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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and Deluxe III shootout!

Previous 20 Messages  


Feb 13th, 2015 08:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The mail man just finished reading my copy of Guitar Player and handed it over this week. There is an interesting article comparison of a 1998 HRDLX and a new Hot Rod III. I won't spoil it for you but its worth a look. A couple of other pieces worth the price, but let's not get off talk with the OP."

Which month's copy is it? I can't seem to find it.


San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Feb 14th, 2015 11:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

I subscribe to Guitar Player, but its usually at a little old fashioned news stand in downtown Laguna Beach, just up the road from my place. I have not looked for it at the market or similar. You'll probably find it at your local library.

It is the February issue with Les Paul's Original 1954 "Black Beauty" on the cover (page 96). As I said aside from the cover story it has a lot of info that makes it worth the purchase. How to play correctly riffs from Dazed and Confused. Interviews with guitarist Adrian Legg and amp designer Steve Grindrod and a short article on the 1952 Black-guard Fender Telecaster. There is often a topic posted here about good low cost guitars and this issue includes a rundown of four electrics at about the $250 price point from Slick Guitars.

(This message was last edited by tahitijack at 02:01 PM, Feb 15th, 2015)



Feb 14th, 2015 01:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks tahitijack.


San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Feb 21st, 2015 12:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

BTW for those that missed it this week, the Les Paul on the cover sold for a cool $300,000 at auction this week.



Feb 22nd, 2015 06:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

I looked everywhere and couldn't find it so I guess I'm out.


San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Feb 22nd, 2015 10:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sorry telegib. Try your library. Most receive a copy and keep them in back stock.

The March issue just arrived so the February issue has probably been pulled. Bob Marley lookalike, AKA my postman, said "its pretty good mon wit Jimmy Page on de cover." Sadly Bob Marley is being moved to a new route next week. Sorry to see him go. No more quick reviews, but I'll get my GP earlier now. So long old friend.

Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Mar 25th, 2015 02:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ii have an original US made 1996 model HRDLX. I fear it "drying out" due to no use. I don't have anyplace that I can use it to it's potential. But when I do plug it in, I remember why I bought it in the first place...

I sometimes plug it in, plug in a guitar, and leave it on for a bit just to get some electrons flowing through it. I really don't and cannot use it in my present home.

One thing I've never figured out is how to mix the channels to give it a bit of peachfuzz...


Jersey Shore

Mar 28th, 2015 05:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

"They've hedged their bets and made nobody happy."

Rev- I believe the HRDx is the most popular, highest selling Fender amp of all time. I don't see Fender making too many radical changes.
I actually have 6 HRDx's 2 early versions, 2 Texas Reds w/Vintage 30's, a lacquered tweed w/ Jensen alnico 5 and an Emerald/Beige special edition w/ a Cannabis Rex. The early MIA's have been modded with the audio taper pots on the master and reverb and Cannabis Rex speakers installed. Honestly I love them all for the subtle differences each possesses. But I usually play the 1999 MIA the most. This is usually A/B'd with a Blackstar Club 40 using EL34's so I have, what I think is the best of both worlds. Never use the HRDx drive channel. I use a variety of drive pedals (sometimes stacked) when I want dirt. I also find it essential to use an EQ pedal to maximize the variety of tone that I prefer. I have other amps (Marshall DSL, Mesa Express 5/50,Epi BC 30, Blues JR a couple of Mustangs) but keep going back to the HRDx. I pretty much read every criticism of these amps but realized a long time ago that everybody doesn't like the same thing!



Don't watch my foot!
May 17th, 2015 10:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have had a few of the early HRDX and now own a HRDX III. I think that the early ones sounded better to me with the original Eminence-Fender speaker. I did not like the Celestion that came in the III so I cut a new baffle for two 10" Weber signatures. I like the amp much better now.

Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Mar 16th, 2016 06:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Mine is completely bone stock and works to this day perfectly, even at 20yrs old. I've encountered the channel switching issue once.

It still has the same tubes and nothing at all modded about it. Like I posted earlier, my only issue is volume. There is barely anyway I can use it in my home, just too loud. I do have it out and ready and now and then I plug in and remember when I could use it now and then on a jam or similar.

I should sell the darn thing as it is absolutely perfect in appearance and operation, but I hold dear to all my stuff. Some guy in the future will probably blow it up...



Mar 16th, 2016 07:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

My original early 2000's HRDlx is a great amp. I originally took it home to try it out and fell in love with the tone. Those early HRDlx amps really have a sound of their own. Mine has the Eminence speaker and sounds great as is.

I really don't use it a lot these days (why?). I have to break it out again soon. It is one of those amps that sound great with just about any guitar.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Mar 17th, 2016 08:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

The HRD was the best selling tube amp in the US for a few years.

The HRD was a response to Blues Deluxe/Deville owners. They complained about no ext speaker jack (there is an unused speaker tap inside), no bias adjust, thin reverb, weak drive channel, etc.

