3 Essential Pickups Jimmy Page Used To Get His Tone!

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When talking about electric guitars and their tones, the pickups play the most vital role.

As different pickups cut different frequencies from the tone and emphasize others, giving their unique character to the sound, pickups have a radical effect on the overall tone.

When trying to capture or understand the tone of a guitarist, the pickup choice is one of the first examinations to make.

Here we have the legendary Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, one of the guitarists with the best blues-rock and hard rock guitar tones ever.

His tone relies on his pickup and amp choice, both of which are crucial to producing many of the classic Led Zeppelin songs.

In this article, we will explore what pickups Jimmy Page used throughout his career.

What Pickups Did Jimmy Page Use?

Jimmy Page used various gear throughout his career, but two types of pickups stand out from the rest as they were the cores of his iconic tones.

He used hand-wound ’58 single-coil pickups in his Fender Telecaster and Gibson PAF Humbuckers in his Gibson Les Paul.

Jimmy Page used the Fender Telecaster until 1969, when a Gibson Les Paul was gifted to him by Joe Walsh.

After that point, he started playing the Les Paul with the PAF humbuckers, but he changed the bridge pickups with T-Top Midranges in 1972, as his original bridge pickups were damaged.

Handwound ’58 Single-coil Pickups

Jimmy Page started his career playing a ’59 Fender Telecaster, which he used in the early Led Zeppelin days, and the first album, Led Zeppelin I, in 1969.

The guitar had hand-wound ’58 single-coil pickups, which were popular in the 1950s for their warm tone without much high-end.

The guitar was given to Jimmy Page by Jeff Beck, and Page used the guitar for years until he switched to Gibson Les Paul later.

With the hand-wound ’58 single-coil pickups, he sported a warmer tone without too much focus on the high-end or mid-range.

Gibson PAF Humbuckers

Around 1969 Jimmy Page was handed down a Gibson Les Paul from Joe Walsh. The guitar had some modifications in the internal wiring system to give a little more ‘lift’ to the sound.

The guitar had two Gibson PAF pickups with the ability to reverse the phaser on the pickups, which Page absolutely adored.

Gibson PAF or Patent Applied For humbuckers are dual coil noiseless guitar pickups with an amazing dynamic and musical response, thick clarity, good sustain, and emphasis on the mid and high frequencies.

These pickups are regarded as some of the best humbuckers in rock history and the vintage world.

The pickups possess excellent clarity when played delicately, although they can get pretty muddy when you attack the strings.

Jimmy Page recorded many albums and performed many live shows with the Gibson PAF humbuckers, including Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III, and the legendary Led Zeppelin IV albums.

Gibson T-top Humbucker – Gibson Paf Humbucker Combination

In 1972, Jimmy Page noticed that his Gibson PAF humbucker on the bridge position was not working properly.

So he went for a change and placed a Gibson T-Top humbucker instead, which decided the ultimate Jimmy Page – Led Zeppelin pickup combination and tone. 

The main difference between the Gibson T-Top humbucker and PAF humbucker is that the T-Top humbucker emphasizes the midranges more and adds more squawk to the tone.

It also had a push-pull pot phase reversal tone control for the Peter Green style control and tones, which Page liked to have.

The Gibson T-Top humbuckers stayed on Page’s Les Pauls until the end of the Led Zeppelin era.

With its punchy and tight lows, bright and nasal highs, and aggressive but not heavy response, T-Top was one of the most iconic pickups of the ’70s rock scene.

All of Led Zeppelin’s albums after 1972 were recorded with them, and Page used them on most guitars he performed live.

Best Pickups To Get That Classic ‘Jimmy Page Tone’

T-Top And PAF Pickup Combo

Gibson 57 Classic Humbucker Pickup

The Gibson 57 Classic Humbucking pickup for the neck position is a reproduction of the original Gibson Humbucker from the late 1950s.

Why We Love It:
  • Replicates the Gibson PAF
  • Vintage-style wiring
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The best way to replicate Jimmy Page tones is through the combination of a T-Top pickup on the bridge and a 1958 Gibson PAF pickup on the neck position.

It is pretty hard to find the original 58 PAF pickups today, and if you do — prepare to pay top dollar for them!

If you can’t find the vintage models, there are also many reissue models or models from later years that you can find easier and cheaper.

For the sharp and biting tones of Jimmy Page with great clarity and crispiness, you should go for a version of PAF pickups. But, the model depends on your likes, budget, and playing level.

Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbuckers

Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker Set

Hand built in Santa Barbara, CA, the Whole Lota Humbuckers use a rough cast alnico 5 bar magnet, nickel silver bottom plate, 4-conductor lead wire for multiple wiring options.

Why We Love It:
  • Warm, balanced, classic, and articulated tones
  • Similar to Jimmy Page's sound
  • Great balance of power, sustain, and output
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03/29/2023 09:51 am GMT

Seymour Duncan has special Jimmy Page pickups called Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbuckers. They sound similar to the vintage PAF humbucker pair Page had before the T-Top.

They are some of the highest-rated pickups as they provide warm, balanced, classic, and articulated humbucker tones.

Many users find these humbuckers extremely similar to the Jimmy Page sound. Their price range and accessibility are also great as they can be purchased from global stores like Amazon, Sweetwater, etc. 

So if you are after that iconic Jimmy Page guitar tone you hear on the albums such as Led Zeppelin IV, Seymour Duncan’s Whole Lotta Humbuckers might be the best and the most cost-effective choice.


Did Jimmy Page use Orange amps?

Jimmy Page is best-known for his Marshall amps which he started using around 1969. Before that, he was using Super Beatle amps with Rickenbacker cabs.

He also used Orange amps later in his career during the 90s with Black Crowes. But the iconic Led Zeppelin live performances and recordings mainly feature Marshall tube amps.

For a deeper dive, check out our post on what amps and amp settings Jimmy Page used!

Did Jimmy Page ever play a Stratocaster?

Jimmy Page is not really associated with Fender Stratocaster guitars. He used the famous Fender Telecaster called “the Dragon Telecaster” early on in his career and then switched to Gibson Les Paul and stuck with them.

That said, he did use a blue Fender Strat a few times for some songs during live performances.

In the Knebworth concert, for the song ‘In The Evening’, Jimmy Page plays a blue Stratocaster. He didn’t use it often, except for a couple of songs throughout tours in 1969 and 1979.