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Cello Bow
Cello Bow, Montreal Forum, Montreal,
Quebec, Canada, February 6, 1975
General Specs
Years in use: ca. 1965-Present

Page was not the first guitarist to use a violin bow. He was a favorite session musician of famed producer, Shel Talmy. Talmy had used Page on session work for the Who and the Kinks among others. One of Talmy's pet projects was a band called the Creation. Eddie Phillips, lead guitarist of said group, had employed a violin bow on his guitar on two 1966 singles, Painter Man and Making Time. It's worth musing over whether Page ever happened to see Phillips use the violin bow in the studio.

Page himself has claimed he didn't meet Eddie Phillips until Jim McCarty's 50th birthday party in 1994. Further, and to be fair, there are also pictures of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett using a violin bow in concert. Eddie Phillips' underrated guitar work is now widely available with the reissue of the Creation's entire recorded legacy in the late '90s. Further, the movie, Rushmore, includes Making Time on the soundtrack.

There is a noticeable difference in the two guitar players' approach, however. Phillips' violin bowing is organic, much more integrated into the song structure itself. During Making Time, his bowing sounds very similar to feedback. When Page utilizes the effect, though, the song comes to a halt, with all attention being focused on the bowing.

In an interview in ca. 1990, Jimmy Page claimed that using a cello bow on the guitar strings was first suggested to him by session violinist, David McCallum, Sr., father of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. star, David McCallum, Jr.

He had first used it on two tracks on the Little Games LP, Glimpses and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor In Dazed and Confused, Page followed up the violin bowing with a furious spitfire solo which he had lifted from the flipside of the Yardbirds' last single, Goodnight Sweet Josephine b/w Think About It.

Jimmy Page used the cello bow on three Led Zeppelin studio tracks, Dazed And Confused & How Many More Times from Led Zeppelin and In The Evening from In Through The Out Door. On stage, Page used the cello bow throughout the entire career of Led Zeppelin for Dazed And Confused from ca. August 1967 to May 25, 1975 and How Many More Times from September 7, 1968 through January 31, 1975. On Led Zeppelin's 1977 US Tour, Page eliminated Dazed And Confused from the setlist and kept the cello bow solo as part of a Noise Solo that segued into Achilles Last Stand, that he played through August 11, 1979. Page continued the Bow Solo on The Firm's 1985-86 tour and the 1988 Outrider tour. Page used the cello bow one last time at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute concert for Dazed And Confused on December 10, 2007.

On the 1977 US Tour, it was said that Jimmy Page had a trunk filled with cello bows for the tour.

A few of these cello bows have been given to people, who have subsequently attempted to auction them online, most notably stage hand John Vogel, Laser Technician Steve Jander and Julian's Auctions.

In 1979, Steve Jander got the idea for the glowing bow at Knebworth from the part in The Song Remains The Same fantasy sequence where Jimmy waves the sword over his head and it strobes colors.

His violin bow could light up like neon and strobe colors as he waved it overhead. A powerful laser beam was emitted from the end of the bow which Jimmy could aim off into space. Two 100 micron diameter quartz fiber optic cables (with one spare) carried light from the argon and krypton lasers to a tiny lens that produced the beam and to a piece of glowing lucite rod attached to the length of the bow. Two different effects were produced - beam from the end and glowing piece of plastic attached to the bow.

There was enough power coming out the end of the bow to smoke the linoleum on the stage! Pagey almost nailed Bonzo in the face, even after Jander told him not to point it at anyone. Jander had his finger on the main shutter button and had to terminate the beam a couple of times.


Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, ca. 1967
Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, March 17, 1969,
TV Byen, Gladsaxe,
Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, March 31, 1970,
The Spectrum, Philadelphia,
Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, August 26, 1970,
Public Auditorium, Cleveland,

Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, May 18, 1977,
Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center
Arena, Birmingham, Alabama

Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, August 4, 1979, Knebworth House Grounds, Stevenage, England
Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, November 5, 1988,
Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute Fieldhouse,
Troy, New York
Cello Bow
Jimmy Page, December 10, 2007,
O2 Arena, London, England
Cello Bow
A. Prader cello bow, made in Czechoslovakia, similar to the brand that Jimmy Page used on the 1977 US Tour

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