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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / New Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III


United States

Mar 18th, 2016 07:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just picked up my new Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III today. I'm stoked!



Mar 24th, 2016 06:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

I got a used one. I also got a Deville 2x12.


usa metro detroit

May 21st, 2016 07:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Cool. Welcome to the club! I have a ML HRDeville (different form a standard HR.. diffrent tone stack and no drive) and I too just got a new HR Deluxe III (side note: and I have a heavily moded Blues Jr too...)

Can you tell I like Fenders? (more specifically the Hot Rod series) lol

What do you guys think about the new Celestion G12P-80 speaker? IMO...So far so good. It's supposed to be a good duel use speaker. (one that can handle cleans and gain/dirt) I've read mix reviews. Today I took the HRD III out for a spin... Once dialed in I took the amp up to 6. Of course the clean side of the amp was sweet! The Celestion G12P-80 in the drive channel sounded really good with the master on 6 drive on 6. Its a new amp so the speaker isn't even close to being broken in... looking forward to the Celestion G12P-80 mellowing & getting warmer. IMO a lot of people change speakers before they have allowed the original to get broken in. One has to let a speaker cure.. I think this speaker is going to be pretty decent. My bud who has a Deville 410 kept his eminence speakers in and after they mellowed, they sounded real nice.

(This message was last edited by pcalu at 10:36 PM, May 21st, 2016)

FDP Data Goon

When I sin

I sin real good
May 22nd, 2016 01:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm not a fan of the new speakers or Celestions in Fenders, give me the old stock Emis.

But if you're happy, you're happy, that's all that matters.

Had my HRD (bought new) for a dozen or so years now.


usa metro detroit

May 22nd, 2016 06:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Agree on the OEM Fender speaker.

Beyond the few nay Sayers. IMO it was a pretty decent speaker once it got broken in. I've read the OEM Fender was the equivalent of a Eminence Legend 125/1258. (which is a pretty decent speaker)

The new Celestion G12P-80 is interesting. If it mellows (as it will) looks to be a nice speaker for the amp. It's gonna be different than the OEM for sure.


United States

May 22nd, 2016 08:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've had an opportunity to experiment with mine now and really like it. Thanks to all for your observations. The information you have been sharing is interesting.

Contributing Member


May 30th, 2016 05:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

What do you think of the volume control and the gain/more gain? I have an older HRD, and the gain is not the best and the volume is loud and louder (no real low or moderate volume). The III is supposed to be improved in those areas. Do you agree?


usa metro detroit

May 30th, 2016 08:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

(This is kinda a long winded response. Yep Holiday morning and nothing to do put drink coffee and type)

Yes, I agree they did a fine job. The volume pot/knob is more tapered so its more sensitive below 2 and Fender improved the treble knob/response. Fender also done did some work to improve the tone stack.

Moderate to low volumes are doable.

The Drive is supposed to be more tighter and focused. I've always been able to make the Drive on a HRD work (It works for me when I approach the amp as a Hot Rod'ed Blues Deluxe as IMO it is intended and not a metal/thrash amp) That said, I think the Drive in the III is the best so far out of its various incarnations. When I roll back my treble on my guitar (A telecaster with a 0.47 cap on the treble pot... quite standard) The drive gets creamy and totally usable. 35+yrs of playing & My pedal rig consists of J Rockets, Keely and EarthQuaker so I'm no Noob when it comes to tone. When I read on the internet by somone "The Drive on a HRD is horrible" I'm thinking so & so can't figure out the controls to the amp and the guitar? HUH?

The Celestion 12p-80 so far is pretty balanced. (Not too dark & full of base, yet not light and airy/thin) I've heard this speaker in a marshal cab and they sounded great. (still breaking the speaker in, so its still early on me giving my true opinion on the celestion 12p-80 in a HRD) As stated before though... so far so good.

