How To Sound Like The Arctic Monkeys – The complete gear guide! (NEW UPDATE! 22nd JAN ’09)

Arguably the biggest rock band in Britain right now, the Arctic Monkeys have just played their biggest UK gig to date, at the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester. Here’s a look at what gear they’ve been using in their gigs.

UPDATED 22nd JAN ’09 – NEW BIG DAY OUT GEAR! (see bottom of this post)

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”. Back then, they had a much simpler setup:

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

Lead guitarist Jamie Cook ‘s setup was fairly simple too: A Fender Telecaster 62 reissue. His pedals were a MXR M-104 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. View Jamie Cook pedalboard.

He also had a Boss TU-2 Tuner. Apparently, according to many different sources, 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.

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.

click to enlarge click to enlarge

from left: Alex pedals, Jamie’s pedalboard (click to enlarge)

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:

  • a 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. (tip: if the Rotosphere’s price seems too dear – it is very expensive – you should try the Electro Harmonix Wiggler, simply the other best Leslie simulator EVER, when you use the Vibrato mode set to LOOZ. Much cheaper, but as good as the H&K. Plus, it’s a fantastic Tremolo pedal as well. Check it out!)
  • a Danelectro Reel Echo
  • a Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man (though some people say Alex doesn’t use one, he definitely does. It’s clearly visible o some photographs of the NME issue covering the Old Trafford gig. We can scan and post if here if enough people request it!)

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.

A good and affordable guitar similar to the Fender Bronco is the new Squier Duo-Sonic, from the new Classic Vibe Series. A pity it doesn’t come in black, but the Duo-Sonic is a guitar from the same “family” as the Mustang and Bronco (and Musicmaster), therefore a great choice for Arctic Monkey fans who can’t find/afford a Fender Bronco or Mustang. 

click to enlarge

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 also uses a Boss LS-2 Line Selector, a Volume pedal (can’t figure which brand…used in new songs such as Old Yellow Bricks and Only Ones Who Know) 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.

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 30 or Vox AD30 VT can get you all the crunchy tones you need. Squier Strats and Teles or an Epiphone semi-acoustic can do a good job and offer a good, affordable alternative, too. Dolphin Music has even a Arctic Monkey Bundle…worth a look!


Alex and his new Fender Jazzmaster

Alex and his new Fender Jazzmaster

The Arctic Monkeys previewed new songs at the Australian festival…and could be seen with new gear, too! The band started the set with a new song, “Pretty Visitors”. In it, Alex Turner doesn’t play guitar, but plays an old Vox Continental organ. Those old organs are excellent, and bands such as The Beatles used them.  The modern equivalent is the Nord C1 Organ, which was directly inspired by the Vox Continental.

Watch: Arctic Monkeys, “Pretty Visitors”

On the latest issue of NME, there’s a live review of the Arctic Monkeys gig, and a photograph of Alex and his pedalboard…in the dim-lit stage. But we can see the Vox Continental and his pedals – which seemed to have changed slightly from the last time ’round.

In order, here’s the pedals Alex Turner used at Big Day Out:

Boss LS-2 Line Selector > Boss TU-2 Tuner > Dunlop Uni-Vibe (not 100% sure about this one, but looks like it) > Ibanez TS-808 Tubescreamer > Boss DM-1 Analogue Delay

Note: the Uni-Vibe Alex used is the Chorus/ Vibrato model (two footswitches) and not the current Stereo Chorus Uni-Vibe.

He also had a Morley ABY footswitch.

His guitar, as the photograph above shows, was a Fender Jazzmaster sunburst.


Arctic Monkeys artist page @ Dolphin

Arctic Monkeys artist page @ Dolphin

Listing all the Arctic Monkey gear currently available! Click Here

~ by dolphinblog on August 1, 2007.

40 Responses to “How To Sound Like The Arctic Monkeys – The complete gear guide! (NEW UPDATE! 22nd JAN ’09)”

  1. Ahhh Manchester my home town, sorry I missed the guy’s from Arctic Monkeys but looks like they had a great concert.

  2. This was a massive help, i’ve been wanting to know what gear they used for ages!
    nice one!

    oh and if you like AM then you might like my band!

  3. What pedal-board does Jamie cook use? (Great Website!)

  4. Hey Josh,

    Difficult to tell…especially considering many big guitarists have custom-made pedalboards. But i think it looks VERY similar to the T-Rex “Tonetrunk” pedalboard (Hardcase version). view it on Dolphin Music:

    and see what you think!

    Considering he’s used T-Rex pedals before, I might be right…at least it looks similar.

  5. All this info is great, Ive always wanted to know what gear the Arctic Monkeys had but i was disapointed not to see what gear Nick O’Malley uses. I am a bassist myself and i wanted to know what gear he uses. His bass has a very distinct and heavy sound.

  6. oh ya so does anyone out there know Nick uses?

  7. Thanks for your comment, David. Maybe we should try to write a bit more about bass gear and bassists…we’ll definitely keep this in mind, cheers.

  8. I’ve seen Jamie Cook with a BAD CAT Hot cat 30 Watt amplifier. Really expensive but amazing sounding amplifier. I think he’s using this now instead of a HIWATT.

