Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Hot Rod Deluxe, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Fender in the Hot Rod Deluxe series.

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Eroachguitar's review"Good clean channel, skip the overdrive."

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Fender has been the golden standard for guitar amplification for over 50 years. From the earliest RCA-inspired circuits to modern models like the Supersonic, Fender has been a prime player in the game every step of the way.

The Hot Rod Deluxe was introduced in 1995 as part of the Hot Rod series, which also included the Hot Rod Deville 4x10.

The Hot Rod Deluxe is a 1x12, 40 watt combo amplifier, powered by two 6L6GC's and voiced by three 12AX7A preamp valves. with a single channel and 3 switchable levels of gain.It has a preamp line out jack, as well as a power amp line out jack that allows it to use an extension speaker cabinet. There's also a footswitch jack for an included 2 button, 3 function footswitch.


The Hot Rod Deluxe is a master volume amp, allowing you to dial as much warmth into your clean tone or as much distortion into your overdrive as you want. A 3-band EQ helps further shape your tone, while a Presence control adds clean treble and a Reverb level controls the built-in spring reverb.

A rather interesting feature of the Hotrod Deluxe is its 3 stages of overdrive. Rather than having 3 separate channels crammed into one small combo chassis, Fender went the economical way and added an extra preamp tube to stack extra gain stages into the mix, essentially just adding more and more distortion to the bass tone. And this is where they strike out.

When demoing the Hot Rod Deluxe, one thing becomes quickly evident. The overdrive is pretty nasty. It's rattly, unfocused, and harsh, and I suspect the Jensen Special Design speaker that comes with the amp doesn't help matters.

The Clean tone is decent, however, and takes pedals rather well. And for this purpose the amp makes a solid grab-n-go or even a backline amp. But, I mean really, it's a Fender. They couldn't get away with having an amp with a bad clean tone. It's just sacrilege.


The Clean Tone, depending on gain setting, can go from sparkly, spanky clean to slightly overdriven, tweedy goodness. The use of humbuckers drives the amp even farther, whereas single coils still allow the amp to breathe a bit by comparison.

Unfortunately, the clean tone, for most players, is the only usable tone in this amp. The Drive mode isn't terrible, but it isn't great either. It's a bit of a rattly omen of what's to come with the More Drive mode. More Drive pushes the amp into all out trainwreck (and not in the Ken Fischer sense) territory. The tones in this mode are harsh, muddy, piercing... it's just bad. It does a fine job of making your guitar sound like a $75 beater fresh out of the dumpster. Which is fine, if you're into that sort of thing. Not so much, if you're not.

EQ settings are decently responsive, though not so much in the overdrive modes. The amp has an underlying harshness no matter how its set, and I suspect the speaker choice has a large influence on that. Reverb is economical and mediocre in depth and texture.


The Hot Rod Deluxe serves best as one of those amps you buy for $300 on Craigslist, take home, do some mods to it, upgrade the speaker, and use it for a small gig amp where most of your non-clean tones will be coming from pedals. I don't consider it an intrinsically versatile amplifier.

The Hot Rod Deluxe III is said to have made considerable improvements on the overdrive modes, and I've yet to hear or play one, but I can only hope this is true. Still, the Hot Rod Deluxe has its uses, and it's not the worst amp out there, but I can think of several other models of Fender combo I would request as backline long before this one.
King Loudness10/31/2011

King Loudness's review"Not bad"

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a fairly standard amplifier featuring two channels, an onboard gain boost for the drive channel, reverb, an effects loop and 40 watts of power driven by a single Eminence speaker. It is powered by a pair of 6L6s in the power section and it is basically meant to offer a decent Fender clean coupled with a reasonable drive circuit for everything from crunch to higher octane tones. It's a very common backline amp and I've used them at numerous club and festival shows. It's a pretty loud amp like many Fenders and cuts through in a band mix quite well.


Dialing in this amp for good tones is reasonable. It does suffer from a pretty awful sudden volume jump that can be a disadvantage when dialing in sounds. It has a fairly reasonable EQ and reacts as it should to control adjustment. The tones themselves are decent. I find this amp sounds a bit anemic due to the single speaker configuration. I've had better luck with the 4x10 Hot Rod Deville which has a punchier attack to my ears. It has a pretty good range of tones from clean to high gain and despite sounding a bit thin it can be made to be a great workhorse amp.


