Rig Detective: Royal Blood
The first thing that impresses anyone listening to the power duo for the first time will be their HUGE mischievous sound. No one can anticipate the fact that the sound is coming from only two people, and there is no guitar in the picture. That’s right. A rock band without a guitar. The bassist Mike Kerr works around the effects pedals like a wizard to make his bass guitar sound like a guitar using the same setup.
First trick to divert the bass signal into a bass and a (fake) guitar signal simultaneously is using dual-amping. The bass guitar sound should be splitted into two separate signals with a splitter unit. You can use stereo splitters, DI boxes and many other options.
The simplest one is our beloved old friend, tuner pedal Boss TU. It allows you to toggle between two amps. One signal is routed to an Ampeg SVT bass amp as the bass signal. The second signal is routed to another amp as the fake guitar signal. If you want both signals to be heard simultaneously, there are other pedals that allow you to. Little Splitter by Vein Tap or A/B Box by MXR are some examples.
Lastly, what makes the Royal Blood sound so unique is their ability to add/subtract layers of sound using effect units, rather than employing other musicians to play those layers.
Since Mike Kerr “didn’t want the bass to sound like the bass”, he cuts the low end of the bass. Here are some of his tricks for the fake guitar signal using a bass guitar:
- Using an EQ pedal, cutting the low end
- A fuzz pedal. Playing the bass with a pick when the fuzz pedal is on, the lows are substantially reduced. The fuzz pedal adds to the high end, giving the guitar tone a grit and bite.
- An octave pedal to transpose the bass an octave higher. That is the equivalent of the guitar pitch.