Jimmy Page Guitar Methods

Learn the guitar playing and pure guts of rock's baddest guitar slinger which has left many aspiring rockers without the will to keep playing!

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Introduction

Jimmy Page was born in Heston, England in 1944. In the mid-60's, he started playing studio dates on rock albums. He joined a blues/rock band The Yardbirds in 1966 and two years later formed his own band called the New Yardbirds. They would eventually change their name to Led Zeppelin; a named coined from a friend who said that the band who sink like a lead zeppelin (a blimp which was later changed by Page who said, "No, sink like a Led Zeppelin"). Jimmy Page's style has always been bluesy, while with Led Zeppelin he revolutionized rock guitar with his heavy guitar riffs. He also tried to incorporate acoustic into his songs.

Deep Inside Jimmy Page's Style

01. Jimmy Page's Gear. Page played live with his trusty Les Paul Custom, Danelectro LongHorn, or his double-neck Gibson SG. He tracked the first Zeppelin album and many others with a Supro amp. The 'Stairway To Heaven' solo was played with a Fender Telecaster through the same Supro amp! At live shows, he used a Marshall 100 watt which was hot rodded to put out 200 watts. 02. Jimmy Page Strumming Technique. One of the most dynamic and versatile rhythm guitar players ever, Jimmy Page could switch between wall-busting power chords to barely-strummed triad chords or arpeggios. Jimmy was a master of acoustic guitar strumming as well (check out 'Over The Hills And Far Away' or 'Ramble On'). The keys to his brilliant strumming are dynamics (accents, loud or soft strums), mixing of single notes and chords, and skipping strums. 03. Brilliant Techniques. Jimmy Page used a lot of great techniques which left other guitarists with no hope. Jimmy Page used to master the multi-hammer-on technique which is a way to play faster leads without needing to increase your picking hand speed. Few great guitarists ever mastered it in Page's time, fortunately for him he did. Page used to master another trick which was kinda original. This technique was mastered by using his fingers as a slide; the main idea behind this is using his first, second and particularly, his third finger to hold down partial chords and slide them around on the neck. This technique was used in alot of songs especially 'Whole Lotta Love.'

Page's Style In Songs

His best known work utilizes both his acoustic style and his bluesy style. This work of course is 'Stairway To Heaven.' Let's look at the intro riff, then the solo.
Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven
Intro:
E-------5-7-----7-|-8-----8-2-----2-|-0---------0-----|-----------------|
B-----5-----5-----|---5-------3-----|---1---1-----1---|-0-1-1-----------|
G---5---------5---|-----5-------2---|-----2---------2-|-0-2-2-----------|
D-7-------6-------|-5-------4-------|-3---------------|-----------------|
A-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-2-0-0---0--/8-7-|
E-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|

E---------7-----7-|-8-----8-2-----2-|-0---------0-----|-----------------|
B-------5---5-----|---5-------3-----|---1---1-----1---|-0-1-1-----------|
G-----5-------5---|-----5-------2---|-----2---------2-|-0-2-2-----------|
D---7-----6-------|-5-------4-------|-3---------------|-----------------|
A-0---------------|-----------------|-----------------|-2-0-0-----------|
E-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
The intro really shows how Page likes to fingerpick arpeggios. The solo is based on the A Minor Pentatonic Scale. Sometimes he would add an F too, but if you look at the A Minor Pentatonic Scale you will see that if you change the E to an F you get the F Major Pentatonic Scale. Jimmy used a lot of pentatonic scales in his solos as you will see as we examine more of his solos.
Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven
Solo:
|----------5---------------|------------------8--8-|
|------------8-5-----------|-------------8b10------|
|---7b9----------7-5---7p5-|-----------------------|
|--------------------7-----|-7p5-------------------|
|--------------------------|----8------------------|
|--------------------------|-----------------------|