  9. question:… those are the main sets … but for some songs (ex: if you were there beware, 505(w/Miles Kane)) . . . can you tell which guitars are? and if they use any other pedals…? thanks!

  10. what does alex use for his solo in teddy picker and other delay sounds and similar to the sound of the rascals solos plz reply

  11. Jamie Cook plays a Gibson Es-335 TDC, you can buy them new but vintage around 1971 models are a-lot nicer. and what exact pedal do they use in 505 and teddy picker for the somewhat delay/reverb kind of sound? Also, Alex uses a Gretsch Spectra Sonic baritone guitar for “If you were there, Beware although i don’t believe he uses it for 505?

  12. Does Jamie use a Japanese-made tele custom? Because I’ve been trying to find a double bound candy apple red telecaster but I don’t think the US makes those…

  13. Hey, does anyone know what kind of mic they use in “if you were, there beware’?
    I have been looking for it for quite a while but I can’t find it anywhere on the net.

  14. hi, does anyone have any idea to what kind of pedal miles kane of the rascals uses ? cheers

  15. Can you post the picture of Alex’s pedalboard with the shot of the Deluxe Memory Man on it?

  16. yes, can u post a pic with alexs pedalboard with the memory man?

  17. alex turner uses the bad cats, well he did at glasto 07
    jamie still uses the hiwatts

  18. also can u post a pic with the memory man

  19. In Diamonds Are Forever at glastonbury Alex is using a Memory Man, and for the sound like in “if you were, there beware’’ he is combining the Danelectro the Hughes & Kettner Tube Rotosphere and The Tubescreamer. alex is using a fender vibroverb amp and a vintage selmer amp


  20. Hey i have a question about the FIRST guitar of jamie cook wich he used when they started gigging , it is a white fender telecaster with a maple neck like he is being using here


    can anybody tell me wich one it is? it can be a classic 50 telecaster mexico in blond color or a fender telecaster upgrade from mexico in arctic white?

    thx alot

  21. does anyone know what pedals alex uses in the start of “if you found this its probably too late” and the solo of “teddy picker”

  22. does anyone know how he uses the HOG? what are his presets? I don’t see what is written on it.

  23. pooz a weez

  24. Do anyone know a multi-effects pad that can simulate arctic monkeys’s effects ?

  25. For teddy picker’s solo i’m reconning a vibrato effect, best pedal alex has for this will be the hughes and ketner rotosphere, so im assuming he uses that. if you watch “live at the apollo” closely you can see that he only switches on the pedal for certain parts of the solo. clever bast!
    secondly, amp wise, alex now plays a fender super reverb, and to get that really metalliccy sound (eg teddy picker, brianstorm) he’s got a vintage ’63 croc skin selmer amp. not sure whether its the 30W zodiac model or the 50W thunderbird but its definately a twin.
    thirdly, jamie cook can now always be seen playing through a 50W Hiwatt custom combo. Used to use a hi gain but now he’s got loads of distortion pedals he uses the custom. The badcat’s a thirty watt twin, used for the crunchy-er parts. Both a fed into hiwatt cabs, the badcat into a closed back, and the hiwatt into an open back.

    hope this helps!!!

  26. He doesn’t just engage the rotosphere at certain parts of the solo it’s always engaged but there is a fast/slow switch on it that he engages. The pedal between the ls-2 and the little big muff is a guyatone sustain i think its called. The fender amp is a fender twin. i still haven’t seen the memory man that alex uses that picture of alex’s board on this page is from reading/leeds festival roughly at glastonbury the only pedals on his board were the line selector, tuner, rotosphere, tubescreamer, reel echo, morley a/b selector.

  27. The model of organ is a super continental

  28. It’s a Cornell 1st fuzz that Alex uses on his new pedalboard.

  29. does anybody knows the exact settings alex turner used on his proco rat 2?????? please help me…..

  30. Jamie uses a Pedaltrain board, with a sticker over ”edaltr”.

  31. Hello,

    Does anybody knows why alex uses 2 rat proco distortion pedals for only one amp in the joung days?? Is it to have 2 types of distortion seperetly? Or if you use them tougether does it give a special tone???

    srr fr the bad english… I’m dutch^^

    • Yeah! It’s because he has a different setting on each. So in the middle of a song, if he is going to a part with less distortion, he would just switch off one of them and put on the other instead of manually turning the knobs. It basically makes it easier.

  32. hello,
    i read this page and thank you very much for the details of the gear of arctik monkeys.
    but i have question. now alex or james use a bad cat amp combo.
    but what is the model ? a black cat ?

    bye pierre

  33. please post that pedalboard from the gig, with the deluxe memory man on it! im requesting!

  34. Goodness all of that must cost a small fortune. Good thing these artists make plenty from gigs and sales.

  35. Do you know what they use on records? to make the same effects for vocals.. it sounds with a little distortion.

  36. You guys need to do one of suck it and see

  37. Here’s a more updated list of all the guitars Alex Turner is currently using..

  38. When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me
    when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I
    recieve 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be
    a means you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!

  39. When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments
    are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.

    Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service?

    Thanks a lot!

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