Rivera Knucklehead clean channel question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ben_allison, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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    I have an M-100, but I'm thinking the Drive channel on the Knucklehead will suit me better.

    My question is, how does the Clean channel compare to that of the M-100. The M-100's clean is pretty solid. I'd say, 80-90% of a good tweed. Is the Knucklehead as sucessful in that regard?
     
  2. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    Yes, though I have the 55 watt version. I like to run my clean channel with a little bit of breakup and the mids notched. Like this:

    Volume=5-7
    Treble=6-7
    Mids=7 and with the switch pulled out
    Bass=3-6, depending on the guitar
    Master=loud and with the boost on

    This gives me aggressive old school rock tone with a Les Paul and jangly slightly drived tone with a Strat.
     
  3. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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  4. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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  5. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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    Anyone else even play a Knucklehead?
     
  6. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    If you mean old style Knucklehead? No, that's like the only Rivera amp I don't have. I think they are pretty good, but haven't got around to getting one.

    If you mean Knucklehead Reverb or Knucklehead II, yeah I have those, but the answer to your question is different. I like M series drive channels better than Knucklehead Reverb drive channels, (I think the Knucklehead Reverb drives are scooped in a way I can't dial out) and the Knucklehead II is more of a speciality item - its drive channel is like a pile driver on steroids.

    So don't get down on Knuckleheads because I don't have one. Some people really like them a lot, and someday I will get around to it.
     
  7. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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    So, on the Knucklehead II and the Reverb, did you find the Clean channel sufficiently chimey and complex? Like, a decent Tweed voicing?

    The II will probably suit me because I want pretty crushing gain (for moderate stuff, I'll be using pedals).
     
  8. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    The clean channels are not really the problem on the Knucklehead Reverb. They are good solid Rivera style cleans and should be reasonably good given that you like your M-100.

    It's the drive channels on the Knucklehead Reverb that don't make me jump for joy. They are a little scooped for my taste. They have a good deal of gain and get well into crushing. Plus with the two gain channels you might not need pedals.

    Given that you want a great clean and crushing gain, Knucklehead II is by far the best amp I can think of. Especially since you like Rivera clean style already. The only other thing that would suggest itself to me would be the new Knucklehead Tre, which is supposed to be like a stripped down Knucklehead II in some ways. But I don't have any experience with the Tre, and probably few people do.

    With the KII you might want to know that the bass can be ferocious so don't be afraid to dial it out a lot. A cab that can handle it helps a lot, too. Even my Uberschall doesn't get as heavy as the KII.
     
  9. hexum68

    hexum68 Member

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    played the knucklehead tre this weekend...i loved it.and not bad 1800...its smaller than the revverb but tons of power......
     
  10. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Glad to hear someone got to play one. Can you compare it to the Knucklehead II? I'd like to know, and I bet so does the guy who started this thread....
     
  11. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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    I'm fully interested in a review of the TRE.

    They're going for a simpler, perhaps more vintage approach with the clean channel. Essentialy, no master volume. But the Drive channel is really trying to cover doomsday/Uberschall territory.

    How well does it do each.

    With the M-100, for me, the Clean does 80% of the best tweed/blackface type sounds, and 90% in the drive channel (doesn't have the tight, powerful bottom end I want, but the flavour of gain is nice).

    Does the TRE deliver?
     
  12. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    I don't know about the TRE, but I will say that the KII has a shiny sparkly clean channel which is like the M-100 but slightly slicker. The M-100 has a littls more grip and girth in the clean, like a lot of older Rivera clean channels.

    M-100 is a very flexible amp. Have you checked out different tube and speaker combinations? When you say you don't have the tight powerful bottom end, yeah, I am thinking you will have a powerful enough bottom end with the KHR, KII or, in all likelyhood KTre. But I am also thinking the M-100 ought to get you a good deal of the powerful bottom. Tightness might be found in your cab. What speakers are you using?
     
  13. hexum68

    hexum68 Member

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    :NUTS the clean was pretty deep...i mean i didnt have to turn it up to get a lot of subtle playing techniques. The gain was sweet. very heavy low end stuff. but i tried it out in a shop with a lot of kids taking lessons...so i dont want the youth listening to slayer before the guitar basics lessons. i am gonna go back and try it during the day..when school is in session. i just liked the layout...more simple than the knucklehead reverb. definitely a consideration..
     
