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So is Jimmy Page a 'sloppy' player?

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2 hours ago, fastbob72 said:

Mmm, ok is Jimmy Page sloppy or not. At times yes but that doesn't lessen his ability and fluidity when he's on his true form nor somehow reflect on him as somehow a less accomplished or 'agricultural' player not in the technical skill or true musical ability of the Vai's and Satriani's that have been touted as true virtuosos many times throughout this topic.

Think of it this way.The likes of said technique junkie, fret wanking, whammy bar, two handed tapping, scale burning maestros come from that Neo-Classical school of guitar player pioneered by I'd hesitantly say EVH and Randy Rhodes who you could say were the ones who if not the founders of that offshoot of rock/metal guitar style then the ones who truly brought it to a wider audience and set the early rules for the Paul Gilberts, Marty Friedmanns,Dave Mustaines to follow.

I hesitate, again, to loudly champion one of that styles heaviest hitters and most sneered at, that loveable and oh so modest retiring Swedish gent Yngwie Malmsteen because I've always felt he had a great deal more substance behind the shiny metallic crap of his outward image.He genuinely was Classically inspired,living and breathing Classical music in a way the others tipped their hat to.I always felt they used it as a vehicle, Vai and Satriani in particular where as it was Malmsteens alpha and omega.His playing does move me in a way Vai and especially Satriani completely fail to.Not in anyway does that detract from their incredible ability.

Anyway, I digress or I did some way back. That whole. discipline of guitar with it's fundamental roots more entrenched in Classical Music than traditional blues and folk inspired rock is by it's very nature going to be infinitely more structured,theory and protocol based than the very freeform, spontaneous and DIY nature of folk music and blues that inspire the likes of Jimmy Page. So to compare them like for like and say that Page isn't as technically proficient is understandable but to then go on to suggest that therefore he isn't quite as musically able or somehow lesser than those of the more modern types doesn’t follow because their fundamentally different despite being guitarists.

Another way to put it is Mr James Marshall Hendrix is the only man I've seen who never once looked close to playing near the limit of his ability, if he had such a limit which I truly doubt. His like come along every few centuries and he truly stands beside Mozart in the genius states. I say that with no ironic intent, fully understanding the claim I'm making and fully believing it as true incase anyone wonders.The point being, even Jimi would possibly 'seem' less technically proficient next to the  Vaitriani's yet there's two of them in the same time frame, one Hendrix every few centuries so tearing the fretboard apart with a modified Japanese Mixolydian/Aeolian Mode (if that remotely exists) isn't a true hallmark if your musical or even playing ability, just your mastery of the rules perhaps.

Jimmy Page was such a groundbreaking guitar player in a number of ways that he almost seemed to set him self up to be knocked down by all the lesser players, jealous guitarists that were made to stand aside while Jimmy was brought in to play the solos on their own singles.

Pete Townshend on I Can't Explain springs to mind for which he'll bear that grudge to the grave but it happened with The Kinks and countless others in the period before becoming a Yardbird. The fact he was in a league above all those players he  was brought in as a sessions man on their records pissed off many of the guitarist of his times. He fell out with Clapton over some home made recordings they taped too so there was plenty of appetite to make the claim he was actually over rated, not as musically adept or technically accomplished as believed by those who don't really know better and definitely nowhere near as good as he believed himself to be.

The odd thing is how that idea has seeped into the consciousness of genuine rock fans outside of the music industry in recent years. Much like anything else

the good old interweb has disseminated these ideas out into the real world with understated efficiency without anyone really noticing or deliberately setting it in motion.

Yes he drops bum notes,has periods where it's plain to hear he hasn't been putting in the hard practice to hone his skills and get back into true form.

Drugs, fame and who knows what other distractions were often at the root of why he wasn't putting in the 100% dedication you'd expect. Maybe complacency too because when you're at the pinnacle of the music world and enjoying the unheard of rewards and success Zep earned at their peak then you could imagine someone perhaps not feeling that raw hunger to improve and progress they felt climbing to that height.

Besides he was much more than simply the guitar player of the band. He was a serious songwriter/composer,engineer,had the drive and vision for so many aspects of their music from how it was recorded, presented, marketed etc. In many ways although their were four equal members in the band Jimmy Page was Led Zeppelin.

Like I say, for every mortal musician below JH it's at best subjective and more often stormy and fraught with insensed feelings to start judging one guitarist against another. On what exact criteria do you judge, we wouldn't agree on that, who to fairly judge against who I doubt 3 real rock lovers would find a real consensus there either. Do we compare players of similar styles, eras or just a massive free for all. Even. if we could agree the terms on how to judge the results would cause world war 3.