I'm getting the amp gig ready. Breaking in the speaker and checking for rattles etc. Whenever you get a knew amp you should play it hard at stage volumes to see what's up. Every mass production amp probably needs a fine tuning with the screw driver, I listen for slight vibrations (like the cage surrounding the 6l6's or slight flubs in the speaker (speaker screw might need a tightening etc) This HRD III was no exception. I liked was various improvements in the construction of the PCB. Fender had braided the leads & everything was zip tied. Used silicone on the filter caps where needed. Lock tight applied where needed. etc.

On volume:

IMO though the HRD's are stage/concert amps, hence sound best at a stage/concert volume. This amps clean channel IMO sound best right on the verge of break up, giving a tweed vibe (around 5) and the Drive set to about 5 and the Master set to about 6 (with the guitar's tone rolled back) This is what this amp does best! Not bedroom or apartment volumes.

With the new tapered pots yea I think people can use this amp at low volumes but one is not really hearing the what the amp can do. If Fender is what someone wants & they can only do low volumes, Fender makes better suited low volume amps. (RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB) If However someone is looking for a "working man's" amp that one can gig anywhere and they play Country, Blues, Jazz, Classic rock or Alternative Rock. The HRD might be the tool for them (It is for me)

FDP Data Goon

When I sin

I sin real good
May 30th, 2016 12:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

The old HRD's drive channel goes pure molten.

The new one doesn't is my understanding.

I love the old one but I'm going for scathing, obscene mean when I step on that button (and already have a master pedalboard with seven or eight hardcore mean fuzzes as it is).

I've never bothered to go for light, "transparent" OD on it, but I don't use the drive channel on it for that either.

I also have an attenuator now for home use (mostly so I can have a DI out for recording in addition to micing, the Weber Mini-Mass with the treble adjust switch actually does a damn good job).


usa metro detroit

May 31st, 2016 06:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

It's been so long since I used an attenuator (late 80's & early 90's for studio work) Lately I've been hearing about attenuators compressing & choking the sound... Hows that Weber Mini Mass?

FDP Data Goon

When I sin

I sin real good
May 31st, 2016 11:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

No complaints - I've got it close enough straight into the DAW I don't always mic it any more (can run it silent).

Some attenuators sound better than others, and depends on what you want out of it.

I'm not looking for power tube distortion and run the cleanest, doesn't break up early (or much at all) 6L6s I can find.

I just want a nice glassy clean, and it gets me that.

Contributing Member

Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Jun 10th, 2016 06:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

My old original USA made Hotrod turned 20 this year, it looks a week old. I've had it out only a handful of times in all that time.

I don't use it much, I do turn it on from time to time and run a guitar through it for 3 or 4 hours, but it's too loud to run in my house at anything other than about 1 1/2. It's probably a waste of amp and I should probably sell it, but then I wouldn't have a 20 yr. old HRDLX that looks a week old...


usa metro detroit

Jun 10th, 2016 09:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

To me they are not that loud (just face it towards a corner if ya have to... maybe throw a blanket in the corner to help soak up the sound)

And... You got to keep that HRDx, in about 10 yrs they are going to be classics.

IMO The Hot Rod series are great amps!

I read a lot of junk/bogus info on the HRD's on the internet.

Don't know why I feel the need to do it...Maybe because I play them and know one can get great tones out of the amps. To combat the vintage and boutique nutz that love to dump on the HRDx (and other Fender PCB amps) I cite all the HRDx built in 1995 that one can still buy. The HRDx is not the fragile amp theses people want to say it is... These people also love to cite how many HRDx they have repaired..(I find it funny that everyone on the internet with a beef with HRDx are bonifide Fender Amp Techs... LMAO) Again bogus.. The amp has been produced in the 6 figures... For every one amp these people say they have worked on (by the shear no# of them made) there were at least 100 in their area they never saw. Another bogus claim... the amp is made of MDF and MDF is bad & a cheap material. Nope... Actually according to internet... the speaker cabinet makers of the world see MDF as a pretty decent material to use in all kinds of speaker construction. However, currently the HRDx is made of Birch plywood... another great material to use in speaker cabs...

Keep that amp its going to be a classic..

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / New Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III

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