The Sound Of The Libertines

The Libertines, whose career imploded in 2004, has proved to be one of the most influential rock bands in British music.  The forthcoming release of their “Time For Heroes” compilation CD proves their appeal is a lasting one… Here’s a quick guide looking at what gear they used and how to get their sound, since so many new bands seem inspired by them!

GUITARS:

Carl Barat and Pete Doherty always liked vintage, rare guitars. Carl’s favourite has always been and still remains his sunburst Gibson Melody Maker (singlecut version), a light, entry-level guitar that’s been recently reissued by Gibson – It’s a great little guitar, and it’s availble for just £249!!! Making it the cheapest Gibson on the market – great news for Libertines fans who want an authentic Melody Maker – view more details here.

Carl Barat and his singlecut Melody Maker

Barat grew up obsessing over his father’s own Gibson Melody Maker, but wasn’t allowed anywhere near it. “That didn’t stop me of course,” he grins. “I just went behind his back. He relented in the end and gave this one to me a few years ago, as a present.”

Carl also occasionally played a double cutaway Melody Maker,in sunburst but also a red one. I’ve only seen two vintage Melody Makers ever…one in a shop in Denmark Street in London, and more recently at Dolphin Music in Liverpool (it’s still there, check it out here). Maybe they are more common in the US of A…

libertines2.jpg

Carl Barat also used a Gibson SG on a few occasions (see above), as well as a Les Paul.

Like Barat, Pete Doherty also remained faithful to his favourite guitar from the Libertines days, and can still be seen playing a 1960’s Epiphone Coronet nowadays in Babyshambles. This guitar is exremely rare to find, and very expensive too, but back in the 60’s it was also an entry level guitar. It’s simple design (just one P-90 pickup) is ideal for punk rockers, but it’s really hard to see one of those around…the Epiphone Coronet was briefly reissued in the 90’s, with different specs (two pickups – humbucker and single coil) yet it still looked and sounded great, and we can still recommend it for Libertines sounds if you can’t afford the 60’s model… But just like the vintage one, the 90’s Coronet is not that easy to find anymore, unfortunately!

Pete Doherty & his Epiphone Coronet

Another guitar Doherty used quite often was a vintage 1960’s Wine Red Gibson ES-330, also with P-90’s pickups. This guitar is, once again, quite rare. It’s basically Gibson’s short-lived version of the Epiphone Casino, with pretty much the same specs. Pete Doherty could be seen playing other guitars as well, but those two were certainly his most important ones.

Early on, Doherty also played another vintage Epiphone, the Epiphone Olympic, mid sixties with one pickup. Really cool too..it’s teh guitar that appears on teh cover of the “I Get Along” single:

TheLibertines

The Libertines - Pete Doherty plays an Epiphone Olympic

 AMPS:

Pete Doherty used Marshall cabs and heads, and Barat was (and still is, playing with Dirty Pretty Things) an adept of the Vox AC-30.

FX Pedals:

Other than a Boss TU-2 tuner, The Libs never used many pedals. Carl Barat uses a MXR Dynacomp to boost solos and that’s it.

Getting The Libertines sound:

If getting hold of the aforementioned vintage gear proves too difficult or expensive, here’s some other suggestions:

Get a good Epiphone guitar with P-90 pickups, such as the Epiphone Casino (same specs as the 330) or the Les Paul Junior.

 In fact, Pete Doherty has actually used a red Epiphone Casino in Babyshambles, as the pic below shows.

dohertyepi.jpg

It’s a beautiful, great guitar that has miraculously remained in an interesting “grey zone” for such a top-quality guitar: never too popular, never too expensive…but always popular enough to remain in production! From Beatles tones to Libertines to Jesus & Mary Chain noise, this is a guitar that fits many different styles…

The Les Paul Junior Double Cutaway would also be good. Basically, simple guitars with a strong trebly sound, notably that of P-90 pickups. The Epiphone Riviera Nick Valensi Signature also fits the bill. Considering the Strokes were a big influence on The Libertines, it’s not surprising.

Amps:

Vox AC-30 is the obvious choice, but a AC-15 would do the job just as well. The next best thing would be the the Vox AD-50VT which seems to emulate the vintage tones very well. But, if you can’t shell the bucks for a AC-30, the best option might be the new Vox DA20-CL which look just like an AC-30 but is much cheaper! View it Here

The Libertines always relied on the their amps distortion to get their punky dirty sound. You may wish to try a Fuzz pedal such as the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff (with Sustain Turned down) or the Double Muff, just to get that extra little dirtyness in case your amp is not a meaty Vox (such as a Fender…)

If you want a pedal to boost solos and can’t afford the MXR Dyna Comp, you could do worse than trying the new Behringer DC9 Dynamics Compressor pedal, which is a credible copy of the Dyna Comp, but at a more affordable price. I got one and love it! Unlike most Behringer pedals, the DC9 has a metal housing, and got some very good reviews so far on Harmony Central.

Finally

 If you don’t play guitar very well, don’t worry! The Libertines didn’t either, and it didn’t stop them did it? Here’s a cool Pete Doherty quote from the NME:

“Drive your guitar to hell and back, over drums that make your heart burst, then put a mad riff over it all. And some screaming. It’s just a case of turning up, doing that – and looking good”.

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~ by dolphinblog on October 26, 2007.

