Magical 6-Way Toggle Switch Makes Life Worth Living

Freeway 6 6-way toggle switch Check this out: the Freeway 6-Way Toggle Switch – an upgrade of the unique toggle switch installed on the three-pickup Gibson Jimmy Page Les Paul Custom – is now available to fit to the guitar of your choice. Not just any toggle switch, it does the work of multiple standard switches: the six toggle positions broaden your wiring options and tone possibilities. Great for coil-splitting, three-pickup selection, piezo pickup activation, and humbucker/single-coil/humbucker switching. You can check it out here (along with wiring diagrams) and buy it here,

REVIEW: Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

It’s hard to believe it’s already been five years since the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited (with Jason Bonham on drums) for a one-off show at London’s O2 Arena in honour of Atlantic Records exec Ahmet Ertegün. But what’s really hard to believe is that it happened at all. Robert Plant seems to have a love/hate relationship with Zeppelin, proud of the band’s achievements and even willing to revisit them in various forms with Jimmy Page from time to time (the No Quarter album, Walking Into Clarksdale, a few semi-reunion mini sets in the 80s), but never ready to fully commit to anything with the Zeppelin stamp on it. And it doesn’t look like this will be happening again, so Celebration Day is really all you’re likely to get in terms of new music made by Led Zeppelin.

So what have we got here? A whopping sixteen tracks of Zeppelin classics rendered by three of the four guys who made it happen (and a goodly chunk of DNA from the remainder), in CD and DVD/Blu-Ray form. Kicking off with Good Times, Bad Times, Plant gives a kind of wry wink to the opening couplet: “In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man. Now I’ve reached that age I try to do all those things the best I can.” Plant’s starts off a little tentative here, but it doesn’t take him long to find his groove. Page’s guitar is characteristically raw and un-finessed, but that’s part of what makes him so freaking cool. He never needed to stand still and strum away in the background back in the day, and he’s not going to start now. A blisteringly loose but authoritative solo really kicks Good Times, Bad Times into overdrive and the energy level is cranked.

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NEWS: Gibson releases Jimmy Page ‘Number 2’ Les Paul

Ooh, another Gibson Jimmy Page Les Paul, and I still haven’t fulfilled my promise to myself to become rich enough to buy all the previous ones. I’ll get to the Gibson press release in a second, but first let’s reflect on one of the greatest guitars I’ve never played:

This 3-pickup Les Paul Custom with Bigsby was released in 2008 and quickly zoomed to the top of my Want List. Three humbuckers. Gold Bigsby. Specially designed pickup selector switch with extra settings to incorporate the middle pickup. And did I mention the gold Bigsby? Oh well, let me mention it again. Gold Bigsby.

Ok, enough of this japery. Here’s the press release about the new Jimmy Page model. I’ll meet you again after the press release for my commentary.

Every musician knows that late ’50s Sunburst Les Paul Standards are hard enough to come by as it is. Obtaining a pristine and exemplary ‘59 ‘Burst and modifying it for heightened performance and vastly expanded tonal options? Unheard of… unless, of course, you’re Jimmy Page.

That’s exactly what the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist, perhaps the world’s most iconic Les Paul player, did with his own ‘59 Les Paul Standard, and now, thanks to the extreme efforts of Gibson’s Custom Shop and the intimate cooperation of Jimmy Page himself–the artist’s hallowed “Number Two” Les Paul is available to mere mortals, in the form of the Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul.

Produced in strictly limited numbers, with two levels of aging, this guitar captures the look, feel, sound, and versatility of one of the greatest artist-owned Les Pauls of all time, and it is likely to disappear from authorized Gibson dealers in record time.

The 1959 Les Paul that has come to be known as “Number Two” was purchased by Page in 1973 after trying for some time to acquire an exceptional second Les Paul.

This was several years after having acquired his other legendary Les Paul–”Number One”, a ‘59 ‘Burst with shaved-down neck profile and no serial number–from Joe Walsh. “Number Two” was essentially all original when he acquired it. Jimmy did have some modifications done to the neck shape so that it would more nearly match the feel of his “Number One”. The neck is certainly slim but not to such extremes as the now-ultra-slim neck on “Number One”. It had a strong, beautiful sunburst finish with a red element that had faded to a dusky amber-brown, along with a clear serial number dating it to 1959. Page played this Les Paul frequently through his days with Led Zeppelin, and in the early ’80s decided to make it an even more versatile instrument.