|--8b10---8--5  -----8--10-|-8-----------------------5-------|
|---------------8b10-------|---10-8----8h10------------8-5---|
|--------------------------|--------10-----------7b9-------7-|
|--------------------------|---------------------------------|
|--------------------------|---------------------------------|
|--------------------------|---------------------------------|

|----------------------------|----5------------------------|
|----------------------------|------8-5--------------------|
|-5---7p5------------5---5-5-|----------7-5--7p5-----------|
|---7-----7-5---5-7----7-----|-5------------7----7p5-7p5---|
|-------------7--------------|---------------------------8-|
|----------------------------|-----------------------------|

|---------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------13-|
|---------10-------------------12----12-14----|
|------10----12-10----10-12/14----14----------|
|-8/12-------------12-------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------|

|------------------------15b17-15-12----------------|
|--15b17-15-13--15-13-13-------------15b17-15-13----|
|------------------------------------------------14-|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-13-15b17b15p13----13-15b17b15p13----13---15b17b15p13----13--15b17b15p13----|
|----------------14----------------14------------------14-----------------14-|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|

|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-13-15b17b15p13----13--15b17b15p13----13--15b17b15p13----13--15b17b15p13----|
|----------------14-----------------14-----------------14-----------------14-|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|

|------------------------------------------15b17--|
|-13--15b17b15p13----13---15b17b15p13----13-------|
|-----------------14------------------14----------|
|-------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------|
|-------------------------------------------------|

|-b17b15-12---12--------------------------------15--|
|-----------15---15--13----13-15-13---13--15b17-----|
|-----------------------14----------14--------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------|

-----------------------------|-----------17----------------------------------|
-15b17b15p13----13/12--13/10-|--------20----20-20----------------------------|
-------------14--------------|--19b21-21----------19b21b19p17---19--17----19-|
-----------------------------|--------------------------------19-------19----|
-----------------------------|-----------------------------------------------|
-----------------------------|-----------------------------------------------|

|--------------------|--------------------------------|--------------|
|--------------------|--------------------------------|--------------|
|-19b21--13/12 13/10-|--14b17--14b17-14--12--14--12-12b14------------|
|--------------------|--------------------------------|--------------|
|--------------------|--------------------------------|--------------|
|--------------------|--------------------------------|--------------|

|-----------------------------------|----------8/7--8/5--|
|-----------------------------------|--------------------|
|-10b14----10b12b10-9-7----7--------|-7-9-7--------------|
|-----------------------10----10----|-------10-7---------|
|-----------------------------------|--------------------|
|-----------------------------------|--------------------|

|----20-p17------20-p17------20-p17------20-p17------20-p17-----20b22-|
|-17--------17----------17----------17----------17----------17--------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
Here is an easier way to play the beginning of the solo. This riff can replace the beginning riff. It sounds the same, but it is easier to play:
E|-----5p3----------------|-------|
B|----------5p3-----------|-------|
G|-7b9-----------6p3--7p5-|-------|
D|------------------------|-7p5---|
A|------------------------|-----8-|
E|------------------------|-------|
The next riff I am going to show you comes from 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.' This song has a great acoustic part and it shows the acoustic fingerpicking style of Jimmy.
Led Zeppelin - Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
E|-------0--------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|
B|-------------1--|-------3-----1--|-------3-----1--|-------1-------0-|
G|-----2-----2----|-----0-----0----|-----2-----2----|-----2-------1---|
D|---2-----2------|---2-----2------|---0-----0------|---3-------2-----|
A|-0-----0--------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|
E|----------------|-3-----3--------|-2-----2--------|-1-------0-------|
For Jimmy's heavy style I am going to show you two riffs and a solo. One riff is from 'Houses Of The Holy' and the other riff and the solo is from 'Whole Lotta Love.' The Houses of the Holy riff is based heavily on an A major pentatonic scale. It is a driving riff that really shows the hard edge of Jimmy.
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
E|-------------|-----------2-2--|
B|--------2-2--|-------2-2-2-2--|
G|--------2-2--|-------2-2-2-2--|
D|--2-----2-2--|-2-----2-2-2-2--|
A|--3-4-0-0-0--|-3-4-0-0-0------|
E|-------------|----------------|
Here's the great riff to 'Whole Lotta Love.' This riff is another driving riff that Jimmy turned out:
Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
E|-------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------9-------9-------9-------9-------9-------9-------9\-|
D|---0------9-------9-------9-------9-------9-------9-------9\-|
A|---5---5--7-------7-------7-------7-------7-------7-------7\-|
E|-7---7------0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0---0-0-0----|
The solo to 'Whole Lotta Love' is based on the E Minor Pentatonic Scale. It shows a lot of heavy bluesy riffs which define Jimmy Page's soloing style.
Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
Solo:
E |--------12----------------------------------------------|
B |-----12----15-12-----------------------------3----------|
G |-b14-------------15p14p12-14-12-b14ZYABLA~HUYABLAZYABLA~HUYABLA--2/4---4\2-0-2p0|
D |--------------------------------------------------------|
A |--------------------------------------------------------|
E |--------------------------------------------------------|

