“A traditional bass player might find it a bit bizarre”: Fender and Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr team up for a signature Jaguar Bass – is this the secret sauce to his heralded tone?

Fender Mike Kerr Jaguar Bass
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has partnered with Royal Blood frontman Mike Kerr for a limited-edition Jaguar Bass signature guitar, which recreates one of the bassist's prized custom Fender models.

The short-scale four-string marks Fender’s first collaboration with the bass guitar player and vocalist of the heralded UK rock duo, who – across three studio albums – have received plaudits from the likes of Dave Grohl, Jimmy Page and others.

As such, a signature four-string seems long overdue for Kerr, whose trademark razor-like, electric guitar-esque sounds have been the subject of much sonic speculation from fans and general tonehounds alike.

Here, those celebrated mystery tones – as well as impressive playability – have been brought even closer to the general bass-playing public by way of a custom bridge humbucker, Wide Range middle humbucker and 30” scale length.

At its core, though, Kerr’s Jaguar Bass boasts an alder body, C-shape profile maple neck and slab rosewood fretboard, the latter of which features block inlays, a 9.5” radius and medium jumbo frets.

Its rather alluring 30” scale length makes it the shortest-scale Jag Bass on the Big F’s books (compared to the Player model’s standard 34”), while its choice of color palette also makes it arguably the most daring-looking: a bold Tiger’s Blood Orange colorway is complemented by gold hardware and a black pickguard.

As mentioned previously, Royal Blood fans will be looking to Kerr’s Jag Bass as the missing piece in a sprawling tonal puzzle that has baffled listeners since the arrival of the band’s self-titled debut in 2014. 

After all, aside from a revelatory admission about his signal-splitting setup and penchant for the Tech 21 Red Ripper (first divulged to Total Guitar), Kerr’s tone has been a well-guarded secret.

In order to harness the foundation for these tones, the bassist’s signature model opts for a custom-voiced bridge pickup and a Wide Range humbucker in the middle position, which are wired to a three-way switch and master volume and tone knobs.

Notably, the custom humbucker is dubbed a “real wildcard” by Kerr, who proclaims to use it “a lot in the studio” to “get a twang and something stubby at the same time”.

Speaking in an upcoming interview with Guitar World, Kerr took a deeper dive into his preferred pickup pairing, further teasing that the bridge unit is “so outrageously different” to what players would expect from a bass pickup and explaining why it turns his bass “into a Stratocaster”.

“Perhaps a traditional bass player might find it a bit bizarre,” he said. “But for me, especially when I’m overdubbing and looking for interesting sounds to lay on top of what I’ve just done, it’s a really interesting tool to have because it sounds so different.”

Kerr also took the opportunity to reflect on his new partnership with the guitar giant, saying, “To be part of Fender’s legacy is insane.”

The Mike Kerr Jaguar Bass is available now for $1,599.

Visit Fender to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.