My goal is to play Seven Nation Army (Glitch Mob Remix) on my electric guitar. I am pretty much a beginner. I don't even have an amplifier for my guitar yet (just practicing acoustic). But the good news is this rif seems fairly simple and repetitive. Upon getting my muscle memory for that in place, I wanted to build on it over the months by introducing advanced-ish distortion modulation to get as close as I can to the effects of the Glitch Mob remix.

Initially I thought it was a hopeless endeavor, but then I saw a very inspiring video of John 5 play some really bizarre sounds I didn't expect to hear from a guitar. I won't claim to know all the terminology for what he was doing, but it seems he was getting different sounds by where he plucked in relation to the pickups. Also he took the wire and slid it around the body of the guitar which made some really glitch-like sounds. That got me thinking perhaps this kind of style is a good fit for my goal of playing Seven Nation Army Glitch Mob.


What kind of equipment / techniques would I need to be able to have real-time control over my distortion and possibly other glitch-like sounds (as seen in John 5's video or other ways I may not be aware of) to get as close as possible to the dub-steb-like feeling of the Seven Nation Army Glitch Mob remix?

  • a) there's no guitar to speak of on the glitch mod remix, it's all synth & b) even the original would need a pitch-shifter/octavider, 7-string guitar or serious re-tuning to reach the riff.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 8:49
  • @Tetsujin Yea, that's true. I noticed no one really went for the synth parts during the covers I watched. I guess I thought it was possible to transpose the synth part to guitar some how. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 8:54
  • Takeaway from the John5 video: you can get some pretty interesting effects just from techniques, without even changing a pedal. As a violinist I like to do this: bowing to heavily for distortion, close to the bridge for Hendrix-style squeals, even messing around with objects (putting cufflinks through the bridge to vibrate, stretching small springs across the strings for harmonic interference). Experiment with sounds (though you won't make much without an amp!). IMO you'll get more musical creativity than if you were to get Reaktor and start cranking out dubstep remixes. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 13:26
  • 1
    A) It’s how you learn to use the gear that is more important than what gear you have - look no further than Tom Morello’s playing (and fairly simple gear list) on Rage Against The Machine albums. B) Isn’t this an equipment recommendation question? Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


So, it's specifically the Glitch Mob remix you want, not the original mix? Okay.

As answered in the comments, it's taking place in the bass range. Options run from picking up a bass to getting an octave doubler pedal, like the EHX POG or the TC Electronic Sub 'n' Up. Of course, for Jack White's original, he's in more standard guitar range and using a Whammy pedal to go instantly to very high pitch. So that's an option as well. As would be setting up your guitar to baritone, B standard (BEADF#B), should cover the range you need.

There's also some growl in there. Any distortion would do.

There are also points where, for moments, the tonal range changes. There's the type where it sounds like you're hearing the song being played on an old transistor radio with a small speaker, and that's a high-pass filter. Alternately, there's where it sounds like you're underwater, or outside a club where the song is being blasted, and there, it's a low-pass filter. These are usually studio effects, and I can't immediately think of any effect pedal that does these.

Also, the song jumps into and out of I these effects quickly, and, for a performance, there are effects loop pedals with momentary switches that would make that easier.

The solo sounds like it uses near-chiptune sounds, as does the last part, which might be available with a synth pedal, like the Digitech Bad Robot, the Keeley Synth-1 or the EHX Mono Synth. I have a Mono Synth, and it's built for single-note playing. In the final seconds of the song, it sounds like power chords. The sounds are synthy but the playing feels guitarish. I'd look for a patch that gives you the right sound with one-note playing.

Also, by the sustain, I would guess that it's distortion into synth pedal, with the octave pedal maybe being first and the filters being last.

I've seen John 5 give a workshop, and doing as much as he can with his fingers and not with pedals is definitely a thing he's going for. This is also a thing worth learning from him. He's great! There's a lot in this track that can't be done without effects.

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