Jimmy Page Reunites with His Iconic "Dragon Telecaster"
Shot in 2019 to promote the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Play It Loud” Exhibit, Jimmy Page talks about his iconic guitars, amps and gear, among them his double-neck Gibson SG, the ’59 Les Paul Standard he got from Joe Walsh, and his use of the bow and theremin. The highlight, however, is the way Jimmy brightens when he picks up his “Dragon” Telecaster.
“I love this guitar,” says Page, beaming.
It is possibly the most personally revealing moment Jimmy Page has ever exhibited.
Perhaps the most legendary guitar in Classic Rock, used to record the first Led Zeppelin album, the Dragon Telecaster has a storied history. Jimmy Page got it originally from Jeff Beck as the latter departed the Yardbirds. Beck was quoted once saying he left it behind when he stormed out on the band in a huff, Page just took it over. The way Jimmy tells the story – still living with his parents in Epsom, playing sessions, one day he heard a roaring car engine, Jeff Beck pulled up to the house in a blue Corvette, knocked on his door, handed him the Telecaster, said: “This is yours for getting me in the Yardbirds.”
That much is well documented. When Eric Clapton left, the Yardbirds approached Jimmy Page, asked him to join. He declined, but recommended Jeff Beck. They’d met through Beck’s sister, who told her brother Jimmy was “another weird kid with a guitar.”
At the time, circa 1967, this instrument was a standard off the rack ’59 eggshell white Tele. Jimmy customized the guitar himself, adorning the body with tiny round mirrors with adhesive backing. A year or so later Page decided to strip the Telecaster’s finish down to raw wood, paint it himself in a psychedelic dragon design using day-glo pop poster colors.
Jimmy played the Dragon Telecaster through his tenure with the Yardbirds, used it to record Led Zeppelin I. In 1969, Joe Walsh gave Page a Les Paul Standard, which he played from thereafter, though Jimmy dusted the Dragon Telecaster off to record the guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven” on Led Zeppelin IV, which is generally regarded as his best solo ever, and one of the best solos in Rock History.
There are many, many stories on the internet if you want to read more just Google Jimmy Page Dragon Telecaster.
Listen to Jimmy absolutely rip it up through Arthur Crudup's
up-tempo blues standard in 1963
My Baby Left Me
Heart of Stone
I'll Cry Instead
& The Mindbenders
I Pity The Fool
The Mannish Boys
The Worryin' Kind
& The Silhouettes
Jimmy Page's First
Recorded Guitar Solo?
June 26, 1963. Return with us now to a monumental day in Rock History. Nineteen year old Session Guitarist James Page is in the studio helping Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders record a Jerry Lee Lewis cover entitled “Hello Josephine.” Fifty-four seconds into the song they need a guitar part to fill 14 seconds between verses.
They turn to Jimmy Page. “Kid, show us what you got.”