school me on the rivera knucklehead

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by KnightBrolaire, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Build the Wall of Sound™

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    I went down the youtube rabbit hole and watched as many vids as I could find about the knucklehead, and it's giving me a rectoish kind of vibe (which I really dig). For people that have tried one, would you say that's accurate?
    Seems like these amps were a big deal years and years ago but a lot of people have eschewed them for amps with less low end/overall brighter sounds.
    obligatory ola vid:
     
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  2. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Great amps. The traditional 'Knucklehead' isn't as gainy, it's a little more like a modern-ish take on their M/S series amp (which was my main amp for some years) with a tad more gain. The variants of the Knucklehead start to get more into the modern distortion category when you get to the K-tre and then the KR7.

    I never pulled the trigger on the Knucklehead because the older models sell for very reasonable prices (especially for a hand wired, MIA, low build number amp) but they're too close the M/S, and the more modern ones fetch more money than I'd want to spend on the same amp I have +a high gain channel.

    Overall though, they're built like a tank and all the ones I've played had more volume and gain on tap than advertised. My amp is from the early 90s and I broke my reverb pot off by accident, and when I called Rivera, they sent me a poster sized copy of the wiring diagram+service manual and the pot for just the cost of shipping. That's hard to beat.
     
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  3. Lindmann

    Lindmann SS.org Rectangular

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    Judging from a ton of youtube videos I came to the conclusion that these should be awesome amps.
    But I never heard one in person.

    Such an awesome tone (even though recorded poorly)


    I once hat a little chat with Jeff Dunne (some might know him) about Knuckleheads and he told me that he failed to dial in a decent tone with those for recording purposes.
    Ola on the other hand succeeded apparently.
     
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  4. zilla

    zilla Grand Poobah

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    I don't have a knucklehead, but i do have a venus 5 and it sounds amazing. the knucklehead is supposed to have the fender cleans that Rivera is known for along with a usable high gain section.

    also, Rivera's customer service is second to none! after a few years i started having some issues with the head that required me to send it back. it was an original run of the amp and i guess there was a small design issue that was later corrected. they made the repair at no cost even tho the amp was out of warranty... and i also asked if Paul Sr. could sign the chassis and i got a nice surprise when i received the amp back ;)
     
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  5. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    i heard they were insanely overpriced? especially the Mick signature amp?

    Wonder how they stack up when using like 7 or 8 string guitars.
     
  6. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Pretty much just the Mick Thomson and the K-Tre, like I was talking about earlier. And not "overpriced" persay, just two or three times the cost of every other model they offer.

    I know I saw a demo of the Thomson model where he highlights being able to dial it in for tightness in high gain, low tuning. I'm personally not a 'modded 5150 is the only tone that works for modern metal' guy, so I personally see no reason why the new or older Knuckleheads can't be used with a 7 or 8 if you EQ them right.
     
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  7. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    I had a ktre back in the golden days of guitar center. Paid something like 1200-1300 for a 212 combo.

    Very complicated amp. Lots of push pulls and boosts and tone shifts.

    Clean channel is amazing gender based sound.

    I would say the gain channel is its own thing. Voiced a bit differently the. A recto and a bit tighter.

    Not my favorite high gain but it’s on my list of amps to own again when I have space for amps again.
     
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  8. Decipher

    Decipher Ibanez Enthusiast

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    I've had my KR100 for 11 years now and it's not going anywhere. If anything I would love to add either another KR100, KR7 or the KTre to run stereo!

    Ch.3 (high gain channel) can get into that "recto" territory but it really does have it's own voice though. With all the push/pull knobs there's a crazy amount of range. I also REALLY like Ch.2 for that JCM800 vibe. Get some great old thrash tones from that channel. The clean channel is absolutely outstanding. High headroom for no break up or with the gain, boost, etc. you can get a whole slough of different sounds. One of my favourite aspects of the amp is the feel and sheer power to the sound. Very full and massive.

    It's a pity they don't get more chatter out there. Military Grade made in the USA amps that could withstand a nuclear bomb. Customer service is the best I've encountered. The "new" price tag ain't all that different from a new Mesa/Boogie IMO. And Rivera's resale is quite poor which makes for great bargains!
     
