Along with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Jack White was one of the poster boys for the Noughties pawn shop guitar revival with the White Stripes, but for his upcoming album, Boarding House Reach, he’s strapped on a guitar that’s perhaps the antithesis of his iconic Montgomery Airline: the EVH Wolfgang.
In promo shots for his upcoming tour, White can be seen with two Stealth-finished Wolfgang USA Edward Van Halen Signatures (opens in new tab) (note the red-button kill switch on the lower horn), one standard spec (below), and other that’s been customised with three humbuckers and blue hardware/inlays (above). Production model, please!
White detailed his surprising gear switcheroo in an interview with Rolling Stone (opens in new tab), where he cited an interview with Eddie Van Halen as the reason for the change.
“[Eddie] said, 'I wanted something that doesn't fight me,'” said White.
“I was like, 'Those are the magic bad words that I completely disagree with. And that's why I'm picking his guitar.'”
The interview goes on to say that White sent his engineer Joshua Smith out to buy a Wolfgang, along with a 5150 amp, after which White apparently played a number of Van Halen covers - that we’d love to see.
Other new purchases included an Ernie Ball Music Man St Vincent signature model ("I love that she was making a guitar for women") and a Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter model (presumably his signature Epiphone acoustic-electric), too.
It seems fair to say the whole process was an eye-opener for White.
"Oh, my God," he says. "If people only knew how hard it was on these shitty guitars… because I didn't know!"
Since the White Stripes, White’s guitar choices with the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather and solo have included a number of Gretsch models, plus, more recently, Bigsby-equipped Fender Telecasters.
In our extensive interview with Eddie Van Halen, the guitar icon told us of the Wolfgang, “It’s designed for anybody to use. There are a lot of country guys that love EVH amps and guitars.
“EVH guitars do everything I want and more. They’re very versatile, all-round guitars, as are the amps. It’s just a really well-built, a lot of attention to detail instrument, that makes it easy for anyone to play.”
That said, we bet even he wouldn’t have expected to see Jack White to wield one of his axes...