Sound Like Linkin Park: Amp Settings and Gear

The majority of Link Park’s fans have been mesmerized by their fusion of electronic, rock, and nu-metal. Due in large part to the tone of their guitars. It has made their music easily recognizable.

Linkin Park’s guitar sound is a masterclass in balance and power. It’s heavy with incredible melody, and a richness that fills the room. But how can you recreate that sound? How do you capture the essence of Linkin Park’s guitar tone?

That’s where this Killer Rig guide comes in. We’re going to explore the Linkin Park amp settings that help create their sound. We’ll look at the gear they use, the settings they prefer, and how you can tweak your own setup to get closer to their tone.

However, if you just need quick amp settings, these will get you started:

  • Gain: 7
  • Treble: 6
  • Bass: 6
  • Mids: 5

But be sure to keep reading, I have lots of good info here for you!

What is the Linkin Park Sound?

The signature sound of Linkin Park is a fusion of powerful vocals, electronic components, and intense guitar riffs. It’s made them a leading force in the rock and nu-metal genres.

When they first showed up on the scene, their sound was primarily heavy distortion and a strong low-end, creating a powerful and aggressive tone.

This was particularly evident in their albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora, where the guitar tone was thick, heavy, and full of energy.

As the band matured, their sound started to include electronic elements and their guitar tone became more nuanced.

It was still heavy, but there was a greater emphasis on melody and texture. This shift was noticeable in albums like Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns, where the guitar tone was more dynamic.

The core of the Linkin Park sound has never changed, despite these changes. You can also create this influential sound in your own playing with the proper amp settings.

Not sure what amp settings actually do? Check out my guide to amp controls and settings to get up to speed!

Understanding Linkin Park Amp Settings

Let’s get into the specifics of Linkin Park’s amp settings. In order to get the right tone, you need to know how the controls work. Once you know what they do, you can effectively find the perfect sound.

Linkin Park Amp Control Diagram


This control adjusts the level of distortion in your sound. When you increase the gain, you add more distortion or grit to your sound. For the heavier, more aggressive Linkin Park sound found in albums like Hybrid Theory and Meteora, you’ll want to crank up the gain.

Just keep in mind that as the gain comes up, so does the level of bass content. This can make a thick sounding amp get real muddy and fast! So it’s not a one size fits all approach.


This control affects the low-frequency range. It adds depth and richness to the sound. Linkin Park often uses high bass settings to create a powerful, full-bodied sound. If clarity begins to suffer, the first place to try tweaking it out is with this control.

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The mid-control affects the middle frequency range. It can help your sound cut through the mix and stand out. Linkin Park tends to adjust this control depending on the song or album.

For instance, in their later work, like The Hunting Party, they lower the mids for a crunchier tone. So if your tone is shrill and lacks body, try higher settings.


This control affects the high-frequency range. It can add brightness and clarity to your sound. Linkin Park often increases the treble for their later, more overdriven tones, while reducing it for their earlier, heavier tones.

If your tone lacks bite and needs more definition, try turning up the treble. On the other hand, if it becomes piercing, turn it down!


This control adjusts the overall loudness of your sound. It’s important to balance the volume with the other controls to achieve a clear, powerful sound without unwanted noise or feedback.

Some amplifiers respond to higher settings in a much different way than others. Tube amps, for example, come to life at higher settings.

Popular Linkin Park Songs and Their Amp Settings

Linkin Park’s discography is filled with hits that have defined their sound over the years. Let’s take a look at some of their most popular songs and the amp settings that can help you recreate their iconic tones.

In The End

In The End is a standout track from Linkin Park’s debut album, Hybrid Theory. The song features a heavy and compressed tone that’s smooth sounding, capturing the raw energy and emotion that the band is known for.

To emulate this sound, you can start with the following amp settings:

  • Bass: 7
  • Treble: 5
  • Mids: 6
  • Gain: 7-8

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Numb is a hit song from Linkin Park’s second album, Meteora. The guitar tone in this track is thick, heavy, and smooth sounding, contributing to the song’s powerful and emotive feel.

To recreate this tone, try these settings:

  • Bass: 7
  • Treble: 6
  • Mids: 6
  • Gain: 7

Check out these Deftones amp settings!

What I’ve Done

What I’ve Done is a popular track from the album Minutes to Midnight. The tone in this song is thinner and more overdriven compared to the band’s earlier work. Here’s where to start with your amp settings to capture this tone:

  • Bass: 4
  • Treble: 6
  • Mids: 5
  • Gain: 6

Burn It Down

Burn It Down is a standout track from the album Living Things. The guitar tone in this song is fuzzy and muffled, with high bass and distortion, creating a sound that’s both powerful and atmospheric. To dial in this tone, try these settings:

  • Bass: 7
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 5
  • Gain: 8


Wastelands is another great song by Linkin Park but from the album The Hunting Party. Here we find the band experimenting with a stronger rock style.

