As we wrap up this week’s feature of rock mandolin, I had a choice of two songs from “Led Zeppelin IV”: “Battle of Evermore” and “Going to California.” While I like Sandy Denny’s participation on the former, I believe that the mandolin parts on “Going to California” are better. While Jimmy Page played mandolin on “Battle of Evermore,” it is bassist John Paul Jones that lends his mandolin talents to “Going to California.” Since the mandolin belonged to him, it is only fitting the Jones be featured.
Early pictures of Jones show him playing a no-name mandolin; however, he later purchased a Fender acoustic when the band went on tour in America supporting “Led Zeppelin IV” in 1972.While I don't think it is one, it looks similar to the construction found with Hofner mandolins; however, Hofners typically sported curved teardrop shaped F-holes. This one doesn't. Since that time, Jones has owned a plethora of mandolins.
Today, Jones sports an unusual triple necked mando configuration that has mandolin, octave mandolin, and 8-string bass mandobass necks. Typically, mandobasses only sport four strings, but this instrument is set up like an 8-string electric bass with octave strings in the courses with bass strings. The Mason Brothers produced this odd beauty.
It is also noteworthy to mention that Jimmy Page is using a double dropped D tuning on his acoustic guitar. From low to high, this tuning is DADGBD. I’ve used this on occasion and it is nice cross between standard tuning (EADGBE) and open D (DADF#AD). It allows a certain amount of standard guitar technique with a high drone and the low bass note. It is perfect for songs that are primarily in D like “Going to California.” By the way, John Bonham does not appear on this cut.
This is the last in our seven-day series for the second week of the month. I hoped you liked this thematic set. Next month, we’ll look at the electric 12-string guitar as a featured instrument. I have a number of cuts already planned.