Yes, that really is Jimmy Page’s ‘Black Beauty’ guitar in the Met

(YouTube/CBS This Morning)

The new exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which features seven of Jimmy Page’s guitars opens to the public today, but it has already created a significant debate online about one particular guitar on display.

As LedZepNews reported last week, Page’s recovered “Black Beauty” guitar that was stolen in 1970 but returned to Page in 2015 is featured in the exhibition.

The 1960 Gibson Les Paul was Page’s main session guitar from 1962 to 1967 and was also used during the early years of Led Zeppelin. The guitar was stolen at Minneapolis–Saint Paul airport in April 1970 when Page took it with him to the US on tour.

The presence of that guitar in the exhibition has caused widespread debate, with several commenters wading in via email, Facebook, Twitter and online forums to accuse the guitar on display of being a replica.

LedZepNews decided to do some digging, and eventually came to a definitive answer: Yes, that is the original “Black Beauty” guitar on display in the Met. It’s not a replica, it’s the real guitar that was stolen in 1970.

We spoke to a source close to Jimmy Page who is an expert on the guitar and they told us the full story of its theft, the moderations carried out to it, and its November 12, 2015 return to Page.

Now, Page apparently doesn’t want the full story in the public domain just yet, so we can’t report the full details of it. But it backs up the Met’s own website’s page for the guitar which identifies it as the original.

The major sticking point for sceptics of the “Black Beauty” guitar on display in the Met has been the single toggle switch on the guitar. The last photo of the guitar in Page’s possession showed that he added two more toggle switches before its theft.

In the decades the guitar has been missing, the extra two toggle switches have been removed. But it’s still the original guitar.

Another point of contention has been the idea that Page wouldn’t loan out the precious guitar so soon after getting it back.

That makes sense, but Page is clearly extremely passionate about the Met’s new exhibition. He has flown several times to New York for it, spoke about the launch, been interviewed by the press, posed for a photoshoot and played the guitars for a video. Quite clearly, Page is very enthusiastic about the project.

For further evidence about Page’s passion, watch the video interview he recorded to promote it:

See more photos of the guitar below. These were taken by Jonathan Bayer who has kindly allowed us to embed them here:

Jimmy Page 1960 Gibson "Black Beauty" Les Paul Jimmy Page- Custom Les Paul "Black Beauty" Jimmy Page Custom Les Paul - Black Beauty Jimmy Page Custom Les Paul - Black Beauty Jimmy Page Custom Les Paul - Black Beauty
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3 Comments on "Yes, that really is Jimmy Page’s ‘Black Beauty’ guitar in the Met"

  1. That’s not the lost black beauty. Page added two more switches to the guitar, and the pictured guitar only has the one. It’s probably a custom shop reissue, like his telecaster is in the same exhibit. There are a few pictures of the Les Paul shortly before it was stolen, and it has the extra switches, one for each pickup.

    • I just read in the new guitar player magazine that page restored his dragon tele, so I was wrong in my comment above about it being a reissue. I also heard from a famous guitar collector that page had two black beauties and that the one above was the one that was stolen. So I might have been wrong about that too. I’ve never heard of him having two, has anyone else? I thought he just modded the one with the extra switches.

  2. Regarding the 1960 black beauty “restored without Jimmy’s involvement” BEFORE it was identified and returned to him? The work done to it is undisclosed and confidential for now apparently.

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