Fender have unveiled the new signature Jimmy Page Telecaster guitars celebrating 50 years of Led Zeppelin
The first teaser images and video of the new Fender Jimmy Page Telecaster have been revealed and we’ve got a Whole Lotta Love for this new highly limited series arriving January 2019.
Fender have announced the collaboration with one of rock’s legendary guitar players and musical icons – Jimmy Page – recreating his iconic 1959 Fender telecaster to celebrate 50 years since Led Zeppelin first formed in October 1968.
Fans of Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page will know that Page’s famed Telecaster has two distinct “mirror” and "Dragon” designs and helped launch his career in the Yardbirds and eventually Led Zeppelin. The Telecaster was used to record Led Zeppelin 1 as well as a myriad of other songs.
In celebration of the bands 50 year legacy, Fender will release four artist signature guitar models throughout 2019, allowing Led Zeppelin fans and collectors alike to own a piece of guitar history. Two models will be made on Fender’s production lines, with two more models being made in the Fender Custom Shop – entitled the “Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set.” Prices and images will be announced as soon as we have them, but for now, Fender have only released this teaser video below.
Mike Lewis, VP of Product Development at Fender Custom Shop said to Blabbermouth: "It's an incredible honour that one of the most-respected rock legends has entrusted Fender to recreate one of his most-prized guitars. Some of the most-esteemed artists in the world work with the Fender Custom Shop, because it is the pinnacle of craftsmanship for the Fender brand and the guitar-building community."
"This unique Fender Telecaster has an amazing backstory and helped inspire some of the greatest rock music of all time, both in the later years of THE YARDBIRDS and at the genesis of LED ZEPPELIN," added Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. "Now we're giving a new generation of players access to two great instruments in honour of Jimmy, his storied career and amazing musical body of work created and performed on this guitar."
Page was given the Telecaster in 1966 by Jeff Beck, who wanted to thank Page for recommending him to The Yardbirds. The guitar itself took on several iconic looks and as Page customised it aesthetically and sonically, became somewhat of a legendary guitar in the industry. When Beck first gave the guitar to Page it was undecorated in it’s original blonde finish and remained that way until February 1967 when Page decided to add 8 circular mirrors to the body. Page only played the mirrored Telecaster briefly in The Yardbirds before becoming dissatisfied with the look in mid-1967. He would eventually remove the mirrors, strip back the paint and completely hand-paint a mystical dragon on the body.
This Dragon Telecaster became Page’s go-to instrument when Led Zeppelin formed in October 1968. This guitar would feature on stage and in the studio until 1969. During this time, it was used to record the now legendary ‘Led Zeppelin I’ album.
Unfortunately, disaster would strike. As Page left the guitar at home whilst on tour a friend decided to strip the guitar and paint over the dragon design, thinking he was improving the look. This paint job not only ruined the design, but rendered the bridge pickup useless. Upon returning, Page was particularly upset with his friend and the fact his guitar was now effectively useless. He would go on to salvage the neck pickup and put it on his bring string bender Tele. Fortunately, Page has since re-stripped and restored the body in full after working with an artist and a hundreds of images to get it right.
Page and Fender have worked meticulously to recreate this guitar. Page said of the guitars: "This guitar is so special and has so much history, so I approached Fender to see if they'd be interested in recreating it. They really got it 110 percent right, or 150 percent right. It's so absolutely as it is, as it should be, and as it was."
"Visiting the Fender Custom Shop to sign and paint the guitars with Paul Waller was a real thrill," he added. "To see all those absolute gems on the wall, it's a pretty amazing experience."
What’s being released?
There will be Jimmy page Telecaster artist signature models released in January 2019. Two of these will be highly collectable, limited edition Fender Custom Shop versions masterbuilt by Fender Custom Shop master builder Paul Waller. One will feature mirrors and the other will feature the iconic painted dragon.
Page worked closely with Waller, advising throughout the process and ensuring every detail was accurately reproduced. Only 50 units of each Fender Custom Shop model will be produced and will feature a handwritten signature on the headstock as well as hand-painted flourishes on the artwork.
"Jimmy first approached us in February with the idea to recreate this Telecaster, and as we were planning, I could feel his passion throughout the process," said Waller. "To achieve his vision, I wanted to get every little detail replicated exactly, so you couldn't tell the difference from the originals and these models. That's what we're known for in the Fender Custom Shop: quality craftsmanship and authenticity."
In addition, Fender will also produce both mirror and dragon painted versions on their production lines which means they’ll be more budget friendly for a wider base of Led Zeppelin fans to purchase. Although these won’t be hand signed by Jimmy Page, he did consult with the team at Fender throughout the whole process to ensure the guitars are as accurate as possible.
Prices, images and pre-orders will be announced as soon as we get the information, but rest assured – we’ll Ramble On for ages about this guitar!