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Author Topic: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier  (Read 16367 times)

Nick Sevilla

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Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« on: May 29, 2009, 01:33:23 pm »

Hi,

Although this is not strictly a recording device, I bought one last weekend, and had to post something of a review here.

I was impressed by the sounds, the built quality is very good, and it came with cool accessories, including a cover, footswitch, and all the documentation. I mention this because in the past I've seen other amplifiers which do not include these accessories, and thus end up costing more.

The 40 Watts sound very loud, louder than I'll probably ever need, and the ability to have three sounds with the included footwsitch is very nice. Clean, Drive and More Drive are the names of the three sounds. It also includes a spring reverb with a level knob, which I like a lot.

There is a very handy patch point in the amplifier, after the preamplifier section, and the power section, where effects can be inserted. This was a good surprise for me, because I am so used to placing effects after the guitar but before the amplifier. I look forward to messing with this feature.

A few gripes : The tolex covering had two spots where it was bubbled off the wood, but I was able to carefully press it in. The spots were not very large. The other issue I have is that I would have liked wheels under the unit. Boy does it weigh a ton!!!

At least, in my situation, it now sits where it will be for a long time, so moving it occasionally to clean the studio is ok. But for a gigging musician, you'll have to consider a wheeled cart, or a large roadie with a good back.

Overall I really like this amplifier. I was considering buying a Fender Twin, but this Deluxe sounds every bit as good as a twin, and at 2/3rds the size, it's a good second choice for someone looking for a loud Fender amp, and not a lot of room for a full size amplifier.

Cheers
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Adam The Truck Driver

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009, 11:00:47 pm »

It isn't bad as a bass amp either at lower levels of volume, so as not to blow the driver. The open back helps it sound way smooth and deep even at the neccessary lower volume.
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JGauthier

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 03:55:51 pm »

Oh the hotrod deluxe...

For 450 bucks it was fine. I owned the first release back in the 90s and just sold it a year back. It was sitting for a long time unused by the end...

For live, club touring, beater, starter its great. But damn that top end and crap mids...

I HATED that amp by the end... I would have given it away but I didn't know anyone who needed it so I sold it for 350. I knew its sonic limitations but over time it just sounded like a chalk board being scratched... Especially if you have played a real 50s deluxe...

I now run two Princetons (1959 and 1956) in stereo and it makes that newer deluxe sound broken. Literally broken. They were also 5 times the price... so yeah relativity.

But I had to chime in and warn of the edgy/hollow sound (think scooped ice pick). But again for the money, what do you expect??? If you need a cheap beater thats loud enough for a club- the hotrod is great. But the overdrive sucks and breaks up horribly so pedals are a must. The reverb is Fenderiffic and spanky though!

Overall, in the right context, I'd agree its a decent buy. But if you have played a real vintage tweed ANYTHING prepare to be seriously let down... On tone but not on price!
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compasspnt

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2009, 04:31:07 pm »

I have to agree with Joseph.

Very shrill top end, not sweet.

I have a 1947 TV Deluxe, and a 1965 Deluxe Reverb, and they both (in different ways) smash the Hot Rod to bits.
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marcel

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 05:01:13 pm »

I concur.  I was going to say this but I didn't want to be uncharitable...

I have owned and used many of the Hotrod amps (owned a 4x10 and a 2x12 Deville and played thru many of the Deluxes) and found them to be universally disappointing.  As JGauthier says, they are (barely) acceptable for live work (until you've played thru a better amp, LOL) and downright painful when recorded.  My only strong addition to the negative side of this review would be that these amps are almost totally unresponsive to playing dynamics, their distortion levels seem fixed to amp gain.  I would offer the opinion that these amps are not worth anywhere near their sticker price.

I would further offer that the late '60s / early '70s silverface amps are often a real bargain.  They don't have quite the mojo of the (much more coveted) blackfaces, but they play and record very well, are solidly made and are easily repaired/modified.  In my area, anyways, they can often be had for around the same price as the corresponding (new) Hotrod models, and with a few dollars more for a tech to go through them, you will have a very nice all-around amp.