E |-------------------------12---------15------------------|
B |----------------------12----b15-b15----b15ZYABLA~HUYABLA~--17-b20r--|
G |0-2p0-------------b14-----------------------------------|
D |------2p0-2p0-------------------------------------------|
A |--------------2-----------------------------------------|
E |----------------0---------------------------------------|

E |-------------------b19-19-18-17-------------------------|
B |------20p17ZYABLA~HUYABLA~--17--------------20p17-20-17ZYABLA~HUYABLA~--17-19---|
G |21p18---------------------------------------------------|
D |--------------------------------------------------------|
A |--------------------------------------------------------|
E |--------------------------------------------------------|

E |------------19------------------------------------------|
B |b19-b19-b19----17ZYABLA~HUYABLA~------------------------------------|
G |--------------------------------------------------------|
D |--------------------------------------------------------|
A |--------------------------------------------------------|
E |--------------------------------------------------------|
This final riff is probably one of the favourite Led Zeppelin Riff it comes from 'Black Dog.'
Led Zeppelin - Black Dog.
E|----------------|-----------------------|----------------------|
B|----------------|-----------------------|----------------------|
G|----------------|-5-------7--9---5h7p5--|--------5-------------|
D|----5--6--7-----|-----7-----------------|-7---7------7---5--7--|
A|-7-----------7--|-----------------------|----------------------|
E|----------------|-----------------------|----------------------|

E|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------------|
D|--7-------------------2----------------------------------------|
A|------5---7---3---5---0----------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|
Jimmy Page also won Third Prize as a Guitar Survivor. In the light of Page's outstanding third place finish in the Guitar Survivor competition, the following feature is designed to provide a resource for Jimmy Page, Born James Patrick Page. "Jimmy" grew to become arguably the most influential rock guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. The guitarist, however, has been plagued by recent back problems, which has kept Page from appearing with the band on numerous occasions. Whatever Jimmy Page does or doesn't do for the rest of his career, he has made a lasting impact on the guitar community. Whether through his song writing style, or through his signature Les Paul sound, Page is fully deserving of his fine placing in the Guitar Survivor competition.

Conclusion

Indeed in many of others' opinion, Page was the most talented guitarist ever lived since Jimi Hendrix. I think when you're faced with a plight that's inescapable, and there's something you can do about it, you hope you can make a difference. - Jimmy Page. Well this is it, long but sweet, when you read this, you should get on your guitar and start practicing because there's no way you're going to get better by reading only.