This amp sounds at home with a variety of different guitars and in a variety of musical contexts. It has a great classic Fender clean sound that gets great sparkle and clarity especially with a single coil loaded guitar like a Strat or Tele. The crunch tones have a great raw energy to them that is right at home with a Les Paul or ES335. The highest gain tones have a nice open airy quality but can be prone to buzziness at uber high gain. It's not an amp that was built with metal styles in mind but it does sound good for classic or hard rock, especially if boosted.


All in all I think the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a decent workhorse amp for some looking for a versatile amp with good clear Fender cleans and a reasonable drive tone. They can be had for about $500 used which is a fair deal. I'm not the biggest fan of the single speaker layout but it works well enough for what it is.
heads on fire09/07/2011

heads on fire's review"If it didn't explode, it would be my favorite amp."

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Tube amp - 3 12AX7s, 2 6L6s

40 watts

1-12" special design Eminence® 8 ohm, 50W speaker

3 channels - clean, drive, and more drive

Master volume and gain controls in drive channel

Bright switch

Spring reverb

External speaker output

Effects loop

2-button footswitch for channel selection/drive to more drive selection


This seemed to be a great gigging amp - small and compact, didn't weigh too much, and looked great. The sounds were killer, and very easy to dial in. I could get great country, blues, jazz, and old time rock sounds out of it with no problem. Metal would be a bit harder to achieve - it took me getting out my dirt boxes to find a usable metal tone. But the drive and more drive channels were still great for inspiring solo flights!


This amp sounds incredible. It has great, glassy, shimmery cleans with plenty of chime. And the dirty channels are pretty smooth - a bit hairy, but can be tamed by swapping preamp tubes for other manufacturer's products. The reverb is as good as you'd find on any amp, and the EQ section is sensitive, yet highly usable.

I played these amps with all kinds of guitars - Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, 335s, shredder guitars, and they all sounded great, but like themselves - the amp is transparent. And it takes pedals very well also. The sound of this amp is nothing to sneeze at.


The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a marvelous idea in theory, but in practice, the amp is bound to make you rip your hair out of your head. In using PCB construction methods, Fender is able to have a well-designed circuit be manufactured and sold for a very low price.

The problem is in the design - the tube sockets are mounted directly ON the PC board. What happens with tubes when you turn a tube amp on? They heat up. And heat is the enemy of solder traces, resistors, and capacitors - the heat from the tubes caused short circuits in my two HRD amps a total of four times, with the last two ending in literal smoke.

If you want a great sounding amp that you're ok with throwing away in a few short years, by all means, get this amp. It is the opposite of durable due to its fatal design flaw.

iamqman's review"Better tone"

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
There are a couple new features in the Hot Rod Deluxe that are very important to me. The first one being that speaker that is standard is actually usable. They used to have some cheap speaker in there that wasn't very musical and a lot of guys would switch out the speaker for something much more sweeter in tone. The next feature is a usable gain channel two and three. Before the gain channels were so bad that I never even used them. They sounded terrible and nothing like a tube amp distortion.

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III Combo Guitar Amplifier Features at a Glance:

* Amplifier type: Tube
* Output power: 40W
* Speaker: 1 x 12" Celestion G12P-80, 8-ohm speaker
* Output impedance: 4 ohms or 8 ohms
* Preamp tubes: 3 x 12AX7
* Power tubes: 2 x 6L6
* Rectifier: Solid state
* Inputs: 2
* Channels: 3 selectable channels (Normal, Drive, and More Drive)
* Controls: Presence, Reverb, Master Volume, Middle, Bass, Treble, Drive select switch, Drive Volume, Bright switch
* Effects: Spring reverb
* Effects loop: Preamp output/power amp input
* Speaker jack: Extension speaker jack
* Covering/grille cloth: Black textured-vinyl covering with Blackface-style black/silver grille cloth
* Footswitch: 2-button, 3-function footswitch included
* Cover: Amplifier cover included


Type Tube
Number of Channels Three
Power 40W
Speakers 1 x Celestion G12P-80
No Effects
EQ Treble, Bass, Middle
No Modeling
Number of Tubes 5
Preamp Tubes 3 x 12AX7
Power Tubes 2 x 6L6
Inputs 2 x Instrument
Outputs 1 x Speaker
Footswitch I/O
Effects Loop
Height 18.75"
Width 23.5"
Depth 10.5"
Weight 45 lbs.


Now that they have a usable gain channel then this amp has much more flexibility that before. The old amps were just outright sloppy. The bad thing is that these amps are made in Mexico. So they are going to be cheaper made and will break down on you a lot quicker. I'm not sure if they fixed the jewel light from going out on this model. Everyone who owned this amp knows that the light always goes out on these things.

