Duff Mckagan Amplifier Rig – Know Your Bass Player (2/3)

Today we are discussing the Duff Mckagan amplifier rig, which was used throughout Guns N’ Roses and associated acts. His amplifiers have steadily increased in size and power and we’ll go through them all. Additionally in this post, we cover his strings and effects pedals. Both of which are used to create the shimmering harmonious shine we know and love.

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Duff Mckagan amplifier rig

The Duff Mckagan amplifier rig has always consisted of Gallien Krueger amplifiers and cabinets. Until now, with the “Not In This Life Time” tour but we’ll get to that shortly.

Duffs amplifiers in Guns N’ Roses (1986-1997)

When signed with Geffen in 1986, half of Duff’s advance was used to by his first amplifier rig. The other half was for a new bass, the Jazz Bass Special.

  • Gallien Krueger 400RB (240 watts @4 ohms) (No longer in production)

Then upgrading for the first tour (1987) with

  • Gallien Krueger 800RB (300watts) (No longer in production)

His cabinets throughout Guns N’ Roses were;

Duffs amplifiers in Velvet Revolver

In Velvet Revolver he upgraded to the newest Gallien Krueger head at the time.

Kings of Chaos and Guns N’ Roses Reunion (2013- present)

During the Kings of Chaos tour Duff switched to Fender Super Bassman amplifiers. He stated in an interview with Seymour Duncan that Gallien Krueger amplifiers aren’t consistent. In light of this he moved on to Fender as their new amplifier range fixed this issue. As a result he now uses a mixture of Fender products.

Duff McKagan amplifier rig

Duff McKagan amplifier rig Fender Bassman

Alongside the Fender rig, he uses a newest Gallien Krueger head for his dirty channel..

Duffs effects pedals

Duff has stated he only uses effects to enhance a song so sparingly uses them. Conversely he has however stated an interest in the UK band “Magazine” who used chorus on their songs and since tried to emulate that sound.


He achieved this sound by using various chorus pedals and slowly changed models over time.

Between these effects you have the quintessential shimmering Duff bass sound which is hear on “Sweet Child O’ Mine“, “Rocket Queen“, and “You Could Be Mine” to name a few.


In addiction to the Chorus, Duff uses Overdrive for grit on his sound. As can be heard throughout Guns N’ Roses, where he would uses his amplifiers’ “B” channel for a dirty signal.

  • Gallien Krueger amplifier heads “B” channel  (400RB, 800RB and 2001RB)
  • MXR El Grande Bass Fuzz  (On Velvet Revolver albums)
  • Gallien Krueger  800MB* (in conjunction with the Fender Super Bassman Amplifier)

Duff’s strings

Duff’s strings have always been Rotosound and specifically uses the the Swing Bass Set.

Originally made famous in the musical revolution of the 60’s and inspiring many classic musicians of that time. They’re made of stainless steel and brighter than a nickel string by comparison
which aren’t as loud but are warmer.

Duff and pickups

Since Duff bought his very first Jazz Bass Special, he has swapped the stock single coil for a Seymour Duncan Hot Stack.

This provides an increased output and thick mid-range response and is a great improvement to an already subtle and quiet stock single coil.

In contrast, the humbucker has remained stock and unchanged. This is evident looking at the Fender Duff Signature model where it is equipped with a Vintage-Style Alnico Split coil.

Velvet Revolver and associated acts

After the break up of Guns N’ Roses in 1997 Duff hopped from band to band, appearing on many a list. In the third and final installment of our Duff McKagan series we talk about Velvet Revolver and the other associated acts Duff joined after the break up.

Duff took on new basses for his new and exciting roles outside of Guns N’ Roses typical sound. In the final analysis you can learn which basses he used and whether he now has a taste for traditional Jazz basses.

More from Know Your Bass Player

This is the second part of the Duff McKagan series from Know Your Bass Player. If you missed an episode you can click the links below to catch up

Steve Harris Bass Rig Rundown Flea's Bass Amplifier rigDuff McKagan Bass Rig Rundown Velvet Revolver Bass Rig

After the Duff series we have another bassist lined up and soon to be released. It’s not too long before we reach the end of this first series and if there’s a bassist you want to see, then get in touch!

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