Jimmy Page And Les Paul

In 1995, Gibson USA got together with Jimmy Page to produce a guitar similar to the one he played with the band Led Zeppelin. The production run was from 1995 through 1999.

The guitar was a single cutaway bound mahogany body, AA-figured maple top, 22-fret bound rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid inlay, bound black peghead, gold hardware, Tune-O-Matic bridge/stop tailpiece, cream pickguard with engraved and gold painted “Jimmy Page” signature, a three-way selector toggle, volume and tone knobs are push/pull pots that put the pickups in and out of phase, series or parallel them and make the humbuckers single coil as well, in a Light Honeyburst (LB) finish.

The pickups were standard four conductor 496R and 500T and sound so-so if you ask me. Seymour Duncan makes Page pickups at their Custom Shop for around $300. There are many other winders making Page style pickups as well.

The original manufacturer’s price on this guitar was $6300.

The guitar came with a hardshell case with emerald green lining and Jimmy Page signature shroud.

By the end of 1995, Jimmy was not happy with the guitar and sued Gibson to stop production. Rumor has it, only the first 421 guitars were made with the custom shaped neck that Jimmy wanted and that later in the year Gibson went to a standard neck and also changed the color from the Honey Burst to a redder version as is evident in later ’95s and up. Gibson denies this and says the necks are the same throughout the production run and that the color variations are due to the fact that all the instruments are hand finished and that variances are bound to occur. Normally, I wouldn’t report a rumor, as that is exactly what they are…rumors. This rumor, however, is one that you will hear if you research these guitars. I don’t know where or how it started but I have weighed the evidence and in my opinion, I believe Gibson on this one. After many emails to Gibson Customer Support, I have learned that the first 500 made in 1995 came with Grover tuners. Later, the Grover tuner buttons were switched from “kidney bean” style to “tulip” style (Gibson says they were replaced by Kluson tuners but I’ve seen Grover AND Klusons on the later models) and the fret height was lowered to .038″ and a locking nut added to the bridge as per Jimmy’s request. Maybe this is where the rumour about the “special” necks and differences in color started. The suit was settled and Gibson continued production.

These guitars are not Custom Shop models but rather are standard Gibson production models even though they are Signature models. They sound good but are not really that special unless you are a “Led Head”. The reason I say this is because Gibson really didn’t make this guitar an “electronic” duplicate of Jimmy’s own Les Paul. They should have gone the extra step and reproduced his pickups as well.

The Great ’58/’59 Debate. Was Jimmy Page’s Les Paul that he got from Joe Walsh a ’58 or a ’59? Well, today I had the pleasure of speaking on the phone to Roger Giffin. Roger Giffin ran Gibson’s West Coast Custom Shop in 1991 and personally built a Les Paul for Jimmy Page replicated from his #1 (there was a #1 and a #2). This guitar became the prototype for the Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul released in the ’90s. Back in 1991, #1 was dated as being built in 1958. However, Roger Giffin told me personally that he recalls the guitar he replicated as being a ’59. Now, to tell you the truth, he seemed a bit….well…unclear in his memory. If I had him on the witness stand I would rip him to shreds on that point, but, the man told me he remembers it as being a ’59 because “it wasn’t as ornate as a ’58″…his words. He did tell me (for you ’90s JPLP owners) that the pickups he installed on the replica were Gibson ’57 classic zebra humbuckers and that the 496R and 500T pickups that came on these sigs were all wrong. So there you have it. Clear as mud. The debate continues.

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