Knocked Loose Guitar Tone Guide With Amp Settings & Gear List

Author: Liam Whelan | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Knocked Loose, in just over ten years, has emerged from the American metalcore scene to become one of the foremost genre-bending acts in heavy music. With firm roots in the powerful, aggressive sounds of hardcore, and a recent shift toward classic death metal, Knocked Loose is one of the genre’s finest acts.

No small part of their sound is the thunderous, terrifying tone of their recordings. I’ve long appreciated the excellent sound on their records, as Knocked Loose eschews some of the lo-fi trappings of their forebears to unleash some truly excellent guitar tones.

In this article, I’ll run through the key pieces of gear you need to nail the Knocked Loose tone.

Knocked Loose Guitars

Listening to any Knocked Loose recording will immediately reveal the band’s taste for extended-range guitars. In particular, they prefer seven-string guitars, typically down-tuned for maximum brutality.

Lead guitarist Isaac Hale wields an Ibanez RGDIX7MPB, with 24 frets, an ash body, and DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbuckers. The key tonal elements of this guitar at the levels of distortion the band plays at are its pickups, and scale length.

At the higher end, you can get a similar sound out of an Ibanez J Custom, but there are plenty of other guitars available from Ibanez with a similar tone and feel.

The mid-range Ibanez Prestige, with a basswood body and ebony fretboard, is an excellent guitar built to shred.

Finally, Ibanez’s range of entry-level RG guitars offers no shortage of 7-string instruments armed with 24 frets. Ibanez has been the pioneer in trying a variety of more affordable and sustainable woods to keep their prices down as the classic guitar tonewoods like maple and mahogany become more scarce and therefore more expensive.

I’d recommend the RG7421, which has 24 frets, 7 strings, and a hardtail bridge.

If you really want to lock down Isaac Hale’s sound, you’ll want to look at some high-output DiMarzio 7-string pickups such as the Jake Bowen Titan.

Knocked Loose’s other guitar player, rhythm man Cole Crutchfield, also plays Ibanez 7-string guitars, so you can get pretty close to either of their tones with any of the above instruments. Crutchfield plays Bare Knuckle pickups, but apart from that, their tones are pretty similar and differentiated largely by note choices and playing style.

Knocked Loose Amps

Both Knocked Loose axemen are partial to high-gain amplification. They tend to use high-powered tube amps on tour, although they tend to use plugins in the studio.

Isaac Hale is a loyal player of EVH amps, often playing a vintage EVH 5150 on the road. Fortunately, you can find the EVH 5150 amplifier in many forms, including an excellent combo format and a reasonably sized head.

He runs a 5150 head through a Mesa/Boogie cab built to handle his monstrous amounts of distortion.

Cole Crutchfield, on the other hand, just runs a full Mesa stack. He uses the classic Triple Rectifier amp as the cornerstone of his guitar sound, but I’d recommend the Mini Rectifier to most guitar players.

After all, if you’re playing rehearsal rooms and clubs (and carrying your own gear) you don’t always want to cart around a full 100-watt stack.

Knocked Loose Amp Settings

Knocked Loose has always boasted some seriously heavy tones. The below settings are those I would typically use for metalcore playing with a 7-string guitar, which you can tweak according to taste. Remember that Knocked Loose tends to use pedals to further sculpt their tone, so you’ll want to think of this as primarily being a strong tonal foundation.

Volume: 7-8

You need to push some air with your amplifier for this sound to work.

Bass: 2

You’re running a guitar that has a lower-pitched string, and a longer scale length, so you don’t need much low end for this tone.

Mids: 7.5

You need some tangible midrange for this sound to work properly.

Treble: 6.5

You can run your treble just past halfway for this tone, to give your notes some definition.

Gain: 4

You’re running fairly gain-heavy amps, so you can set your Gain knob to just below halfway to get the sound you’re looking for.

Knocked Loose Effects

To add grit, definition, and extra saturation to their tones, the Knocked Loose axemen tend to boost their signal with pedals.

They use a variety of pedals, but one they share is the Way Huge Swollen Pickle. They also tend to boost their tone with the classic Tube Screamer TS9.

For modulation effects, you can use simple, commonly available Boss pedals like the Chorus Ensemble and Digital Delay.

Both guitar players also use the EHX Freeze pedal, a “sound retainer” that works like a sustain pedal on steroids.

To counteract the tremendous amount of hiss, feedback, and other noise this kind of rig would generate, you’ll need a noise suppressor. The players of Knocked Loose prefer the Decimator, or you could use the more affordable Boss Noise Suppressor.

Knocked Loose Tuning

Knocked Loose tends to use drop tunings in their music.

You’ll find that most of their songs are performed in one of two tuning setups. You’ll either run their early material in G–D–G–C–F–A–D, or for mid-period to later material in Drop A, A–E–A–D–G–B–E.

You won’t get anywhere close to the Knocked Loose sound without utilizing these tunings, and you’ll need to use specific detuning-ready strings to retain a comfortable amount of string tension.

If you aren’t used to playing detuned 7-string guitars, you should try different gauges. I prefer the “lighter” D’Addario 7-string range, but some players prefer heavier strings for heavy music.

Final Word

Nailing the Knocked Loose tone isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think, but with the right gear, it is definitely achievable.

A seven-string guitar, high-output pickups, a powerful amp, and the right choice of pedals are all you need to access the powerful, aggressive tones of Knocked Loose.

Remember to work on your chugging, your muting, and your picking accuracy, and you’ll be well on your way to hardcore tone heaven.

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About Liam Whelan

Liam Whelan was raised in Sydney, Australia, where he went to university for long enough to realize he strongly prefers playing guitar in a rock band to writing essays. Liam spends most of his life sipping strong coffee, playing guitar, and driving from one gig to the next. He still nurses a deep conviction that Eddie Van Halen is the greatest of all time, and that Liverpool FC will reclaim the English Premier League title.

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