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Noob question: Immigrant Song tone?


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Long-time listener, first-time caller.  I'm always interested in deconstructing Page's tone, and lots of people get into the whole violin bow thing, amp, guitar etc.  I am pretty sure I've got the guitar and amp part sorted out, but since effects were in their infancy in 1970, it's tough sometimes to "figure out" which effects pedal to use to emulate certain songs.  One example that comes to mind is the theremin-sounding part of the solo in Whole Lotta Love. 

I am specifically trying to replicate the tone on Immigrant Song.  The part that I can't seem to parse out very well is the first verse, the guitar plays an A to E chord, right where RP sings "We come from the land..." etc.  I'm basically taking a WAG that it is reverb and tremolo/vibrato.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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  • 2 weeks later...

 There's a guitar on Immigrant Song ?

Thought it JPJ with a extended ranger all this time.     That's what years with perforated eardrums filled with sinusoidal fluids do for you. Makes me wonder what else I've been misserdin ?image.gif.da86edb1bcfd17059c36338739e988e7.gif🤔

But yeah, think you are probably right - tremolo on one, plate reverb on two - but that A E F#m is buried pretty deep in there (to my ears). Bonham's high hats at the moment the chord sequence is played as well as panning room mics add to the sense of ice age glacier-sized epicness.  Something I think Page was after and successful at achieving.

Generally speaking, when it comes to someone who went straight to the boards often as not, was known to wave down whoever was at the studio at the time to borrow whatever guitar they happened to have - add to that how the instruments were layered, how the analogue tapes were mastered, etc., etc; by necessity, it becomes a question of approximation rather than replication, doesn't it?  Thing is, if you'd been sitting in the Stone's mobile at Headley Grange when it was recorded - even taken a tape player along - then heard it after it emerged from the mixing studio in Tennessee - what you heard/recorded (and which guitar?) wouldn't sound the same as what is being heard in the final mix - after pressing. 

Personally, I think the LA 72 (HTWWW) version the best. No, its not a tele with a Supro - or maybe even straight to the console - but the guitar is far more present (yeah, Shirely probably does some studio majik panning the guitar to achieve a wider stereo effect ). Save for Plant's superior studio vocals, the overall energy and dynamics outshine the studio, IMHO. Just a slight bit of that midrangey LP/half-cocked warble there and man, are Bonham and Jones on fire here?



What to use ? 

A staircase has been converted into a giant echo chamber.  Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture Music Production Blog: Music Gear Monday: The  VOG Plate Reverb


No? Me, as well. But my dodgy  playing wouldn't justify such, anyway.

Do you use a DAW? I think there are some plug ins that model the old EMT 140's pretty well - but you would already know those -

I don't have one but I've heard nothing but good things said regarding the Catalinbread Talisman Plate Reverb Pedal. I think that'd be a def candidate for you to look at

Catalinbread Talisman Plate Reverb Pedal




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  • 1 month later...

Hello Cooler King,

The tone on Immigrant Song is LP #1 through some amp with a solid state rectifier, possibly a Marshall or a Hiwatt.  Page was using Hiwatts for his live rig so it's possible - just without the built in overdrive engaged.  I nail that sound with my LP through either my Marshall or my '70s Hiwatt DR103.  I say those amps because of the midrange coming through.  Page was big on keeping the tone pure - capturing what sound was in the room rather than monkeying with EQ on the board - so the tone is coming from the guitar and amp. FWIW the Hiwatt is little more midrange than the Marshall; something to consider.  

For the verses, it sounds double with another guitar run through a Leslie - that is where the vibrato sound comes from.  The Plate reverb guess is very possible.  For pedals, I have the Strymon Lex as a Leslie sim and the Catalinbread Talisman for plate - best plate reverb I have used, ever, and that includes lots of expensive rack gear.  The Lex is dynamite and I fully recommend one to anyone looking to add that sound to their rig.  

I hope this info is useful.

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