Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Ear to the Ground: Jack White's "High Ball Stepper"

On the instrumental second track from Lazaretto, White lets his sinister 6-string do the singing.

If you’ve read much about Jack White, it’s not uncommon to come across a few snarky writers who opine that they prefer his guitar playing to his singing. The first single from White’s second solo album, Lazaretto, seems like it was recorded for those very critics: “High Ball Stepper” is an instrumental.

That’s right, rather than employing his typically soulful/grating wails, White lets an effected violin “sing” the leads—but of course it’s his guitar playing that takes center stage. Even if you didn’t see the 2008 documentary It Might Get Loud, you understand the man’s love of vintage distortion and fuzz, and analog waveforms. These all come together at once in this incredible recording.

The track opens with low, growling guitar before a meat-and-potatoes rhythm section rolls us into fragments of backmasked psychedelic leads—a great reminder of why White prefers recording to 2" tape. And his next lead takes us into the realm of you-know-what—if White’s not using a ZVEX Super Hard-On pedal here, it’s safe to assume he’s using something else that’s super hard on his amp. The snarl and bark is so ferocious you can almost smell the tubes’ glass and plastic on the verge of meltdown. thirdmanrecords.com

EMBED CODE
DØVYDAS & John Bohlinger Busk in Downtown Nashville
DØVYDAS & Bohlinger Busk in Downtown Nashville Before We Give Takamine Guitar & Fishman Amp to Local

Then we give a Takamine guitar & Fishman amp to an up-and-coming Nashville musician.

Music City is always swirling with top-notch musicians performing anywhere they can, so Takamine and Fishman challenged PG's John Bohlinger to take his talents downtown to—gig on the street—where he ran into YouTube sensation DØVYDAS and hands over his gear to rising star Tera Lynne Fister.

Read MoreShow less

George Benson’s Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnonwas recorded in 1989. The collaboration came about after Quincy Jones told the guitarist that Farnon was “the greatest arranger in all the world.”

Photo by Matt Furman

The jazz-guitar master and pop superstar opens up the archive to release 1989’s Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon, and he promises more fresh collab tracks are on the way.

“Like everything in life, there’s always more to be discovered,”George Benson writes in the liner notes to his new archival release, Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon. He’s talking about meeting Farnon—the arranger, conductor, and composer with credits alongside Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Vera Lynn, among many others, plus a host of soundtracks—after Quincy Jones told the guitarist he was “the greatest arranger in all the world.”

Read MoreShow less

The new Jimi Hendrix documentary chronicles the conceptualization and construction of the legendary musician’s recording studio in Manhattan that opened less than a month before his untimely death in 1970. Watch the trailer now.

Read MoreShow less
Rivolta Guitars' Sferata | PG Plays
Rivolta Guitars' Sferata | PG Plays

PG contributor Tom Butwin dives into the Rivolta Sferata, part of the exciting new Forma series. Designed by Dennis Fano and crafted in Korea, the Sferata stands out with its lightweight simaruba wood construction and set-neck design for incredible playability.

Read MoreShow less