Exclusive: Fender Master Builder talks Jimmy Page Signature Telecaster

Four models available starting this spring

This year, Fender is releasing four Jimmy Page Signature Telecaster guitars modeled after his famed “Dragon” 1959 Fender Telecaster used on Led Zeppelin I. The Fender Jimmy Page Telecaster is an homage to the guitar — once owned by Jeff Beck and gifted to Page while a member of The Yardbirds — that went on to produce some of the most iconic riffs in the 20th Century. The guitar began as a white blonde lacquer finish, then became a “mirror guitar” before taking on its final form as a magical one-of-a-kind hand-painted dragon that Page brushed himself.

The “Mirror” model is set to be released this March priced at 2,499.99 with the “Dragon” model set for an August release at $1,399.99. Two highly collectible, limited edition Fender Custom Shop versions will be available this March priced at $25k each with only 50 units being produced. Each collectible version includes Page’s personal touches, such as a handwritten signature on the headstock of the mirror model, as well as hand-painted flourishes on the guitar body’s dragon artwork and personally-signed Certificates of Authenticity for both models.

Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller worked closely with Page in designing the four models. While he is very busy building the guitars, we did get a chance to ask him a couple of questions via email for a little more incite in working with Page.

What was it like working with Jimmy Page on this project?

Jimmy’s the man. When he walks in the door, you have to be cool but inside you are freaking out a bit. You have a job to do, but you have to do it properly. He had deadlines and failure wasn’t an option. We had to work quickly to get everything done, but we did it together.

What excites you most about this project?

My favorite part has been telling the story of guitar. There are so many people who don’t know that first Led Zeppelin album was recorded with a Telecaster. It was fun to be involved in telling the true story.

Few guitars are as important to the history of music culture as the Telecaster Jimmy Page used to create the iconic, genre-defining riffs of Led Zeppelin and, in its earlier days, music in The Yardbirds. Originally received as a gift from guitarist Jeff Beck, he used this 1959 Telecaster to unleash his larger-than-life riffage and fierce soloing upon the world. In February 1967, to give a kinetic element, he added eight round mirrors to the body of the guitar. By mid-1967 he decided to strip the instrument down to bare wood and drawing on his art school training, repaint it himself with what became the iconic “Dragon” design. Page partially painted over the stripped 1959 Telecaster with darts and curls of green, orange, yellow, blue and red in a pattern that formed something of a swirling, psychedelic dragon. It was featured on the Anderson Theatre show “Yardbirds 68.”

“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 states. “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.”

The production models include a custom “Oval C”-shaped maple neck; ’50s Tele two-piece body; top-loader bridge for through-body or top-load stringing; custom single-coil pickups; lacquer finish; vintage tweed case with eight round mirrors (a tribute to the custom treatment Jimmy applied to the guitar); black coil cable; satin lacquer finish over a reproduction of Jimmy Page’s iconic artwork; a deluxe black case and red coil cable.

The Fender Custom Shop models feature an off-center-seam, two-piece ash body; a pair of Fender Custom Shop Hand-Wound ‘58 single-coil pickups; a tinted maple “Oval C” neck matching the profile of Page’s original instrument; clear and white vinyl pickguards on the “Dragon” and mirror models, respectively.; ‘59 top-load Tele bridge; 7.25”-radius rosewood fingerboard matching the specs of the era, right down to the 21 vintage-sized frets. The “Dragon” model includes a custom hardshell flight case, white seatbelt-style strap, super-long white leather strap, red coiled cable, violin bow, rosin, Herco guitar picks and Page-signed Certificate of Authenticity. The mirror model includes a vintage-style tweed hardshell case, black coiled cable, Ace “Stained Glass” fabric strap, Herco guitar picks and Page-signed Certificate of Authenticity.

All Jimmy Page models will be released throughout 2019 and will be available at local dealers.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.

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