  14. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Is there anything less simple than a Knucklehead Reverb? Maybe a Road King? Some other Mesa?
     
  15. uberpict

    uberpict Member

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    Hi, newbie here to TGP. Been lurking off and on for a little while but I think I'll jump in on this post since I'm digging my Rivera K-55.

    Can't give you a comparison to the M series but I can't say enough good about the K-55. The "clean" channel gets some really good blues tones, almost Bassman like and I've been playing a tweed Bassman 4x10 clone a little lately to compare. I can get the punchy almost boomy sound of the Bassman from the K-55 "Fender" channel which suprised me. Also chimey sweet tones like an El-84 style amp is possible. The Rivera covers any tone that I could get from my Vintage Club plus many more. I'm using an open back 1x15 with a vintage P15N so that may help in getting a more Tweed or Blackface sound. SRV's Vibroverb tone is possible with some tweaking.

    The "Marshall" channel doesn't go into Mesa type modern high gain territory like the Knucklehead II or TRE but it can get modded Marshall sounds similar to "the EVH Brown sound" pretty easily. I can't play like EVH but the tones the K-55 gets is very similar to VHI and VHII even using the big 15" speaker.

    This particular K-55 may have been tweaked from the factory since it was a special order from 2003. Not sure of it's history at all coming from GC, GC rep only could confirm that it was a special order for a studio musician. Even the gain channel cranked still has a very musical sweet sound and chords are very well defined even with the volume on 5 and master on 7. I don't think I could ever want another amp, besides my L5 in stereo with the Knucklehead.

    Personally, if you're looking for modern heavy crushing gain with a huge bottem end the KII might be what you're looking for. I've read that Rivera will custom build and voice the amps to suit your taste, not sure of the added cost but that may also be an option.

    Another note: some people claim a harsh buzz in the Rivera amps but I have found with proper biasing (80-85 milliamps for both EL-34 tubes) and proper setting of the effects loop that the buzzing is non-existent. It sounds like odd order harmonic distortion in the mid frequencies but it's easily dialed out with some patient knob tweaking.

    If anyone has seen the amp pictured below, please jump in with any information you have. Rivera could only confirm that it was a custom order but didn't want to divulge too much info. TIA if you can help.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  16. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    Is that $1800 just for the head? Good god, they've gotten expensive!

    uberpict, that amp in your picture is simply the original issue K-100 (I own a K-55) that someone had done in Rivera's two-tone covering. I had a Fandango with a similar look.
     
  17. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    It looks like a normal Knucklehead-100 with different tolex. Rivera has been making different color tolex available as an option. I don't know if it went back to the Knucklehead series, but they have always been able to customize things.
     
  18. ben_allison

    ben_allison Member

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    i'm running the M-100 through an Avatar cab. It's open back, and loaded with a V30 and a G12H30.

    I know that closed back cab will have more "thump" but it's also way too directional. But yeah, maybe a speaker swap would help.

    I think tube wise, the power tubes are just GT's. I'm not sure about the preamp.
     
  19. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Yeah I think your cab is part of the deal. And that is surely a nice cab but if the bottom is floppy it's probably not the M-100. The power tubes are probably fine - although you can run all sorts of power tubes in the M-100. The preamp tubes might be more useful to swap around, but I think you will get the most change from the speaker cab.

    Riveras can tend to be naturally dark and so it's not unusual for people to like a little bit tighter speakers with them.

    The closed back thing will help with the bottom. To get around the directionality maybe consider something like two Mesa/Thiele 112s with the big EV in them. This will give you the option of controlling the directionality by where you place the cabs relative to each other.
     
  20. uberpict

    uberpict Member

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    It's actully an original K-55 in a K-100 chassis, Rivera confirmed the serial number and that it was a custom job with the "Fandango" tolex. The only faceplate they had available was the K-100 at the time so it is a little mis-leading. I call it my Knuckledanger 5515 since I'm running it through a 15" speaker. :D

    I was really nervous about buying it since it could have been a hack job but it is factory original like that. I'm hoping someone will recognize it and offer up some info on any circuit mods that Rivera may have done. I didn't speak to Paul Sr. and the guy didn't have any information available except that it was custom ordered. Very sweet sounding amp anyway. Thanks for replying guys. :AOK
     

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