Anyway, use this amp with any nice guitar. I like this amp with a solid Gibson Les Paul. I used it with a Line 6 Dl4 and a Ibanez Ts9 and I had some great tones that cut through the band quite well.


If you are on the market for a good tube amp that has two moderate low gain but usable gain then this might be the amp for you. That is if it is the newest model. The older models had an unusable dirty channel.

I would recommend getting this amp is you need a decent clean amp that has a good tone for pedals. I gigged a lot with my amp but always ran pedals in front of it. The other two channels were pointless. If you need distortion then don't get this amp. However I would never buy this amp since its made in Mexico. For the price of this amp I would buy a used Marshall JCM2000. At new these amps come in at around $700. You can even pick up a Peavey 5150 for the price of this thing.

kasperjensen's review"She's My Pride And Joy..."

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
- 40W tube power

- 3 X 12AX, 2 X 6L6

- Solid state rectifier

- 1-12" special design Eminence® 8 ohm, 50W speaker

- Three selectable channels (Normal, Drive and More Drive)

- Independent gain and master controls in Drive channel

- Bright switch

- Effects loop

- Reverb

- External speaker jack

- 2-button 3-function footswitch for channel select, Drive select and "More Drive" select

- Chrome panel

- Vintage pointer knobs

- Internal Variable Bias Control

- 45lb


I think, nay... I believe we are all guilty of shopping for guitar equipment with our eyes, rather than our ears. And I am particularly bad when it comes to this.

Whatever manufacturer has placed most blue LED lights on their products, receives a framed letter with my credit card details for use at their discretion.

Having said that, something caught my eye with the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Having gone through numerous amounts of slightly embarrassing set-ups, I decided to try something more plain. And I am so glad I did.

I simply can not make this 40W combo sound bad (in terms of a template for me to noodle over... My playing is another issue).

Anything I plug in sounds lush...


The HRD (or "Simpleton" as I like to call it) has quickly become MY amp.

I need to cover a variety of different styles from Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Blind Faith and Muddy Waters (and everything in between), and utilising a bunch of different amps and set-ups just isn't viable.

So instead, I have what I would describe as "The Working Musicians Rig" :

Fender HRD
Guitar (whichever suits the band the best)
Pedal board consisting of a TC Electronics Nova System, TC PolyTune, Cry Baby, Volume...

I am so happy!

Now with this I can get great tones for whatever the night may require, and I can get them fast.

The HRD really just lets you mould your sound into the amp, rather than forcing you in another direction.

The clean channel is to die for, and the overdrive channel is usable (although you will get much better results using pedals into the clean).


What I like most about it is the versatility the clean channel offers. I have plugged numerous amounts of pedals into the front end, and it has yet to respond badly to any of them.

I can go from an Eric Johnson style smooth lead, using i.e.:

Any glassy OD pedal
MXR Carbon Copy (plus some reverb from the amp)

to full on death using i.e.:

Blackstar Blackfire.

This is worth the price of admission alone (and lets be honest... It's a cheap amp).

The dirty channel is not overly impressive, but I have yet to meet someone who buys a Fender amp for it's distortion. Still... This could be improved.
I will hold my hand up now, and plead guilty to mistreating my HRD. Constantly being thrown in and out of trunks, clubs, home, rehearsal rooms, etc... It has worked up a few cosmetic "flaws", but has never once failed me (knock on wood).

I would definitely recommend this combo to anyone who needs something that delivers night after night, and lets YOU decide how YOU want to sound.

PS: You won't find a better clean channel out there.

mooseherman's review

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
This is a pretty solid tube amp. It has two channels, one clean, one distorted. The distorted channel has the option of switching between a crunch and a more powerful heavy distortion. There are two 1/4" inputs and an external speaker output. I don't think the speaker out is very necessary, because the speakers in this combo are fantastic. There's about 40 watts on this baby. It has a 3-band EQ, plus controls for volume for each channel, a gain knob on the dirty channel, a master volume and a reverb and presence knob.


I like the sounds that you can get from this amp. It's almost perfect for rehearsing with a large band as you don't need to set up a huge pedalboard to really get the sound you need for songs. The dirty channel is surprisingly and refreshingly versatile. There aren't any effects other than reverb and distortion, so don't expect much in that way. The manual is pretty much unnecessary but it's at least there if you need it.


I think that the clean tone on this amp is pretty awesome, if not phenomenal. Most Fender amps are usually pretty solid. I don't think there are many people who would be totally satisfied with the dirty tone on this amp. Functionally, it can cover a lot of stylistic ground from classic and country-rock to hard rock like Guns n' Roses. But it doesn't really compete with a Marshall stack or a good pedal. I'm sure that using the dirty channel in combination with a good pedal could result in some fantastic sounds. I think overall, though, that the dirty channel is weak. If you're just looking for the tube sound, I'd say go with a twin, it sounds better.


