Jimmy Page's iconic “1959 “dragon” Fender Telecaster will be released as four signature models in 2019 to celebrate Led Zeppelin's 50th anniversary. Page, who was gifted the guitar in 1967 by his-then Yardbirds bandmate Jeff Beck, played the guitar in the final days of the band before it became his first signature axe in Zeppelin. The “dragon” Tele was used throughout the band's first album — and can also be heard on Page's iconic solo for 1971's “Stairway To Heaven.” According to the press release, “Two models will be made on Fender's production lines, and two will be produced in the Fender Custom Shop — dubbed the 'Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set.” Fender will reveal the complete model lineup in January 2019.
Page said in the statement announcing the guitar, “This guitar is so special and has so much history, so I approached Fender to see if they’d be interested in recreating it. They really got it 110 percent right, or 150 percent right. It's so absolutely as it is, as it should be, and as it was. Visiting the Fender Custom Shop to sign and paint the guitars with (Fender Custom Shop Master Builder) Paul Waller was a real thrill. To see all those absolute gems on the wall, it's a pretty amazing experience.”
Mike Lewis, the VP of Product Development at Fender Custom Shop, said: “It's an incredible honor that one of the most-respected rock legends has entrusted Fender to recreate one of his most-prized guitars. Some of the most esteemed artists in the world work with the Fender Custom Shop, because it is the pinnacle of craftsmanship for the Fender brand and the guitar-building community.”
Planetrock.com posted some backstory to the famed Tele: “Jimmy’s original Telecaster had a factory white blonde finish when he received it from Jeff Beck and in early-1967 he customized it by adding eight circular mirrors to the body. Later that year, he personally stripped off the mirrors and hand-painted a dragon on to the instrument. When a friend stripped the body and painted over the dragon paint job when Jimmy was on tour in 1969, he was forced to re-strip and restore the body in full.”
Premierguitar.com added: “The paint job compromised the sound and wiring, leaving only the neck pickup working. He salvaged the neck and put it on his brown StringBender Tele, and has since re-stripped and restored the body in full. . . Fender will also build both mirror and painted versions on its production lines, which will be more accessibly priced for a broader base of fans to purchase. . . Page did consult with Fender throughout the design process to ensure the guitars are true-to-spec of the original Telecaster.”
Jimmy Page explained that he’s proud and flattered that his music has become an inspiration for budding musicians all over the world: “It’s really nice to know that guitarists are inspired by the work that I’ve done and then it passes on. So you pass it back on so other musicians can have the inspiration that music can give you — not necessarily mine — but just music generally.”