectro 66T electric guitar. With a Lipstick Humbucker and Wilkinson tremolo, this electric is a great beginner-intermediate option.

Which amps did Jimmy Page use?

Jimmy first played on a Vox AC-30 in 1968 when Led Zeppelin formed before incorporating a Fender Super Reverb a year later. The Rickenbacker Transonic was also used on Led Zeppelin’s first tour. Jimmy started playing with the Marshall SLP-1959 Super Lead which he used until 1975. For Jimmy’s famous solo in “Stairway To Heaven,” he used a Supro Thunderbolt.

“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,” he said in an interview.

When Jimmy played live with a theremin, he used a Orange MatAmp from 1971-1973, and during Zeppelin’s US tour in 1972, he played with the massively powerful Univox UX-1501.

What's the best amp to buy to sound like Jimmy?

Some of the amps Jimmy used are now incredibly rare and expensive because they’re not being made anymore, but models like the Vox AC-30 and Fender Super Reverb are still being produced today and you can pick them up for not very much money.

Orange MatAmps aren’t being made anymore, but something like the Orange Crush Pro will do the trick if you’re interested in amplifying a theremin. If you want to replicate something like Jimmy’s Marshall or Supro, then the Marshall DSL100 Head and MX412A Cab 100 Watt Guitar Amp Half Stack will work quite nicely for a reasonable price.

Supro Thunderbolt 1x15" Guitar Combo Amp

Supro Thunderbolt 1x15" Guitar Combo Amp Image Source

Which effects pedals did Jimmy Page use?

Jimmy Page’s guitar work was heavily intertwined with the burgeoning effects pedal technology of the 60’s. The first pedal he used was a Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone that he played with when he was a session guitarist. In interviews, Jimmy has been quoted saying that the Sola Sound Tone Bender Professional MKII was an integral tool in helping him form his signature sound. Jimmy was one of the first musicians to own this pedal and played it before it became available to the public.

He played with a Vox Grey Wah with The Yardbirds before switching to a Vox King Wah later with Led Zeppelin. He played with a Univox UD-50 Uni-Drive on the “Back to the Clubs” tour and played with a VOX CO2 Deluxe Echo using a tape loop effect during that time.

The Sonic Wave Theremin foot pedal was used on “Whole Lotta Love” and he played with a MXR M103 Blue Box Fuzz/Octave Pedal in the late 70’s. Since 1993, Jimmy has been playing with the Pete Cornish Effects Pedalboard. It includes pedals like the MXR Phase 90, Yamaha CH-10Mk II Chorus, Boss CE-2 Chorus , Digitech WH-1 Whammy and Jen Crybaby Wah. That’s a whole lotta pedals if you ask me.

What are the best effect pedals to buy to sound like Jimmy?

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to mirror most of Jimmy’s pedals, consider picking up a Gator Large Aluminum Pedalboard. This doesn’t have the high quality pedals that Jimmy used, but it’s a great affordable starting point. Another option is picking up a combo pedal like the Pro Co Rat 2 Distortion / Fuzz / Overdrive Pedal. This pedal combines overdrive, fuzz and distortion.

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal Image Source

Morgan Amps MKII Professional Fuzz

Morgan Amps MKII Professional Fuzz Image Source

But the most important pedal you’ll need to pick up to sound like Jimmy page is a tone bender like the Sola he credits for helping him form his sound. The Morgan Amps Tone Bender MKII Professional Fuzz Pedal is a great option you can pick up for not too much money. And finally, the Electro Faustus Photo Theremin EF102 is a solid choice for anyone interested in trying to mirror Jimmy’s work with the theremin.

Final Thoughts

Jimmy Page’s gear and equipment was a big part of helping the iconic guitarist for his sound, but his willingness to experiment was why we think of him as being one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

If you really want to sound like him, incorporating an adventurous spirit into your playing is one of the best ways to do it.

Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.

Leave a Comment