Fender took those complaints and put out the HRD. Even the BD reissue incorporates a few of those upgrades found in the HRD's.

And the history of the HRD is common to all mass produced amps. When you make a guitar amp designed for the widest variety of players as is possible, you make a somewhat "generic" amp.

And truthfully, Fender had lagged behind in tube amp advances since the late 70's. When the Pro Tube series came out, I said it was the amp series Fender should have come out with in the 80's.

While Fender did a great job, IMO on SS amps over the years, they have not been great with channel switching tube amps. The distortion channels were usually tubby, flabby and lacking. They have gotten much better but it shouldn't have taken this long.


Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Jun 21st, 2017 03:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would that they change the description of the amp to two channel instead of master. There is no use of the "Master" as you would with another amp. At least not in my experience, of course, I'm an amp idiot, but I have others that I can mix volume and master for a very warm tone and not knock the house down...

Contributing Member

Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Jun 22nd, 2017 06:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I had an original HRD. Loved the clean, hated the drive channel. Bought an HRD III, love both channels (and the More Drive as well.) Unfortunately, it sits unused now that I have a Quilter Aviator Gold. Less weight, no tube hassle and it sounds virtually identical to the HRD III.


usa metro detroit

Jun 23rd, 2017 06:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

If you don't like the Drive channel....I Don't know how many times I can say this... Use a 12at7 in V1, a 12ax7 in V2 and another 12at7 in V3.... then bias the amp to KT66s. (usually, means turning the bias all the way down to where it won't go any farther down... about 52mv with equals 26 mv per KT66 power tube.

I put a Celestion Vintage 30 in and forgot I was playing a Fender... closed my eyes and I could have sworn I was playing a Marshall Jtm45/Plexi type amp.

Yes it's that good! No BS! I don't jones at all for a Marshall with this amp... (I used to play JCM800s as a younger man) and every time I bring it to a gig, guitarist in the crowd say "WTF??? did you do to that HRD?! Sounds amazing!

Don't believe it.... buy the tubes and do it yourself... u can always change it back... but you won't... and you will be laughing your ass off (as I do ) at how good the Drive channels sounds (To include the clean channel.. with those KT66s!

Why does all this work? Because schematic wise the HRD is very close to a tweed/Bassman tone stack...and so is the Marshall jtm 45. By using to tweet preamp tubes to round and soften the Drive ... and useing some KT66 that increase EQ quality and tone dynamics, both further round and soften the tone stack... The early JTM45s transformer starved the KT66s which further saturated the tubes... The HRDx's transformer (by being not rated for Kt66s) does the same thing!

Enjoy... I can't say this enouph... I'm not BS'ing I play vintage amps (Pro Reverbs and Twins....) yet I'll gig with this amp in a heartbeat!... love this amp!!

Contributing Member

San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Aug 16th, 2017 05:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Whew, when I started this thread over two and a half years ago, I had no idea it would live this long. It is another tribute to a workhorse Fender amp that stands the test of time.


usa metro detroit

Aug 20th, 2017 02:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

It really does doesn't it.

I just saw an aw inspiring Country Guitar player at the local fair. Just tearing it up.. with nothing but Telecasters (he had two, both were custom shops) a boutique laden pedal rig and ... Yep a HRDeluxe.

I asked him "why a HRD?" U obviously got money. He said "why not?" it's affordable, great for pedals which I use... How as a working guitarist can I not use pedals? So the HRD totally works... then when my sound man mixes me in with the rest of the band, well at that point it's up to how good the PA sounds as to "if" I sound good or not... On stage what I hear I like...

As a Country Player I couldn't have agreed more with him.

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Aug 20th, 2017 05:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have other amps, which I use for other things.

The HRD is home base.

I'm ok with that.

Give me a good, not bottom barrel solid state amp and a 6L6 Fender, and I'm good to go.



Telecaster - Coronado - Hot Rod Deluxe
Jan 9th, 2018 12:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

I used to have first generation Blues Deluxe and I was using the drive channel all the time but I have no use for HRDLX III Drive and more Drive. The clean channel is brilliant.

(This message was last edited by Ari1970 at 02:32 AM, Jan 9th, 2018)



Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Jan 27th, 2018 07:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

And now welcome the new 'Hotrod Deluxe version IV!

I have never heard the new speaker offerings on the new HRDlx. It's a Celestion A series!?!? I think I have it correct.
They tout another revamp of the preamp and distortion channel. I think they are and have been on the right track on making this amp more versatile and a more acceptable distortion channel that gives the player a better/usable distortion settings without the need for extra pedals to keep it an complete, compact product. I like where they are going with this amp and with the updates, and better circuit design, I think they are making it more competitive in the medium wattage amp world!
I would like to see a better designed effects loop and also have the reverb switchable. Then, Fender will have seriously given Marshall a run for the money! Fender cleans and a Marshallesque drive channel, yeah boy, without a thought, I'd snatch that up in a heartbeat!
You're getting very close to what my ideal midrange amp would be!

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and Deluxe III shootout!

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