English rock duo, Royal Blood remain one of the most impactful bands of their generation. We look into some of the key aspects of their hard-hitting sound.
Formed in Worthing, West Sussex in 2011, the band initially started as a three-piece outfit. However, things changed shape quickly when guitarist Joe Dennis left the band.
After completing their debut EP in Brisbane, Australia, Mike Kerr returned home and was joined by his compatriot Ben Thatcher who replaced Matt Swan on drums.
The Royal Blood Sound
With the new lineup solidified, Matt and Ben carved out their new approach to rock ‘n roll, creating a high-energy sound that would take them almost immediately to arenas as the opening act for Arctic Monkeys.
The duo would go on to spawn an international following, with consecutive charting albums, the success of which can be attributed to their instantly recognizable sound.
Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet II
Although Mike used a Fender Starcaster Bass on the debut Royal Blood album, he switched to a Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet II for live shows. Its sound and design were perfect for his playing style and the chugging riffs Royal Blood is known for.
The short scale allowed him to play it like a guitar more easily and it also held its tuning well, which was essential for the lower tunings used on some of the Royal Blood material.
Overall, the Junior Jet II has a toy-like aesthetic that Mike enjoys when it comes to instruments of all kinds, and the affordability factor makes it even more punk rock.
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Gretsch G2220 Elmtc Jr.Jet Bass II IPS
Fender Jaguar LTD Mike Kerr TBO
Fender Supersonic 22
A fundamental of the Royal Blood sound is the use of channel switching between different pedal chains and amp rigs to accentuate the dynamics in their songwriting.
To achieve this on stage Mike has used a combination of tube and solid-state guitar and bass amp heads, combos, and cabinets including the Super Bassman Pro, the Supersonic 22, the Supersonic 60, and the Bassman Pro 8×10.
Tone plays a huge role in their intensely riff-laden musical style, so experimentation with different gear is necessary to fuel the creative process.
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Fender Super-Sonic 22 Combo Blonde
Electro Harmonix POG2
As a two-piece, another aspect of the Royal Blood sound involves animating the melodic aspects and creating a larger-than-life sound with the help of Mike’s pedal board.
Whether you’re playing mono or polyphonic parts, the POG2’s tracking is extremely accurate and you can balance your dry signal with the 2 octave range up or down.
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Electro Harmonix POG2
Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal
Recommended by his guitar tech, Mike was intrigued by the design of the Plasma Pedal and soon incorporated it into his workflow. Its design uses a xenon-filled vacuum tube to process the sound in a way that is both exciting and highly musical.
The crackle and fuzz created by the Plasma, especially when using gating made it an instant feature when performing tracks like Boiler Maker, and many others.
The Plasma is also available in both Eurorack and 19-inch rack formats, with a different feature set designed to suit your particular setup.
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Gretsch USA Custom Series Drums
Ben has used Gretch drums early on in his career, favouring them for the authenticity of the sound. This choice might not matter as much in some bands, but Royal Blood’s retro-inspired style provides a major platform for drum acoustics.
The USA Custom Series is a state-of-the-art range of 6-ply maple shells used by Ben Thatcher and many other great drummers. Apart from the legendary sound, they offer incredible durability, making them perfect for touring.
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Gretsch Drums USA Custom Satin Dark Ebony
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- Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet II: Gretsch
- Fender Supersonic 22: Fender
- Electro Harmonix POG2: Electro Harmonix
- Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal: Gamechanger Audio
- Gretsch USA Custom Series Drums: Gretsch