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Dane1968

Page's Les Paul sustain, or lack of.

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Jimmy has said one reason he went from a Telecaster to a Les Paul was the increase in sustain. Nigel Tufnel comes to mind, having time to indulge in a bite to eat in between notes on his '59 Les Paul. Jimmy played a '59 and never seemed to enjoy that benefit.

A bit odd considering much of Page's playing has no sustain at all. In many of his lead breaks, the notes just die off very quickly. Won't go through song by song, but on Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti  albums it is very apparent. Yes I know he played a variety of guitars, but still....

Page never used much amp gain, but he would have had his amp volume cranked. If you cant get sustain with a loud amp, what's going on?

I'm guessing Jimmy had a very light touch, while Ace Frehley is well regarded for having huge sustain while bending and vibrating the hell out of his strings. Both had similar setups. Most players in the 70's just cranked a Strat or Les Paul straight into a Marshall Plexi, didn't they? Different players, yeah I know. Fair enough live, when Jimmy was playing rhythm, lead, then quickly back to rhythm again; he didn't have time to just sit on one note. But in the studio?

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Posted (edited)

Presence is perhaps my fave. Then again some of it sounds like a Strat, but Jimmy said, and I only quote loosely, that he played all of it "...rightly or wrongly, it was all done on a Paul...". If that was the case, again I'm guessing, he was so pressed for time he didn't want to, or have the luxury, to mess around getting different guitar sounds set up. And yet he did get different sounds.

But that's the point maybe. On some albums he had time, but the results sound rushed, and on Presence he had no time but it sounds like he had all the time in the world.

None of this is a criticism, but when you make a point of stating a guitar's strength and why you chose that guitar, at times I don't think he got what he was looking for in a guitar tone. Then again a recording is not always a true result of the sound of a band playing together loudly in a room. Sometimes you get what you get and have to move on. It is not like today when a band takes three years to record ten songs - really?

Presence is probably their best recording sound wise, very clear and distinct. Out Door is pretty damn good except for the low guitar mix.

Edited by Dane1968
added info

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 Jimmy has made a career out of making instruments and devices do what they're not designed to do. 

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Posted (edited)

A Telecaster's sound is a more sharper biting tone than a Les Paul due to the single coil and the type of wood verses the Les Paul. The Les Paul is much heavier and the Humbucking Pickups (which are two single coils wired together to prevent hum) provide a thicker more sustained sound. But other factors involved in sustain is the type of amp used plus if any distortion pedal is used. 

If you listen to The Rover Irecorded in 1972) there is a lot of distortion on that track. Compare the track Houses of the Holy from the original release verses the companion disc. His use of effects "color" the sound. As producer, that was intentional. The guitar solo to Stairway to Heaven fooled some people into thinking that was a Les Paul instead of the telecaster.

Mentioning Ace, take the track King of the Night Time World, that long sustained note in the intro is Ace with his Les Paul (fitted with Dimarzio Humbucking pickups) standing very close to his amp to achieve that effect. (Ace doesn't use any distortion pedals) I own a similar Marshall 100 amp that Page used along with Les Pauls and have achieved a similar effect. There are four different inputs with various levels of gain stages. Plug the guitar into high gain input and it can be done. (at the expense of your hearing)

Jimmy's playing is a reflection of his style and also his role as producer. I believe it is a conscience choice on his part to vary his guitar sound. (Compare Rock and Roll from the 1973 live version (distorion) to the 1975 version. (clean)

Jimmy switched from the Telecaster to the Les Paul in April/May 1969 because he had to compete to how loud Bonzo was live. 

Edited by sixpense

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Posted (edited)

Sixpence thanks, nice reply.

A couple of things, they are my opinion, and they are mostly true:

Bonham was no where as loud as people have been led to believe. Yes he was loud, in the context of the 60's and 70's. But at the time drummers did not tend to beat the shit out of their kits like they do today, so he was perceived as being extra ordinarily loud compared to everyone else. J P Jones has stated, loosely "No he wasn't as loud as people think..." Bonham was a solid largish six foot kinda guy, so he had a bit of natural weight behind him. I would not like to be on the receiving end of a punch. When you watch him play he did not pound his kit, he hit it correctly and solidly. If you hit a drum too softly it rattles and has no depth, hit to hard and it chokes the sound. Bonham knew the sweet spot in between. He knew how to tune a drum to get the maximum sound benefit.

Playing a Tele or Les Paul has no real difference in volume, that is the amp's job. There will be a difference in sound but not volume. Sometimes a Tele will sound louder as higher frequencies carry faster than lower frequencies. You can probably hear a Tele better in your ears, and feel a Les Paul better in your body.

This wasn't the topic, but Ace is one hell of a lead player. So much personality and feeling. He can, and does, sit on one or two notes and really just make you think he is playing more than he is. A lot of it was his confidence surpassed his ability. The greatest thing is seeing a player walk out on stage and believe in himself. It makes you believe you are seeing something better than you actually are. Page had that too. You could see he walked out on a stage and just loved playing and didn't care if he was the best or not.

