When you think of rock guitar legends, Jimmy Page inevitably strikes a chord. Among the many guitars he’s made iconic, the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number One” stands out. This piece is dedicated to diving deep into the history, significance, and modifications of this legendary instrument, optimizing for the keyword “jimmy page les paul”.
The Origin Story
Jimmy Page’s storied career with Led Zeppelin saw him play a multitude of guitars, but the “Number One” 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard took a special place in his heart. Acquired in 1969, this became his go-to, especially for tours and studio sessions. Prior to this, Page primarily relied on a 1959 Fender Telecaster. However, after laying his hands on the Les Paul, it became evident where his preferences lay. As Page himself put it, “As soon as I played the Les Paul, I fell in love. The Les Paul was gorgeous and easy to play. It just seemed like a good touring guitar.”
A Gift from Joe Walsh
An interesting tidbit is how Page came into possession of this gem. Joe Walsh of James Gang (and later Eagles) fame sold it to Page in April of 1969. In an interview with Guitar World, Walsh shared, “Jimmy was looking for a Les Paul and asked if I knew of any. And I had two. So I gave him a really good deal, about 1,200 bucks. I had to hand-carry it; I flew there and everything.”
Modifications and Tweaks
Before reaching Page’s hands, the guitar already had a few alterations. The back of its neck had been sanded and shaved, making it much thinner and more playable. This modification, though favored by Page, led to a lingering mystery; the exact year of the model remains uncertain as the serial number was removed during the sanding process. Most experts, however, lean towards late 1959 or early 1960 as the probable manufacturing period.
Page, never one to leave things stock, made his own modifications. Familiar with gold-plated Grovers from his Les Paul Custom, he swapped out the original Kluson tuners. Additionally, the electronics underwent several changes. The original Seth Lover PAF pickups were replaced, notably after a malfunction during an Australian tour in 1972. The bridge pickup was swapped for a T-Top humbucker, which remained until the 90s when a custom wound Seymour Duncan humbucker took its place. The neck pickup was replaced in the 2000s with an original PAF humbucker from the 60s.
One of the standout modifications was the inclusion of a push-pull knob, allowing Page to reverse the phase of the pickups. This particular modification wasn’t present during Led Zeppelin’s era but was added later, providing a sound reminiscent of Peter Green.
Legacy and Influence
The presence of the “Number One” Gibson Les Paul is evident in many of Led Zeppelin’s performances. Its rich tones and Jimmy’s unique modifications made it a sound to reckon with. From studio sessions to live performances, like “The Song Remains The Same” in 1976, the guitar’s influence is undeniable.
In conclusion, the relationship between Jimmy Page and his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Number One” is a testament to the bond between a musician and their instrument. It’s not just about wood and strings, but the stories, the modifications, the performances, and the legacy. The “jimmy page les paul” is more than a guitar; it’s a chapter in rock history.