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Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Reviews

4.0 stars based on 11 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Chris McCown

    The Hot Rod Deluxe sounds fantastic and can cover a lot of musical ground. Compact enough not to break your back, yet loud enough for small gigs - you get classic Fender tone with newer tones available as well. If cascading high gain is your thing - no problem, just put your favorite distortion pedal in front of it on the clean channel; I personally use a ProCo RAT, and it sounds amazing with plenty of headroom. Of course, the renowned Fender overdrive is just a tap of the footswitch away. Great amp, no doubt.

  • Iran Garcia
    from Miami, Florida October 17, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician, Hobbyist, Teacher

    Very Versatile Amp

    From the moment I took it out of the box, I was blown away with the dynamics of the amp. You can get the cleanest that there is, i.e. that clean compresses fender strat sound. You can also get a very overdriven sound from it. And if you have a distortion pedal, link it up to this amp and you will get a very famous distortion tone. Like a zakk Wylde tone for example. The natural reverb is great, it doesn't overdue the tone at all. Best amp for the budget. And one last thing, IT IS LOUD.(if you want it to be.

  • chris
    from Austin, Texas July 23, 2006Music Background:
    8 years behind anything that makes noise.

    Excellent Amp Choice

    I've owned this for about 7 months now, and it still excites me to play through it. It's capable of drowning out a roaring drum kit.. and the tone is warm and clear all the way(on the clean channel. we'll get to the drives). The controls are simple and cool, reminiscent of Fender's vintage amps. The drive channel will crank out a sweet, thick sparkly tone, suitable for the lieks of oasis.. The MORE drive channel unleashes the fury. You can't exactly play with slipknot with it, but it's very satisfying for the alt/punk/experimental/indy rocker.
    Is it any wonder coldplay rely on these amps show, after show?
    No! Buy this amp!

  • jim
    from pa. July 19, 2010Music Background:

    Only combo amp to but

    Great fender sound and when hooked to my strat unbelievable clean sound. Rocks my house when I crank it up.

  • Evan
    from Dayton, OH January 22, 2010Music Background:
    Performing Musician, Recording Engineer, Student

    pure tone

    This amp sounds freaking unbelievable. It is so responsive to the tone of my tele. When I first plugged in it took me maybe 10 minutes to get the EQ set. Tons of low end and low mids but not gainy lows. I don't know the word to describe the tone. I thought it was a little corny playing a fender guitar through a fender amp, but it just sounds so effing good. The drive channel is great for my band's style: prog/post rock. I never thought I was going to need the "more" drive channel but I find myself turning to it for this really tenacious distorted tone. The only reason why I didn't give it a perfect score is because the amp's low end is so present that it cuts down big time on the sustain of G, B, and E strings. But still, so happy I bought this. I don't know if I will ever need another amp EVER again.

  • git-husker
    from Omaha, Nebraska USA January 9, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist and volunteer church musician.

    Fully functional Fender flavored funk factory

    My other tube amp is a super champ xd. I got to play through another guys hot rod deville last year at a bar. It was plenty of sound to keep up with all the other musicians. The xd is only 15 watts. This is plenty of sound and the amps are almost always mic'ed anyway but in the case of the HR Deluxe, at least you can hear it on stage with the other mix of sounds. And if you need to run a 4x12 cab, there are extra plugs on the back for that.

    Great tube tone clean. Every person likes their own sort of overdrive so for some, the drive/more drive may just do it but I like the flexability of using the clean channel with my pedals - Digitech Bad Monkey and RP 350 multi effects. It took me about a week to figure out the best settings for the tone controls but now it sounds right. I first had it set too shrill then too muddy. Sounds like a childrens story.

    Spring reverb is great. The tube tone is great. The price is great. And compared to the deville, it is easier to cart around.

    For playing blues, jazz, clasic rock, country and just for fun, this amp is great. Not sure about rap or metal because I am too old and uncool to try....

  • andy__woods
    from Grand Rapids, MI USA October 9, 2006Music Background:
    Active Musician

    Hot Rod delivers

    I just purchased the HRDx last week and am very impressed. I played around with different amps in the local store for a long time before buying this one, and am definitely satisfied.

    This is one loud amp, I can't turn it past 2 in my apartment, and the volume is pretty touchy down there from 0-2. Great clean sound though, hit the brilliance and it adds some sparkle. Drive channel is ok, adds some crunch and very playable. The 'more' drive channel adds a lot of extra gain, but is mostly just added fuzz. For more drive I just use an overdrive pedal.

    All in all its a good amp, especially for the money. Give it a try!

