NAMM 2019: Fender Release Jimmy Page Signature Telecasters
Alright, so this is kind of a big deal…
Last year, Fender announced that they were to release two renditions of Jimmy Page’s legendary Telecaster: Mirror and Dragon. Now, these highly limited-edition models are finally getting their first outing. Oh my!
Brief history of Jimmy Page’s Telecaster
Before making his indelible impression on guitarists and rock history, Jimmy Page OBE was a fixture on the London scene and would go on to become a sought-after session musician. Cutting his teeth on recordings with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison & Them, The Kinks, The Who and even appearing on Petula Clark’s “Downtown”, Page was accomplished to say to the least by the time he was approached to join the Yardbirds. Initially passing up the chance, instead suggesting they take on friend Jeff Beck in his stead, Page would later go on to take up the role of bassist before switching to twin lead guitar. As a thank you for putting him forward, Beck gave Page his Telecaster.
When he first got his hands on it the Tele’ bore a factory white blonde finish. Taking inspiration from the fashion of the time, the enigmatic guitarist took it upon himself to customize the body with eight circular mirror panels. Some say that he took inspiration from Syd Barrett’s Fender Esquire, which featured a similar aesthetic. However, it wasn’t to last and was just one of many iterations that the Telecaster would take on along its journey.
After the Mirror design had its day, Page completely stripped back the paintwork and repainted the guitar by hand. Touching upon his interest in occult literature, the guitar’s body took on the mystical form of psychedelic dragon. The poster paints used at the time we the same used to create the far-out imagery of the time. To protect the artwork, Page commissioned an enlarged pickguard that would extend beyond the average Telecaster pickguard, which also doubled-up by providing an oil slick-style appearance. The Dragon Tele’ would go on to become the go-to instrument of Page during the early years of rock pioneers Led Zeppelin and features heavily across their seminal self-titled debut album.
What to expect
In keeping with Fender’s Artist Signature models we’ve seen in recent years; Page’s models have been developed in close collaboration between Fender and the man himself. The Fender Custom Shop models will set you back a cool £20,000+. However, there are two production line models that bear a more modest price tag, which obviously receive the same level of scrutiny and seal of approval from Page himself.
To recreate the same feel, fit and finish of the original, Fender incorporate the same custom “Oval C”-shaped neck, which slots into the ’50s Tele’ two-piece ash body. Married to the neck is a 7.25-inch radius slab rosewood fingerboard with 21 vintage-style frets. Resilient and responsive, both the Mirror and the Dragon models boast an enviable playability.
The body is home to a top-loader bridge for through-body or top-load string, which anchors each string securely for imperious intonation when you’re rocking out with gleeful abandon. In addition to this, the bridge produces a warmer, rounder tone from the strings, and thanks to less tension you can bend them to your heart’s content. Across the headstock you’ll find Pure Vintage single-line “Fender Deluxe” tuning machines for authentic style and performance.
A pair of Jimmy Page Custom Tele’ single-coil pickups sing beautifully and tighten up for a biting output when you want to push them hard – we imagine that you’ll want to ramp things up a bit.
Each Mirror Tele’ model is supplied with a Certificate of Authenticity, Black Coil Cable, 8 Mirrors and a Template for the correct placement.
Each Dragon Tele’ model is supplied with a Custom chrome Neck Plate, Red Coiled Cable, and a Vintage-Style “Stained Glass” Strap.
For fans of Jimmy Page, Yardbirds or Led Zeppelin, these models present a rare opportunity to own a model steeped in rock history.
For further inspiration check out our article Best Signature Models: Top Choices.
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