Jack White has a new custom Fender Jazzmaster and it has an onboard pitch-shifter

Jack White has unveiled a new custom-built Fender Jazzmaster that augments the iconic offset electric guitar with an onboard pitch-shifter. 

The sparkle blue Jazzmaster is White’s latest collaboration with Chip Ellis, Master Builder for fender-owned brands Charvel and EVH Gear, with input from White’s go-to engineer Dan Mancini. 

White revealed the custom-build on his Instagram page, and offered a quick run-through of its super-power; a switchable pitch-shifter that is activated via a button and controlled via a control pot. 

In the video above, White plays a few single notes and sends them soaring through various intervals in what sounds a little like what happens when you turn the dial on a DigiTech Whammy. But that only looks like it is just part of the story.

White revealed nothing about the specs but road-tested the Jazzmaster onstage at his Monday night show (6 June) at Portland’s Moda Center. The guitar is the latest of White’s designs that have been by Ellis. 

It follows the Three-Wheel-Motion Lowrider Telecaster – quite possibly the coolest non-vintage Fender Telecaster we’ve seen. Some of those design elements have been incorporated here too. It looks like White and Ellis have once more went with Lace Sensor pickups. There is the high-contrast look of painted white hardware and pickguard on a metallic finish, with an arm-rest for comfort too.

But where the tele that was a feat of guitar engineering, incorporating both G and B bender systems and a drop D switch, the custom Jazzmaster looks like its magic is in those electrics. Allied to the on/off switch and control for the pitch-shifter, there are three other dials, a shoulder-mounted three-way pickup selector and a pair of toggle switches.

Two of the dials are marked Volume and Tone, just as you would find them on a regular Jazzmaster, but that unnamed pot – all in white just like the pitch-shifter’s – performs a function we have yet to see. 

Given that the pitch-shifter White demoed cycled up through the intervals, it’s quite possible this knob similarly shifts the pitch downwards.

Speaking to Total Guitar, White revealed that the his new Jazzmaster made its way onto his new solo albums, Fear Of The Dawn, which is out now, and Entering Heaven Alive, which is scheduled for 22 July.

“Chip Ellis has been helping me a lot at Fender,” said White. “It’s been really great to be able to dream up an idea and have these talented people make it come to life. That’s a real blessing. I’m glad I finally decided to do that, because I love to design and construct things like that. 

“I wish I had done it earlier, but I’m glad I’m doing it now. I’m really getting a lot of life out of it, and it’s inspiring me to pick up the guitar. I can’t wait to go on stage with this guitar.”

Fear Of The Dawn is out now via Third Man Records.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.