NAMM 2024: Third Man Hardware’s newest pedal, the Triple Threat – a collaborative multi-effects created in partnership with affordable gear champ Donner – was one of the hottest pieces of new gear heading into this year’s NAMM show.
As such, many of those who flocked to the Anaheim Convention Center over the weekend made a beeline towards the boutique effects pedal brand’s stand, where they were met with a surprise guest appearance from another notable piece of guitar gear.
Said piece of gear was none other than Jack White’s very own Fender Low Rider Telecaster – an absolutely wild, custom-modded Tele model that the White Stripes legend has taken on tour with him over the past few years.
We’ve been made privy to some of the electric guitar’s more eyebrow-raising specs in the past, but GuitarWorld.com’s Michael Astley-Brown was on hand at the show to get an even closer look at arguably the most insane Telecaster currently on the circuit.
Taking him through the nitty gritty of the six-string’s spec sheet was White’s guitar tech Dan Mancini, who explained some of the Low Rider’s more intriguing appointments – from its custom trio of pickups and subtly scalloped fretboard to its B-Bender.
“What’s super cool about this guitar is that, this [are] all things that were developed throughout the tour,” Mancini explains. “It’s gotten Jack excited, to be inspired and look at it in a new way. Not every guitar has all these functions on it.”
Some of the more modest mods include its triplet of Tim Shaw-designed pickups – a Filter’Tron bridge, P-90 middle and neck Wide-Range humbucker – which are wired to a none-more-White control layout, comprising a kill switch and peculiar parameter panel.
Specifically, one of the knobs doubles as a three-way toggle switch, which works as both a signal-killer in the up position and a parameter-bypasser when flicked down.
This, according to Mancini, lends itself to some choice tonal experimentation and sonic control:
“Depending on what amp and what rig you’re playing through,” he says, “you can end up with quite a jump in treble and dynamic response by taking that load away from potentiometers.”
Elsewhere, the Chip Ellis-made monster features a V-profile neck inspired by White’s own vintage Gibson collection, a D-Tuna for swift drop D tunes, a B-Bender (because why not) and a Bigsby vibrato tremolo.
As for the scalloped fretboard, that wasn’t part of the original blueprint: “That was another fun thing that evolved on the tour. The first version didn’t have it but then [White] thought it’d be a fun idea to try that out. It’s not a full scallop in the traditional shredder sense. It’s been super fun to try.
“This has seen a lot of life, seen a lot of shows. I’ve never played any other guitars like that. It’s been really fun seeing it all evolve throughout the tour.”
Our man on the ground gave the guitar a quick spin, and noted: “The scalloping is so subtle I didn't notice it at first, but the neck shape feels really unusual for a Telecaster. The tonal possibilities are wild, too...”
Head over to our NAMM 2024 news guide to find out more about all the best new gear releases from this year’s show.