Since the earliest days of the White Stripes, Jack White's guitar gear has centred around old mail-order department store guitars and amps, and very few - but tonally very effective - pedals.
By the time of the White Stripes' fourth album, Elephant in 2003, Jack White was set on returning to what he knew best - analogue recording techniques and the guitar gear to match. The entire album was recorded at Toe Rag Studios in London, a studio which prides itself on vintage equipment. In fact, the most modern piece of kit in the studio dates to 1963!
Above: Toe Rag Studios, London
Jack White's Guitars
Jack White's main guitar in his White Stripes days was his red 1964 Valco Airline, unofficially known as the "JB Hutto" model after the blues musician who used one, and originally sold at the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in the US in the 1960s. The body is a fiberglass construction ("Res-O-Glas") with two single-coil pickups.
White also used a Kay hollowbody from the 1950s - perhaps most noticeably on Seven Nation Army, where he not only uses it to play the main riff but also the "bass" part (actually downtuned using his Digitech Whammy) and a screaming slide overdub dosed with his fuzz of choice, the Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi. The Kay has just one pickup, a single-coil in the neck position.
Jack White's Amps
Jack's Silvertone amp, a 1960s department store find - this time from Sears - is preferred by the frontman for its thick crunch courtesy of the Jensen speakers. The Big Muff isn't always required thanks to the gain available from this amp.
A 1970s Fender Twin Reverb was also used when a spring reverb sound was required, as Jack didn't consider the Silvertone's reverb to be up to the job.
What Pedals Did Jack White Use On The White Stripes' "Elephant" Album?
Jack White is famous for his use of the Digitech Whammy, most obviously for the piercing solos which litter the Elephant album. While the solos using the Whammy are pitched an octave up, some songs also include octave-down parts where Jack has created faux bass lines, most recognisably in Seven Nation Army.
The Big Muff Pi is Jack's only other mainstay pedal used on Elephant (and through pretty much all of his White Stripes career). Placed after the Digitech Whammy, Jack turned the Treble up quite high and the Volume was usually maxed out. He initially used an early-2000s reissue of the pedal, but by the time of Elephant it is likely - according to several sources - that White was using an original from the 1970s.
Jack White's Guitar Gear:
1964 Valco Airline "JB Hutto"
1950s Kay Hollowbody
1970s Fender Twin Reverb
1960s Silvertone 1485 6x10 with Jensen C10Q ceramic speakers
Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi
The White Stripes - Elephant: Get the sound
To replicate Jack's Elephant-era White Stripes tone, you'll need a single-coil guitar. You can buy modern-day reissues of the Airline, but the construction is quite a bit different - it will certainly get you the look though! A Danelectro with lipstick pickups would be a good bet, while a Strat- or Tele-style guitar will get you in the ballpark too.
The Fender Twin Reverb is a great pedal platform, while the Silvertone brings Marshall-style crunch, so an amp in either of these camps will be fine. Of course, if you have the budget then use both at once for the truest recreation of Jack White's Elephant sound!
Jack White's pedalboard was pretty simple but very effective. There are plenty of alternatives to the ubiquitous Big Muff. See all Big Muff-type pedals.
The Fredric Effects Verzerrer is a left-field option that can achieve a wide array of tones ranging from thick overdrive to super-glitchy fuzz - perfect for replicating the White Stripes sound: low-fi blues scuzz!
The Hungry Robot Monastery is a polyphonic octave generator perfect for emulating the Digitech Whammy parts of Elephant. It can do simultaneous octave up and octave down too, which is great for filling out your sound as a White Stripes-style two-piece!
Je Ne Sais Quoi
Ultimately, to sound like Jack White you need to play like him too. Jack White's style is all about minimalist, single note riffing with a mixture of open, bar and power chords. His playing is mostly restricted to the lower frets, using the Digitech Whammy for higher-octave stuff such as his solos. This gives Elephant a unique sound that is at once harmonically rich and thick, yet light on its feet and fluid.
Had a few vibes, absolutely loving this one, check the YT demos, lovely satisfying vibe with all the swirly goodness you could hope for. Beautifully made and reasonably priced. Highly recommended - and Jim at Boost is a top guy
I came across the Formula B Fuzz Rangers via online demos on Youtube, and they all sounded so good that I had to get one. Looking online I found the Boost Guitar Pedals website via the Formula B website as a listed UK stockist. Jim was excellent and the pedal arrived when he said it would and it was perfectly packaged. I would have no hesitation in buying any other product from Boost.
As for the Fuzz Rangers, it is a great pedal. I had to work at it a touch to get the sounds I liked from it, but it seems to react really well to different guitars and different amps with adjustments to volume and tone on the guitar and different amp settings. I found it works best into a slightly cranked amp, and volume roll-off on the guitar offers a great variety of sounds from clean to classic fuzz. Thoroughly enjoying the pedal. Well done Jim, great website and a great selection of interesting brands and pedals..... Which one next????
Having used a number of univibe clones over the years this one truly nails the sound for me, it comes with some clever additions in a pedal board friendly size and is excellent value for money. If you want the true sound of the original this pedal delivers.Special thanks to boost Guitar Pedals for putting this deal together so quickly..
I'm still working my way through all the sounds, but so far I'm loving them all.
Each time I think I've got a fav sound I flip the diode switch and there's another one. Great value for a four-in-one fuzz pedal!!
Both modes really useable. The first can get a wooly or starved/wolly sound or more nasally raw sound depending on how you dial it in.
Mode two can be more mid focused and with both switches down it's just a real nice deep, warm wall of fuzz. Great stuff.
Awesome pedal. Does everything from short slaps, to long endless delays, or echo-verb. The infinite delay feature on the button hold is interesting, though if you need a certain sound out of it like that, you have to be okay with the sound that those settings create when the infinite hold feature is off. I’m sure it will be great for recording some interesting textures, but I don’t think I’d use it live, as the infinite hold sounds glitchy and cuts off very quickly at some of the shorter, more subtle delay settings that I use. The art on the pedal is nice, and the build quality is solid. Comes with a carry bag, for some reason, but I can’t complain. A great unit by any standard, but especially good quality and features for the ticket price.
This pedal is simply fantastic.
Great fuzz with a good sweep of control with the guitar volume pot. Cannot get an unlikeable sound through any pickup selection single coil/humbucker.
Added benefit of the Rangemaster included is just lush. I am preferring boosting into the fuzz and use the boost into other drives along the chain.
I am praising this as 2 great pedals in one comfortably sized housing. Amazing!
I have held myself back from purchasing a vibe for years now but I took the plunge on this and I am extremely happy.
The size of the unit is great on my board and pairs with my drives and fuzz amazingly well. I am preferring the flavour of keeping it pre-gain stages on the board.
Simple controls with the added benefit of 2 speeds.
I highly encourage anyone else who was on the fence like me, go for this!