How To Sound Like The Arctic Monkeys – A Complete Gear Guide

2 Comments

Originally published on dolphinmusic.co.uk Wed August 01, 2007

Complete Arctic Monkeys Gear Guide

This is your complete Arctic Monkeys gear guide, with lots of new info at the end of this article, as well as featuring some suggestions for those who want a similar setup but on a smaller budget!

arctic monkeys gear guide

arctic monkeys gear guide

Arguably the biggest rock band in Britain right now, the Arctic Monkeys. Here’s a look at what gear they’ve been using in their gigs and the stuff you need if you want to sound like the Arctic Monkeys!

BEFORE WE START...QUICK "ALEX" TONE GUIDE (NEW!)

Here's a quick overview of recommended gear if you want an affordable setup that's similar to what Alex Turner has used through the years. Our Complete Gear Guide will then go into as much detail as possible regarding Alex Turner's (and to a small degree, Jamie Cook's) gear from their debut album all the way through "A.M."

We hope you'll enjoy! Please feel free to share, comment, and post suggestions or correct any info! This guide aims to be the most complete Arctic Monkeys guitar guide on the web...

Before we start here's how to get similar gear, on a budget!

We've arranged all this Arctic Monkeys gear by Alex Turner's hair styles !

Album 1 Era

alex turner 1

Guitar choice:

Amplifier Choice:

FX Pedal choice:

Album 2&3 Era

Alex Turner gear

Guitar Choice:

Amplifier Choice:

FX Pedals Choice:

 

 

 

alex turner gear guide

A.M. Era & Beyond

Guitar Choice:

Amp Choice:

FX Pedal Choice:

THE COMPLETE ARCTIC MONKEYS GEAR GUIDE

Firstly, it’s good to point out that their current setup is quite different from the one they used to have when they were touring their first album, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”.

Arctic Monkeys 'Whatever You Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' Gear

Singer/ guitarist Alex Turner had two Pro Co Rat 2 pedals, a Boss TU-2 Tuner (discontinued, now BOSS TU-3) and that was it. His amp of choice was an Orange AD30. His main guitar was a white Fender Standard Stratocaster.

Lead guitarist Jamie Cook’s setup was fairly simple too: A Fender Telecaster 62 reissue. His pedals were a MXR Distortion+, a Electro-Harmonix Big Muff and, at least for a while, he could be seen using a T-Rex Dr. Swamp twin distortion pedal.

Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and Hiwatt Hi-Gain 50 combo plus Hiwatt Cabs Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and Hiwatt Hi-Gain 50 combo plus Hiwatt Cabs

He also had a Boss TU-2 Tuner (again, now TU-3). His amp back then was a Hiwatt Custom 50-Watt 2×12 Combo. Both of them have always used a Dunlop DC Brick Power Supply.

Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare Gear

The second Arctic Monkeys album sounds much more varied than their first one, and, indeed, it is reflected on their choice of pedals. Both guitarists use more FX onstage now.

Alex Turner pedals Alex Turner pedals

Alex:

His setup is entirely different now. In a few gigs this year he was still using the two Pro Co Rat 2, but it didn’t look as if he was using them at their recent Old Trafford gig. Instead, he was using an Ibanez Ts-808 Tubescreamer, one of the most classic overdrive pedals out there, used by everyone from Noel Gallagher to Stevie Ray Vaughn.

His other pedals are:

  • Hughes & Kettner Tube Rotosphere, a preamp pedal that simulates the sounds of a Leslie speaker. Great stuff, also used by Franz Ferdinand, Oasis and others.
  • Danelectro Reel Echo
  • Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man

It appears that Alex also uses a Boss LS-2 Line Selector. He’s been using a Vox AC-30, as well. His main guitar now is the rare, discontinued Fender Bronco, very similar to the Fender Mustang, the main difference being that the Bronco, originally a starter guitar, has only one pickup.

