Gear Rundown: Jack White

Digging Through The Archives

Making a name for himself in the early 2000s in The White Stripes with songs like ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Fell in Love with a Girl’, Jack White often attributes his guitar stylings to that of early blues guitarists like Robert Johnson, Son House and Blind Willie McTell.

While blues music played a major role in his influences, the impact The White Stripes had on the garage rock revival is massive, reinvigorating a style of music that had become stale. After The White Stripes came to an end, White went on to play for The Dead Weather with The Kills’ Alison Mosshart and also released two solo albums. Let us take a look at the gear he used to make such rambunctious sounds.

 

GUITARS

1964 "JB Hutto" Res-O-Glass Airline Guitar

In the documentary It Might Get Loud, Jack White says "This is my main guitar, that I played for like 10 years in the White Stripes." In reference to his red 1964 Montgomery Ward Airline model Res-O-Glass guitar, he also stated "I play really old guitars; plastic guitars.”

 

Gretsch G6134 White Penguin Electric Guitar

Jack White most notably uses this guitar in The Dead Weather. He states, "I (sometimes) play a special-edition Gretsch White Penguin Jupiter Thunderbird. They only made 12 of them, and I found one in Texas ...around about 2007 I got a ’57 Gretsch White Penguin, which is really rare." 

 

Gretsch Anniversary Jr “The Green Machine”

Talking about the guitar, White states, "I started with a Gretsch Anniversary Jr., which was the only small hollowbody guitar I could find. I made it a double cutaway instead of a single. I had a Bigsby installed, and I put in an old mute, too. When you pull a lever, the mute comes up and dampens the strings. I also had a light-activated Theremin installed that I could control with my wrist while I was playing. When I lifted my wrist, the Theremin would be added to the sound."

 

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird Electric Guitar

White has a factory model of the Gretsch Bo Diddley in his arsenal, however he painted it white so that he could be like Bo Diddley and the Duchess with Alicia Keys. He explians, "We would both use those guitars on tour to support the James Bond theme. But when I got hurt and I couldn’t do the dates, Alison (Mosshart) ended up taking on that idea. She plays the rectangular Bo Diddley model, and I play the Jupiter Thunderbird—which is also called the “Billy Bo” because Billy Gibbons brought that idea back to Gretsch."

 

GUITAR PEDALS

DigiTech Whammy Pitch-Shifting Pedal

This is White's got to pedal in The White Stripes. The pedal plays a big role in argueably The White Stripes' most iconic song, 'Seven Nation Army'. "I got a Whammy Pedal and I thought, Okay, you don’t have to do solos, but it would be nice if once in a while the guitar broke out and had a moment for itself and then went back to the band. The Whammy enabled me to get an octave higher than everybody else, so I could break through for a few seconds and do a lick and then come back to the song. And now I just want solos to be an octave higher and piercing... Also, I like to manipulate my DigiTech Whammy pedal starting with the low octave. I love low octaves. I’ve always loved playing octaves on the piano, even as a little kid. So when they came out with that pedal, and I heard Tom Morello use it in Rage Against the Machine, I knew I’d finally found an interesting pedal."

 

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi

You'd think White had a board full of pedals during his time with The White Stripes, however the famed guitarist has actually claimed to rely on only two pedals: The DigiTech Whammy and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. He explains that "you might be hearing me building up to the note with the pedal."

 

Voodoo Lab Tremolo Pedal

The Voodoo Lab Tremolo Pedal is mainly used in Jack White's pedalboard for The Dead Weather. It can be heard heavily in his guitar solos.

 

AMPLIFIERS

Fender Vintage Reissue '65 Twin Reverb Guitar Amp

When asked about his The Dead Weather rig, Jack white says "the amp is a Fender Twin Reverb—no Silvertone, like in the White Stripes." In the Northern Lights DVD, Jack White uses the amp combo and says "that’s so I get the crunch and the reverb at the same time. The Silvertone’s reverb is horrible, so I just use it for the thick, Jensen-speaker crunch that only a Silvertone can produce. No other amp can sound like that. I use the Fender for the reverb. It’s the best. A Silvertone and a Fender make a great combination."

 

Sears Silvertone 6x10 100-Watt Combo Amp

Jack White used a mid ’60s Silvertone 1485 tube head and a 6x10 Silvertone speaker cab combo during the first three White Stripes albums.

 

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