Led Zeppelin Amp Settings and Gear Guide

Led Zeppelin was a very popular band throughout the 1970s. Even today, their iconic sound and diverse style are desired by many guitarists. Their music was a stepping stone to the heavy metal we have come to love and appreciate today.

But their sound can be tricky to get if you lack the right gear and perfect Led Zeppelin amp settings.

In this guide, we will help you get the classic Led Zeppelin sound by finding the perfect amp settings and gear.

led zeppelin amp settings

What Is The Led Zeppelin Sound?

Led Zeppelin’s sound is a mix of blues and hard rock. They were one of the first bands to truly bring heavy metal to the mainstream. Their use of distortion and feedback set them apart from other bands at the time.

Their sound was so unique that it has influenced countless other bands and guitarists over the years.

To get the Led Zeppelin sound, you will need an amp that can provide a fair amount of distortion. You may also need to use pedals to get the right amount of saturation and compression.

Because Jimmy Page’s tone was relatively sharp and somewhat biting, and very British, a Vox amplifier would do you well.

To get close, you could use settings like:

  • Gain: 5
  • Treble: 8
  • Mids:6
  • Bass: 7

Then dial your volume up as high as you prefer to add the rest of the sizzle. A lower-powered amplifier would serve you well here.

Gear Needed For Led Zeppelin Sounds

When setting out to obtain Jimmy Page tones, a British amplifier will be necessary, as the sounds just won’t be the same otherwise. It’s equally important to have the right electric guitar.

For a good portion of Zeppelin songs, the Gibson Les Paul was number one. And so you will need something as close as possible.

Then you will just have to consider a few things:

  1. Because the Gibson Les Paul was the guitar of choice, single-coil pickups won’t have the same warmth for some sounds. While you may get close, the humbucker style is preferred. For others, however, a Telecaster is the best bet.
  2. For an amplifier, try to choose something with a British flavor, like a Marshall or Vox. Even an Orange amp will provide a tone that will get you closer to that Led Zeppelin vibe. There are many great solid state models that can also get very close.
  3. Effect pedals will be helpful as well. An amplifier may have some built in, if not, delay, and reverb will be good to start with.

Led Zeppelin Amp Settings

Once you are confident in your gear choices, it’s time to learn how to use the amp settings to dial in some great sounds.

Jimmy Page amp settings infographic

Gain Setting

The gain knob is a very important control. Not only does it add distortion, but it also affects the amount of compression and bass response you get from the amplifier.

To get a good Zeppelin sound, you will want to begin with the gain at around 6 or 7. This will give you enough distortion without going overboard. You can then slowly turn it up until you find the perfect setting for you.

But keep in mind that the higher this setting is, the more bass you will get in your tone. Sometimes this is good, but other times it becomes very muddy. This all depends on your amplifier.

Equalization Controls

Your EQ controls are best set to halfway when starting. They will tailor the tone of your amp to provide you with the sound that you want to hear.

When going after the right Led Zeppelin amp settings, you will need to consider how they affect one another.

  1. The Led Zeppelin sound was rather bright and biting. The amplifier’s treble knob will need to be turned up fairly high to obtain this. You will want to adjust it to around 7-8 depending on your amp. If it’s rather dark, it may even need to be higher.
  2. Your middle control will add the necessary body and thickness to your tone. A Gibson Les Paul guitar is rather thick sounding as it is, but your amplifier will need to compensate for anything lost. So it’s not uncommon to set your mids to 6-7.
  3. The bass knob is another important control. This will either provide a punchy response or a muddy sound. Your gain knob should be set to where you want it first, as this will change the dynamics of the output. Then, adjust your bass control accordingly.

If your amp has a presence of resonance control, set these to halfway when you begin. Then, adjust them once the main EQ has been set to add a bit more clarity and depth.

Check out our Van Halen amp settings here!

Popular Led Zeppelin Songs and Their Amp Settings

Jimmy Page has used many amps to get his tone, so many, that there is a ton of variety in his sound. This levels the playing field a bit for players, making it more possible to get your rig to be similar.

Let’s have a look at some popular Led Zeppelin songs and see how you can set your amps to get the same tone.

Whole Lotta Love

This song is one of the most iconic Led Zeppelin tunes. It’s a great example of Page’s use of various effects to get a unique sound.

The first thing you will notice is the amount of distortion and compression in the intro riff. An amplifier with a British flavor will be the best for this sound.

Then set it as follows:

  • Gain: 8
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 8
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3

This tone is more than likely influenced by a cranked tube amp as well. The compression is very present and so effects can help here if yours falls short.

Good Times Bad Times

This song has a much brighter tone, but there is still a fair amount of distortion. Some say that Page used a Supro amplifier cranked to get this sound. It’s also said that it was performed with a Telecaster.

At any rate, a Telecaster with a thicker-sounding amplifier would work great. If you have a Marshall-style amplifier, this tone should be very possible to get right.

To get this tone, set your amp like this:

  • Gain: 7
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3

Stairway to Heaven

This is one of the most popular songs of all time. It has a unique sound that can be hard to replicate.

This tone can be captured with a Telecaster and a Marshall amplifier, although most will come close.

Use these settings for the clean parts:

  • Gain: 3
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 8
  • Bass: 6
  • Reverb: 3

For the solo and distorted parts, try these settings:

  • Gain: 6
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3

You can also try setting your amplifier for the more distorted parts and then roll your volume back until it cleans up.

Check out our AC/DC amp settings here!

Troubleshooting Tone Issues

If you have tried a few of these settings but just can’t get the tone you want from your gear, try some of these additional tips.

  • Having the right guitars will help with Jimmy Page’s tone. You need one with humbucker pickups with a decent output level. But a Telecaster-style electric guitar will also help for earlier songs.
  • A more mid-gain amp that can be cranked will get that Led Zeppelin sound. Some might even benefit from a fuzz pedal.
  • If your tone is too thin, try turning down your treble control a bit. Making use of your guitar’s tone control can also help with a harsh sound.
  • Effects can also change the dynamics of your tone. Adding reverb or chorus can provide depth and warmth. This can also be a great way to color your tone and get the right sound.
  • If you are having trouble with the crunchy bite of Jimmy Page’s tone, try using distortion or overdrive pedals. This can add a whole different sound to your amp.

Conclusion

Jimmy Page is one of the most influential guitarists of all time. His tone has inspired countless players in the rock world.

Getting his tone can be difficult, but it’s possible with the right gear and settings.

Try out these settings and see how close you can get to that Led Zeppelin sound. If all else fails, try different guitars and amps. Sometimes your tone might even live in a pedal. Experiment until you find it and have fun!

FAQs

What amps does Led Zeppelin use?

Jimmy Page primarily used Marshall amplifiers. He also used Supro, Vox, and Hiwatt amplifiers.

What guitars does Led Zeppelin use?

Page used a variety of different guitars throughout his career. He is most associated with the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Telecaster.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!