Above: Arctic Monkeys and their Vox AC-30 amps Above: Arctic Monkeys and their Vox AC-30 amps

Jamie:

The lead Arctic Monkeys guitarist has quite a elaborate pedalboard now. Apart from the ever-reliable MXR Distortion pedal, his setup has completely changed. It seems, looking at recent photographs, that he uses a Little Big Muff now…maybe because it’s smaller and he has too many pedals now? Who knows…the Dr Swamp is nowhere to be seem, and instead he has :

jamie Cook Pedalboard Jamie Cook's pedals

Jamie also uses a Boss LS-2 Line Selector, some sort of Wah/ Volume pedal and, according to some, a phaser pedal as well (which sits between the Big Muff and LS-2, but is not clear on any photograph we’ve seen).

Jamie Cook guitar guide

Jamie Cook’s main guitar now is an old Gibson ES semi-acoustic model. Amp-wise, he still sticks to Hiwatts.

Arctic Monkeys 'Humbug' Gear

Arctic monkeys gear guide

As ever, the Arctic Monkeys boys keep collecting new gear and changing their setup. Reports from the Electric Ladyland Studios in New York, where they recorded their new material, mentions the Fender Blender fx pedal.

Around that time, Alex started playing a few Fender Jazzmasters and custom-made guitars inspired by the Jazzmaster.

Alex Turner Jazzmaster

In order, here’s the pedals Alex Turner has used recently:

Boss LS-2 Line Selector > Boss TU-3 Tuner > Cornell First Fuzz > Ibanez TS-808 Tubescreamer > Boss DM-1 Analogue Delay (There's a BOSS DM-2W version)

The Cornell First Fuzz fuzz pedal is a copy of the Fuzz Face, so if you want to have a Alex Turner fuzz sound, get the original Dunlop Fuzz Face!

Turner also seems to have been using a Coopersonic Valveslapper distortion, and, after his Tubescreamer, a MXR Micro Amp. He also uses an Electro-Harmonix Hum Debugger - an essential tool if you use vintage gear (which are noisier than new, modern ones).

Jamie Cook fx pedals

Jamie Cook's pedalboard (above) has been slightly updated. He now uses a Boss RE-20 Space Echo, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular new fx from Boss...everyone just loves it! New effects include the Fulltone OCD overdrive and what appears to be a Z-Vez Super Duper Distortion (small orange box, 3 knobs and 2 footswitches...check!)

Arctic Monkeys 'Suck It And See' Gear

In 2011 the Monkey's released their 4th studio album, representing something of a change to 'Humbug' by working once again with James Ford and practising the songs more before entering the studio rather than experimenting whilst there. Similarly the guitar gear of Jamie and Alex hasn't changed a great deal, still rocking Fender guitars, great British amps and a vast array of pedals from classic Tubescreamers to a rare Roland/Boss DM-1 Delay, which has just been re-released as the BOSS DM-2w.

This pedal seems to be one of Alex's favourites, and it is quite rare - and expensive! However, for those who want to get a similar delay tone, the best option is the new Boss DM-2W Waza Craft, a reissue of the other famous analogue "Delay Machine" by Boss.

The original DM-2 was simply a more compact version of the DM-1, the delay sounds were pretty much identical. Other pedals that recreate that organic delay sound are the TC Electronic Alter Ego and the TC Electronic Alter Ego X4 pedals.

Still there, the Cornell Fuzz, which means Alex is still loves a thick Fuzz Face-style fuzz.

arctic monkeys guitar fx

Not as much is known about Nick O'Malley's bass pedal board but he can be seen using a great range of bass gear including a Fender Precision Bass and the eternal rock classic Ampeg SVT-VR amp with a big bass cab.

Nick O'Malley

If you're looking for the organ tones of 505 or My Propeller then look no further than the Nord Electro 4 which the Monkey's have taken touring. No longer available, but you can get the Nord Electro 5D 61 Stage Keyboard.

Arctic Monkey's A.M. Gear

Alex Turner and his Gibson les paul custom

The Arctic Monkeys are going for a classic rock'n'roll sound with A.M. Alex Turner now play mostly a Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Teardrop 12-string guitar (besides the Jazzmaster). Another important guitar is his Gretsch Duo Jet, which lends its unique tone to their hit single "R. U. Mine?"

