Jimmy Page’s slide work is often overshadowed by his other accomplishments as a player, producer, and songwriter. But the slide guitar is an integral part of Led Zeppelin’s music and yet another tool that Page used to push the musical envelope.
Page primarily used a brass slide with a variety of guitars, including a Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul, and the aggressively identifiable sound of the Danelectro. Led Zeppelin’s catalog offers a plethora of slide guitar sounds on tracks like “You Shook Me,” “In My Time Of Dying,” “Traveling Riverside Blues,” and, of course, “Dancing Days,” which I dissected for this video.
“Dancing Days” is a perfect example of Page’s “out of the box” playing style. He utilizes open G tuning to create a hypnotic rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece. The swirling, unorthodox rhythm of the song is enhanced and pushed over the edge by the innovative slide melodies that lay on top of the groove.
I wanted to point out in this video how creative the note selection is. It includes long range shifts in tone, mixed with short half–step slides and the very cool use of two–note double–stop style lines, which really shine toward the end of the song.
A lot of players will stay in the boundaries of the blues scale when playing slide in open G tuning, but “Dancing Days” provides a somewhat different concept, and learning the piece could send you down a different musical path that you might not have considered before.
I hope you enjoy trying some of these licks and melodies and can learn from Page’s innovation enough to inspire your own slide ideas, as well.