Page also added that he wanted to “explore the full range of what the two humbuckers have to offer”. He designed a switching system for coil splitting, series/parallel, and phase-reverse options for both pickups, and employed a skilled electronics technician to devise a working schematic and make his sonic vision a reality.

The result comprised a push/pull pot on each of the guitar’s four standard controls, plus two push-button switches hidden beneath the pickguard, all mounted on a ‘59 Les Paul Standard that is otherwise a superb example of the breed, both in tone and playability.

The Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul was recreated with intense, inch-by-inch examination of Page’s original guitar, inside and out. The process of getting it right involved the production of a number of hand-built prototypes, each of which was checked and critiqued in detail by Page himself. Approval of the final iteration was only offered after the legendary artist had intricately examined and extensively played this last prototype in his London home, after which it was given the thumbs-up, worthy of being the template for the Custom Shop Jimmy Page “Number Two” Les Paul.

Only 325 examples will be produced in total: The first 25 instruments are to be aged by vintage-reproduction master Tom Murphy then inspected, played and hand signed and numbered by Jimmy Page personally. An additional 100 guitars will be given the extensive aging treatment and 200 will be finished to Gibson’s VOS specs.

Got that? Cool, huh? Now, these guitars certainly aren’t cheap – the aged/signed version is $25,882; the aged version is $15,294 and the VOS version is $11,176. Be that as it may, I think it’s really cool that Gibson and Page are teaming up to do these reproductions of his iconic axes, and that they’re doing it right. Would I pay that much for one? Well, no, because once upon a time I didn’t even MAKE $25,882 in a year. But it would have been all too easy to just throw the Page custom wiring into an existing model and be done with it. At least Gibson’s going to the effort to get this stuff exact – even though I might have to trudge down to my local Cash 4 Kidneys to afford one.

What do you think? Can you put the cost aside and geek out over this new axe, or is that hefty price tag just too much of a hurdle?


NEWS: Jimmy Page – not a fan of signing autographs

I was just reading this article on about how Jimmy Page autographs are becoming very highly sought after, with Page not agreeing to sign much these days.

Blabbermouth cites a HoundsTV article about the best and worst autograph signers of 2008 which says: “On Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (LED ZEPPELIN): “While they were not touring together, founding LED ZEPPELIN members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page arrived in Toronto within weeks of each other during 2008. Plant, on tour with Alison Krauss played a summer show, and Page came to the Toronto Film Festival weeks later to support a film. Page announced on arrival at TIFF regarding autograph requests, ‘I’m kinda finished with that,’ and stuck to his word. Robert Plant was equally dismissive the few times approached by collectors over the course of the couple of days he was in Toronto. By mutual agreement among many, Page and Plant were the worst rock-god signers to come though during the year. Autograph collectors went home with their LED ZEPPELIN memorabilia unsigned during 2008.”
Personally I’d rather sit down and have a chat with Page over a pot of tea than have his autograph, but to each their own.
Perusin the ‘bay for Page autographs just out of curiosity after reading the article, I stumbled across this Gibson Custom Shop Jimmy Page VOS Double Neck (pictured above), which comes with a signed certificate and is a bargain at US $6,595. Man I hope this gets sold to a guitarist who will play the hell out of it rather than a collector who will keep it locked up.

NEWS: Metallica rocks twin bass attack at Hall of Fame

Metallica has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony which featured performances of ‘Master of Puppets’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ with both Robert Trujillo and Jason Newstead on bass, in what was probably the most momentous multi-bass moment since Spinal Tap’s ‘Big Bottom.’

According to this post on METALLICA played “Master Of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman” at tonight’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with the band’s former bassist Jason Newsted and his replacement, Robert Trujillo, both taking part in the performance (the group played as a five-piece). They also led a “surprise jam” at the end of the night consisting of “Train Kept A Rollin'”, with RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS’ Flea, LED ZEPPELIN’s Jimmy Page, AEROSMITH’s Joe Perry and Jeff Beck.

Check out this video of the jam:

CLICK HERE to see Metallica stuff on eBay.