As for Jamie, he seems to be using Gibson SG guitars a lot, now. In particular, a model similar to the Gibson Robby Krieger SG, with vintage-style tailpiece.

Jamie Cook Arctic Monkeys

As for their pedalboards, we've noticed a few changes on Alex Turner's pedals of choice:

Alex Turner Pedals

alex turner pedals am

His most current setup includes: Boss Tuner, MXR Micro Amp, original Electro-Harmonix POG (discontinued and replaced by the POG 2), Ibanez TS-808 Tubescreamer, Boss LS-2 Line Selector, Morley A/B Switch, Coopersonic Valveslapper (on first pic it's the original model, on 2nd pic a newer version of the same pedal), Boss DM-1 delay and a Fulltone Mini Deja Vibe Chorus/Vibrato (a replacement to his old Rotosphere, it seems). He's also supplying pedal to his board via the industry standard Voodoo Labs Pedal power 2 Plus (top picture).

The Deja Vibe reproduces the classic Univibe sound from the sixties. It sounds identical to the cheaper MXR Uni-Vibe or the even better Korg NuVibe.

Tone tips:

If you notice the settings of his POG, you'll see that the DRY OUTPUT is almost all the way up, with small hints of SUB OCTAVE and +1 OCTAVE. The LOW PASS FILTER is almost all the way up, meaning the sound he gets out of pedal won't be too bassy or "muddy". All other sliders (+1 Octave Detune, +2 Octave and +2 Octave detune) are down. Which means, more or less, that you could get a similar tone simply using the cheaper Micro POG!

Amp-wise, Alex goes for vintage tube amps for a classic tone, using two amps: A classic Selmer Zodiac, and a smaller 5-watt Magnatone 410, though by no means those are the only ones he uses - it can be Fenders or others, depending on tour circumstances!

A good choice if you want a similar setup is to get a VOX AC4C1-12 amp, which is very cheap. Although Alex's Magnatone 410 is a 5-watt amp the VOX AC4C1-12 is 4-watts of pure power, pumping out British style tones and gorgeous valve distortion when you drive it.

Getting the sound

If you want to get an “Arctic Monkeys sound” but don’t want to break the bank there are some quite good alternatives: A cheap Orange Crush or small Blackstar Valve amp can get you all the crunchy tones you need. Squier Strats and Teles or a Epiphone Semi-Acoustic can do a good job and offer a good, affordable alternative, too.

The Analog Delay is a big thing for the Arctic Monkeys, so you'll want to stay away from the clean, digital ones. Cheaper options include: Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy or Electro-Harmonix Memory Toy.

To get a similar tone to "R. U. Mine", you can try a Gretsch Double Jet (cheaper than the duo jet!) with a good meaty fuzz, like a Fuzz Face, Way Huge Conquistador or Earthquaker Devices Cloven Hoof V2 Fuzz Pedal.

Guitars

Amps and Cabinets

Fender 68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb Guitar Amp Combo A Fender Vibrolux for those Arctic Monkeys clean tones

Effects and More

We hope this helped you find the best gear to sound like the Arctic Monkeys!

2 Comments on “How To Sound Like The Arctic Monkeys – A Complete Gear Guide”

  • Matty H
    26th June 2018

    Could someone recommend pedals and a guitar to sound like the Monkeys in a £1000 limit from the first album to AM.

  • Enrico L
    21st July 2018

    For Alex: get a singlecoil guitar, like a strat (even if he doesn't uses them anymore) you can stick to a jazzmaster, good take between strat and Paul
    For pedals Id go with a delay pedal,tremolo and a reverb, a light overdrive for boosting the amp and a harder overdrive/distortion for some other songs. Something like a marshall like overdrive would be good for distorted tones ....i think that's it, important is that especially in AM Alex is using a looot of vibrato with the distorted tones (like in Do I Wanna Know) and for clean tones reverb is necessary

    Hope I could help you

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *