Thursday, January 04, 2007

Musical equipment and sound

Jack White uses a number of effects to create his powerful live sound, most notably a Digitech whammy pedal to create the rapid modulations in pitch he uses in his solos.[14] The guitars he uses live are two 1964 JB Hutto Montgomery Airlines, a Harmony Rocket, a 1970s-era Crestwood Astral II, and a 1950s-era Kay Hollowbody. When playing with the Raconteurs, White usually plays a Gretsch Triple Jet guitar. In concert with an MXR Micro-Amp and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Distortion/Sustainer, White can produce a very distinctive sound. In 2005, for the single "Blue Orchid", White employed the use of a new Electro-Harmonix creation, the Polyphonic Octave Generator (POG). Similar to (but more versatile than) the Whammy pedal, the POG lets the user mix in several octave effects into one along with the dry signal. He plugs this setup into a 1970s Fender Twin Reverb and two 100-Watt Sears Silvertone 6x10 combo amplifiers.[15] Although unaffective to his signature tone, White places custom Analogman Tuner Mute boxes at three different positions on stage for instant, silent tuning.

White also produces a "fake" bass tone by playing the Kay Hollowbody and JB Hutto Montgomery Airline guitars through a Digitech Whammy pedal set to one octave down for a very thick, low, rumbling sound, which he uses most notably on the songs "Seven Nation Army" and "Hardest Button to Button".[14][16]

On occasion, White also plays other instruments, such as a Black Gibson F-Style mandolin ("Little Ghost"), piano (such as on "Denial Twist"), electric piano on such tracks as "The Air Near My Fingers" and "I'm Finding it Harder to be a Gentleman" in which he used a Rhodes Mark II stage piano. White also plays percussion instruments such as the marimba (as on "The Nurse"), drums, tambourine and ney. On Broken Boy Soldiers, he is credited as playing the album's synths and organ however bandmate Brendan Benson also recieved credit for these instruments and it is unclear who played on each song.


White's initial professional music experience came in the early 1990s as a drummer for the Detroit country-punk band Goober and the Peas. This led to stints with various other bands such as The Go and The Upholsterers. Also, in addition to being his mentor and neighbor, Muldoon would play drums with White in late night jam sessions; informally, they called themselves Two Part Resin, although this was the exact same band as The Upholsterers.

Jack met Meg White in 1994, and they were married on September 21, 1996. Characteristically unorthodox, Jack took her last name. In July of 1997, the White Stripes made their first live appearance at the Gold Dollar in Detroit. In keeping live performances to three elements, Jack fulfilled guitar and vocal duties while she played drums. They later divorced in 2000 (before becoming nationally famous) but the band survived.

Starting out as an underground favorite in Detroit and other circles, the White Stripes came to international attention when, in 2001, British DJ John Peel raved of the band on his radio show. The buzz turned the White Stripes into a sensation in Britain, and the enthusiasm soon crossed over back to the United States. In a 2003 special issue, Rolling Stone named White the 17th greatest guitarist of all time.

The critical and popular success of the White Stripes opened up new opportunities for White. In 2003, he was well-received in the role of Georgia in the feature film Cold Mountain. He also performed several songs for the film's soundtrack (produced by T Bone Burnett) in a traditional acoustic style. Later in that same year, he appeared with Meg in one of the shorts comprising Jim Jarmusch's film Coffee and Cigarettes. Meanwhile, White produced Loretta Lynn's 2004 album Van Lear Rose, singing with her on the duet "Portland, Oregon." The album was released in April 2004 to massive critical acclaim, and earned five Grammy Awards nominations, going on to win both Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for the duet.

In 2005, White recorded and produced the first 45 record for his former teacher Brian Muldoon's family project, The Muldoons. Muldoon's two sons, Hunter and Shane, front the trio.

As of 2006, White is touring following the release of The Raconteurs' (or the Saboteurs, as they are legally known in Australia) debut album Broken Boy Soldiers. Jack and Meg made a cameo appearance on the September 17, 2006 episode of The Simpsons in which Homer and Marge buy a drum kit for Bart and he becomes a jazz drummer, making Lisa jealous.

White is to work with Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson on a number of tracks for her debut solo album.