Learning how to play Led Zeppelin on guitar is a rather very popular goal among all rock and heavy metal guitar fans out there.
There is no doubt that Led Zeppelin is one of the most influential Rock & Roll, Heavy Rock, and even Metal bands of all times. Jimmy Page, the main guitarist of the band, is considered to be one of the most revered rock guitarists of all times, and his guitar playing and technique inspired millions of fans around the world and made him the legendary guitarist that he is today.
That being said, it’s pretty clear that it’s impossible to learn to play like Page overnight using only an article. What you need is a series of focused, practical and theoretical, video lessons that teach the signature techniques and tricks that Page uses regularly when playing for Led Zeppelin. Luckily for us, there’s a place online that have the complete Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page artist study with a series of step by step video lessons on his techniques, gear, habits, and everything you need to know in order to depict the sound and style of the legendary Led Zeppelin, as accurately as possible.
And I say “as accurately as possible” because I believe no one can truly and exactly sound like Jimmy Page, just as much as no one can sound exactly like YOU. Every guitarist is unique in his own style and tone, but since Jimmy Page is a true icon of the instrument and Rock & Roll music, it only makes sense that we’d want to take a closer look into his genius musical mind, and try to analyze it and understand it, and see what we can take from him for our own benefit and learning, and then try to put it into practice in our own guitar playing both for fun and educational purposes.
Here’s the complete Jimmy Page’s artist study from Guitar Tricks:
Jimmy Page's Gear – Guitars and Amplifiers
Page played on all kinds of different guitars, both acoustic and electric, but his main axe was the Gibson Les Paul on which he played in most of his live gigs. He also played on Fender Telecaster, Danelectro, and even the Gibson Double Neck.
As for amps and effects, Page used amplifiers such as Fenders, Voxes, and Supros for studio recording, while leaving live performances for the big, high-powered Marshall stacks. Aside from clean and distortion, Page used a variety of effects during his play, most notably phasing, echo, and wah, and he knew how and when to use each effect pretty well much like an artist.
As we can see, Jimmy Page used a lot of tools and equipment, but perhaps the most distinctive equipment he ever used are his own brain and ideas which he portrayed in a mesmerizing way in his performances, and near perfect techniques and unique style.
Jimmy Page's Riffs
Ok we’ve all heard Page’s riffs and it’s pretty darn obvious that Page is a riff master and one that knows how to create unforgettable, electrifying riffs that stick in your head for a long, long time.
Riffs have the power to either make the song completely boring and unappealing, or make it extremely popular and electrifying. We all experienced songs with mediocre riffs and went like “Meh …”, and then lost interest in the song and didn’t want to hear more of it.
However, when the riffs are extremely good and well made, they can transform the song and take it to a whole new level of epicness. Just take a look at old school rock and metal bands such as AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and of course, Led Zeppelin, to realize just how powerful riffs are when done right.
Jimmy Page’s riffs are famous for being aggressive, repetitive, and locked in very well with the drums and bass. A lot of the famous Led Zeppelin riffs are single note riffs rooted in blues, combined with the progression of a 12 bar blues and power riffs. Here’s an example tablature taken from the same GuitarTricks’ artist study we mentioned earlier:
He also used descending triads in his riffs (Kashmir) to impose dramatic effects, ascending triads (Stairway to Heaven), and many of his riffs were influenced by Classical music. His aggressive, repetitive, and chromatic riffs combined with explosive power riffs (Rock & Roll) are said to have paved the way to the creation of Heavy Metal music that we know today.
Here's Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, and Rock & Roll:
Jimmy Page's Solo and Lead Guitar
Much like his riffs, Page’s solos are aggressive and based on minor/Major pentatonic scale and modes. As usual, his solos are heavily influenced by old Blues compositions, and techniques such as Hammer-ons, Pull-offs, and bending, were dominant in his solos. He wasn’t known for playing fast alternate picking or sweep picking solos like the Steve Vai and Malmsteen of today, but rather he relied more on textbook classic rock & roll techniques and rhythms that fitted well with the classic Led Zeppelin atmosphere, and in that, he was truly masterful.
Jimmy Page and Acoustic Guitar
Despite being in a classic Rock & Roll band, Page never refrained from using the acoustic guitar and incorporating a lot of acoustic rock riffs and rhythms into many of Led Zeppelin songs.
Jimmy Page is very dynamic when playing on the acoustic guitar. He didn’t rely only on one technique throughout a whole song, but instead, he used to combine strumming, fingerpicking, arpeggios, and even electric guitar techniques and riffs altogether in a single acoustic piece.
No matter when or what Page decides to play on the acoustic guitar, it always provided a great contrast to the explosive heavy riffing that Led Zeppelin is known for.
If you have followed the guide here and the complete Led Zeppelin – Jimmy Page artist study by Guitar Tricks that I linked to in the beginning of this guide, you would have by now plenty of understanding of the mind and style of the legendary rock & roll guitarist Jimmy Page and how he played for Led Zeppelin.
You know what gear he used in most of his performances and studio recordings, so if you are looking for that Led Zeppelin's sweet classic tone, you might want to get yourself a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender amplifier and learn how to use phasing and echo well enough, and then learn several of his famous licks and try to make your own variations on them. Learn all his riffs and try to get yourself into the atmosphere of Led Zeppelin and from there just be creative and use your imagination!
If you enjoyed this artist study, there are plenty more artist studies that can be found inside GuitarTricks and Jamplay membership areas, some are completely free to have and take a look at, some require a membership (Free trial and money back guarantee are available in both options). Either way, I hope you enjoyed this article and if you want me to do more of them just let me know in the comments section below.