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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Hot Rod Deluxe

Previous 20 Messages  
Gibson guy

Toronto, Canada

But I've got a Muddy Waters Tele, too!
Oct 1st, 2004 07:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

I second that. Garage Studios is a great resource that I've just found. Hey BP, $495 is a steal. I just paid $799 for a new one in Toronto.

I'm very interested in hearing reviews from anyone who's using a Celestion V30 spkr. I can get my hands on one, but I'd like to read some on what others think about 'em before pulling the trigger. I want to break in the stock spkr for a while first, but I've really liked the V30 in other amps. Some time ago, I thought I read something that said it wasn't the greatest choice for a fender amp. THanks.


Austin, TX

and the squirrels were frolicking...
Oct 11th, 2004 01:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

I love my HRD. I've modded the Master Volume to an audio taper pot, installed a Jensen C12N speaker and the sparkle mod. I honestly believe you cannot buy a better tube amp for the money. I run my Les Paul straight (no FX pedals) into the amp and get compliments on my tone where ever I play. My next step is to build a 2X12 extension cabinet and I can't wait to see how that baby sings then!



Nov 15th, 2004 11:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm using a mesa boogie 2x12 extension and WOW! It made a world of difference. Totally ballsy, much warmer, and all without losing that be-ut-ti-ful clean tone.

I'm still tinkering with my live sound, but I'm closer than I ever been to hearing on stage what I hear in my head.

American Ash deluxe thru a Hot Rod Deluxe, who would've guessed? :)



Nov 16th, 2004 03:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

I keep the reverb at 7-8 always - I love it (and I'm picky about reverb!). This amp really is the amp of this era. The new standard, like the Twin Reverb.

(This message was last edited by lonewhitefly at 04:39 AM, Nov 16th, 2004)



Nov 18th, 2004 12:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a Classic 50 and love it. Several of my friends have HRD's and I've always been troubled by the excessive treble I heard and reverb that kind of washes everything out.

Last night at a jam, I played thru one for simplicity's sake, and not lugging my Classic 50 up on a crowded stage. The guy who owned it played an Epi Dot and I thought his tone was harsh, with too much reverb. I had my Strat and was concerned I'd be way too bright.

So, I adjusted the amp to where I normally set mine with the Strat. Treble at 4, mids and bass about 8. I turned the presence control way down, to about 4. Turned on the drive channel and left it there, controlling volume and grit with my guitar volume.

I went from skeptical to impressed in a hurry. The other guy commented on how rich and full my Strat sounded (it has Fralin Vintage Hots). I had to agree...it sounded really nice when I wasn't expecting it to.

I've only heard one other guy use a HRD whose tone I liked. He was a very good player with a Gibson ES-137. Sweet tone. But most of the guys I hear using them at jams sound excessively bright and harsh to me. But I liked what it did for me last night. I might have to pick one up just for jams, instead of lugging my 63-pound Classic 50.

So I guess with the right settings and a good pickups, these little babies can deliver. Now I want one!



Long Live the Jam..the Who..the KinKs..
Dec 21st, 2004 08:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've got two Avatar open back, 16 0hm, 2 X 12" cabs that I run off of my Hot Rod Deluxe(s). The cabinets are daisy chained giving me an 8 ohm load that gets plugged right into the main speaker input jack. Each cab has one Reverend Alltone 1250. The second speaker has varied a little bit - usually an Eminence Legend 122 alnico, but occasionally a Celestion Seventy/80, a Vintage 30, or a Greenback; maybe another Eminence Legend 125. I am really happy with the tone I get out of this set up.

Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

Gekko the barking lizard
Jan 3rd, 2006 07:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have been using the same HRDLX for almost 10 years with no problems that matter. My dislikes after all these years are, no tilt legs, back mounted controls which are almost impossible to use on a darkened stage. I have nailpolish marks on mine to discern between Strat settings and Hummer settings. The volume control goes from around 2 to moon launch very quickly and has to be controlled. The reverb is nice, but still rather dry, I keep mine at about 1/2 of one just to have a bit of shimmer, it is totally lost if you use a delay of any kind. The two jacks really work for what they are, 1 for strats, 2 for hummers, use them that way. They can be very harsh and brittle and high treble if your not careful, roll the treble back past your normal tastes and then a bit more. My strat with VanZandts sounds huge through this amp, My PRS with the McCarty pickups is absolutely unearthly. Tele users beware the treble.

