The guitarist Jimmy Page “learned a lot from”

Jimmy Page founded Led Zeppelin in 1968 as his former band, The Yardbirds, slowly fell apart. He had been a busy session guitarist earlier in the decade, trying to hold onto his rising star status. Using his keen sense of taste in music and his love of rock ‘n’ roll, he signed three industry greats: John Paul Jones for bass and keyboards, Robert Plant for vocals, and John Bonham for percussion.

All four of them eventually stepped up to the plate as essential links in the enormous Led Zeppelin chain, even if Page would have seen the band as a beast of his own making throughout its ascent to fame.

The Schrammel-wielding Page was a true guitar prodigy who was renowned for his innovative compositional style. Although Page’s technical proficiency may not have been as great as that of the greatest guitar hero, Jimi Hendrix, he more than made up for it with intricate and masterfully executed solos and progressions. In addition, he says that in his early days as a session musician, he helped introduce distortion effects to the British Invasion movement.

Of course, Page drew inspiration from a wide range of past and present guitarists. He was first enthralled by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and his fellow pioneers, as he was first and foremost a blues rocker. Later, he was motivated by well-known classmates he had the good fortune to get to know.

Page told Rolling Stone in 1975, “We’ve lost the best guitarist any of us ever had, and that was Hendrix, The other guitarist I started to get into died also, Clarence White. He was absolutely brilliant.”

He added, “Out of all the guitarists to come out of the sixties, though, [Jeff] Beck, [Eric] Clapton, [Alvin] Lee, [Pete] Townshend, and I are still having a go, That says something. Beck, Clapton and I were sort of the Richmond/Croydon type clan and Alvin Lee, I don’t know where he came from, Leicester or something like that. So he was never in with it a lot. And Townshend, Townshend was from Middlesex, and he used to go down to the clubs and watch the other guitarists.”

While Page is an ardent follower of the blues rock heritage, he has drawn inspiration for his style from guitarists in some important genres. Importantly, Page’s approach was developed in the jazz furnace by his pre-fame guitar teacher, John McLaughlin.

Regarding his jazz idol, Page once remarked, “I would say he was the best jazz guitarist in England back then, in the traditional mode of Johnny Smith and Tal Farlow.” “He certainly taught me a lot about chord progressions and things like that. He was so fluent and so far ahead, way out there, and I learned a hell of a lot.”

One of the most respected jazz guitarists in Britain, McLaughlin is also a devotee of the Schrammel guitar and is recognized as one of the forerunners of jazz fusion. His work may be heard in Page’s well-known improvisational jams with Led Zeppelin and had a significant impact on the 1960s psychedelic rock movement.

Listen to a young Jimmy Page perform in “Spanish Armada” by Le London All-Star with John McLaughlin below.


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