Jimmy Page unveiled four new “clones” of his famous “Mirror” and “Dragon” guitars that he made in collaboration with Fender yesterday. The instruments are based on the Led Zeppelin guitarist’s 1959 Fender Telecaster, and their release is timed to the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin, on which he played his “Dragon” telecaster. The Fender Custom Shop will be releasing two high-priced models, which its calling the Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set, in March and two other models will come off Fender’s regular production lines and be available in the spring or summer.
A video that Fender released with the announcement chronicles the history of the instrument. Jeff Beck gifted Page the ’59 Tele in 1966 when both guitarists were playing in the Yardbirds. Page added eight round mirrors to the instrument in February 1967 and by the middle of the year he stripped it down and painted its now-famous “dragon” design on it. You can hear Page playing the guitar on the live album Yardbirds ’68.
“The story of the instrument is the whole journey of it — from Jeff having it, to passing it on to me with such good spirit,” Page said in a statement. “It’s a lot of love in that gesture and the journey of it through the Yardbirds and how it was used on the first Led Zeppelin album … the journey all the way through here today. Now, it’s been restored back to its true beauty and we’ve actually been able to sort of clone it.”
The Fender Custom Shop versions are each priced at $25,000; the company will produce only 50 copies of each and will provide certificates of authenticity for them. The Fender production line “Mirror” Telecaster will be going for $2,499.99 and the “Jimmy Page Telecaster” will have a price tag of $1,399.99.
“Jimmy actually invited us to his house in London to spec the guitar out,” Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller said in a statement. “More than a year later, we’ve managed to bring this guitar and the evolution of Jimmy’s career back to life. As the guitar evolved, so did Jimmy’s career. As the Dragon is born, he moves in and Led Zeppelin is born as well. It’s a pivotal moment for the guitar and music.”
Page played his original ’59 Tele from his time in the Yardbirds through the recording of Led Zeppelin. When he returned from a tour in 1969, he discovered that a friend of his had stripped the body and painted over the dragon. This modification changed the sound of the instrument and rendered only the neck pickup usable. He took the neck off the instrument it and put it on a brown string bender Tele. He has subsequently restored the original body.