145 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    W4T3V3R
    er wtf page rules. No1 Solo ever written/played too (stairway to heaven)
    oscar7557
    jimmy page is the best but come on lets be honest there were only three stlys back then page's clapton's and hendrix and outa thoughs three page's licks are lazy witch is kewl
    ~TheLastWarrior
    Not even close to displaying the HUGE diversity Page had. And you forgot to mention he was the sloppiest player around in the 70s.
    Crazy Metal Man
    u morons.....JIMMY PAGE RULES..... and yea this articale was pretty good..... cuz u cant freeeking cover everything about one of the best guitarists in one aritcal
    redhavok
    i think the name of the doubled neck SG is called an EDS-1275..or sumthin similar
    will-loves-zep
    how do i get his screaching solo sounds; any tips for distortion pedals? for his amp settings go distortion channel, high mid range (about 7-8), and hold the treble (5-6) and bass (5). go about 6-7 on gain, higher if you want to distort it more. (this is courtesy of total guitar, i think its great)
    will-loves-zep
    sk8byf8bob wrote: how was he the sloppiest player in the 70's. try the greatest
    i agree but would push it to greatest player EVER
    SpartaX
    page missed out notes and was at times "sloppy" but he did play more notes than most guitarists!!!
    Metallic Dogma
    wow! this is amazing. this was posted to be a "lesson" site and it turned into a comment conflict. what a bunch of d*** heads! oh, by the way, PAGE RULES!!! no doubt the best ever!!!!
    -heartbreaker-
    this was pretty flawed and it was a waste of time.
    Page played live with his trusty Les Paul Custom
    he used that guitar for like 3 years and it was stolen. he was famous for a LP Standard anyways.
    Here is an easier way to play the beginning of the solo. This riff can replace the beginning riff. It sounds the same, but it is easier to play: E|-----5p3-----|-----| B|-----5p3-----|-----| G|-7b9-- ---6p3--7p5-|---- -| D|-----|-7p5---| A|-----|-----8-| E|--- --|-----|
    thats a completely improper way, yeah. this was also a very brief article, and apparently its stolen? LAME.
    Metallic Dogma
    Les__Paul__630* wrote: wow, if it weren't for Jimmy Page, I wouldn't even be playing guitar
    i feel the same way man
    aburamla
    Jimmy page is so very original, he could never be called a plagiarist. Anyone here heard of davy graham and bert jansch ? Bert composed a beautiful arrangement for the Irish folk song 'black waterside' or was it black mountainside ? anyway he did this in the early sixties, years before Zeppelin were formed.Thats the great thing about Jimmy, he always gives credit where it's due,almost the entire zeppelin catalogue sounds uncannily identical to a lot of other peoples work.
    craftercon65
    Tbh culd hav got these tabs from UG anyways but thx for the explanation of his techniques. 7/10
    krew118es
    jimmy is the best. no one can come up with the shit he did and thats why he's famous. he has his own style. if it's sloppy or slow or lazy or not technical enough for anyone then they can **** off. jimmy did his own thing and he was recognized for it.
    trainwreck4444
    Yes this article is not very detailed. I found tons of zeppelin how to play dvds at note4note.us. these things are awesome, they include all the guitar parts
    paul87
    you should have talked about his middle eastern influence and alternate tunings ex. Bron y Aur, Kashmir, White Summer. He played solos from other scales besides minor pent.
    jimmy_page90
    damn jimmy pages dragon telecaster was sick why cant they make a signature guitar series for him?
    ElThomas
    hey page rocks. all of you bashin on him should die. his sloppiness was what made him a god
    irishRW
    yng_hplss wrote: jimmy is my iDOL!! his style on the guitar is the best & it helped me alot when i was first learning. i think the harder the music tabs u use, the better u r in the future. so use classic rock tabs or jimmy's here to improve. it'll be VERY hard in the beginning, but it's TOTALLY worth it on the end. TRUST ME!!!
    I agree man, learn the hard tabs, it'll be hell at first but it pays off. Powertab is where its at. Not only can u hear the song syncronised with the tab and practise reading music - the tabs are usually always accurrate with few exceptions.
    cheeseisthebomb
    this was an okay lesson. It didn't make me a better guitarist or anything, but i DID learn the whole lotta love solo, thank you for that ;->.
