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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / A legit mod for the Drive on a HRDeluxe


usa metro detroit

Nov 27th, 2016 08:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Just posted my findings up at the HRD page on Facebook.

.022mf 250V capacitor MOD at C23!

How can an amp with such a decent clean channel have a Drive channel the way the HRDeluxe does?"

Sounds kind of compressed almost Bull Horn'ish. Correct? Serviceable...Yes but why can't it have the same EQ dynamics as the clean channel?

Looking over "The Unofficial Fender Hot Deluxe site" I found James E Vanderburgs mods. Under "Lead Base Boost Control" in which he explains how Fender designers used a very small cap to limit the base and mids before the Drive channel. WHY I don't know... but this 1.5nF cap at C23 is causing the compressed almost Bull Horn'ish tonality of the Drive.

Fender uses a 0.22mf 250V cap to govern the clean channel. So I installed the same value .022mf 250V at C23 looking to match the over all EQ of both channels. The same base and mids NOW are on the Drive channel too! I get a very Tweed'sh overdrive, loose, full of base and mid focused! Very old school!

Because of the added frequencies the drive is maxed around 7 (but I think this has more to do with the Pot being linear.)

Setting the Drive at 3 I have a hard driven Tweed tone, and at 5 I get and early Marshall Plexi tone! (ALL in the same EQ dynamics as the clean channel...think your OD pedal through your clean channel!) I use a J Rocket "Led Boots" (pretty boutique as far as pedals go) and Now the Drive sounds as good or better than if I was using the pedal through the Clean channel.

It took about 15 min to get the PCB out and install the new cap at C23 (which is right out in the open) All is needed is a solder sucker and the usual i.e. solder and a Iron.

This simple mod is so worth doing! Do it. If you like the Drive channel stock but wish it had the same EQ range of the Clean channel. Or like Overdriven Tweed tones .... install the 0.22mf 250v It's a common cap & comes with all Fender pots.

Stay away from this mod if you want your HRD to do Metal/Thrash/Hard Core... I don't think the HRD is a good choice for that type of music and doing this mod just tweeds things and moves the amp away from a modern metal tonality

IMO now I truly do have a Hot Rod Deluxe!

(This message was last edited by pcalu at 10:45 PM, Nov 27th, 2016)


United States

Nov 27th, 2016 10:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Could you post an audio clip or video? That sounds like a cool mod. I dont think it takes a rocket scientist to know how craptacular those amps drive sound is, it'd be interesting to hear it with a less compressed voice.


usa metro detroit

Nov 28th, 2016 05:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sure! I’m going to have to figure out how to it with the equipment I have. I don't have any of my studio equipment set up.

The difference in the Drive is night and day. That 1.5nF cap literally cut all the definition out of the Drive.

I played the amp for hours thinking maybe I'm being subjective, NO WAY a simple cap did this to the amp. But in the end came away with NO I'm not. It's just a bad choice in cap value by Fender at a crucial location within the tone stack.

In the Drive mode the amp sounds very much like a pushed 59 Bassman. Sure it could use some stiffening and maybe some brightness.. but that increased cap value is SUCH a BIG improvement, at this time I'm like "Meh?"

Maybe Fender thought by cutting back and controlling the frequency at point C23 with such a small cap they could make the amp sound modern and appeal to the younger masses? IDK...

All I know now is the Drive works fine now it's an "old school Tweedish Overdrive" with the same EQ dynamics as on the clean channel. One is not going to play death metal with it... but IN NO WAY do you have to resort to using pedals for overdrive.

Something just Not's right.. why did Fender do that to the Drive? It's a $2.00 part already in the HRD series amps. A part of me thinks maybe its a marketing ploy. Maybe to limit the HRD series so the customer will invest in other Fender amps? IDK... but if you do mod this amp. Make this "Oh so simple" mod the one you do.


United States

Nov 28th, 2016 01:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I know what you mean, good enough is good enough for me. I feel the exact same way about my gear now days. It sounds honestly like a blues jr type of drive, which is my favorite amp next to blackface amps. I really dig the tweedish overdrive characteristic of it, and if you could get that with HRD which has a clean and dirty channel, that's one hell of a useful feature.

Also, I think if Fender were smart they'd do something to the HRD series that is reminiscent of the super sonic series. That drive channel is really good as well if you ask me. I played it with a strat a couple weeks back and it was killer.

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Nov 28th, 2016 04:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Which version of the HRD is the thing?

I like the firebreathing V1/V2, wouldn't use it as my only gain, but the HRD can't be all things to all people.

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Nov 28th, 2016 05:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

(My stock drive setting is around 7.5 as well, for perspective...)

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / A legit mod for the Drive on a HRDeluxe

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