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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Hot Rod Deluxe

Contributing Member


Oct 2nd, 2005 03:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

I had no idea what I was missing until I bought this amp. Pure tonal bliss! For 16 years I've been playing through a Crate solid state amp, an OK amp, but definitely lacking something. So this weekend I took the plunge and bought a brand new Hot Rod Deluxe. My AS Tele finally sounds like it was supposed to, lots of slap, twang, chunk and warmth. The reverb on this amp goes on forever. The distortion is subtle, but sweet. My only problem is going to be getting the volume under control. The neighbors are going to be thoroughly peeved if I play it at anything above 2. And the thing goes to 12! That's right, 12! When I saw that, I had to have it. That's 1 better than Nigel Tufnel's amp!
I am now hearing my guitars the way they were intended to play. That's a very satisfying thing.



Oct 9th, 2005 08:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, it's a great amp for the price. Mine is ~ 6 yrs old and the only problem it had was a cracked resistor ($30 repair). It's a tank.
I play mine looped via Boss GT6, don't like the native amp overdrive which sounds harsh to my ears - a common criticism. With Boss it is great.

Have you visited Justin Holton's website?


Contributing Member

don't mean a thang..

...if it ain't got that twang.
Oct 10th, 2005 12:08 PM   Edit   Profile  


i've got an HRDx.

check out the convo
at Justin's site
regarding the volume control(s).

i've yet to get around to it,
but i'm considering replacing the
volume pots with "audio tapers".

the OEM'S are (i believe)
"linear taper" pots and the
volume comes up *way* too fast.

if you're *really* curious,
try a post in the FDP "Ask Fender" forum.
maybe you can get Shane Nichols from Fender
to explain.

(This message was last edited by bebop at 10:58 PM, Oct 10th, 2005)

Contributing Member

don't mean a thang..

...if it ain't got that twang.
Oct 10th, 2005 12:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

here's the link:

TUFHRDOG - Controlling the Hot Rod's Volume

Contributing Member


Oct 10th, 2005 09:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the link. I'm actually finding the volume to be just fine. When I want to keep the neighbors on my good side I just plug into the second, volume-reduced jack and set the volume close to 2. That's just about right. But every now and then I just gotta let the thing rip. ;^>



Dec 26th, 2005 03:39 AM   Edit   Profile  


Please help me out. I use a Blues Junior jamming and recording and it can do no wrong.

So my question is the Hot Rod Deluxe a Blues Junior; but more of it?

My local dealer has a new Hot Rod Deluxe in brown tolex with and upgrade(seems to be larger) Jensen speaker that's been hanging around the shop so long that it's a Made in America model. I've been eyeballing it so long; but don't want to lay down the scratch only to be disappointed.

Can anyone give me a good opinion on that model. Can it be controlled in small venue gigs?

Also is the Hot Rod Deluxe a class A or AB amp?


Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

Gekko the barking lizard
Jan 3rd, 2006 06:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've had the same HRDLX for 10 years. Love it. LOUD. Distortion is so so, ok if you have hot guitars though.

I like the effects loop and use it exclusively for my board. I have one that does the unwanted channel switching due to the cement diodes getting too hot, but truth be told, it doesn't stay on enough to get hot anymore,and I just don't care to fix it.



Feb 6th, 2006 02:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

trackerd - the HRD is a different beast to the blues junior. I a have a student with a BJ and we both plugged in one evening. The difference is huge.
The BJ is a lovely practice amp with sweet warm tones. Good for recording and low volume situations (which is most of the time!).
The HR has a lovely bell like clean tone - even at gig levels, and vintage hot style distortion. It is one of the most versatile amps around. Having a 12 inch speaker also gives more bass and fullness, and less of the "boxy" type combo sound.
The HR is class A/B.
I changed my speaker to the Jensen and prefer the tone. The stock speaker tended to be a bit "flabby" in the bass to my ears. The jensen gives clearer highs and a much tighter and more focussed bass response.
You can also go to the unofficial hot rod deluxe owners page and get heaps of info for maintenance and modifications. I recommend the mid jumper mod and the simple reverb mod, but that is just a personal thing.
If there is still an american tweed Hr with a Jensen available, you would be raving mad not to buy it.



Apr 18th, 2006 08:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

That is what I love about the Hot Rod Deluxe is that bell like tone. It's not a straight sharp in your face type of sound. It has that sparkle and bell like tube warmth that I could not get from any of my other amps I own or have owned over the years. I had almost gave up on getting that tone until I bought this amp. I think it will be recognized as a classic amp in the near future.

