JIMMY PAGE The many faces of

The won­der­ful and of­ten mys­te­ri­ous world of one of rock’s great­est in­ven­tors is un­veiled by Richard Bar­rett who looks at both his acous­tic and elec­tric styles; all fully tran­scribed with back­ing tracks.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Jimmy Page is one of the most im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial gui­tarists of our time. Richard Bar­rett dis­sects his elec­tric and acous­tic styles with some amaz­ing licks, so­los and pieces to learn.

It’s hard to imag­ine a time be­fore those iconic images of Jimmy Page play­ing his 1959 Les Paul Stan­dard with a vi­o­lin bow, or hoist­ing his cherry red dou­ble­neck high at the cli­max of Stair­way To Heaven were so uni­ver­sal. When a young James Page ap­peared on TV with his skif­fle group in 1957, he de­clared his own fu­ture ca­reer path as “bi­o­log­i­cal re­search”. In truth he was ded­i­cat­ing him­self to re­search of a very dif­fer­ent kind – though ev­ery bit as de­tailed – from as­sim­i­lat­ing the acous­tic folk of Bert Jan­sch and John Ren­bourn, to North African and In­dian folk mu­sic, plus the more con­ven­tional (from a present day per­spec­tive) blues and rock and roll.

As a young player sit­ting in with the in­ter­val band at Lon­don’s Mar­quee club, Jimmy was of­fered the chance to play on a record­ing ses­sion. This be­came a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence and Jimmy was soon one of the go-to ‘young guns’ on the Lon­don ses­sion scene, fea­tur­ing on a moun­tain of re­leases dur­ing the 1960s. Ma­jor artists like Pe­tula Clark, Tom Jones, Dono­van – and by all ac­counts the Kinks and The Who – ben­e­fit­ted from his prodi­gious ta­lent. Af­ter a stint play­ing bass and then gui­tar along­side Jeff Beck as re­place­ment for Eric Clap­ton in The Yard­birds, Jimmy reimag­ined the band post break-up at the end of the 1960s. His metic­u­lously sourced se­lec­tion of world-class play­ers - John-Paul Jones on bass, piano and other in­stru­ments, John ‘Bonzo’ Bon­ham on drums, and of course le­gendary vo­cal­ist Robert Plant - soon be­came known as Led Zep­pelin - ap­par­ently coined by The Who’s Keith Moon (or some would have it, John En­twistle) who told him, “You’ll go down like a lead Zep­pelin!”.

Know­ing this back story gives us some per­spec­tive on how Jimmy de­vel­oped such a wide diver­sity of play­ing styles as well as his record­ing stu­dio dis­ci­pline and pro­duc­tion skills. Many of the more gen­er­alised mu­sic pub­li­ca­tions have re­ferred to Led Zep­pelin as ‘the god­fa­thers of heavy metal’, but this is an over-sim­pli­fi­ca­tion that doesn’t do jus­tice to the breadth of styles cov­ered in their ex­ten­sive back cat­a­logue.

The Houses Of The Holy al­bum (1973) alone con­tains el­e­ments of what would now be called in­die (The Song Re­mains The Same), James Brown-style funk (The Crunge), jazz (The Rain Song), world mu­sic (check out John Paul Jones’ piano sec­tion in the mid­dle of No Quar­ter) and reg­gae (D’yer Maker), along with clas­sic riffs and odd tim­ing shifts (The Ocean). This was not just heavy metal - it wasn’t even just rock!

Though it would be im­pos­si­ble to cover all the styles Jimmy has ex­per­i­mented with in the space of one fea­ture, I’ve gone for some of the more uni­ver­sally recog­nised clas­sics; riffs, so­los, tex­tures, acous­tic and al­tered tun­ings, plus a con­densed ‘song’ format as a play-along to top things off! As with any player, there will be el­e­ments of their style that we all hear slightly dif­fer­ently. Of course, Led Zep­pelin were fa­mous for im­pro­vis­ing and ex­pand­ing fur­ther on all th­ese ar­eas live but I hope this gives a few in­ter­est­ing sug­gested ideas to play and ex­plore fur­ther, and hope­fully prove use­ful when cre­at­ing your own mu­sic.


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