Jimmy Page was one of several rock icons invited to share their instruments as part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2019 exhibition, Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll. Now, footage of the Led Zeppelin guitarist demonstrating some of his most iconic electric guitars and guitar amps has surfaced online.
The clip was initially recorded to explain the displayed instruments and their key sounds. The new video was filmed at the exhibit by a fan, so it's a little wobbly in terms of the A/V quality. However, it’s worth hanging in there to see Page discuss a mouth-watering collection of iconic Led Zeppelin equipment, including his Gibson Les Paul 'Burst, Fender Telecaster and modded Supro Coronado.
He kicks things off with the Telecaster that started his musical career.
“This is the guitar that goes through from The Yardbirds to the first album with Led Zeppelin. I love this guitar,” says Page, seemingly chuckling at the memories it gives him. "This guitar was given to me by Jeff Beck during the time that he was in The Yardbirds.”
Page has previously said that he “built Led Zeppelin I around the Fender Telecaster.” It was the instrument he immediately turned to when he got the call to join The Yardbirds from his friend Beck, who had made the cut some time before. It stayed with him from then on, and was later repainted.
“And then we come to the amplifier,” continues Page in the new clip. The amp in question is a thoroughly battered and heavily-modded Supro Coronado – a build he later reissued in 2019 as the extremely limited edition "Sundragon" combo.
“It interacted really well with this Telecaster,” continues Page. “And the whole of that first album [Led Zeppelin I] is done with this guitar, this amplifier, the wah wah pedal and the overdrive.”
Again, Page doesn’t name check his pedals, but a Solar Tone Bender MkII overdrive and a Vox King wah are visible at his feet. Elsewhere in the background, you can see a Vox UL4120 amp head, a Rickenbacker Transonic cabinet, two Marshall JMP Super Lead heads, and Page’s custom ‘Zoso’ cabinet.
Page then introduces the Gibson Les Paul ‘Burst he purchased from Joe Walsh in 1970 – the instrument that would come to forever be associated with him. Page bought the guitar off Walsh when the Eagles/James Gang man dropped in on Led Zeppelin’s show at the Fillmore East in New York.
As the band landed bigger gigs, Page struggled with the feedback from the Tele’s single coils and was looking for a solution, and he found it in the Les Paul’s humbucking pickups – initially with a black Custom and then with that famous ‘Burst.
“Joe Walsh came along [to our show],” says Page in the clip. “He had a Les Paul and he said, ‘Use it! Just play it.’ I said, ‘What? In the show tonight?’ He said, ‘Yeah! Play it in the show tonight!’ And it was just a real dream to be playing this guitar. I never looked back from that point. It’s brought me a lot of luck… I think the Marshall [came along because it] was always known to interact so well with the Les Paul Standard.”
Later, he introduces another electric guitar synonymous with his Led Zeppelin career: the double neck Gibson EDS-1275 he used to perform Stairway To Heaven onstage.
“Why the double neck?” asks Page. “On Stairway I'd employed an acoustic guitar at the beginning of it and then two separate electric 12 strings on each channel and I thought, ‘How am I going to approach this number [live?] [The double neck was the solution and] it became a real sort of working tool in the band and it also became really iconic.”
What’s particularly touching about the clip is Page’s enduring love for the instrument that brought him his success.
“I think the guitar chose me,” he posits at the end of the short video. “I managed to make my passion my hobby and my hobby into my livelihood, as such. [But I’m] like all the other guitarists who are in the exhibition, you know? Everyone's story will have a common denominator through it – their love and passion for playing the guitar.”