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Jack White reveals the guitar advice he received from Prince

Jack White and Prince
(Image credit: Jo Hale / Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc via Getty)

We’ve all received tips from other guitar players on how best to play our instruments, though very few of us are privileged enough to have been given advice by our electric guitar heroes.

Jack White, however, once had such an experience, and recently sat down with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe (opens in new tab) to discuss the piece of guitar advice he received from fellow guitarist and legendary songwriter, Prince.

As the story goes, the pair coincidentally crossed paths during a Citizens Band show – the cabaret troupe project headed up by Karen Elson, which occasionally featured Zoë Kravtiz – at which White was informed by a fellow attendee that Prince was sitting behind him.

From there, the two struck up a conversation, and quickly started to talk about music and the guitar.

As White recalls, “The phrase he had said to me was like, ‘No-one is going to tell you how to play your guitar, Jack.’ And he talked about the James Bond song I had just done. He said, ‘I really like it.’”

Unsurprisingly, White was pleased with Prince’s praise, though was particularly emboldened by the Purple One’s words owing to the fact the Bond song White refers to – 2008’s Another Way to Die – was, in his own words, “a very divisive track”.

White continued, “I said, ‘Oh, that's great. Because some people, it's like making a song for Star Wars fans or something. You're throwing yourself into the sea of... It's a very divisive track.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, I thought it was real strong.’”

On Another Way to Die, the main song for the film Quantum of Solace, White collaborated with pop singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, making it the first-ever Bond song to be released as a duet.

Elsewhere in the interview, White went on to discuss Fear of the Dawn, the first of two studio albums he will be releasing this year, and reflected upon the transition he went through from being a band member to solo artist when the White Stripes were winding down.

“Maybe about 2010,” he recalled, “I got the feeling, ‘I don't think we're going to be making any more White Stripes records.’ It seemed like, yeah, this isn't going to be happening anymore. 

“But we didn't want it sounding, 'Oh, no point in telling people that,'” White continued. “You never know, in five years from now, things might change. But then I had a feeling, maybe it'd be healthier for me and her and for the fans. I'm about to release a solo record and if I hear someone say, "Well why didn't you just make a White Stripes record?" I don't want to hear that. So that was one of the reasons, for the health part of it.”

Fear of the Dawn will arrive tomorrow (April 8) and will be followed by Entering Heaven Alive, which will be released on July 22.

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Matt is a News Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.