NEWS: Gold Bigsby Vibramate mounting kit

The first whammy bar I was aware of was the Bigsby, when I was about 8, and it took me quite a few years to get one of my own (on an Ibanez Talman) but I love it to bits. I have dreams of an army of Bigsby-loaded Telecasters and Les Pauls with P90s. And this here solution is ideal for anyone who wants to do the latter, in snazzy gold. Come to think of it, one of these on a 3-humbucker Les Paul Custom would be a lot cheaper than buying the Jimmy Page model …

Vibramate Bigsby Mounting Kit now Available in Gold

Now you can get the new Vibramate mounting kit for Bigsby Vibratos in a Gold Anodized finish. The Vibramate V5 Model Quick Mount Kit is designed for installing a Bigsby B5 “Original” Vibrato on most traditional style guitars that have a Tune-a-Matic type bridge and a Stop-Tailpiece. The kit installs in minutes with the included hardware and eliminates the need for drilling permanent holes in your instrument. Converting back to stock is just as simple.

Vibramate automatically positions the Bigsby Vibrato in the proper orientation without any special tools or layout.
Vibramate comes with felt-pads for a soft touch to the top of your guitar.
Vibramate includes both Standard and Metric threaded mounting hardware for installation on either US or Import model guitars.
Vibramate fits most guitars with a Tune-a-Matic type bridge and a standard Stop-Tailpiece.
Vibramate installs in minutes with No Drilling Required
Vibramate is Made in the USA with Aircraft Grade Aluminum
Vibramate V5 Gold Retail Price: $79.95
(Bigsby Vibrato sold separately)

For more information, visit their web site at

8 Whammy Pedal moments you totally have to hear

Steve Vai – Touching Tongues (Sex & Religion)
Vai combines a whammy pedal and delay to create complex harmonies and countermelodies in the chorus of this track from 1993’s Sex & Religion album. Very musical, very creative and very cool.

Living Colour – Wall (Stain)
With a delay effect keeping the groove going, bass player Doug Wimbish picks out certain notes to emphasise with the Whammy pedal before shifting the whole friggin’ riff up an octave over the course of the final bar of the intro. Awesome.

Pantera – Becoming (Far Beyond Driven)
Dimebag stomps on the Whammy pedal on the second beat of each bar of this killer riff. Live he liked to rock out without having to worry about pedals, so his tech did all Dime’s Whammy squealing for him.

Audioslave – Like A Stone (Audioslave)
Tom Morello uses the Whammy Pedal almost like Eddie Van Halen sometimes does with the whammy bar, using it to slide into each note from below. Awesome.

Pink Floyd – Marooned (The Division Bell)
The Whammy Pedal usage in this song is pretty subtle on first listen. David Gilmour uses it to stretch bends out over an octave, but he blends it in with his regular playing style so seamlessly that you can be forgiven for not even noticing.

Joe Satriani – Cool #9 (Joe Satriani)
The Whammy Pedal had been available for a while when Satch released this track on his low key, live-vibed self-titled album, and he’s used the pedal a lot since, but the open space provided by the vamp of this track leaves plenty of room to hear Joe’s intuitive Whammy Pedal technique in detail.

Coverdale/Page – Over Now (Coverdale/Page)
Jimmy Page uses the original WH1Whammy Pedal’s ‘Down 2nd’ mode to slide an A5 chord down to a D5. This setting is still present in the WH1, but these days they call it ‘Drop Tune.’

The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (Elephant)
What sounds like a bass on this track is actually a Digitech Whammy Pedal with the pitch dropped way down below the basement. While Jack White loves his vintage analog gear, he’s obviously not shy about the occasional digital chip either.

CLICK HERE to read my review of the DigiTech Whammy Pedal.

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CLICK HERE to buy the Digitech Whammy WH4 from Guitar Center for $169.95.

CLICK HERE to see Digitech Whammy pedals (all models) for sale on eBay.

DOUBLE NECK GUITAR WEEK – Day 1: "That Jimmy Page one."

Wow, February crept up quick. After last month’s trial of Sparkly Guitar Week, my new theme weeks find their permanent home here, at the first week of each month.

At the risk of being a bit predictable (and also to get it out of the way early), the first double neck guitar is the Gibson EDS-1275, forever to be known informally as the Jimmy Page model. 12 string on top, 6 string on the bottom, and a whole lotta love in between. If by love you mean mahogany.

When I was a kid, a local music store had an Ibanez copy of this model. I used to stare at it for what felt like hours but never plucked up the courage to ask to play it. Add that to my list of guitars I’ll treat myself to if I ever get insanely rich.

CLICK HERE to buy the Gibson EDS-1275 from Music123
or CLICK HERE to buy the Epiphone version.

Random awesome double necks on eBay:

1979 Ibanez ST1300

CLICK HERE to see other double neck guitars on eBay.