Yes. I like Led Zeppelin. I love Jimmy Page. But I had never thought too hard about trying to really get his sound before. But a good friend of ours asked if we could make a pedal do the Led Zeppelin Royal Albert Hall 1970 sound. That was too hard to resist so I went for it!
Firstly, yeah it’s “all in the ngers”. And pick. And guitar.
Page used a Herco Flex 75 pick. We include one with every RAH because after trying every pick I had, that was the only one that got the ‘Page sound’. Try it for yourself! It has that chirpy attack that he got and it‘s thickness/stiness really facilitates playing those go-for-it solo runs he did. Yeah, be forewarned, you’ll become a “sloppy” player though! 😉 What some people call sloppy, I call good ol’ rock and roll driving on the edge attitude!
Strings. Go light as you can. 8-40 light. Top-wrap your strings. It’s all about response and not having to “muscle” your guitar. Finesse. Play light but attack the strings hard.
Pickups. For the most authentic sound, you’re gonna want something not-too-hot. Something in the PAF range. If you want to sound like Page. Otherwise, do your own thing with it! Please do!
Anyway, so back to the circuit. How to get this sound from a pedal? Well, we looked up the schematic for the Jimmy Page Hiwatt and compared it to the standard Hiwatt circuit. We were already familiar with the basic Hiwatt topology having done the WIIO which went for the Pete Townshend Live At Leeds sound. Pete’s amp was quite dierent in that it had a unique two-knob tone circuit, very dierent from the Page amp which uses the standard Hiwatt three-knob tone circuit.
So, I started with the three-knob tone circuit and built the pedal up around that using our discrete MOSFETbased building blocks. How did I tune the circuit? Simple! I just put on the Led Zeppelin DVD to the Royal Albert Hall set and had that playing while tweaking parts on the breadboard while playing along to the DVD on my Les Paul. I kept tweaking the circuit until it made me PLAY like Page! There’s an immediateness in the attack that Page’s rig got which was quite dierent than Townshend’s rig that we based the WIIO on – the WIIO makes you want to play big open windmill chords and the RAH makes you want to play ris up and down the neck!
So, it’s quite simple really. Tweak the circuit until you can’t help but play like Page! 😉
Does it sound EXACTLY like Page’s sound from that gig? Yeah, right. Like anyone can do that through a Fender combo in a small room. Remember, it was at the Royal Albert Hall not Roy Al’s Basement! It can sound pretty damn close though. But the key point is that it makes you play that way. And if it makes you play that way, guess what, you end up sounding that way!
It’s a pretty good circuit if I do say so myself. For instance.
…. Howard Gee, Catalinbread
Guitarist, Circuit Designer, Audio Janitor, Cat Daddy……. mostly Cat Daddy.