Alternately, see Fletcher's forum for a long and involved discussion of the merits of modifying the Epiphone Valve Jr, a cheap and readily available modern amp chassis.
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jetbase

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 07:41:50 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Mon, 01 June 2009 06:31


Very shrill top end, not sweet.



I use a 4x10 Blues Deville & I think the key to making it sound sweet(er) is to use the gain channel as the clean channel & drive it a little bit. Perhaps it's the same with the Hotrod Deluxe? I never liked the sound of the Hotrod Deluxe myself, but 2 weeks ago I heard a friend playing a brand new Tele Custom through a brand new Deluxe (live) & it had a really nice tone.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 02:41:28 am »

I had somebody bring in the 60 watt version for a record.  What an absolute piece of shit that thing was.  Unusable.  Tubes were microphonic, the tone sucked ass.  Really awful.
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Nick Sevilla

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 01:34:07 pm »

Hi to all you lovely responders,

I understand your frustration with the old model Deluxe. I myself have been forced to record less than stellar Deluxes in the past. Many times in fact. Mostly I would change the amplifier after verifying the Deluxes' suckiness.

But not this one. This one is a 2009. It's Blue in color. It does not suck like it's predecessors.

The reason I reviewed it here, was precisely because I was taken aback by it. I did not expect it to be any good. but alas it was good.

I did test three other Fender amps right along side it, a Blues Deluxe, a '59 Bassman Reissue, and some small Hot Rod thing, before deciding on it. The color had nothing to do with the purchase decision. It was the sound, and the size of it. Good Fender tone, plus big enough to rattle my little studio.

Go try one out, if you don't believe me...

PS I used a standard stratocaster to try all the amps out.

Cheers
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jstuart

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2009, 06:16:23 pm »

Though I spend more time with acoustics ( mostly mid 60's  J-45 deluxe gibson, and mid 60's martin o-16NY, strung with nylon ),  I also spend a fair amount each week with an electic in hand. I primarily  play a tele,( with a hipshot bridge for alternate tunings) with no pedals other than a volume pedal,so, you may discount my thoughts entirely....

That said,  I have been using a hot rod deluxe for  a number of years, with great results. It's reliable, and; cleanish in the lower gain stageing, and has a certain amount of "sag" ( saturation/ compression) in the  high gain position, that is totally usable on stage, and in studio. the caveat is that I use the #2 input which is a bit less gain/treble than the #1 input. Plus,I often roll my tone pot back on the tele.... I can more or less make it do what I like... but I'm not a slave to turn it up to 10 on each control to determine the validity....

Anyhoo, other than a '65 princeton that a friend of mine has, which goes from polite to scream depending on my guitar volume pot, this is my favorite amp ( and I do have a long list of ampps I've owned and played over the years....., because....,  I'm OLD......)

So, there's no accounting for taste, esp. from old guys with Teles.....
john
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Sean Eldon Qualls

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2009, 10:00:44 pm »

I never got along with these Hot Rod amplifiers on a sonic level, and have played with quite a few guys that owned them in every configuration imaginable...2x12, 4x10, loud, louder...

I have, on more than one occasion, been able to "pick it out" at smaller shows when I was not looking at the stage, "clean" (ouch) and "driven" (distorted. Not good distorted). It's like there is a special (that's not the right word...) ring or tone that it lets out that completely melts my happiness.

I swear I like the guys that own these amps and I'm not just basing my hatred on outside matters.

New ones, you say? I think my tongue is a little sour to the "Hot Rod" name but if I'm ever standing in front of one with a guitar in my hand, maybe I'll plug it in to see if they EQ'd out that deathray frequency...
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compasspnt

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2009, 10:04:32 pm »

Benefit of the doubt...

Nick says there is a new version...

Blue Velvet.

Let us see...
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Nick Sevilla

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2009, 04:41:15 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 31 May 2009 23:41

I had somebody bring in the 60 watt version for a record.  What an absolute piece of shit that thing was.  Unusable.  Tubes were microphonic, the tone sucked ass.  Really awful.


Did you change the tubes and try again?

Did the guitar player still suck with another amplifier?

One thing I do have set up on my new amplifier, is all the tone knobs set at 50% (middle position). Suppposedly this is "neutral"...

