Led Zeppelin – Why I Play Mandolin

Led Zeppelin - John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham

My first introduction to mandolin came through Led Zeppelin 4, namely the tracks Going to California and The Battle of Evermore. Then I discovered many more mandolin tunes peppered throughout the Led Zeppelin catalog.  I picked up the mandolin from time to time through out high school and college, namely to play those Zeppelin tunes, but never really got hooked on it until I gave my playing over to Celtic from Rock.  However, I owe a great deal to Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones, for turning me on to this lovely instrument.

One of my favorite guitar instrumentals to play was Bron Yr Aur, from the second disc of Physical Graffiti.  I always thought that it would make a great mandolin arrangement.  After fiddling (mandolining?) with the key, I came up with (what I think is) a lovely arrangement of the tune on mandolin.  This one is for you, Mr. Page, and your three friends that inspired me in many ways throughout my young adult life.

(Here’s the tab with standard notation.  Bron Yr Aur Mandolin Arrangement Tab and Standard Notation. It sounds great on an octave mandolin too.)  (as of, 2/4/2012, The Battle of Evermore tab is also now available on the tab section of this site.)

5 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – Why I Play Mandolin

  1. Hello,
    I like very much your Bron Yr Aur arrangement for mandolin.
    I begin to play the mandolin and one of the tune that I would like to play is ” Going to California ” by Led Zeppelin. It’s a great one! And it’s a good reason to practice mandolin!
    Have you the tab for mandolin of this tune? If yes, may you sent me it? Or can you tell me how I can get it?
    Thank you.
    Best Regards
    Sorry for my English.

  2. Great tunes, but give John Paul Jones his due. Quite the mando player. He was responsible for most arrangements and mando playing on songs. The gifted one behind the scenes. Not one for the limelight. thanks for your arrangements. Much appreciated.

  3. No disrespect on my part. I didn’t feel you were dissing them. I am old enough to have seen them play in San Francisco in the 70’s and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. JPJ gets so little mention when you’ve got 2 such frontmen. Great chemistry. I do want to thank you so much for putting in the time for your arrangements. Keep up the good work.

    • Yes, I agree. Funny enough, I actually met John Paul Jones at the grocery store here in Asheville. I was walking down the produce aisle with me wife, and she saw my face go white and asked me what’s wrong. Of course I did what people do, and instead of saying what I’d practiced for years, should I ever meet a member of Led Zeppelin, I croaked and said, “Are you John Paul Jones?! I’m your biggest fan.” and shook his hand. He smiled said “yes,thank you” in his british accent, and kept on pushing his buggy. There was a woman with him, his wife maybe? Anyway, the one place you never expect to meet one of your greatest heroes!

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