Sound Like The Arctic Monkeys: Amp Settings and Gear

The Arctic Monkeys have a dynamic sound that is all their own. It’s fairly crunchy, but also contains effects and aggressive strumming. Overall, the Arctic Monkeys’ tone is generally on the mid-gain side.

Getting set up to recreate this sound can be tricky, especially if you are new to effects and pedals. This Killer Rig guide will walk you through getting your rig set up right. All to create the perfect Arctic Monkeys amp settings.

What Is The Arctic Monkeys’ Sound?

The Arctic Monkeys have a signature sound that is a mix of classic rock and indie. It has a decent amount of effects and a crunch style tone. The band’s music is generally more of an overdrive or fuzz sound, to be specific.

To recreate the Arctic Monkeys’ iconic sound, you will need to start with a good electric guitar amp. Most players tend to use tube amps that have a rich, natural compression.

Some quick Arctic Monkeys’ amp settings are:

  • Gain: 4-5
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 4

These settings are just a suggestion to get started with a mid-gain amplifier. The Arctic Monkeys also rely on pedals for their overdrive. This is but one method to help you get there with only an amp.

Not sure what amp settings actually do? Check out my guide to amp controls and settings to get up to speed!

Arctic Monkeys Amp Settings

Most players who are going after this sound will have some of this gear already. But the most helpful part is learning how to use the amp settings.

Gain Control

Your gain knob will determine how much distortion the amp will provide. This can in some cases be referred to as drive as well. This setting will also determine how thick the tone will be with higher levels.

An amp going after a mid-gain tone should be set to around 4 or 5. This will give you a nice overdrive sound that is still clean enough to add more effects.

Check out our Strokes amp settings here.


Your EQ will need to be set right for this tone. That means learning how the treble, middle, and bass controls interact with each other. Turning them clockwise increases the impact they each offer.

  1. Bass is going to be the first thing you want to set. This will give you a good foundation for your tone. The Arctic Monkeys use a lot of fuzz, so you will want to have a little less bass than usual. I recommend setting it to around 5.
  2. For the mids, you will want to add a little more to get a better thickness. This will add some more crunch to the tone. The mids should be set at around 6.
  3. Finally, your treble will determine how bright and cutting your tone is. For this band, you will want to have an open and clear-sounding tone. I suggest setting your treble between 7 and 8. Adding too much may lead to a harsh or brittle sound.


Your reverb will be a crucial part of this tone. It will add depth and space to your sound. Set your reverb to around 4. This will give you a nice, ambient sound that is not too overbearing.

Adding too much reverb will make your tone sound muddied or washed out.

We have some great Pink Floyd amp settings here!

Popular Arctic Monkeys Songs And Their Amp Settings

One of the best ways to learn how to craft this tone is by listening to some of their most popular songs. There are both lead and rhythm sections that are quite a bit different from each other. Here are a few examples.

Do I Wanna Know?

This song explores different types of textures and sounds. This is emphasized through the Arctic Monkeys’ effects pedal choices. In this case, I recommend using an octave pedal with fuzz and reverb to create the effects.

For the amp settings, use these:

  • Gain: 5
  • Treble: 6
  • Mids: 7
  • Bass: 6
  • Reverb: 4

Using a low-wattage amplifier for clean sounds might work out well with this song. This is because you can push it harder into a breakup tone. The EQ should be set pretty neutrally with a slight boost in the middle.


This song uses distorted guitar tones heavily for both riffs and soloing. A fuzz pedal is a good way to get this tone, but an amp by itself should be fine depending on the model.

Try these amp settings:

  • Gain: 5-6
  • Treble: 6
  • Mids: 7
  • Bass: 6
  • Reverb: 3

Trying to get a very full and thick sound might work well for this song. This will be obtained with the right EQ settings, so try a few variations with the amplifier you are using.

Check out our John Mayer amp settings here.

R U Mine?

This song has a very aggressive and in-your-face sound. For that reason, it’s recommended top use a higher gain amplifier or pedal to get this tone.

I suggest these amp settings:

  • Gain: 7-8
  • Treble: 6
  • Mids: 7
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3

Adding a lot of reverb may not work well with this song. It could muddy up the tone and take away from the distortion you are trying to achieve.


This song uses a lot of different sounds, so I suggest using pedals to get the tone. A Rat style distortion pedal is the preferred model. The band themselves used it for plenty of their tones.

If you want to try it on a mid-gain amp, use these settings:

  • Gain: 6-7
  • Treble: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 4

This song is all about getting the perfect balance between distortion and clarity. Too much of either one will ruin the tone you are going for. A Fender Stratocaster can help get close to some tones needed to replicate certain parts.

What Equipment Is Needed For An Arctic Monkeys Sound?

Only some conventional gear is needed to get the Arctic Monkey’s sound.

  1. To get started, you will need an amplifier that can create a clean tone. Some good options are the Fender Twin Reverb or a Vox AC30. Solid-state or modeling amplifiers will work equally well. Just as long as they have good clean channels and can get fuzzy sounding.
  2. Once you have your amplifier, you will need to add a few effects to create the Arctic Monkeys sound. Some good ones are an overdrive pedal, such as the Fulltone OCD, and a fuzz pedal, such as the Big Muff Pi.
  3. You will also need a few more effects like delay, reverb, and tremolo to get the depth and full sound you are looking for.
  4. For a guitar, the Fender Jazzmaster would be a good choice, as it’s used often by Alex Turner in the band. But a Telecaster will also be a good choice for certain tones.

Arctic Monkey Tone Tips

Have you tried settings and pedals and just can’t make it work? Here are a few things to consider, as some are common issues.

  • The right guitar for different parts is paramount to getting these tones. If you are able, both a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Stratocaster would be perfect when you want to get all the parts.
  • Thinner electric guitar strings for all lead parts will also help to add brightness. This also has the potential to help with bends and technique.
  • A mid-gain amplifier is preferred over any that are far too distorted. This way, you can turn the gain higher and get more of a fuzz-style tone. Otherwise, use a clean amp with pedals to get your distortion.
  • If your sound is too thin, turn down the treble control or increase your gain. If neither of these works, use the tone control on your electric guitar to warm it up.
  • When your sound is very muddy and lacks clarity, turn down the bass control. If this doesn’t help much, then the gain might be too high, resulting in an overly driven response.
  • The use of fuzz pedals can help a great deal when it comes to Arctic Monkeys’ tones.


As you can see, there are many ways to get an Arctic Monkeys’ tone. It all comes down to preference and what you have available to you. With the right tools and a bit of practice, you should be able to get close to their sound.


What amps do the Arctic Monkeys use?

The Arctic Monkeys typically use Vox and Fender amps. Specifically, the AC30 and Twin Reverb models. Yet, they have used other brands, including Orange and Hiwatt.

What guitars do the Arctic Monkeys use?

The Arctic Monkeys have used many guitars over the years. They are not afraid to experiment with different models and brands. Yet, some of their favorites are the Gibson Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, and Gretsch.

What pedals do the Arctic Monkeys use?

The Arctic Monkeys are known to use a wide range of different pedals. Including distortion and fuzz models. Some of their favorites include the Rat distortion pedal and Fuzz Face. For effects, they tend to use chorus and delay pedals.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!