When compared to the band’s earlier albums, this song’s guitar tone has more bite and clarity. This is how to reproduce the sound:

  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 7
  • Treble: 6
  • Gain: 8

Gear Used by Linkin Park

Linkin Park’s sound is not only a result of their innovative songwriting and performance, but also the specific gear they use. It’s important to know more about their equipment in order to also get their sound.


Linkin Park’s primary guitarist, Brad Delson, has been known to use a variety of guitars throughout his career.

He initially preferred PRS guitars, but eventually started to also use Fender Stratocasters. These guitars have contributed to defining the band’s sound over the years. The instrument you choose can have a big impact on the tone.

PRS se custom 24-08
PRS Custom 24-08


The band’s heavy, distorted tone is largely due to their choice of amplifiers. Delson has been known to use both Marshall and Mesa Boogie amplifiers.

These amps are renowned for their high gain and rich, full-bodied sound, making them ideal for Linkin Park’s style of music. But he didn’t stop there. Use of high-gain amps from Bogner and Engl also add to the tone he gets from his rig.


Linkin Park also makes use of various effects pedals to further shape their sound. Distortion and compression pedals are particularly important, adding sustain and creating the wall of sound that is characteristic of many of their songs.

When it comes to pedals, you can find him using the Boss CS-3 Compressor to even out his frequencies across all spectrums. But you will also find a NS-2 noise suppressor to prevent any unwanted output.

Linkin Park Tone Setting Tips

Achieving the Linkin Park sound involves more than just dialing in the right amp settings or using the same gear. Here are some additional tips that can help you capture their tone:

  • Understand Your Gear: Not every piece of gear is the same. Every guitar or amp has its own vibe which can be quite different from all the rest. Spend time getting to know your gear and how it responds to your rig overall.
  • Experiment with Effects: Linkin Park makes extensive use of effects in their music. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different pedals and effects to see how they can shape your sound. Distortion, compression, and noise gates are all good starting points.
  • Pay Attention to Playing Technique: The way you play your guitar can have a significant impact on your tone. Pay attention to how the members of Linkin Park play their instruments. Notice their picking technique, how they use palm muting, and any other techniques they employ.
  • Use an Effects Loop: If your amplifier has an effects loop, consider using it. Placing certain effects after the preamp stage of your amplifier can result in a cleaner, more defined sound. This is a technique often used by Brad Delson.
  • Don’t Forget the Bass and Drums: Linkin Park’s sound isn’t just about the guitars. The bass and drums play a crucial role in their music. Pay attention to how these instruments interact with the guitars and try to incorporate similar elements into your own playing.
  • Experiment and Personalize: While it’s helpful to use these settings and tips as a starting point, get in there and tweak! Every guitarist’s setup will require adjustments. What works for one person may not come easy for another.
Linkin Park Amp Adjustment Diagram


Although the amp settings and equipment we’ve covered offer a good place to start, remember that the magic of music lies in its ability to be personal.

Use this manual as a road map, but don’t be afraid to stray from it and discover uncharted sound realms.

The secret is to trust your gut and listen with your ears. After all, the goal isn’t to become a carbon copy of Linkin Park, but to use their sound as inspiration to create your own musical identity.


Why doesn’t my guitar sound like Linkin Park even when I use the same settings?

The type of guitar, the strings, the pick, the amplifier, the player’s technique, and other elements all affect the tone of a guitar.

Even if you use the same settings, your sound may be different due to these factors. Get to know your gear first and find out how it contributes to the sound. Then, adjust your settings until you get the outcome you are looking for.

Can I achieve the Linkin Park sound with budget gear?

While high-end gear can certainly help, it’s possible to achieve a similar sound with budget gear.

The secret is to play around with various settings and to understand how to use your equipment properly. Remember, technique and creativity are just as important as the gear you use.

What is an effects loop and why does Linkin Park use it?

An FX loop is a feature on some amplifiers that allows you to place certain effects after the preamp stages. This can result in a cleaner, more defined sound from the effects.

Brad Delson of Linkin Park uses an effects loop to achieve a more precise control over his sound. Especially when using effects like distortion or compression.

How important is playing technique in achieving the Linkin Park sound?

Playing technique is extremely important in achieving the Linkin Park sound. The way you pick the strings, the use of palm muting, and other techniques can significantly affect your tone.

Paying attention to how the members of Linkin Park play their instruments and trying to incorporate similar techniques into your own playing can help you get closer to their sound.

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Author: Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!