Edited by Dane1968
typo

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2 hours ago, Dane1968 said:

 

This wasn't the topic, but Ace is one hell of a lead player. So much personality and feeling. He can, and does, sit on one or two notes and really just make you think he is playing more than he is. A lot of it was his confidence surpassed his ability. The greatest thing is seeing a player walk out on stage and believe in himself. It makes you believe you are seeing something better than you actually are. Page had that too. You could see he walked out on a stage and just loved playing and didn't care if he was the best or not.

I just had to post this. Stanley is such an ass, the way he talks shit about everyone is disgusting. Ace is a good player, but hearing Paul you would think he could barely bang out On Top of Old Smokey.

Regarding Page & the Presence recording, he only used the LP for parts of Achilles, most of NFBM, and all of TFO. He used the Strat exclusively on HOFN and the solo on FYL. He used a Tele for most of the sections on Achilles, the whole of CSR, and most of RO. In other words, he was all over the place with several guitars on the Presence album. 

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42 minutes ago, IpMan said:

I just had to post this. Stanley is such an ass, the way he talks shit about everyone is disgusting. Ace is a good player, but hearing Paul you would think he could barely bang out On Top of Old Smokey.

Regarding Page & the Presence recording, he only used the LP for parts of Achilles, most of NFBM, and all of TFO. He used the Strat exclusively on HOFN and the solo on FYL. He used a Tele for most of the sections on Achilles, the whole of CSR, and most of RO. In other words, he was all over the place with several guitars on the Presence album. 

To be fair we don't know what bullshit Gene and Paul put up with Ace to get them that annoyed with him

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IMO you can have a humbucker and a loud amp and still lack sustain. It's either a distortion/fuzz pedal or a tube amp cranked to overdrive that'll get you sustain, at least the kind I think you're talking about, which I agree with, especially with the 75' tour. Hendrix and Blackmore were single coil strat guys with infinite sustain but they really cranked their amps and we all know how much Jimi loved his fuzz box. Actually I think Blackmore used a clean boost or treble boost to overdrive his amps, Brian May does too.

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4 hours ago, Dane1968 said:

Bonham was no where as loud as people have been led to believe. Yes he was loud, in the context of the 60's and 70's. But at the time drummers did not tend to beat the shit out of their kits like they do today, so he was perceived as being extra ordinarily loud compared to everyone else. J P Jones has stated, loosely "No he wasn't as loud as people think..." Bonham was a solid largish six foot kinda guy, so he had a bit of natural weight behind him. I would not like to be on the receiving end of a punch. When you watch him play he did not pound his kit, he hit it correctly and solidly. If you hit a drum too softly it rattles and has no depth, hit to hard and it chokes the sound. Bonham knew the sweet spot in between. He knew how to tune a drum to get the maximum sound benefit.

 

I'd say Bonzo hit the snare hard by the standards of players back then, but had a lot of give in his wrists. He was also more skilled than most of his contemporaries, imo, at tuning his kit.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, IpMan said:

Regarding Page & the Presence recording, he only used the LP for parts of Achilles, most of NFBM, and all of TFO. He used the Strat exclusively on HOFN and the solo on FYL. He used a Tele for most of the sections on Achilles, the whole of CSR, and most of RO. In other words, he was all over the place with several guitars on the Presence album. 

Hots on for Nowhere is the Les Paul. Strat is the solo.

For Your Life is all Strat. 

I don't believe the Telecater was used at all on Achilles. It is the Les Paul.

 

 

Edited by sixpense

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8 hours ago, Dane1968 said:

Sixpence thanks, nice reply.

A couple of things, they are my opinion, and they are mostly true:

Bonham was no where as loud as people have been led to believe. Yes he was loud, in the context of the 60's and 70's. But at the time drummers did not tend to beat the shit out of their kits like they do today, so he was perceived as being extra ordinarily loud compared to everyone else. J P Jones has stated, loosely "No he wasn't as loud as people think..." Bonham was a solid largish six foot kinda guy, so he had a bit of natural weight behind him. I would not like to be on the receiving end of a punch. When you watch him play he did not pound his kit, he hit it correctly and solidly. If you hit a drum too softly it rattles and has no depth, hit to hard and it chokes the sound. Bonham knew the sweet spot in between. He knew how to tune a drum to get the maximum sound benefit.

Playing a Tele or Les Paul has no real difference in volume, that is the amp's job. There will be a difference in sound but not volume. Sometimes a Tele will sound louder as higher frequencies carry faster than lower frequencies. You can probably hear a Tele better in your ears, and feel a Les Paul better in your body.

