NAMM 2019: Fender reveals Jimmy Page Telecasters
One of the highlights of a predictably crammed stand at this year’s NAMM are bound to be details of Fender’s four new Jimmy Page Signature Telecasters, commemorating Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary and due to be available in March.
Based on Page’s 1959 Telecaster, two eye-wateringly expensive models will be produced in the Fender Custom Shop – dubbed the “Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set” – and will be available at ‘select authorised showcase dealers globally’, beginning March 2019. Additionally, two more affordable models will be made on Fender’s production lines, to be released in Spring/Summer 2019.
The designs will follow two incarnations of the guitar originally given to Page by his predecessor in the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, In February 1967, to give a kinetic element, Page added eight round mirrors to the body of the guitar. By mid-1967 he decided to strip the instrument down to bare wood and 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.”
Among the four Artist Signature models will be two limited edition Fender Custom Shop versions masterbuilt by Fender Custom Shop Master Builder veteran Paul Waller – one with mirrors and the other with the painted dragon. With each priced at £23,259 ($25,000 in the USA), the set will be available for local ‘authorised showcase dealers’ to purchase and then sell together or separately to consumers. Beginning in March 2019, only 50 units of each Fender Custom Shop model will be made available; they include 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.
In addition to the Custom Shop models, Fender will roll out both mirror and painted versions from its production lines in Spring and Summer 2019, respectively. Priced from £1,259 – £2,349. These will not be hand-signed or hand-painted by the artist, although Page did advise Fender first-hand on creation of the design to make sure the guitars were true-to-spec of the original Telecaster.
In addition to personal touches from Page, 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.
Unlike the “exact” Fender Custom Shop reproductions, 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.
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