COMPLETE ARCTIC MONKEYS GEAR GUIDE - WHICH GUITARS, AMPS & PEDALS DO THE ARCTIC MONKEYS USE?
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!
Arguably one of the biggest rock bands to have come out of Britain, the Arctic Monkeys have signature tone and signature sound that you can instantly recognise - even between albums. 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!
ALEX TURNER GUITARS, TONE & GEAR GUIDE
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." as these are the most guitar heavy albums. 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...
HERE'S HOW TO GET SIMILAR ALEX TURNER GEAR
We've arranged all this Arctic Monkeys gear by album! We'll go through each Arctic Monkeys album and the easiest way to get the Alex Turner sound on each record.
WHAT GUITAR DOES ALEX TURNER USE?
Alex Turner mainly uses the Gibson Les Paul Custom and Fender Jazzmaster guitars. Alex has mostly favoured Fender guitars throughout his career, including the Fender Player Stratocaster MN and Fender Bronco.
Album #1 - 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' era
Alex Turner used a white Fender Stratocaster guitar and an Orange AD-30 whilst recording 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' . The Fender Strat is widely available but the AD-30 is no longer in production, so we've offered an alternative amplifier for you in the Orange Crush 35 RT Solid State 35W Combo Amp. Alex also used two ProCo Rat pedals for this album to get his crunch tone, but we don't stock them at the moment, so we've offered up an alternative in the MXR Distortion +. The MXR Distortion + is a great way to get that classic Arctic Monkeys first album crunch sound, and it's budget friendly too.
Album #2 & #3 - 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' / 'Humbug' era
Alex decided to change it up a bit with these two albums, still using Fender guitars but switching to a Fender Bronco on 'Favourite...' and then Fender Jazzmaster for 'Humbug' era. the Bronco is no longer in production, but the Fender Jazzmaster lives on and will give you that same sound. His amp tone can be achieved using a VOX AC30 or Vox AC15, amplifier. Whilst his pedal tone can be achieved with a Tubescreamer, Fuzz face for the "Don't Sit Down..." sound and a Memory Boy delay for that haunting sound. The Memory Boy replaces the vintage memory Man style delay, which is no longer available in it's vintage form.
Album #4 & #5 - 'SUCK IT AND SEE' / 'AM' era
Around this time, Alex Turner started favouring a Gibson Les Paul Custom in Black/Ebony during his live shows. If you're just starting out on guitar, this might be a little pricey. Fortunately, Epiphone makes their own version, which is incredible to play and a fraction of the cost. He was still using an overdrive as well as delay, but he added chorus pedal to his set up! He used an Ibanez TS808 Tubescreamer Reissue Overdrive Pedal on his board which we talk about further down. We've also included a Fender Mustang LT50 amp as it's loud enough for the stage, has a tonne of cool sound presets which you can use to get that Alex turner sound and it's budget-friendly. He also uses a vintage Boss DM-1 delay machine (which is now out of production), which has now been updated to the BOSS DM-2W - not quite budget-friendly, so we've added a cheaper alternative in the Landlord FX Tap Room Delay pedal. We've also gone with a
Here are some cheaper (but still high quality) options...
THE COMPLETE ARCTIC MONKEYS GEAR GUIDE - The expensive stuff!
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 People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' Gear Guide
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.
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.
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 (pictured behind Alex). Both of them have always used a Dunlop DC Brick Power Supply.
Arctic Monkeys 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' Gear Guide
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.
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.
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 :
- One Electro-Harmonix HOG, a polyphonic guitar synthesizer pedal
- Two Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
- One Electro-Harmonix Pulsar tremolo pedal
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’s main guitar now is an old Gibson ES semi-acoustic model. Amp-wise, he still sticks to Hiwatts. The MXR Distortion + is also pride of place.
ARCTIC MONKEYS 'HUMBUG' 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.
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's pedalboard (right) 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!)
The Stereo Pulsar is still there and the Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man are still there, as well as (what looks like) MXR M68 Univibe Chorus Vibrato Guitar Effects Pedal.
ARCTIC MONKEYS 'SUCK IT AND SEE' GEAR GUIDE
n 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 still loves a thick Fuzz Face-style fuzz.
BONUS SOUND TIP: 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 same sound with most NORD Stage Keyboards.
ARCTIC MONKEY'S A.M. GEAR GUIDE
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.
As for their pedalboards, we've noticed a few changes on Alex Turner's pedals of choice:
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.
ARCTIC MONKEYS 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 ARCTIC MONKEYS 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 20 or small Blackstar HT-1R MkII 1w Valve Combo Guitar Amplifier can get you all the crunchy tones you need.
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 Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal.
Arctic Monkeys GUITARS - Including Budget Friendly Options
- Gibson Les Paul Custom Ebony
- Epiphone Les Paul Custom
- Squier Jazzmaster
- Fender Player Stratocaster MN Polar White (maple fretboard)
- Fender Player Stratocaster MN Black (maple fretboard)
- Black Fender Bronco with a black pickguard and rosewood fretboard / Option: Fender Player Lead II Electric Guitar Black
- Gretsch Spectra Sonic
- Ovation Viper
- Gibson SG
- Gibson ES Hollowbody
Arctic Monkeys AMPS AND CABINETS - Including Budget Friendly Options
Arctic Monkeys Effects & Pedals - Including Budget Friendly Options
- Pro Co Rat 2 distortion pedals
- Boss TU-3 tuner
- Ibanez TS-808 Vintage Tubescreamer overdrive pedal
- Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere MK2
- Danelectro Reel Echo
- Boss RE-20
- Boss LS-2 Line Selector
- Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man
- Dunlop DC Brick Power Supply
- MXR M68 Univibe
We hope this helped you find the best gear to sound like the Arctic Monkeys!