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Mike Kerr (Royal Blood) Rig Rundown

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Step into the electrifying world of Mike Kerr from Royal Blood, where the bass isn’t just an instrument; it’s a force of nature.

Known for his groundbreaking approach to the bass guitar, Kerr turns it into a lead, rhythm, and bass powerhouse all at once.

Here’s a sneak peek into the gear that makes the Royal Blood sound a reality.

guitars used by mike kerr from royal blood

Bass Guitars Used by Mike Kerr

Recently, Mike Kerr released his signature Fender bass which you can see on the photo above. But apart from that, he also used quite a lot of cool guitars throughout the last couple of years.

That includes:

  • Fender Custom Shop Jaguar Bass: Customized for Kerr’s unique requirements, this Jaguar features a Starcaster wide-range humbucker, marking a significant shift in his sound for Royal Blood’s 2017 tour. Noteworthy for its custom modifications, including versions with a black sparkle finish and pearloid pickguard, it underscores Kerr’s preference for personalized instruments that enhance his innovative bass playing approach.
  • Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet Bass II: Spotted in various performances, this bass is lauded for its robust sound and versatility. Kerr’s use of this model highlights his ability to extract maximum tonal range from seemingly straightforward instruments, contributing to Royal Blood’s distinctive, gritty rock tones.
  • Manson Mike Kerr Custom Bass Guitar: A testament to Kerr’s bespoke taste, this custom Manson bass was crafted to his exact specifications. Its presence in the band’s arsenal since the 2015 tour showcases the deep collaboration between artist and builder to create an instrument that perfectly complements Kerr’s dynamic playing style.
  • Fender Starcaster Bass: Known for its unique shape and rich tone, the Starcaster Bass has been a key component of Kerr’s setup, particularly noticeable in the band’s early years. Its inclusion in Kerr’s collection speaks to his fondness for classic designs, modified to fit the modern context of Royal Blood’s sound.

These bass guitars, each with its own story and sonic character, are integral to the massive, genre-blending sound that Mike Kerr and Royal Blood are celebrated for.

Kerr’s selection of instruments reflects a deliberate choice to push the boundaries of traditional bass guitar roles, proving that in the right hands, the bass can be as expressive and central to a band’s identity as any lead guitar.

Looking for more cool rigs? Check out the gear used by Mac DeMarco, Jimmy Page and Prince!

Amps Used By Mike Kerr

mike kerr amps
  • Ampeg GVT52 212: Kerr’s affection for Ampeg amps is well-documented, and the GVT52 212 is no exception. Used for both bass and guitar signals, these amps are crucial for achieving the full, rich sound Kerr is known for. Despite their discontinuation, Kerr’s search for these models underscores their importance in Royal Blood’s sonic landscape.
  • Fender Supersonic 22 Combo: Featured on Fender’s official artist page for Royal Blood, this combo amp is a staple in Kerr’s rig. Its versatility and clear, powerful output make it ideal for translating the band’s dynamic range from studio to stage.
  • Fender Supersonic 60 Combo Amp: Another key component of Kerr’s setup, the Supersonic 60 offers a slightly different flavor compared to the 22. Its use further illustrates Kerr’s preference for Fender’s reliability and tone, ensuring that every bass line punches through the mix with clarity and depth.
  • Ampeg SVT-CL Classic: Known for its robust tube-driven sound, the SVT-CL Classic is a legendary bass head that Kerr utilizes to produce Royal Blood’s signature bass tones. Its inclusion in his rig highlights a commitment to quality and a classic approach to achieving monumental bass sounds.
  • Fender Super Bassman Pro 300W Tube Bass Amp Head: For sheer power and sonic quality, Kerr turns to the Super Bassman Pro. This tube amp head is capable of delivering the massive, arena-filling sound that Royal Blood’s performances are celebrated for, combining vintage vibes with modern performance requirements.
  • Fender Bassbreaker 45W 2×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp: Spotted in live performances, the Bassbreaker adds a distinct edge to Kerr’s sound. Its use signifies Kerr’s exploration of different tonal possibilities, blending traditional bass amp warmth with the sharp attack of a guitar amp.