    ajink101
    he may have been sloppy...but look at how much money he made, compaired to most of you....so it really didn't matter PLUS this isn't about anything else except some of his styles.
    yng_hplss
    jimmy is my iDOL!! his style on the guitar is the best & it helped me alot when i was first learning. i think the harder the music tabs u use, the better u r in the future. so use classic rock tabs or jimmy's here to improve. it'll be VERY hard in the beginning, but it's TOTALLY worth it on the end. TRUST ME!!!
    LedZeppelin650
    eskycorp wrote: I think some people are taking this article way too seriously. It was a good read meant to give some brief examples of what makes him a great guitarist, and what we think of now as common techniques, were kinda inventive in 1968.
    I find what you said here kind of off. I mean to say his techniques were common, hell i've never seen any guitarist create work like him. He's the Beethoven of classic rock. And i don't exactly see any one guitarist doing anything like him. I mean these days to be called a guitarist you just have to be able to play powerchords. Not like saying what you said was dumb, but its just the fact that everything back then from music to automobiles was more innovative than anything today.
    acidgreeny
    love thin lizzy i guess with a name like irish its understandable you love them too.gary moore and snowy white what a team.the solo on "i'm still in love with you" is a true classic.fantastic synchro guitar riffs and a full rockin sound.just awsome.
    rokknrollldude
    hey ppl...just a quick fact...the 59' sunburst les paul that was jimmy's go-2 guitar was given to him by the very joe walsh.....
    sbauer187
    he may have been a bit sloppy at times during live performances but in the studio, his work is dead on...one of the great producers of all time...listen to the studio version of the song remains the same and youll see what i mean...a guitar god to say the least
    guitardude2012
    sorry dude but all you did was slap a couple generic explanations and the solo for stairway to heaven. it wasn't very helpful to me.
    Draken68
    jimmy didnt base his solos on scales...he didnt even play scales...his solos are amazing but they were just him playing the best thing he could and some turned out like scales... "I cant play a scale. You think Im kidding but Im not. I cant. Well I can, I can play the notes but its true though. I cant play a bar chord. Its true. Its unbelievable, isnt it [much laughter]? Its true though."
    mgilliamalo
    I cannot think of any guitarist on planet earth who has inspired me more than Mr. Page. His style is more eclectic than anyone I can think of (blues, country, good ol' rock and roll, hard rock, folk, bluegrass, spacey Indian stuff, a true artist). I believe Page is an amazing songwriter and that is what sets him apart from many of his peers who can play guitar well (Clapton, Beck, Hendrix, Vaughn). When I listen to music I do so because it moves me: I like how it sounds and makes me feel. I like the majority of Zeppelin songs and I like the light/dark dynamic within them. I like how the songs stop and start and how they go from soft to loud or very light and hopeful to dark and moody. A good musician can express the way they feel through their instrument. If they have a vision the audience will feel it and it will inspire them. I do not believe that Jimmy is the best guitarist ever but he's my favorite. I've heard people try to say that Page ripped off other musicians. Maybe his influences show through too much here and there but when he plays a song live he improvises nearly every fill and solo and also varies the main melody as well. Did he steal all of his improv. too? I'd love to hear the precursor to KASHMIR. When someone writes a song no matter how original sounding it is; it's the outgrowth of everything that preceded it, just like a child is to it's parents. There is nothing new under the stars. I can think of a few 'technically superior players' who lack creativity and vision and I wouldn't be willing to spend 10 cents to see them play a concert or buy their pointless, uninspiring albums. My first concert was PAGE/PLANT in ATL. GA. on the WALKing into CLARksdale tour and I'll never forget it! I remember the quote quite well and Robert Plant said it: "I think of Pagey's playing as a little left of HEAVEN."
    cdavid01