Blues Power

Long Island

In search of that perfect blues tone
Apr 21st, 2006 07:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

i had one for about a year and sold it for variopus reasons. it def had some warmth to it.

imo the older MIA models may be worth something down the line but theyre making to darn many of them to be a collectors item



Tube Tone is the Answer
Apr 23rd, 2006 04:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Nice review Stoppinby. IMO, the Hot Rod Deluxe is one of Fenders finest tube amps.

Contributing Member


Apr 24th, 2006 02:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks. Just to update, it's been 6 months now and I still love this amp. It's kind of turned me into a reverb maniac. The HRDlx was made for my 50th AmSe Strat. And I'm discovering new tones from my Tele's bridge pickup. This is after owning the guitar for 17 years.
I honestly have no complaints about the distortion. It tends to be a gravelly, classic rock-type distortion, but my Les Paul with '57 Classic pups really smooths it out. Nice and creamy. This amp is everything I was looking for.

Contributing Member


Trouble Magnet
May 29th, 2006 10:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

Another HRDx user here. I've had mine for about 4 years now. It's been great. The clean channel is amazing and what turned me on to the amp. I really like the drive channels too, but then again I dig all sorts of distortion. The amount of low end that comes from the amp is another huge plus for me since I'm working solo - just me on guitar and a drum machine.

sage green player
Contributing Member

Miami, F-L-A

take a walk on the wildside
Jun 21st, 2006 12:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've had mine now for two years. Love it clean, love it dirty. Can't go past 3 inhouse or the neighbors will kill me.

My AV62 Strat sounds great through this with a Dunlop pedal and a Chorus, nuthin' better.

"Real creamy sound" nails it.

Got mine brand new and dirt cheap $390, on sale with a trade in of a couple of smaller cheap amps I had laying around.



Keepin' It Country
Jun 25th, 2006 11:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

I bought mine three years ago to replace my Twin on some smaller gigs. I used it on one recording session and it did fine. For indoor gigs it did allright, but at times I could tell it was just at the top of its clean state and ready to distort on me, lacking the punch at certain volumes when I needed it. I did two outdoor gigs with it and it just barely did it for me, leaving me feeling very nervous about its lack of power and punch needed at certain levels. So, after a year of sometime-use, I sold it. While it lacked my old Twin's power and punch, it did have a very similar tone, which is what really impressed me with the amp in the first place. It really was a very nice amp, and while it does fit the needs nicely for so many folks, I just couldn't justify keeping it any longer as it didn't quite fulfill my needs. Besides, I have a very jealous old Twin that didn't like being replaced and wanted to hit the gigs again.


long island NY

how about a nice iced tea
Jul 3rd, 2006 04:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've had a hot rod deluxe for 9 years and while I like it with the reverend speaker and TAD 6L6 WGC's I still could never get a good moderate OD out of the gain channel. so I bought a used Traynor YCV 40 with a V30 and am VERY happy with it. it's got a very impressive clean channel AND gain channel too. best of all the two amps sound fantastic together, they seem to compliment each other well.

I found the stock spkr to accentuate the inherent mid hump or honking sound of the amp so the change helped alot. the only other complaint is the lack of clean headroom. with a loud drummer I cant get totally clean thats loud enough. but overall it's a good amp for the money with great fender cleans.



Aug 30th, 2006 03:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

The other night I was playing around with my lead guitarists Vox Valvetronix (100W head through a 4x12). I was having a lot of fun, dialing in all kinds of amp models and playing with the effects, and I got thinking I could have had all this for just about the same price I paid for my HRD. It had been a few weeks since I played through my HRD as I have been using my little Vox Pathfinder for rehearsal and practice. We set up to play a gig the other day, and after banging a few chords for the soundman through my HRD, I realized how much I love it for what I do. As Telegib states, it's that bell tone on the clean channel that just raises my hackles. The lead players Valvetronix amp sounded like mud compared to mine.



Sep 6th, 2006 01:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

The way I work around the volume issue is to use my Boss EQ pedal as a secondary volume. Using the EEQ's volume, it's simple to tame down to an acceptable level.

(This message was last edited by tremoloman at 02:00 PM, Sep 6th, 2006)



rock on
Jan 12th, 2010 02:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

guy's try installing the audio taper pot on master volume,that is the best mod you can do on this amp,it gives you full control of volume level from 0-10,a must mod i reckon

Contributing Member

Go ahead and keep it

Keep my mood ring, too
Feb 24th, 2010 06:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

I made a volume box to go in the effects loop- lets you set the relative levels between the clean/dirty voices. Then use the volume box to control the overall amp level. Very easy and controllable. Too much amp for me at this time, however. I bought an old Deluxe Reverb and you can find my HRD in the classifieds!

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Hot Rod Deluxe

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