12 Responses to “The Sound Of The Libertines”

  1. […] The Sound Of The Libertines Guitar Player Gear Guide The Sound Of The Libertines October 26, 2007 The Libertines, whose career imploded in 2004, has proved to be one of the most influential rock bands in British music. The forthcoming release of their Time For Heroes compilation CD proves their appeal is a lasting one Heres a quick guide looking at what gear they used and how to get their sound, since so many new bands seem inspired by them! libertines2.jpg GUITARS: Carl Barat and Pete Doherty always liked vintage, rare guitars. Carls favourite has always been and still remains his sunburst Gibson Melody Maker (singlecut version), a light, entry-level guitar thats been recently reissued by Gibson – in the US only, so far! Its a great little guitar, and Im sure quite a few guitarists will look forward to buying one over here as well, when they finally ship it to the European market next Summer! Carl Barat and his singlecut Melody Maker The Melody Maker is one of the cheapest Gibson guitars ever. Carl also occasionally played a double cutaway Melody Maker,in sunburst but also a red one. Ive only seen two vintage Melody Makers everone in a shop in Denmark Street in London, and more recently at Dolphin Music in Liverpool (its still there, check it out here). Maybe they are more common in the US of A Carl Barat also used a Gibson SG on a few occasions, as well as a Les Paul. Like Barat, Pete Doherty also remained faithful to his favourite guitar from the Libertines days, and can still be seen playing a 1960s Epiphone Coronet nowadays in Babyshambles. This guitar is exremely rare to find, and very expensive too, but back in the 60s it was also an entry level guitar. Its simple design (just one P-90 pickup) is ideal for punk rockers, but its really hard to see one of those aroundthe Epiphone Coronet was briefly reissued in the 90s, with different specs (two pickups – humbucker and single coil) yet it still looked and sounded great, and we can still recommend it for Libertines sounds if you cant afford the 60s model But just like the vintage one, the 90s Coronet is not that easy to find anymore, unfortunately (our friends here in Liverpool of noisy band Dirtblonde used to have one (see pic). Thats about the only weve ever seen live) Pete Doherty & his Epiphone Coronet Another guitar Doherty used quite often was a vintage 1960s Wine Red Gibson ES-330, also with P-90s pickups. This quiter is, once again, quite rare. Its basically Gibsons short-lived version of the Epiphone Casino, with pretty much the same specs. Pete Doherty could be seen playing other guitars as well, but those two were certainly his most important ones. AMPS: Pete Doherty used Marshall cabs and heads, and Barat was (and still is, playing with Dirty Pretty Things) an adept of the Vox AC-30. FX Pedals: Other than a Boss TU-2 tuner, The Libs never used many pedals. Carl Barat uses a MXR Dynacomp to boost solos and thats it. Getting The Libertines sound: If getting hold of the aforementioned vintage gear proves too difficult or expensive, heres some other suggestions: Get a good Epiphone guitar with P-90 pickups, such as the Epiphone Casino (same specs as the 330) or the Les Paul Junior. The Les Paul Junior Double Cutaway would also be good. Basically, simple guitars with a strong trebly sound. Amps: Vox AC-30 is the obvious choice, but a AC-15 would do the job just as well. The next best thing would be the the Vox AD-50VT which seems to emulate the vintage tones very well. The Libertines always relied on the their amps distortion to get their punky dirty sound. You may wish to try a Fuzz pedal such as the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff (with Sustain Turned down) or the Double Muff, just to get that extra little dirtyness in case your amp is not a meaty Vox (such as a Fender) If you want a pedal to boost solos and cant afford the MXR Dyna Comp, you could do worse than trying the new Behringer DC9 Dynamics Compressor pedal, which is a credible copy of the Dyna Comp, but at a more affordable price. Unlike most Behringer pedals, the DC9 has a metal housing, and got some very good reviews so far. Finally If you dont play guitar very well, dont worry! The Libertines didnt either, and it didnt stop them did it? Heres a cool Pete Doherty quote from the NME: Drive your guitar to hell and back, over drums that make your heart burst, then put a mad riff over it all. And some screaming. Its just a case of turning up, doing that – and looking good. […]

  2. Great article thing. Thnx very much i was looking for something like this to tell me as the libertines is my no.1 band of all time.

  3. other than a big muff??

  4. tube amps???

  5. gaga

  6. thanx alot for this info. carl also play on fender jaguars now

  7. Pete also used to use a Gibson ES-335 i think, Epiphone do a cheaper version of the 335 which is a very good guitar also! In babyshambles now Pete uses a Rickenbacker.

  8. big muff x VOX AC30 sound???

  9. Hi ive got the vox ac30cc2 but carnt seem to get the sound, could someone please send the settings i will need to use please? thanks

    • I am playing through a cc2 as well. I used to play an Ibanez S520 with the stock pickups and it sounded like shit. HOwever I am too cheap to get a new guitar but now have P90s on the ibanez. I have tone cut all the way down on the guitar itself and have my amp set up so i am always playing wiht the volume all the way up on my guitar. If I dig in while I play I get that overdriven sound the libertines have in songs like Horrorshow. The amp settings themsleves arent too hard to find. Im playing through the top boost channel with the preamp at about 9:30 with the normal cahnnel bended in just a bit. Treble is up at about 1:00 and bass is at 11:30 custom. No reverb or tremolo. I am not looking at my amp right now so i hope i didn’t leave anything out but it seems to me that the natural distortion you can create with a loud signal form a guitar with p90s is the biggest part of the tone. Hope that helps

  10. […] 原文地址:https://guitarplayer.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/the-sound-of-the-libertines/ […]

  11. But what strings do they use? Strings are so important, and I know it depends on which guitar your using, but for my steel string acoustic, I need some guidance to make it sound like the libertines are playing on a steel string acoustic, like in the reading sessions for eg.

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