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Famous Guitar Gear

Jack White

Ah, Jack White. The man of a thousand mysteries but one distinctive tone. He needs little introduction, other than to say that he’s performed in a few ‘the’-prefaced bands (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and collaborated with a number of fairly famous musicians (like, I dunno, The Rolling Stones, Beck, Jeff Beck etc.). Anyway, Jack’s got a solo album called Blunderbuss on the way so now seems like a fine time to take a look at the gear he uses to get that quintessential White tone.

Jack’s gear has been the subject of much debate over the years but a recent interview with Guitar Player has proved most enlightening. His most iconic guitar is the Ward’s Airline, used throughout The White Stripes, a hollowbody Kay used for slide playing and a “red Japanese guitar” used for open-E tuning. Vague. However, for his work with the Raconteurs, Jack got some guitars custom-made. These are a Gretsch “Triple Jet” (Jack’s name), which adds a third pickup to Gretsch’s Duo Jet design, as well as an MXR Micro Amp for overdriven solos, while the “Triple Green Machine” not only contains the Triple Jet’s boost system, but also a microphone and a light-activated Theremin (as you do).

Jack onstage with his iconic Ward's Airline guitar. Note the Fender Twin in the background too (photo: mosesxan on Flickr)

For Jack, nothing quite matches the Fender Twin Reverb in terms of amps, although he does occasionally employ a Silvertone 610 combo for extra crunch. Other essentials in Jack’s rig are on his pedalboard: the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff and Digitech Whammy are mainstays, while the EHX POG also sees plenty of use on tracks like Icky Thump. Of course, his board has been more populated in the past and has certainly had some distinctive customised looks over the years…

One of Jack's customised pedalboards from years gone by (photo: funksheet.com)

Well, that’s it: there’s not much to say about getting Jack’s tone other than a lot of it is down to his playing style, so work on that pick attack! Thanks to Guitar Player for the interview and to you for reading. See you soon!

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About Michael Brown

Michael is a journalist, musician and general guitar geek who works for Total Guitar and Guitarist magazines. He also freelances on the side, most often for Drowned in Sound. You can view his work here.

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