  • Toad L. Maven
    from Tatoville, OH, USA March 22, 2008Music Background:
    Severe addiction to old Fender Amps

    A very practical gigging amp that's consistent and easily replaced

    To be objective as possible, the HRD is just a reliable, workmanlike, gigging amp. Not as sweet or worrisome as an old Deluxe, Vibrolux, etc., it can approximate some of those tones with suitable technique. Easily replaceable and consistent.

  • Alex
    from Santa Fe, NM March 8, 2007Music Background:
    Bluesy prosumer

    Great cleans, awful overdrive

    My main gripe with Fender amps is how bright and "shrieky" they can be. Not the case with the HRDx. In fact, the cleans here are remarkably warm and full, and really doesn't break up too much at high volumes. Not as chimey as a Vox, but not nearly as trebely as a Twin Reverb. So, I like the clean tone quite a bit, actually.

    The overdrive settings, however, are an absolute nightmare. The "yellow" channel is serviceable. It's got a little of that Bassman-like crunch. Lord help you if you ever decide to hit the "red" channel, though. I mean, it's just this fizzy mess. It is a weak, scratchy, utterly useless setting. I actually tried playing a bass through this amp, and found that with a little "yellow," it actually makes a nice fat, warm bass tone.

    Don't underestimate how LOUD 40 watts is. Volumewise, this amp can handle anything.

    So, overall: Great cleans. Really warm. Horrendous overdrive. Super fizzy.

  • Greg Dodson
    from St. Louis, MO USA January 12, 2009Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician

    Nice tone, expensive upkeep

    I traded mine in for a Frontman 2 12. It just cost too much to replace the tubes and had to do so at least once a year. After a while, even with new tubes, a slight buzz would come in on the low notes, which sucked, since I'm a recording engineer. Had to flip it for a solid state amp and am glad I did.

  • Matt
    from Virginia, USA October 7, 2006Music Background:
    student, hobbyist

    Decent Amp

    Ive had this amp for about eight months now, and it hasnt failed me yet. It seems pretty durable and its not terribly heavy for carrying short distances. I mainly use it for my school jazz ensemble, because it has a warm, rich tone at any volume setting and a nice no-frills look to it. Though it sounds excellent when played clean, I have found it too dark for my taste when i use overdriven and fuzz tones. These tones become blurred and muddy, and idividual notes seem to blend together, even with bright mode on and the presence jacked up. I've played around with the internal bias trimmer, but it doesnt seem to do a whole lot. So basically, This is a great amp if you're planning on playing with clean or mildly driven tones, but otherwise try and get a brighter, snappier sounding amp than this one.

  • Evens
    from Miami, florida March 1, 2004

    Hot Rod Deluxe - Hard working Amp

    I owned one of these amps a few years ago. It was a very solid amp with plenty of volume. It can to be used in most working situations.

    It has a sweet sound that comes close to a great amp sound but, the eq was not allowing me to get what I heard that this amp held inside. I played with it for a few days. Still, I souldn't get "the magical tone that I was looking for so I pulled out my Yamaha graphic. I ran the graphic through the effects loop.

    Bingo! The amp cleaned up with very litte eqing and a sound more reminiscent to classic Fender emerged with a loads more versitility than many older Fender's.

    Using my pedals and outboard gear, I could go from Classic Fender to a Marshall to a custom rack tone in a heartbeat

    This is a great amp for those who don't mind working a little to get a great sound.



  • Andrew Stryffeler

    When I first received my Hot Rod Deluxe I was amazed how much was packed into the cabinet, this was obvious by the 45 pound box I dragged off my porch. I opened up the manual but I didn't last long before I plugged the amp in. Upon setting up my Telecaster to input 1 I decided to go through the clean channel first. I figured 3 would be a nice, soft volume to begin with. I was wrong, 3 was nice and loud plus this amp goes to 12! It was obvious early on my tonal possibilities and gigging needs would be met with this amp.

    My only other amp background at the time was a Marshall half stack, and I find it a blessing to not have to drag down a friend to help me carry an amp into a gig. Instead, with guitar in one hand and my Hot Rod Deluxe in the other I am there in one trip. Also, the famous Fender clean is something that has to be heard to be believed. I am still amazed that I can get sparkling top, clear midrange and a beefy bottom on a clean channel. I love the vintage fender overdrive and I always find myself using the more drive function which quickly doubles your gain. If you are looking to explore even more possibilities I would recommend using the clean and adding pedals in front of the amp. The bright switch is another option to add some more high top without being harsh and making your ears bleed. The EQ (Hi, Mid, Low) are great for sculpting your sound. You will find the changes to be clean and subtle, meaning you can't get a bad sound out of this amp.

    The cover is a sharp addition and the foot switch is as durable as any out there. Four years later I have never had a problem and still love my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

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