This wasn't the topic, but Ace is one hell of a lead player. So much personality and feeling. He can, and does, sit on one or two notes and really just make you think he is playing more than he is. A lot of it was his confidence surpassed his ability. The greatest thing is seeing a player walk out on stage and believe in himself. It makes you believe you are seeing something better than you actually are. Page had that too. You could see he walked out on a stage and just loved playing and didn't care if he was the best or not.

Thanks

Check out John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums by Chris Welsh. It goes into a few stories (prior to Zeppelin) that Bonzo was way too loud. (in the studio and in clubs) And with a smaller kit! It wasn't only his skill but the way he tuned his drums. He tuned them up like jazz drummer to project the sound farther. Whereas the many other drummers of that time were tuning down.

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3 hours ago, sixpense said:

Hots on for Nowhere is the Les Paul. Strat is the solo.

For Your Life is all Strat. 

I don't believe the Telecater was used at all on Achilles. It is the Les Paul.

 

 

Yes, you are correct regarding HOFN, however I am pretty sure two of the layered guitar parts in ALS are tele and the rest is a LP. Can't remember where I read that but that was what I recall. 

Can someone please ring up Mr. Page and let us know, I am vexed, yes, vexed indeed :unsure:

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Pages technique as years rolled on became increasingly less "sustainable". Wow I hope that makes sense. His sustain on the 80s tour is about as bad as it gets. Some of that may just be due to his tone then which was horrible. Compared to the O2 tone which was incredible however due to his technique he just makes it sound choppy with his tendency to choke his notes. Granted I'm not in position to offer advice to Page!

But compared to his contemporaries like Clapton whose technique may not be what it once was but the tone and style has not lost a bit. So I get the point of the thread and agree. He became increasingly choppy as years went on. 

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I never implied, if taken, that his lack of sustain was a bad thing. It was just unusual compared to his contemporaries of the time. Blackmore was incredible for his heavy Strat tone. Paul Kossoff, Free, could also sit on one note all day. Then it comes back to the great misconception that Page carried the whole sound, whereas the reality is Jones gave a great foundation to enable Page to ease back on the guitar, and yet still get a great band sound, not just a guitar sound. A lot of amp gain will give more sustain, but then you lose the clarity and subtle notes - and then you lose the whole light and shade thing.

I think Ian Paice was as loud as Bonham, playing live he was, but then he was competing with more instruments so would not sound as prominent. He also had a somewhat lesser album recording sound and mix. When Ringo played, you could cough louder than he hit, but now I've kinda lost track of my point. Maybe that the belief is that Page was a loud raucous player when he was not at all - at least not all the time.

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On 3/23/2017 at 10:41 PM, IpMan said:

Yes, you are correct regarding HOFN, however I am pretty sure two of the layered guitar parts in ALS are tele and the rest is a LP. Can't remember where I read that but that was what I recall. 

Can someone please ring up Mr. Page and let us know, I am vexed, yes, vexed indeed :unsure:

Page was interviewed for the release of In Through The Out Door remasters a while back and the interviewer thought that there was a Les Paul on In The Evening. When Page said that was a Fender Stratocaster, the interviewer was so devastated...... He was so sure!

Then Jimmy replies, to appease him, well there is a little bit of Les Paul at the end.

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On 3/29/2017 at 9:05 AM, Dane1968 said:

Blackmore was incredible for his heavy Strat tone.

It doesn't hurt to play through a 200 watt Marshall!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, sixpense said:

Page was interviewed for the release of In Through The Out Door remasters a while back and the interviewer thought that there was a Les Paul on In The Evening. When Page said that was a Fender Stratocaster, the interviewer was so devastated...... He was so sure!

Then Jimmy replies, to appease him, well there is a little bit of Les Paul at the end.

Wow, I thought everyone knew that was a Strat, not only was the tone spot on Strat but unless he was the first guy to have a Floyd Rose installed in an LP there is no way to pull off the solo on a standard LP even with a Bigsby, plus again, the tone is wrong for an LP. That's one of the great things about both Presence & ITTOD, you can really tell what guitar is used on each song for the main guitar part. Of course regarding the layering and multiple rhythm guitar parts, that is where it becomes tricky. The reason Page was such a great producer is evident on his layering and overdubs. When you cannot determine which guitar is used on the subtle guitar parts, the layered stuff, that is the mark of genius. After all, to make a song whereby the different instrumentation sounds organic and homogenous is very difficult compared to just slapping on an overdub.

What I REALLY want to hear though is the live May 18th, 1975 performance of OTHAFA when he uses the Strat instead of the LP (I think it was the 18th?). I would love to hear how that song sounded live with the Strat and if Jimmy approached the song differently as a result.

Edited by IpMan

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May 18, 1975 OTHAFA guitar sounds thin and it is definitely out of tune! Also sounds like he starts the song with the front pickup and then plays the rest with the middle pickup.

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23 hours ago, sixpense said:

It doesn't hurt to play through a 200 watt Marshall!

Not at all, although your chances of maintaining functional ear drums might be of concern.

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