This amp is definitely a case of function over form. The tones work for rehearsals, like I said before. I wouldn't record anything with this amp, though. I also wouldn't really want to perform live with it. This might be good for up-and-comers more than seasoned vets. Think about that when purchasing.

phraseland's review

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
If you consider the price this amp is the perfekt tube amp for blues guitarists. The amp is relatively light weight, very practical, looks nice and contains the full power of tubes.


This is a basic tube amp combo. As long as you don't overuse the highs there should be no problem to the get the sound you are looking for. For Overdrive or Distortion use a pedal and don't think about using the built in reverb with a setting higher than 4.


It has a very warm tone with a lot of mids. The spring reverb Fender tends to build into these models just sounds very washy to me...I don’t like. In the upper frequency range the amp unfortunately sounds a bit too edgy.


Still I have to say that this amp is to me the best choice in its price range – especially when it’s being used as a good sounding power amp with speakers (meaning that the true sound character comes from the pedal board). It is equally suited for guitarists who are looking for a nice, warm clean sound.

MGR/Rick's review"Fender Hot Rod Deluxe"

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
I have been playing for over 40 years,dont play in a band but have in the past.I play a 1976 hardtail Fender Strat,a new Squier Bullet bought for a test bed axe,and a pair of vintage 1965 Silvertone solidbodys,Digitech 200 pedal.I love the Blues,Classic Rock,jazz music.I like to switch on the stereo or tv and play along and or jam with whatevers on so I have to be able to switch between styles quickly.

Purchashed at RICK's GUITAR SHOP Manhatten, Kansas.went in to check out a Blues Jr. and he was sold out Played the hr deluxe (which was my second choice)Love, Ta Da !!!!and Bought it 569.00,cash.Rick is a good ole boy and a players player no BS and he tried to get me to order the Jr.But cash in hand said take me home and plug me in NOW.

Versitility, lots of great reverb, very good distortions,excellent clean,Lots of room to move,and did I mention TUBE TONE like a milk chocalote on the tounge.Plenty of power and is very responsive.Seems well built and has great reviews.Warranty 5 years, Vintage looks and lots of classic Fender tone.

Volume pots to sensitive,Plastic jacks and speaker seems sort of cold or bright sounding.Don't get me wrong here it just sounds like there is more amp than speaker.Maybe just my ears.This sucker is loud and wants to show it!!!

It's a Fender Amp, Great no matter where or when it was built.Solid as a Rock,Top quality componenets, Cabinetry,above all sound Quality.9.5 Out of 10

Good buy for the Buck (or I never would have bought it)I did not consider anything but a Fender as I replaced my Princeton Chorus with this,Not the amp for any hardcore distortion but the right amp foreverything else.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com
MGR/david somebody03/30/2005

MGR/david somebody's review"Fender Hot Rod Deluxe"

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
I got this amp at guitar center in California just about 3 months ago. I first got it due to my guitar teacher recommending it to me. It is a GREAT amp. One of the LOUDEST amps out there. The list price is around 599.99$ but i got a good deal on it for 519.99$. It is totally worth the price.

I like the clean channel. It makes even my worst guitar sound great and it gives the classic Fender tone. Also the amp is very loud.

Somethings i dont like is the Drive channels. If your looking for a more distortion sound. I would suggest buying a pedal. Also the volume controls are alittle too sensitive.

It is well built. Very strong and can probably take a few beatings and still be good to go.

THIS AMP IS OVERALL GREAT. You should take no hesitation in buying it

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com

MGR/silvertone1's review"Fender Hot Rod Deluxe"

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
I bought this from a local Fender dealer here in Kansas.650.00 w/ tax I could have bought it online for less,but if it breaks he wont fix it.so I hired a tech.

This amp screams Stones,The drive channel is Jumping jack flash,Brown sugar to a T.I have had many Fender products over the years and have had not one problem with any of them. This is without a doubt the finest tube amp you can buy for the money period.The reverb is to die for and the clean channel makes the neck pu on my strat sing jazz.

loud, Loud, Loud, did I say its Loud?They have built an amp that is great but you cant play it and have "Tubes a cookin"in the living room and the wife watching the TV.tHIS THING WANTS TO BE CRANKED and it does it very, very, well.

Very well built and what you would expect from Fender.

would recommend it to anyone, if you want metal buy a pedal.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com