Probably half of you reading this think I'm talking out my arse by raising Jimi Hendrix up so high so to expect to navigate our way to a rough narrative about what Page's rough bits of playing mean, if anything at all isn't that likely to occur...... but who expected it to anyway. lol.

What annnoys me in a silly but not really important way is the idea that he's sloppy because he's about feel rather than ability or skill. That sounds so much like making excuses for a man who absolutely has nothing to make excuses about.

Feel is such a nebulous and vague phrase that sounds so good but doesn't really mean much or more truthfully means something a little different to each one of us. I'd sooner say that his playing often had real movement and plain groove to it that very few rock bands ever managed to capture.

Almost a funkiness to the monolithic riffing unlike the Sabbaths and Purples of the time. While being unashamedly blues drenched rock Jimmy wasn't bound by those confines. Some of his live lead work could feel a bit disjointed compared to on vinyl but it wasn't the same music despite being the same song. How do you play 3 or 4 guitar tracks that were overdubbed in the studio om one 6 stringer on stage. Often he found different and new approaches that breathed a new and fresher life to the music when it was played live.

Afterall music is of the present moment, it's not set in stone like a novel or a painting but in it's truest form it's living and breathing. Each time it's played or sung it's created anew.

It ia about feelings, stories, being alive, life at it's best and worst. That's the essence of the blues but also real folk music before it began to stand for wooly jumpered,crafty arty types.

Traditionally it was about the pain of the poor downtrodden folk of England, Scotland, Ireland etc who suffered at the hands of the rich n powerful just like the singers of the blues did in more modern times but being white,from centuries past and British it obviously doesn't resonate the same despite being part of where the Blues itself came from.

All these many disperate strands are woven into Jimmy Pages music in ways not always immediately apparent but none the less making it stand out from all the rest that came and went between then and now.

Again as for his playing style I really cannot see how anyone could say he wasn't at times at the very peak of guitar playing ability. SRTS has some moments of playing that will stand alone even 150 years from now, just aslong as

are still beings around who can appreciate music. As for sheer quality to rival anythong else on vinyl you can't ask for better than his playing on No Quarter.

After listening to that and Since I've Been Loving You is the question of sloppiness or lesser ability remotely relevant.

 

Well put, I can't fault any on that. 

Hendrix is allways the one topic that I find most interesting in these kind of debates. 

With Page I almost find I'm willing him on during his playing like a high wire act. It adds to the tension.

with the vaitranis I'm sort of listening to how easy they make it sound . 

Compare EVH and the kinks version of you really got me cos that just about sums it up for me

 

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Very important. Check out the live versions of SRTS from 73' and even more so 75'. What was said previously stands. Page

is often playing " Hendrix"'level at the solos and fills in this song. To my ears, I've never heard any guitarist play anything

close to Page's crazy quilt of bluegrass, country, and pentatonic mandolin and banjo licks, topped off with some "rock" licks

spiced in. Impossible to describe, actually.

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Posted (edited)

He's improvising, like a real master. He has been sloppy, like on certain shows in 1977 and 1980, but then, a second later, when he plays a really complex, difficult piece like The Rain Song, he's clean as a whistle while doing really heavy duty, intricate chord changes, . Page is a mystery!

Edited by Tea41

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That's it. Among hard rockers, EVH as well would be improvising heavily even on the chord changes. All the different

types of metal bands, with almost no exceptions( tell me who ??) may change solos, but juggle arrangements from

one gig to the other, almost unheard of. Even among the jam bands, Grateful Dead in particular, the real improvised

arrangements take place over the simplest of patterns rhythmically and harmonically. Great band, but no one has to

keep track of the hairpin musical turns as exist in Zep. I think Metallica is great, but James Hetfield does not change

his playing rhythmically even minutely from studio to stage. Sorry, sliding off a bit.............

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I think this thread would have been more interesting if we ran it through a wah wah pedal and a tone bender w/ mild distortion and everyone agreed to at

least attempt to write backwards while simply agreeing to disagree about what the chords are supposed to be. 

