NAMM 2019: Fender has teamed up with Jimmy Page for perhaps its biggest signature model yet: recreations of the Led Zeppelin guitarist’s 1959 Telecasters, which famously appeared in ‘mirror’ and ‘dragon’ designs.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s formation in October 1968, Fender intends to release four signature models throughout 2019: two on the production line, and two from the Custom Shop, dubbed the Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set.
Page received the Tele in 1966 from Jeff Beck, when it was adorned with a factory White Blonde finish. In February 1967, he added eight circular mirrors during the final years of the Yardbirds, before stripping and repainting the instrument itself by mid-1967 for its dragon makeover.
The Tele became Page’s go-to guitar in the early years of Led Zeppelin, and was the main instrument used on Led Zeppelin I.
After Page returned from tour in 1969, he discovered a friend had stripped the body and painted over the dragon paint job, damaging the sound and wiring in the process. Page went on to salvage the neck, and put it on his brown B-bender Tele, and has since restripped 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 per cent right, or 150 per cent 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.”
The two Custom Shop versions will be built by Master Builder Paul Waller, in both mirror and dragon designs, and are the result of eight months of collaboration with Page.
Just 50 of each model will be made available, and feature Page’s handwritten signature on the headstock and “hand-painted flourishes” on the dragon artwork.
Most excitingly, mirror and painted versions will also appear as production models, and are set to be “more accessibly priced”. Naturally, Page hasn’t signed these, but he did consult with Fender throughout the design process to ensure the spec was up to snuff.
All Jimmy Page models will be released throughout 2019, and the complete model line-up will be unveiled in January. Roll on, NAMM.
Of course, that's not Fender's only plan for the show; there's also the matter of an all-new, made-in America acoustic line...