We face the task this week of delving into the world of one of the artists with the most personality who has emerged over the last two decades. A cyclone on stage, an animal in the studio, an absolute fanatic of everything vintage and the vintage sound who has managed to go beyond exercises in style in his music and sound and who has taken vintage rock and converted it into a more modern style, opening a way for countless bands to emulate, perhaps more than our protagonist would have liked, a lot of those two things creating a purely 21st century style of rock with his signature on it more than anyone else’s. We’re talking about the leader and lead guitarist of the White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, we’re talking about Jack White.
Let’s begin with a trio of guitars that were with him for nearly a whole decade while with the White Stripes and which have made him what he is today: the first is a Kay Archtop from the 50s tuned in A he used to imitate his idle slide guitarists from the 30s, such as Son House. He has a Crestwood Astral from the 70s tuned in E that was made in Japan, and lastly the most iconic guitar in this stage of his career, his Montgomery Ward Airline JB Hutto from 1964 that without a doubt is to blame for all these guitarists we see today with rockabilly aesthetic or surfer guitars from the 60s.
Later we see him using some that are less conventional from one of our favourite brands: Gretsch. More specifically a Gretsch White Penguin from 1957, a precious Jupiter Thunderbird but maybe the most recognisable for the public at large, given that it’s the one shown in the famous documentary It Might Get Loud, it is his Gretsch Anniversary Jr “The Green Machine” which he has transformed beyond what most guitarists normally do because among other things, he added a microphone or a theremin.
We were saying at the start the he was a lover of vintage and that’s true, even when it comes to mics he uses in the studio but mainly the guitar he uses onstage, at least on his last tour as, let’s not forget, his new record was just a few days old, it was a Fender Telecaster Highway One with a Bigsby attached and a TV Jones Filtertron pickup on the bridge to which we can attest sounds absolutely incredible, so dare we say that he’s not driven by nostalgia nor aesthetics when he chooses his gear, but rather a genius like him, how could it be otherwise, only trusts his ear.
To finish off we’ll mention his favourite amp: the Fender Twin Reverb Blackface, the one he speaks wonders of in many of his interviews, although he also uses a Twin Reverb Silverface in the studio. And perhaps his best known effects include the Bif Muff and the POG by Electro-Harmonix, two pedals he gets his sound from.
Very special gear for a very special artist who maybe doesn’t take well having opened a new path in rock when all paths seemed cut off, and other bands reaching a status perhaps, if not better, certainly similar to his at least when it comes to the American market. But here at Guitars Exchange we know when to give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and we know the sound of rock in the 21st century could be called ‘the Jack White sound’.