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Yeah, great idea. There is ample evidence for and against this topic. As a guitar player, I will say ultimately that Jimmy at

his highest technical ability is not far off from any of the shredders mentioned. What is relevant to this thread is that Jimmy

tries to not repeat the same ideas and motifs in each song, so just because he is not going berserk technically in every song

or solo, he doesn't have that constant "ability". Vai and Satch are great in their own way, but 95% of their stuff they can't

ever hang for than even 10 seconds of "background guitar". So, as Jiimmy can "hang" if he wants to, this unfortunately

may grease the gears for some saying he doesn't have the ability to play cleanly for long periods in every song. Ridiculous,

Jimmy tries to make each solo unique, yes sometimes at some mistake, the shredders for the most part after 10-15 minutes

start sounding one dimensional. I must confess I did see Satch in 88' and he managed to be amazing, no rulebook, but

other shows on TV or DVD , net etc.,the shredder's trap prevailed. Page is looking at the integrity of the whole song, not

focusing on the solo as the centerpiece. This is important to this thread.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Mithril46 said:

Yeah, great idea. There is ample evidence for and against this topic. As a guitar player, I will say ultimately that Jimmy at

his highest technical ability is not far off from any of the shredders mentioned.

I was going for the Trampled Under Foot effect, and also thinking of that other thread where the topic was "Was Jimmy's peak 1973?". If one says he's at his best in 1969 is that an endorsement of the blues, the telecaster, the effects he's using in April 1969, his mental state or that only Hendrix can touch Zep live at that point in rock history?  If one says it is 1972-3 is that an endorsement of his chops, the "Houses of the Holy" material, the advanced state of "dazed and confused" (and high fret speed), the good pick feel he had in New York, or Showco's advancements?  How does the Led Zeppelin fan come to terms with the dissonance and jazz playing added to his repertoire in 1975?  Is "Sick Again" supposed to sound sick or is he just using that mess to warm up?

Jimmy Page gives even the greatest of Led Zeppelin fans a lot to think about. He himself has always said that technique doesn't enter into it - that the guitar is merely an instrument for expressing ideas and emotions. Right there, he's got us. To get too much into technique is to miss the point, and isn't being a Zep-head on this forum a nod to the idea that one "gets" Jimmy Page's point? A discussion of Page's guitar technique may not be appropriate for this forum, and I would suggest that it's probably not (not my call, thankfully). This is not the place for Blackmore fans to take shots at Jimmy Page, which is what the question of technique invites and the ditch where the discussion invariably heads, every time. (Hey, I like Highway Star, too, but it's just irrelevant to Jimmy Page's musical approach in 1974-75 - isn't Page quite deliberately heading in a different direction?) 

3 hours ago, Mithril46 said:

Page is looking at the integrity of the whole song, not focusing on the solo as the centerpiece. This is important to this thread.

Bullseye!  I would add that any discussion of pick technique such as the one that happened in the first 1/3 of this thread is largely irrelevant to Jimmy Page, who has always said he struggles with pick technique, and has always said that mistakes are often the most interesting and vital things that happen when playing live. To paraphrase Page again - Technique does not enter into it

Edited by Mercurious

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Mercurious, you definetly see all the complexities of rating Jimmy's playing and the "sloppy" thing. One important fact that I

only saw written up once was that from mid to late Yardbirds till 71'-72', Jimmy said he made it a point to play 3 hrs a day,

usually practicing difficult phrases so he wouldn't have too many technical hurdles. So this is partially a shredder's practice

routine, hence the lightning runs of 72'-73' in particular. My view is that ultimately Jimmy was a sound sculptor, and a bonafide

artist, not just a musician simply producing musical commerce. I mean VH had some poppy songs, but Eddie's playing ( with

Roth anyway ) was quite artistic as well . I only mention him because of all the clown imitators which he gets roped in with,

just like the pathetic Page imitators. And with every Zep tour, even 80', a good 25% ?? new solo ideas, good or bad. And

80' TU, sometimes amazing, delay and wah. However, I really doubt past 75' Page kept up any reasonable play/practice

regimen. But, as you mention, some of Page's flubbery....Sick Again, that song seems made to sound rather ragged,may well

be Page making sure there is tonal/ aural variety , not the same thing repeated. I sit in the camp that Page's laziness caused

the later goose eggs, otherwise why were the 77' acoustic sets always technically exc. ?? surely the substances , but the excuse, well Jimmy's sitting down, what about all the so-so WS/BMS in 77' ??

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He really rips away during Bron-yr-aur Stomp in '77 doesn't he?  I can basically agree with most, if not all, of this ^^^^. He is a sculptor of sounds, and his setup w/ Showco for "Guitar Solo" is probably the thing he's most interested in on that tour.  To me he's Erich Zann (HP Lovecraft story) at that point, which suggests he's out on a limb and in a different place entirely than he was shredding away in 1973.  It's fascinating what he's trying to do there, and we can certainly say his interests r.e. guitar sound have changed a lot by then. Had he been feeling better physically, we may now look on it more logically as "the next step" from the changes in style he made in 1974-75.  ..... note on WS/BMS -- it's kind of a personal statement for him, a place where he may feel grounded; and we can probably say he gets lazy at times relaxing in good old DADGAD, a very meditative place to be.  

