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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.



Photos

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

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

Resources and Information:

http://www.furious.com/perfect/jimmypage.html

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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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