Fender and Jimmy Page have collaborated with to recreate his fabled 1959 Fender Telecaster to mark Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary.
The famous Fender Telecaster guitar known for its two “mirror” and “dragon” designs was gifted to Jimmy by his Yardbirds band mate Jeff Beck in 1966.
Jimmy played it briefly with The Yardbirds before using it to record ‘Led Zeppelin I’ in 1968 and on many subsequent Led Zeppelin releases including the timeless solo on ‘Stairway To Heaven.’
Set to be officially unveiled in January, Fender will release four artist signature guitar models throughout next year, giving fans and collectors the chance to own a slice of music history.
Two models will be made on Fender’s production lines, and two will be produced in the Fender Custom Shop – dubbed the “Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set.”
“This guitar is so special and has so much history, so I approached Fender to see if they’d be interested in recreating it,” Jimmy said. “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.”
He added: “Visiting the Fender Custom Shop to sign and paint the guitars with (Fender Custom Shop Master Builder) Paul Waller was a real thrill. To see all those absolute gems on the wall, it's a pretty amazing experience.”
Jimmy Page with Paul Waller © Fender PR
Jimmy’s original Telecaster had a factory white blonde finish when he received it from Jeff Beck and in early 1967 he customised it by adding eight circular mirrors to the body. Later that year, he personally stripped off the mirrors and hand-painted a dragon on to the instrument.
When a friend stripped the body and painted over the dragon paint job when Jimmy was on tour in 1969, he was forced to re-strip and restore the body in full.
Set to be highly sought after, Fender’s two Custom Shop versions of the guitar are limited to just 50 units of the mirror and dragon design respectively. Jimmy himself contributed his handwritten signature to the headstock and hand-painting to the guitar’s dragon 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,” says Paul 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.”
For fans without extremely deep pockets, the mirror and dragon version will be available on the Fender production line without the signature and hand-painting of Jimmy.
“It’s an incredible honour that one of the most-respected rock legends has entrusted Fender to recreate one of his most-prized guitars,” comments Mike Lewis, VP of Product Development at Fender Custom Shop.
“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.”
Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products, adds: “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.
“Now we’re giving a new generation of players access to two great instruments in honor of Jimmy, his storied career and amazing musical body of work created and performed on this guitar.”