Rig Rundown: Årabrot's Kjetil Nernes
Fiery Hiwatts (literally), an aluminum bari, and a common drive forge the tonal backbone for the Norwegian Grammy-winning metal mystic brewing sounds somewhere between Melvins' metallic chug, Neurosis' pulsing grind, and Swans' celestial moods.
In this episode, founding Norwegian metal visionary Kjetil Nernes details why he switched to a tuned-up, Electrical Guitar Company baritone, why he runs more Hiwatts than Pete at Leeds (and how they've caught fire … multiple times), and explains how a big-box-store drive sharpens his massive tone.
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Custom Electrical Guitar Company Baritone
Årabrot artistic leader Kjetil Nernes owns several custom Electrical Guitar Company instruments, but the one he's been using the most currently is EGC's baritone model. He tunes it to drop C and says the bari mixes well with bandmate Karin Park's Moog bass analog synth. He employs a custom set of Black Harbor strings (.012–.060).
Kjetil Nernes' Pedalboard
"I actually have a pedalboard these days, which is remarkable for a guitar player like me," says Nernes. "For years, I was only using the Fulltone OCD and it's became the backbone of Årabrot's sound."
He still prefers the OCD for its "sharpening" touch to his metallic EGC tones. The Electro-Harmonix POG2 hits his Hiwatt (Custom 200 DR201 bass amps) for an added signal boost. (As you can see, he's dialed out most of the octave effect.) His second Electro-Harmonix stomp is the Superego, but it's used simply as a glorified synth-y reverb to cover material on 2021's Norwegian Gothic. Heavier, chunkier, repulsive gain happens when the Hudson Electronics Broadcast runs into the Fulltone OCD. And while it wasn't plugged in for the Rundown, Nernes enjoys getting filthy with the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal. Everything is powered by the Strymon Ojai.
Using more Hiwatts than Pete at Leeds, Nernes blends vintage guitar heads with modern bass pillars. The guitar stacks on the left are comprised of two 1970s Hiwatt models—a DR112 Custom Built PA 100 head (left) and a venerable Custom 100 DR103. Both heads run through their own pair of Hiwatt 4x12 cabinets: one is loaded with Celestions and the other with Fanes. Nernes likes the blend of speakers with the guitar heads because he feels the Celestions add a current complement to his monstrous roar. The right half of the British-voiced battalion features Hiwatt Custom 200 DR201 (KT88) heads matched with Hiwatt SE115410F cabinets loaded with four 10" and one 15" Fane Sovereign speakers.