As for 1980, I'm not familiar with The Damned (page liked them, later played with their drummer) so much but I do know that some of those licks he plays on the WLL jam in West Berlin can be found on Bauhaus records, and - fast forward 7 years - NY noise bands like Live Skull, Sonic Youth and Band of Susans.  In 1980 that is new, new, new stuff to everyone's ears, a kind of No Wave of sorts, and it underscores heavily that Jimmy Page is no ordinary guitar palayer or person.  I wish he had gone further down that path, and maybe that's what he and  Bonham were playing on the next record, who knows?  Anyway, sure sounds like Page knows what he's up to on those pieces (TUF as well).

We've hijacked this topic, I'm sorry about that, all, it was done out of good will, certainly ... 

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Well, just one more thing; I thought Jimmy after Zep was going to do more films, and really go for it with amazing soundscapes

or combinations of musc never before attempted. The Firm........Now I shut up a bit.

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Is JP a sloppy player?

in studio= no.  You don't get hired and in demand by being anything other than someone who delivers precisely what is requested. You do not get called back ever if you do.

On stage = no.

No more than someone driving an automobile or operating machinery is whilst under the influence. Even on the best clean days every musician I know cringes when they hear playbacks of themselves and usually says "I heard it a little different than what it sounds like..."

On 4/30/2017 at 6:22 PM, Box of Jimmy's said:

Drugs.  Plain and simple.

At the O2 several- especially those who were not at the event- commented that JP was cautious, reserved and played safe.  He played sober.

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While there have been lots of interesting thoughts posted throughout this thread, and while the topic may be fun discussion fodder, to me questioning whether or not Jimmy Page was a sloppy guitarist is like questioning whether Picasso was a sloppy painter. I think this quote from Steve Vai pretty much says it all:

"In the physical universe there are objects that include suns, planets, all life in matter, in all dimensions; and then there is the space that all these things exist. That space is the vital element. For virtually every kid since 1968, who picked up a guitar to find his voice on the instrument, Jimmy Page has been that space that enables all our notes to be played."

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Whether this is relevant ...

I consider a musician worth listening to on not how many notes they can play, but the notes they choose to play.

Simple enough really considering most audiences' know nothing at all about music except what is pleasant to their ears.

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Sure, and it's quite interesting as well that of all the girls I've been with/ known, Jimmy was hands down the most popular

soloist. Many girls/women tend to not even like too many guitar solos. Shredders, metal particularly, have almost no

female fans. Jimmy turned girls on with his often lyrical solos.

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I mean, it's a little harsh to be calling one the Gods of Guitar 'sloppy'. Jimmy Page definitely has some moments of screwed up but he has a certain sound that I can't really identify to be. If you've heard people commit on Ringo Starr's drumming, they say he has certain sound called 'swamp'. Basically it's like crisp mush but it fits perfectly into every song that Led Zeppelin makes. 

Thats the only way I can begin to call Jimmy's guitaring. For example; Black Dog. If you listen to it, it sounds sorta off tempo and mushy but then it picks back up to a crisp sound. 

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Jimmy Page Sloppy? No! I have another theory. I think there were times when someone messed with his equipment, and I could see it in his face too. I know exactly what that feels like because I used to play out.

The equipment settings can make you or break you on stage. It didn't break Page because he is who he is and could get away with almost anything. Jimmy Page wasn't one of the greatest. HE WAS THE GREATEST ROCK GUITARIST and most people knew it, and a lot of bands probably paid people to mess with his equipment. I seen Jimmy with the Black Crows back in the 90's, and in addition to playing excellent Led Zeppelin Solos, he also play awesome CROW solos too. The guy was phenomenal with the Crows, and most of the time he was that way with Led Zeppelin too. But, sometimes those amp settings just didn't sound right, and you could see it in his face too. It would be cool to know that he sued someone for doing that because that just wasn't cool man! Page is NOT SLOPPY! I can tamper with anyone's equipment, and they won't sound good no matter who it is!

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someone messed with his amp settings? that's one of the daftest things ive hear for a while. I presume it is a joke?  you don't think his guitar tech / roadies would check the amp settings before hitting the stage? assuming someone did mess with them any particular reason why JP or his roadie cant spend a minute between songs resetting the controls. which bands paid someone to tamper with his settings and ho do you think they managed to do it. and if they can do it why didn't they do it in his time with the Crowes?