I have one of the earlier models with the twin cement resistor problem that allows unwanted channel switching, it has done it twice in almost ten years, but never a chronic problem. I have gigged it some in it's earlier life, but have jammed it more both in Texas and in Hawaii. Never has failed to perform.

(This message was last edited by jay1vinton at 08:07 PM, Apr 17th, 2007)



i go to 11
Jan 4th, 2006 11:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

lately i have been rocking my old '64 silvertone hollowbody with 3 dearmonds and a bigsby. going through the deluxe, it is a match made in heaven. i could play that sh*t all day long.




Oct 14th, 2006 04:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

My Hot Rod dropped a little in volume for some reason after putting in new sovtek power tubes/electro harmonix pre amp tubes and having it rebiased. I think the tone got better but it sounded great before too. Great reverb , lousy distortion(use a OD pedal). I have an ext cabinet w/ a celestion I will try sometime.



May 31st, 2007 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

I loved my Hot Rod, but after 5 years with no issues, little things started to fall apart. And I've used 3 different techs, so I can't blame all of them.

First it lost volume

Then the tubes went out

Then it started switching channels

Then the tubes went out

Then the footswitch stopped working.

Then my tech saw why the bulb kept going out--it had never actually been soldered!

Then the mid pot stopped working

It's working fine now, but I've spent $500 in repairs over 5 years ($400 in the last 2 years)

My latest tech pointed out that the controls are soldered right into the circuitboards, which makes the connections very fragile. I fixed my footswitch and saw this for myself (I'm scared to open the amp itself)

Great sounding amp, but I'm not sure it's a durable as a vintage Fender or Music Man



Cheers, Jackson
Jun 2nd, 2007 01:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have owned my Emerald Deluxe for several months now and love this amp, sound wise and cosmetically. The creme chicken knobs and emerald tolex always invoke questions from other guitarists and the tone is pure Fender Tube Heaven. I am told this model is different to a standard Hot Rod Deluxe and am interested in learning about comparisons. My model has a 12" Celestion Vintage 30.

Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

I gits all....... Fendery inside
Jun 5th, 2007 07:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

My only real concern is longevity of the amp. I keep hearing that after a span of about 5 years, with hard use, they begin to show multiple problems, probably consistent with many overworked amps, but this alone, besides quantities, will probably keep them out of the vintage realm when they finally get that old.



Tube Tone is the Answer
Jun 26th, 2007 11:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

IMHO the HRD is the ultimate working mans tube amp. The Clean channel sounds just as good or better than any Fender tube amp ever built, and with a speaker and tube upgrade you have a World Class Tone Machine for under a grand.


NC Arkansas

Aug 11th, 2007 11:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

I liked the HRD much better than the DRRI I tried. To me the HRD just sounds warmer. The DRRI seems a bit hard or brittle sounding compared to the warmth of the HRD. Actually I wasn't that crazy about my HRD at first but found out it was biased to where the tubes were running too cold. I replaced all the tubes with JJs and adjusted the bias and it sounds great ever since. It sounds good at low volumes but the louder you play it the better it sounds, which is the mark of a good amp.


Yucaipa, CA

Hey Moe, There's wires in this pipe!
Oct 11th, 2007 08:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

I just got my Texas Red HRDx. I'm a happy camper. Great cleans. I'll just put a couple of dirt boxes in front of it.


United States

Jan 14th, 2008 11:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

I just got mine, and I love it. It's the limited edition, with a different speaker (Jensen) and cosmetics (brown tolex like an old Strat case). I compared it to the Blues Deluxe, which I was actually in the market for, and I preferred the tone of the HRDx. It seemed warmer and fuller than the Blues Dlx.

