Jack White is one half of the alt-rock duo The White Stripes. His style is rooted firmly in blues. The White Stripes tool the old blues formula, cut it up, added some fuzz and crafted their own unique brand of riffy retro rock and roll.
As a guitar player his gear has changed a lot over the years but his setups have always been very simple and stripped back. Often preferring older, vintage guitars with just a handful of choice pedals infront of his amplifier.
The bands most successful era was around 2003 with the release of the album Elephant. This album spawned many hit singles, most notable the track Seven Nation Army.
- MXR Micro Amp
- Digital Whammy
- Electro Harmonix Big Muff
MXR Micro Amp
The micro amp is a 20dB bclean boost pedal. Jack White is known to have this at the front of his chain. There are varying reports as to how he uses this pedal. Some sources seem to indicate that he leaves it on all the time to boost his signal, while others suggest he uses it based on when he needs to boost the input signal from his guitar. In his other band The Raconteurs, White had Gretsch custom fit an MXR Micro Amp to one of his Gretsch Duo Jet guitars so he could control the boost from his guitar.
Over the bands career, White has used the Whammy pedal for a range of pitch shifting purposes. The most instantly recognizable is the bass tone from Seven Nation Army. This was not played on a bass, it was played on a 1960’s Kay Hollowbody guitar with the Whammy set to an octave down position. This created a bass sound that leads the track. White has also used this for octave up an down passages through other segments of the bands career.
Electro Harmonix Big Muff
The Big Muff is Jack White’s go-to fuzz pedal. For all the heavier moments of the band, this is the drive sound you are hearing. Without a bass player, White would use fuzz to fill out the sound. Coupled with his old, cheap hollow body guitars, he could create a wall of sound and feedback at any given moment.
Jack White has never been a player that is associated with high end guitars. He has been very vocal in his favouring of cheaper, vintage guitars. Often seen with an Airline or Kay guitar, White prefers these retro rock machines. He acknowledges that he might be a better player if he used easier to play guitars, but he said he loves the challenge of playing a guitar for an entire show when the guitar fights back.
- Mongomery Ward JB Hutto Airline
- Kay K6533
- Crestwood Astral II
Montgomery Ward Airline
This is the guitar most associated with Jack White. This guitar is thought to be from 1964-65. The guitar is totally hollow and is made from a type of fibreglass known as Res-o-Glass. It has two Valco single coil pickups that look like humbuckers but are actually single coils.
The Kay hollowbody that Jack White is often seen with is his main slide guitar. This guitar is usually tuned to Open A or E and was used for songs like Seven Nation Army. The fully hollow design is very prone to feedback at loud volumes. In 2001, Jack covered the guitar with craft paper though it is unknown if this was purely aesthetic or if it was an attempt to prevent feedback.
Crestwood Astral II
For anyone who has followed the White Stripes from their early days, the Astral II was the Open E slide guitar of choice for tracks like Let’s Build a Home. The guitar is made from plywood and is fully hollow. The guitar has single coil pickups and a Bigsby style tremolo arm on the body.
Amplifiers and Cabinets
- Sears Silvertone 1485 Six Ten
- Fender Twin Reverb
Sears Silvertone 1485 Six Ten
The Silvertone 1485 was the main amp used through most of the White Stripes era of Jack’s career. The amp was often run into a pair of matching, Silvetone 6×10 sepaker cabinets. The and cabinets are dated from the 1960s but the exact year is not known. The amp has built in reverb, but Jack prefers to pair it with a Fender Twin Reverb and use the reverb on that. This amp was used for most of the Elephant record.
Fender Twin Reverb
Jack has also been known to pair a Twin Reverb with his Sears Silvertone. He has used both the Silverface and Blackface versions of this amp and is known to prefer the reverb on this over other amps in his collection.