    what a long post! - filled with many JP truths in fact and adoration and also just as much quantity of unqualified & naive dribble. Wake up kids! You can classify your guitar idol from two standpoints: 1) technical standpoint - a player's player is solid technically eg paco de lucia, leo kottke, yangowie, pat methany. In order to survive the scrutiny of those who play guitar seriously & to satisfy their own integrity. When the serious player's jaw drops on hearing guitar virtuosity then you know the hero guitarist has cred. 2) stylist/creative standpoint - if your hero has an unquestionable distintive style &/or sound then they are just as great as a technically brilliant player, maybe even greater - music is for the mob and the mob rules. JP has elite rock chops but is very very sloppy live (mostly when off his face). So the buzzer goes "anghhh" for his technical virtuosity - although he is very accomplished compared to journeymen players. JPs greatness is that he is a consummate stylist - he has a distinct electric sound, he has an amazing gift for being creative with timing (chords and hook riffs ) and is ingenious with alternate tunings where he extracts melodies from other universes (and other musicians lockers) and frames them with the gift of timing into songs we all adore. He does steal, er sorry 'uses creative collaboration", with many rhythms and licks from previous giants but then this has been going on since the 1500's in all artistic circles (eg shakespeare, mozart, beethoven, strauss all borrowed from colleagues - go google). I have to commend info2new for pulling together the original post, very dedicated although the web is swamped with same info. info2new just needs to leave out trying to be precise where he/she has no knowledge eg the brilliant techniques paragraph is pure dribble, sorry.
    adsauzier
    TO ENHANCE YOUR VOCABULARY AND STOP ALL THESE FIGHTS, A NICER WORD FOR "SLOPPY" WOULD BE "LAID BACK"!!! THINK ABOUT IT!!!
    Spelunkersplunk
    p.s. Please e-mail @ upsydaisyum@yahoo.com if you can provide me ver batim with the above info I'm requesting.
    Spelunkersplunk
    Can anyone post ver batim how Jimmy's guitar playing was described in the Led Zeppelin boxed set? A music critic described his playing as being something to the effect of 'south of eden' or 'south of heaven' or maybe east of eden or east of heaven? I'd give anything to have this quote again for the quoting. I used to own the booklet that came with the boxed set but like an idiot gave it away to a friend.
    stobbsyboy
    ok ur info about the gear is pretty shaky, he had 59 les paul standard with a really thin neck, 4 push pull pots for coil slitting phase inverting and series parallel stuff, nick named "number 1" his "number 2" was to the same spec except it had extra switches under the pick guard so he couls easily do what the pots did while he was playing, his les paul custom was stolen at an airport, so it hasnt seen much action with led zep, he had 3 telecasters, one blonde with a dragon design, a nice beep brown one and a light blonde one with what looks to be the little rail humbucker pickups, the double neck sg as u put it is correctly called the eds-1275, but his was custom with mahogany necks because if i remember correctly he needed one after they stopped production, he used many amps, but in particular his marshall, was a 1959hw as its known today, and it was modded to handle kt88 power valves which resulted in doubling the output power, he used orange heads, rickenbacker cabs, even hiwatt amps, and u forgot to mention he used a tone bender distortion pedal through his marshall and i think it may have been a vox v845 wah he used, and various other pedals, eg "nobody's fasult but mine" and "trampled underfoot" as for his playing techniques, he used lots of little dynamics such as playing the 2 d's in "whole lotta love" but bending the fretted d, even i missed that first time i learned it, u need to study everything more in depth before u post something like this about him, he was a sloppy player, but he made it work so well that u dnt even notice, he was never sloppy in the studio, but when he was on stage he was just completely free with what he did with the guitar, and by looking at him and seeing what he was drinking before he got onstage, u can understand why he was a wee bit sloppy, but all in all the best guitar player ever
    Con-Hair25
    i dont see how jimmy page is sloppy i mean come on he is considered one of the best u cant be one of the best if ur sloppy and if u still think he is sloppy come on he was high on ever drug in the book lol...