These amps, each with its unique contribution, form the backbone of Mike Kerr’s formidable sound. By carefully selecting and combining these models, Kerr crafts a sonic foundation that is both deeply rooted in rock tradition and boldly innovative, ensuring that Royal Blood’s music resonates with power and authenticity.


mike kerr royal blood pedals
  • Tech 21 Sansamp PSA1.1: This preamp is pivotal for shaping the “fake guitar” signals in Royal Blood’s sound, allowing Kerr to mimic guitar tones with his bass, adding layers and complexity to the duo’s music.
  • Boss PS-6 Harmonist: Essential for creating harmonies and octave shifts, this pedal helps Kerr achieve a fuller sound, making the bass guitar cover a wide range of sonic territories, from low-end grooves to high-pitched leads.
  • Strymon Flint: Known for its tremolo and reverb effects, the Flint pedal is a key component for adding depth and ambiance to Kerr’s sound, enhancing the duo’s atmospheric tracks with its rich, vintage-sounding effects.
  • Electro-Harmonix POG2 Polyphonic Octave Generator: This pedal allows Kerr to add multiple octave layers to his bass lines, creating a massive sound that can fill arenas. It’s crucial for the band’s signature sound, which often relies on thick, textured layers of bass.
  • ZVex Mastotron Fuzz Pedal: Providing the gritty, aggressive fuzz tones Royal Blood is known for, the Mastotron is a staple in Kerr’s pedalboard. Its heavy, saturated fuzz effect is a key element of the band’s hard-hitting rock sound.
  • Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork: This pedal is used for its pitch-shifting capabilities, allowing Kerr to instantly switch between different octaves and double his bass lines with a guitar-like pitch, adding an extra layer of melody to the band’s tracks.
  • Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth XO: For synth-like sounds and textures, Kerr turns to the Bass Micro Synth. This pedal transforms the bass into a versatile synthesizer, expanding the sound palette available to Royal Blood.
  • Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer: Kerr uses this pedal to fine-tune his tone, cutting or boosting frequencies to fit perfectly within the mix. It’s especially useful for live settings, where adapting the bass sound to different venues is crucial.
  • Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight: Offering wah and talking pedal effects, the Cock Fight is used by Kerr for adding expressive, vocal-like tones to his bass, making it stand out during solos and lead sections.
  • Tech 21 Red Ripper: As a bass-specific fuzz pedal, the Red Ripper provides Kerr with a range of distorted sounds, from slight overdrive to full-on fuzz, crucial for the dynamic shifts in Royal Blood’s music.
  • Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi: This pedal combines overdrive and distortion, giving Kerr the ability to switch between smooth, warm tones and aggressive, crunchy sounds, adding versatility to his rig.
  • Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar: Uniquely, Kerr uses this pedal to emulate the sound of a sitar, showcasing his experimental approach and adding a distinctive timbre to certain tracks.
  • Cog Effects CRB005 Custom Fuzz Mike Kerr: Custom built for Kerr, this fuzz pedal adds a unique flavor to his sound, tailored specifically to his playing style and sonic preferences.
  • Gamechanger Audio Third Man Records Plasma Coil: A gift from Jack White, this pedal introduces a high-voltage fuzz effect to Kerr’s arsenal, used for creating intense, cutting-edge tones.

These pedals, each serving a specific purpose, come together to create the rich, multifaceted sound that defines Royal Blood. Kerr’s ability to manipulate these effects allows the band to push the boundaries of what two musicians can achieve, both in the studio and on stage.

How To Sound Like Royal Blood?

how to sound like royal blood

Achieving the monumental sound of Royal Blood is a complex blend of gear, technique, and creativity. Mike Kerr’s setup is meticulously crafted to allow a bass guitar to fill the sonic space typically occupied by multiple instruments. If you’re aiming to emulate Royal Blood’s distinctive sound, here are key components and strategies to consider:

  • Start with the Right Bass: A Fender Custom Shop Jaguar Bass or a similar model with modifications can serve as the foundation. The goal is to have a versatile instrument capable of producing both deep, resonant bass tones and higher-pitched guitar-like sounds.
  • Invest in a Range of Amps: Utilize a combination of bass and guitar amps, like the Ampeg GVT52 212 and Fender Supersonic, to create a rich, layered sound. This setup allows for the blending of clean and distorted signals, essential for the dynamic range in Royal Blood’s music.
  • Pedal Power: Pedals are crucial for the Royal Blood sound. Incorporate octave pedals (like the Electro-Harmonix POG2), fuzz (such as the ZVex Mastotron), and pitch shifters (Boss PS-6 Harmonist) to expand the sonic capabilities of your bass. Experiment with different settings to find the perfect blend of harmony, distortion, and octave layers.
  • Equalization and Synthesis: Use an equalizer pedal (Boss GE-7) to sculpt your tone, ensuring clarity and punch. Adding a synthesizer pedal (Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth XO) can also bring in unique textures and sounds that are synonymous with Royal Blood’s tracks.
  • Experimentation: Beyond gear, the essence of sounding like Royal Blood lies in experimentation. Play with different signal chains, effects combinations, and playing techniques. Kerr often uses tapping and strumming to create rhythmic patterns and melodies that defy traditional bass playing.
  • Creative Arrangement: Finally, the arrangement of your music should allow the bass to lead. Think like a guitarist and a bassist simultaneously, crafting parts that fill the spectrum of sound. This might mean playing bass lines that carry the melody or using effects to create a backdrop of sound that supports the vocal lines.

Remember, while the gear can get you close to the sound, the spirit of Royal Blood comes from pushing boundaries and reimagining what’s possible with a bass guitar. Embrace creativity, innovation, and the willingness to explore uncharted sonic territories.


1. What tuning does Mike Kerr use for Royal Blood’s songs?

Mike Kerr primarily uses standard tuning (EADG) but occasionally explores alternative tunings to achieve specific sounds or effects that characterize Royal Blood’s music.

2. How does Mike Kerr manage to play bass and lead simultaneously during live performances?

Kerr uses a combination of octave pedals, pitch shifters, and his unique playing technique, splitting his signal to both bass and guitar amps to create a full-band sound from his bass guitar.

3. What inspired Mike Kerr’s unique approach to the bass guitar?

Kerr’s approach was inspired by his desire to fill the sonic space of a traditional band setup as a duo, using effects pedals and amplification to expand the capabilities of the bass guitar.

4. Can I achieve the Royal Blood sound with a different bass model than Mike Kerr uses?

Yes, while Kerr’s specific models contribute to his tone, the key to achieving Royal Blood’s sound lies in the use of similar pedals, amps, and playing techniques.

5. What is the most essential pedal in Mike Kerr’s setup?

While all his pedals play crucial roles, the octave pedal (such as the Electro-Harmonix POG2) is central to achieving the harmonic richness and texture that defines Royal Blood’s sound.

6. How does Mike Kerr split his signal between bass and guitar amps?

Kerr splits his signal using a combination of ABY switches and specific pedals designed to route signals to different amps, allowing him to blend and layer sounds effectively.

7. What role does the synthesizer pedal play in Royal Blood’s music?

The synthesizer pedal, like the Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth XO, adds a layer of synthetic texture and depth to their music, expanding the sonic palette beyond traditional bass sounds.

8. How can I replicate the vocal-like effects Mike Kerr achieves on the bass?

Kerr uses pedals like the Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight to achieve vocal-like wah and talking effects, experimenting with pedal settings and playing dynamics to replicate vocal qualities.

9. What’s the secret to Mike Kerr’s heavy fuzz sound?

Kerr achieves his heavy fuzz sound through a combination of fuzz pedals, like the ZVex Mastotron, and his amp settings, often pushing the gain to create a thick, saturated tone.

10. How important is the amp selection in achieving Royal Blood’s live sound?

Amp selection is crucial; using a combination of bass and guitar amps allows Kerr to create a wide range of sounds, from clean, punchy bass to distorted, guitar-like leads, essential for replicating their live energy and dynamics.

Final Thoughts

Capturing the essence of Royal Blood’s sound is all about blending raw power with nuanced technique. Mike Kerr’s setup—a fusion of carefully chosen basses, innovative pedal configurations, and dual-amp magic—proves that with the right gear and a bit of creativity, the traditional roles of instruments can be redefined.

Whether you’re diving into the depths of bass-driven rock or just looking to add some Royal Blood-inspired grit to your sound, remember: it’s not just about the equipment, but how you push its limits. Experiment, adapt, and play with conviction. The key to sounding like Royal Blood lies in the daring to be different.