Learn How To Sound Like...Jack White (The White Stripes)
Last week the White Stripes' new album, "Icky Thumb", went straight to number One in the Charts, proving they are still one of the most popular acts in the world today. Since they first struck stardom with hit-single "7 Nation Army", one thing many guitarists would like to know is how to sound like Jack White. Here's how...
The secret weapon of Jack White is his pedalboard, which has been subject of several discussions on web-forums, ever since they became famous. Fortunately for us mere mortals, his setup is very simple and he doesn't use anything too rare or obscure as far as FX pedals go:
MXR Micro Amp >> Digitech Whammy >> Electro Harmonix Big Muff >> Electro Harmonix POG.
The MXR Micro Amp is used to boost the signal whenever he needs it – some sources say it's on at all times.
Jack White's main distortion is the classic Big Muff Fuzz pedal, which now has been painted red.
He uses the Digitech Whammy for solos (2 Octaves up) and that's one of his trademark sounds – the crunchy Big Muff and the Digitech Whammy at the same time... most of Jack White's solos are played like that.
Jack also uses the Digitech Whammy with the Octaves down setting, to make his guitar sound like a bass on “7 Nation Army”. As you can see, it's a very versatile pedal.
The POG is one of EHX's newest pedals, and was used for the guitar sounds on “Blue Orchid”, the first single from their previous album “Get Behind Me Satan”. It's unknown if he uses it for anything else.
Jack White also uses two other pedals, but which have nothing to do with his sound: the Boss TU-2 Tuner, and a pedal to cutoff the signal, to mute his guitar whenever he needs it.
Here, things get a bit more complicated...up until recently, when he started playing Gretsch guitars, Jack White only used old, obscure guitars – not even particularly good! Such as the Montgomery Ward Airline, which used to be sold in department stores in the USA in the 60s.
Well...if you can't get hold of one on Ebay, the best idea is to get a good retro-style guitar. But it must be red, obviously, like all his guitars! Here's our sugegstions:
- Reverend Charger
- Fender Toronado
- Gretsch Power Firebird
- Gretsch ”Billy Bo” Jupiter Thunderbird
- Ibanez Jet King II
- Danelectro 56 Pro
He also uses a Semi-Acoustic, 335-style guitar for some more bluesy numbers. A good and cheap suggestion would be the red Tanglewood TH502 guitar Simple, cheap, sturdy and effective...
Jack White's favourite amp is a super-rare Silvertone model, but he also uses a Fender Twin Reverb. In an interview for Guitar Player a few years ago, White said:
"The Silvertone is really rare," says White. "It took me five years to find it, and now I have two. The Silvertone gives me the crunch-and the crunch that comes from those six Jensen speakers is amazing-and the Twin gives me the reverb. I run both amps all the way up. I used to get upset because of that theory you get from sound guys-you know, 'Turn it down onstage and we'll pump you through the monitors.' I don't trust that. I need my amps pointed at me full blast. That's a weakness of mine, but I have to have it. I mean, it's just me and Meg up there, so the guitar has to be strong."
If you're looking for a more affordable alternative to the Fender Twin, you might like to try the Fender Blues Junior, which has the classic Fender tone and reverb in a small – but still quite loud – 15-watt amp.
Though, we must say, the Fender Pro Junior 60th Anniversary Woody (Above, right) is simply...”totally” White Stripes! You can bet Jack White would love it!
If you want a crunchier amp, but can't get a Silvertone, then try the Orange Crush 30R, that should give you all the crunchy sounds you need to get your Jack White tone nailed!
We hope this info will have helped you to get the sound you want!
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Electro-Harmonix has recently released a collection of new guitar FX pedals for NAMM 2014. Read our article about the new products, here The guitar effects pedal that started it all The distortion countless musicians such as Hendrix, Santana and Jack White relied on for its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain. A timeless piece, the Big Muff has been defining the…
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