While I wait for all my guitar parts to arrive, I started thinking about other things I’d like to share. So this will be the first post about guitar influences of mine.
Musicians always talk about their “influences”. Now I wouldn’t say I am a good musician, though I am trying, but I understand what they mean when they use that word. If you are deeply into the electric guitar, there are almost certainly some musicians for whom you have a special respect, and who have strongly influenced the music to which you listen, the tone you like, and the music you aspire to play. Describing why you like a particular style of music or piece, why it connects with you emotionally, how it makes you feel is basically impossible. One piece might make you sad and another might crank you up, and yet others just sound cool. But why? Who knows. When I listen to Shock and Awe (by Neil Young) for example, I always find myself with tears in my eyes. William Congreve wrote (in 1697!) “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”
For me, Jimmy Page is one of those musicians with whose music I connect. It is powerful, innovative, and emotional. I like his sound, his tone. Page was the consummate guitarist and composer, honing his skill as a session musician before he ever formed a band. He once said “I was doing three sessions a day, fifteen sessions a week. Sometimes I would be playing with a group, sometimes I could be doing film music, it could be a folk session … I was able to fit all these different roles.” It’s part of how he developed into what he became – enormous amounts of practice and variety.
In fact, his influence is the basis for my guitar project – building the Frankencaster with a Gibson Les Paul style electronics (Page’s preferred guitar) in a Telecaster body and with a Stratocaster neck.
Here are a couple of videos of Jimmy Page, which together cover five decades. The first video was shot when Page was 14. The second video is Page in the early 70s, alone, on acoustic, and just going for it. The video quality is terrible but the sound is decent and you get a flavor for his talents. The last video is exactly 50 years after the first video, at a performance in Wembley Stadium. Dave Grohl, guitarist and lead singer for the Foo Fighters, jumps onto the drum kit and does a fantastic version of Rock ‘n Roll with Page on guitar. Enjoy.
And of course there is this priceless, classic scene, only a few seconds long, in which Page plays the opening to one of Led Zeppelin’s most iconic songs, with Jack White and The Edge staring on in what looks like a worship-trance.