John Paul Jones, the bassist and musical arranger for Led Zeppelin


This man was the one who played with Led Zeppelin from its origins until the end in 1980, when the band’s drummer died. Just listen to Stairway to Heaven to enjoy the work that John was used to doing. He was not an ordinary arranger, but his ideas were novel and revolutionary.


John Paul Jones and his musical origins

He was born in Kent, England, in 1942 and due to his parents’ constant travels, he was forced to study at a boarding school, where he learned music. His talent began to be seen since he began to play the keyboard in a church, when he was just 14 years old. Some time later he joined a band, because it was what he liked the most.

Jones’ father wanted him to play the saxophone as his main instrument, but when the young man learned about the electric bass and all its possibilities, he fell in love with it more than any other. Whether or not he had the best bass on the market in his hands, he played it in a clean way. Therefore, he began a musical career in recording studios, working as a session musician and making a living from it. In doing that work, he not only played bass, but also arranged musical arrangements and compositions, including movie soundtracks.

Years later, working as an arranger and session musician, he also wanted to start a solo career. It is then that he met the manager of the Rolling Stone, who saw that his real name, John Baldwin, was not very flashy, so he named him John Paul Jones. From that moment on that was his stage name, which he has used to this day.




Musical career with Led Zeppelin

Because he worked in many recording studios and music projects, John met Jimmy Page and they became friends. In this way, when Page started the plans to create the Led Zeppelin band, Jones asked him to let him participate. And as expected, thanks to John’s talent, Jimmy invited him to join the band as a bass player.

Page was also a session musician, so his technique and clean playing could blend very well with Jones’ musical savvy. His knowledge, as well as the talent of drummer John Bonham and the excellent voice of Robert Plant, led Led Zeppelin to reach the pinnacle of hard rock at the time.

Jones joined the band in 1968 and in 1969 he recorded the first album with it. Later, he continued with Led Zeppelin and collaborated on important songs of the group, for example, Black Dog and What Is and What Should Never Be.

Of course, John also contributed his ideas on featured songs like No Quarter and Trampled Under Foot; in these pieces he only used keyboards. In addition to this, it is possible to appreciate his work with Led Zeppelin in the acoustic recordings, using the mandolin. Some of the featured acoustic songs are Going to California, The Battle of Evermore, and That’s the Way.


Electric basses that John Paul Jones has played with

Although John has played high-end electric basses, this does not mean that you must buy one if you want to learn to play the instrument. However, the quality of the bass used by this musician are recommended, as they offer good sound.

Among the older basses are the Fender Precision Bass, from 1951 and the Fender Jazz Bass from 1961. The latter was played by John especially at concerts. Also, Jones used the Fretless Fender Precision Bass, which was a fretless electric bass. To play this instrument the musician must have a higher level.

On the other hand, he played the Ibanez RD300, a model that has satisfied the hands and ears of many bass players. Even inspired by his artistic career and musical style is the Manson E-Bass, whose model bears his name, John Paul Jones Signature.




John Paul Jones today

After the dissolution of Led Zeppelin, Jones became involved in other projects. However, in 2009 he played with the band Them Crooked Vultures, which featured prominent musicians such as Josh Homme and Dave Grohl.

Likewise, it should be noted that John, with his 73 years, is not only a bassist, but also a music producer, composer, mandolinist, guitarist, keyboardist, etc. This means that he is a multi-instrumentalist, something that is in his blood, thanks to the fact that his parents were also professional musicians.

In addition to this, since 2011 he has played for the musician Seasick Steve. And today Jones has created a new band, Sons of Chipotle. In this last group, Jones will not play the electric bass, but will play keyboards, synthesizers and pianos, in addition to other electronic equipment or instruments.

It should be noted that the band will only consist of John Paul Jones and Anssi Karttunen. This musician is from Finland and will play the cello as well as electronic equipment. Both artists have a brilliant and creative mind, so the music they are going to create will be based mainly on improvisation. Additionally, the band will be open to sharing the stage with guest musicians, for example Otomo Yoshihide and Jim O’Rourke. In this sense, Sons of Chipotle will be aimed at an audience that follows the sounds of electronic music.

On the other hand, John Paul Jones and his new band want to tell the world that the walls between nations should not exist and all this they will do through a new music where they will express their freedom to improvise, making musical fusions so far rare.


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