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amp settings have no impact upon playing sloppy playing. someone can play perfect guitar though a shitty sounding amp. that's a very different matter to playing sloppily through a good amp. ones about the sound of an amp the other is about the proficiency of the player. Page is, or can be a sloppy player and he's referred to that himself

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In the studio, Page was a known perfectionist. So I'd say what got recorded was what he intended, sloppiness or not.

Live, Page was a top tier technician 69-73. Then, drugs. If you whittle down the possibilities of why he could be playing so badly, it simply sounds like he was high as a fucking kite. His brain was not in tune with his hands. There's no way a lack of practice for a couple years could affect a professional musician that badly. Especially after weeks of touring. Other than a few highlights in 77, he just never really got back on track due to his choice of drugs. Or that's my two cents anyway.

The Houston 77 show is a good example of not just sloppiness, but forgetting where the strings on the guitar are. He's missing simple leads a beginner could play. Shame, too, because I love that bootleg.

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18 hours ago, PageSloppyNOT said:

Jimmy Page Sloppy? No! I have another theory. I think there were times when someone messed with his equipment, and I could see it in his face too. I know exactly what that feels like because I used to play out.

The equipment settings can make you or break you on stage. It didn't break Page because he is who he is and could get away with almost anything. Jimmy Page wasn't one of the greatest. HE WAS THE GREATEST ROCK GUITARIST and most people knew it, and a lot of bands probably paid people to mess with his equipment. I seen Jimmy with the Black Crows back in the 90's, and in addition to playing excellent Led Zeppelin Solos, he also play awesome CROW solos too. The guy was phenomenal with the Crows, and most of the time he was that way with Led Zeppelin too. But, sometimes those amp settings just didn't sound right, and you could see it in his face too. It would be cool to know that he sued someone for doing that because that just wasn't cool man! Page is NOT SLOPPY! I can tamper with anyone's equipment, and they won't sound good no matter who it is!

This has to be one of the silliest conspiracies I have ever seen proffered on this forum. :hysterical:

 

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2 hours ago, Strider said:

This has to be one of the silliest conspiracies I have ever seen proffered on this forum. :hysterical:

 

I like it, keeps things interesting and bizarre. Thanks for this, a breath of air...sort of fresh.

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5 hours ago, porgie66 said:

I like it, keeps things interesting and bizarre. Thanks for this, a breath of air...sort of fresh.

Stupidity is not interesting. If there was some sort of cleverness behind his joke, then it would indeed add a little mirth. But it's just dumb...there is no sign of forethought.

A lot of bands paid to have Jimmy's amp settings messed with? Ummm...what other bands? With the exception of a few festivals such as Bath and Day on the Green, from 1970 on Led Zeppelin was a solo act. They played 2-3 hours a night with no opening act, thank you very much.

Most people's complaints about Jimmy being "sloppy" refer to his post-1973 performances. Well in 1975 Led Zeppelin had no opening act. In 1977, only the Oakland shows had other bands on the bill. And if you think either Rick Derringer or Judas Priest had the cajones and the muscle to pull off a stunt like that, you are delusional. 

Judas Priest were on their first American tour in 1977. Do you think they would risk this opportunity by fucking with Led Zeppelin, a band and manager that had a reputation for being a heavy outfit that you did not mess with? Yeah, right.

Playing thru injuries. Substance abuse. His refusal to strap his guitar above his knees. It's understandable he missed a few notes here and there. It's not rocket science.

 

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It has to be a gee-up. (joke/troll)

 

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6 hours ago, Strider said:

Stupidity is not interesting. If there was some sort of cleverness behind his joke, then it would indeed add a little mirth. But it's just dumb...there is no sign of forethought.

A lot of bands paid to have Jimmy's amp settings messed with? Ummm...what other bands? With the exception of a few festivals such as Bath and Day on the Green, from 1970 on Led Zeppelin was a solo act. They played 2-3 hours a night with no opening act, thank you very much.

Most people's complaints about Jimmy being "sloppy" refer to his post-1973 performances. Well in 1975 Led Zeppelin had no opening act. In 1977, only the Oakland shows had other bands on the bill. And if you think either Rick Derringer or Judas Priest had the cajones and the muscle to pull off a stunt like that, you are delusional. 

Judas Priest were on their first American tour in 1977. Do you think they would risk this opportunity by fucking with Led Zeppelin, a band and manager that had a reputation for being a heavy outfit that you did not mess with? Yeah, right.

Playing thru injuries. Substance abuse. His refusal to strap his guitar above his knees. It's understandable he missed a few notes here and there. It's not rocket science.

 

I was being sarcastic. <_<

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