On my new amp, I turned it up enough to rattle the drum snare in another room, across the garden. I did not get any microphonics happening. I did get my neighbor to come over and check the loudness out. We compared it to his Harley Davidson. We could not decide which was louder... so had a beer instead, before more neighbors could start in on the loudness wars.

Cheers
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JGauthier

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2009, 08:54:41 pm »

Im doing a record as we speak with a British gentleman whom has convinced himself that the Blues Deluxe (nod to Nick- not a new 2009- I agree to check and see before judgement if its different) and Deville are just awesome amps.

He is an INCREDIBLE player and would sound good plugged to a cup through a piece of string.

To save money he is tracking at home and letting me reamp while still using his original close mic. I get his tracks BEFORE telling him Im planning on reamping and do a treatment with stereo, a close and a room mic. I send him a clip. He LOVEEEEEES it.

He comes to his next session and starts looking at my 8200, 1073s, and other EQs. I ask him what hes looking for and he replies, "That MIDRANGE... HOW did you get that MIDRANGE". I turned and pointed at my pair of 50s tweed Princetons.

If anyone tries to claim this amp (prior to the new release) holds up, then they dont have any REAL EXPERIENCE to stand on.

This site is about relativity people. If you have never played a REAL deluxe, dont defend these POS.

As for the 2009. Im looking forward to playing one if they dont suck anymore! But comments that they are fine becuase youve used one for years means you cant afford a nicer amp... And dont know what you are missing.
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jstuart

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2009, 12:23:50 pm »

[quote title=If anyone tries to claim this amp (prior to the new release) holds up, then they dont have any REAL EXPERIENCE to stand on.

This site is about relativity people. If you have never played a REAL deluxe, dont defend these POS.

As for the 2009. Im looking forward to playing one if they dont suck anymore! But comments that they are fine becuase youve used one for years means you cant afford a nicer amp... And dont know what you are missing.[/quote]

Hmmn, it seems to me that your tone is shrill and distorted.

I might suggest that you afford yourself some real experience with polite discourse, rather than popping the clutch on your mouth before engaging your brain. It might also be helpful if you ascertained some facts before imputing that any opinion other than your own is not worthy of the air it wiggles.

ie: Affording a different amp? Yep, if I need something I buy it. Having played a REAL deluxe? Yep, again, I owned a '65 in the 70's- though that may not be as REAL as a '56....REAL EXPERIENCE? Well, I'm guessing that I will come up short comparing my 35+ years making a living in music/recording to your peregrine view from the lofty pinnacles, so I concede that, and will humbly await the droppings of wisdom from your noble brow.

Know what I'm Missing? Yep, I know I put those keys around here somewhere....

j

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Nick Sevilla

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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2009, 01:00:23 pm »

JGauthier wrote on Tue, 02 June 2009 17:54

Im doing a record as we speak with a British gentleman whom has convinced himself that the Blues Deluxe (nod to Nick- not a new 2009- I agree to check and see before judgement if its different) and Deville are just awesome amps.

He is an INCREDIBLE player and would sound good plugged to a cup through a piece of string.

To save money he is tracking at home and letting me reamp while still using his original close mic. I get his tracks BEFORE telling him Im planning on reamping and do a treatment with stereo, a close and a room mic. I send him a clip. He LOVEEEEEES it.

He comes to his next session and starts looking at my 8200, 1073s, and other EQs. I ask him what hes looking for and he replies, "That MIDRANGE... HOW did you get that MIDRANGE". I turned and pointed at my pair of 50s tweed Princetons.

If anyone tries to claim this amp (prior to the new release) holds up, then they dont have any REAL EXPERIENCE to stand on.

This site is about relativity people. If you have never played a REAL deluxe, dont defend these POS.

As for the 2009. Im looking forward to playing one if they dont suck anymore! But comments that they are fine becuase youve used one for years means you cant afford a nicer amp... And dont know what you are missing.


Thanks for your input,JGauthier, however, my review is about the new model. so if you have any comments on the new 2009 Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier, this will be most welcome. I hope you understand.

This goes for all others... there seems to be just too many comments on the old amps. This part of the forum is for reviewing new equipment, correct?

Cheers
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It is quite possible, captain, that they find us grotesque and ugly and many people fear beings different from themselves.

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