Fender has announced it is recreating Jimmy Page’s 1959 Telecaster to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of Led Zeppelin in October 1968.
Known for its dragon and and mirror designs, Page’s original Telecaster was prominently used during his years with the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, and was notably used to record Led Zeppelin I.
Fender will be releasing four artist signature guitar models throughout 2019. 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.’
‘It’s an incredible honor that one of the most-respected rock legends has entrusted Fender to recreate one of his most-prized guitars,’ said 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.’
Page originally received the Telecaster in 1966 from Jeff Beck, as a present for recommending him to The Yardbirds. Through the years, the Telecaster took on several looks, as Page customised it aesthetically and sonically. When he first received it, the guitar was undecorated in its factory white blonde finish and remained that way until February 1967, when he added eight circular mirrors to the body. Page played his mirrored Telecaster only briefly in the final years of The Yardbirds, and by mid-1967 he was ready to change the look. He removed the mirrors, completely stripped and repainted the instrument himself, this time hand-painting a mystical dragon on the body.
When Led Zeppelin was formed in October 1968, the Dragon Telecaster became Page’s go-to instrument and he played it on stage and in the studio until 1969. It was also the main guitar used on the Led Zeppelin Ialbum. Page went on tour in 1969, and upon his return, he discovered a friend had kindly stripped the body and painted over the dragon paint job. The paint job compromised the sound and wiring, leaving only the neck pickup working. He salvaged the neck and put it on his brown string bender Tele and has since re-stripped and restored the body in full.
‘This guitar is so special and has so much history, so I approached Fender to see if they’d be interested in recreating it,’ Page 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.
‘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.’
Among the four artist signature models will be two limited edition Fender Custom Shop versions masterbuilt by Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller – one with mirrors and the other with the painted dragon. For nearly eight months, Page has worked closely with Waller to advise throughout the process, assuring every detail was accurately recreated, Fender says. Only 50 units of each Fender Custom Shop model will be made available with personal touches from Page himself, including a handwritten signature on the headstock and hand-painted flourishes on the guitar body’s dragon artwork.
Fender will also build both mirror and painted versions on its production lines, which will be ‘more accessibly priced’ for a broader base of fans to purchase. While these will not be hand-signed and hand-painted by the artist, Page did consult with Fender throughout the design process to ensure the guitars are true-to-spec of the original Telecaster, the company says.