A Young Mans Blues


Jul 16th, 2008 01:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

if you think its too loud of an amp, you could look into an attenuator, or if you are good at putting electrical stuff together, (my dad for instance is an electrical engineer) you could look for an attenuator design online and build one yourself, mine works great and i can crank the volume on any of the channels up to 6 or 7 and it gets that great sound but not extremely loud :)

Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

Smallchange got rained on by his own .38
Nov 21st, 2008 06:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

It is too loud for playing in a house or apartment. For playing on stage, depending on the venue it can be too loud. But some tweaking will gain you some room to work.

Duff B

Winfield, Pa.

The wind began to howl . . .
Nov 30th, 2008 06:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

I was actually looking for a great blues amp when I decided the HRDX sounded better than the Blues Deluxe, so I got a special edition tweed HRD with a Jensen P12N which is an awesome speaker. I have been advised to get a different preamp tube with the "T" in it for the drive channel and this is supposed to take some of the harshness out of the drive channel. I play both channels but should experiment with the drive channels more, backing off on the gain, reverb, etc. Because I feel it is harsh too, but it could be my lack of expertise in tweaking it.
Amp sounds great with my RP350 and lots of models.

As far as dependability, I learned early after purchasing mine new that a smart preventative maint. item, which was covered under my warranty, was to have a pro tech open the amp up and check and resolder all the solder joints, especially on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Evidently the Asian factory floor workers were without any kind of expertise soldering the newly required lead free solder that became a requirement at a certain date. A lot of amps were produced by these techs with bad solder joints, cracked joints, and weak joints, etc. The excessive heat required to melt the lead free solder caused a host of problems including burning items near the solder points, unintentionally, traces getting cracked, etc. I would suppose that by now the techs are really good with the lead free solder. I can't stand it myself. Ever desolder a guitar or amp that has that ROHS or whatever it is new requirements regarding the lead free solder? It is a bi*ch. I always use rosin core 1mm +/- thin leaded solder available at Radio Shack, no affilliation.

So if you haven't had your Hot Rod Deluxe checked and resoldered you might want to take it to a pro amp tech or warranty service center and see if you can get it redone free, before you start getting unpredictable channel switching, and some of the other complaints indicated above that have been found to be directly related to overheating of the PCB board due to the heat produced by cracked solder joints. I'm really glad I had mine done. They found a bad tube and had to put in a new reverb tank.


I got a Delta Blues with the fifteen inch speaker for a blues amp and just ordered a Crate V50.

Also I find my Fender SCXD sounds great for blues on the Bassman model with that Ragin' Cajun speaker I put in it right away after I got it. The original speaker looked like a lightweight compared to that
RC heavyweight. Plus the RC has a lot lot more volume than the stock pup and a better tone by far.

I'm playing my old Marshall ss Valvestate VS30R I just was able to buy back from the kid I sold it to for the same price. Been without it for about two years and it's like having an old friend around again. It is in mint brand new condition and is quite an old amp. May do a spkr switch from the Celestion G10C-30 to a Jensen MOD 10/50. Any one have any knowledge of the Jensen MOD 10/50?

Hope my non professional but somewhat knowledgeable observations help someone out. I love my HRDx and wouldn't want to see it get messed up.

If my Crate black V50 on order turns out to be an awesome amp I'll have two suitable back up amps if the HRD goes down. I'll definitely get it fixed if it does. The tech actually did something to the bias on mine too, I think he warmed it up but he said the assemblers did a fairly acceptable job of biasing. I had assumed that it would take a serious tech to maximize the biasing. Mass production can't spend much time fine tuning the bias.

Hope I've put in some useful input.



Dec 9th, 2008 04:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just picked up a used 1998 model and am in love with it. After a retube and bias, it is a thing of beauty. Sounds especially good when used on the clean channel with a Fulltone OCD distortion pedal.

I had a Blues Jr NOS for a couple weeks and got rid of it in favor of this amp. No regrets!

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Hot Rod Deluxe

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