No one band has done more for the blues within mainstream music in the last decade than The Black Keys and that’s partly down to Dan Auerbach’s superb feel and guitar tone. Following the release of last year’s well-received El Camino, the Ohio duo have been announced as headliners for this year’s Coachella festival in Calfornia, along with Radiohead and Dr Dre. But what will Dan be using onstage?
Actually covering Dan’s gear is an incredibly difficult task since the man posses a rather large amount of the stuff and, as a result, there are countless communities online which analyse every detail of his tone. He plays a whole load of guitars, although they are more obscure and beaten-up than those of your average player, with brands including Harmony, Reverend and Gretsch. There is some common ground amongst them however, as most are fitted with either Gretsch-style humbuckers or P90s and Bigsby vibrato systems. One of Dan’s distinctive playing characteristics is that he often uses his fingers for picking so if you believe the old adage “tone is in the fingers”, it’s doubly relevant here.
While Dan strictly employs small amps in the studio, his live setup for the Brothers tour comprised a Fender Quad Reverb and a Marshall JTM45 with vintage Marshall 8×10 cab. However, the video above makes it look like the Marshall has been replaced with an additional Fender combo, although this may just be for television studio purposes.
Pedals once again prove a slippery subject, with Dan’s list of fuzzes in particular causing consternation amongst fans. He’s a big fan of the old Ibanez 59 Standard Fuzz for the studio but, live, tends to employ old green Electro-Harmonix Russian Big Muffs and Earthquaker Devices Hoof fuzzes into a slightly overdriven amp. The rest of his pedals tend to come and go but there are usually some other EQD stompboxes there, including the Hummingbird and Disaster Transport, although the Boss TR-2 seems to be Dan’s mainstay tremolo.
Hopefully some more recent gear shots will emerge as The Black Keys take to the road in support of El Camino but all I’ve got for now is the usual assortment of candid photos and internet rumours, so we’ll just have to make do. Until next time!