  9. FitRocker33

    FitRocker33 My tone is tighter than my hamstrings

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    Ya don’t say?? Is it Male or female? :lol:

    Seriously though, i heard Jon Donais used knucklehead for the guitars on some older shadows fall albums​
     
  10. LeftOurEyes

    LeftOurEyes SS.org Regular

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    Not that everyone is out there chasing Chino's tone from Deftones, but Chino uses A Rivera Knucklehead for the last few albums. I've actually been considering getting one too, every once in awhile I see a good deal on a mkll version.
     
  11. kylendm

    kylendm Electrical Mercenary

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    I owned a K-tre for a few years. I loved it just because it was different from my Baron/Fryette. VERY loose and dark. It definitely had it's own sound that filled a mix live or recorded. My soundcloud has a few clips using the KTRE. https://soundcloud.com/kylendm
     
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  12. Bentaycanada

    Bentaycanada SS.org Regular

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    The Knucklehead is a cool amp, but definitely not for everyone. They're pretty expensive, and crazy heavy (like 70lbs). I've heard a lot of people say they're kinda hard to dial in too. Other people have said they're the perfect amp for the crushing heavy + excellent clean channel head.
     
  13. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Build the Wall of Sound™

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    oh i saw your youtube vids, really dug the amp with the od in front. I also read the comments about how it basically needs an od in front to chop some of the low end out (like a lot of rectos).
    It can't be harder to figure out than a mesa mark iv lol.
     
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  14. Bentaycanada

    Bentaycanada SS.org Regular

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    Haha, true. Although once I found out how to dial in a Mark, it was instantly one of my favourite amps I'd ever owned.
     
  15. BurningRome

    BurningRome SS.org Regular

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    The K-Tre is fantastic. I've had 3 and paid as low as $775 and up to $950. They're also kinda hard to sell.

    Cleans are fantastic, I mean just absolutely some of the best cleans against any amp.

    The gain is super cool, kinda has it's own thing going, in a way a Rectifier sounds like a Rectifier or Orange sounds Orange.

    I think the 6L6 version sounded better than the EL34 version.

    Another cool trick I found was to set the channel and master volumes where it sounded best, even if it meant super loud and then use the FX loop as an attenuator and turn the amp down with the FX volume knob. It's a cool feature advertised by Rivera on the site.

    Only thing I hate about the amp was the over the top metal look it had, but the sound is just seriously awesome.
     
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  16. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Played KTre recently. For the asking price it was underwhelming. Cleans were awesome but the distortion channel was like a 5150 voiced Mesa if I can dare to describe it. It didn't sound boutique or impressive to me as I was expecting for the price. Maybe the shop just had a Mark V that I kept going back to and that destroyed it for me :)
     
  17. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Build the Wall of Sound™

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    I finally got to try a KTre into a matching 4x12. Cleans were pretty good, but not as good as my f30 or revv. I wasn't into the distortion tone at lower volumes, sounded a bit hairier than I was expecting. I didn't get a chance to really crank it but overall I wasn't terribly impressed with the sound at low-medium volumes.
     
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  18. D-EJ915

    D-EJ915 Forum MVP

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    Riveras sound worse than just about any other amp at low volumes. You can try to use the effects loop volume adjustment trick to help but I was never a huge fan of that method.

    I have a KR7 for reference so the Tre may respond a bit differently. I only use mine when no one else is around.
     
  19. PunkBillCarson

    PunkBillCarson SS.org Regular

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    Um… o_O
     
  20. Thaeon

    Thaeon Cosmic Question Asker

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    I own a Knucklehead Reverb from the early 2000's. Adore it. It will do JCM800/900. But with the boost on it gets into Recto territory. The mids are a bit weird, and they will sag like a motherfucker if you hit them hard. You have to balance the low mids on the channel dials with the resonance control in the power section. Weird way to get your mids right, but that's what I've found works best. Not an amp to play quietly. It doesn't do what it does well at low volume. Your neighbors and maybe even your band will hate you. I use mine in stereo with a Triple Recto. When you open it up though, it sound gargantuan. If you want to flatten everything for 50 yards in front of you, buy one. It'll do detuned stuff just fine.
     

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