#1
I’m finally going to be getting my first all tube amp. I’ve got about $1000 to spend. I’ve been looking around and think I’ve settled on a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III. Ideally I’d prefer a Marshall JVM205C but can’t afford that right now.

Does anyone have any advice on if the Hot Rod would be a good purchase or have any other recommendations? I play classic rock, country, and alternative mainly. I’m just looking for a good all-around amp. I’m open to any other considerations.
#2
The HRDIII is a good amp, it's got great cleans but the overdrive is awful, in my opinion. It's very fizzy and weak. However the amp handles pedals really well so all you need is a nice OD pedal and you're set. Another upside is that it doesn't go through tubes too quickly. I've had mine for nearly 2 years now, and still have the original tubes in it (please nobody attack me for this, new ones are actually on the way). None of them have died yet, and I'm usually pretty lazy with my on/off procedures.

The one thing that most people I've talked to say about them (including me, being an owner of one) is that they are not terribly durable. The handle will break first, then the channel switching might start to go. Also I've found that some screws tend to undo themselves.

But, overall for your genres, it should be pretty well suited.
#3
HRDs are OK for some applications, but in my opinion those are fairly limited. In order to really assess whether or not it's a good choice, answer these:

Budget? (We've got this one, $1000 max.)
Genres? (We've got this as well, classic rock, country, and alternative mainly.)
New or Used? ($1000 isn't much new, but goes a long way used.)
Home or Gig? (Wattage is really the question here.)
Closest City? (So we can determine the used market in your area, and maybe even look for a deal.)
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#4
It's a nice amp if you ignore the OD channels and just put a tube screamer or OCD in front. I gigged with one for 5 years and she was a sweetie. Never had any problems except the lame rubber handle.

Hint: A Blues Jr is 99% of the best parts of a HRD.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
Quote by Cajundaddy
Hint: A Blues Jr is 99% of the best parts of a HRD.

+1

If I were to choose based on sound I'd prefer a BJr, but when wattage is a factor the HRD gets more appealing.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#6
The low to mid end fenders are not terribly reliable - lots of cheesy board mounted parts that tend to develop solder joint cracks.

As others have said, the gain channel sucks.

I'd buy a used Mesa Mk series combo or Tremoverb or a used twin (preferably TRRI) before I'd ever touch a HRD. All can be had for <$1000.
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“Life is on the wire…the rest is just waiting” - Papa Wallenda
Substitute the stage for the wire, and he's got it.
#7
I've got one, works fine have it for 3 years and no problems (yes i do regular gig with it) Mainly use if for cleans with pedals. Never liked channel switching amps so I never really checked the overdrive channel. But most overdive/distortion pedals will sound better.

My advice if you want the Marshall why not save some more money for it? Why buy something you might eventualy regret?
#8
Quote by Even Bigger D
The low to mid end fenders are not terribly reliable - lots of cheesy board mounted parts that tend to develop solder joint cracks.

As others have said, the gain channel sucks.

I'd buy a used Mesa Mk series combo or Tremoverb or a used twin (preferably TRRI) before I'd ever touch a HRD. All can be had for <$1000.


There is a lot of internet scuttlebutt about circuit board issues but I have never seen a failed HRD circuit board and Fender sold more of these HRDs than any other amp ever built in history. I do prefer my Mesa to the HRD and bought it for $650 used, but it is only 10% better amp IMO. The HRD is a proven tool for working musicians and can be found in use every day on stages all over the world.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#9
One of the major issues I've heard of, which is not unique to the HRD, is the cheap, board mounted pots. Sit on your amp and you may pop the little ceramic bases in them. Other than that I've never heard of anything too common.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#10
I’ve read that people aren’t too happy with the drive on HRDIII but I do read many reviews where people love the cleans this amp gives and that it is the “working mans” amp. It just seemed like a well-priced amp quality amp but some of the comments make me doubt the quality of it now. I have a TS9DX overdrive pedal, DS1, and Big Muff so I could use those to get a good sounding drive I think.

I could wait and save up extra grand to get that Marshall I’d prefer, I just give myself a little bit of a heart attack when I think about spending that much on an amp. But if it’s worth it I’m willing to spend it to get what I’m actually looking for.

I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin and there’s a guitar center in Brookfield I know I’ve been to before but haven’t really given the amps a try. I’m looking for some input from people who’ve had experience using this amp and others before I get in there and test some out. I don’t wanna be sold an amp I wanna have a good idea before I walk in what to look for. And I'm looking for something in the 30-60 watt range. Mainly for practicing at home but I'd like to be able to gig with it.
Last edited by srh at Mar 19, 2014,
#11
The Achilles heel of the HR Deluxe' sound is that Celestion seventy80. I just changed mine for a Texas Heat and the (IMO) terrible low end disappeared.

I'd rather shove a pair of cacti up my ass than put a seventy80 in anything.
I'm always screwing with my rig. Muh chilluns:
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#12
I have a Hot rod deluxe and I love it. Its a very good amp for the price you pay (I got mine off craigslist for $375). The clean channel is all you could ever ask for from an amp at that price. I only really use the clean channel and through overdrive in front of it.

My suggestion is to get it, and use the extra money to buy a nice overdrive pedal and then have someone change the linear taper pot in the volume to an audio taper. This is because my only complaint about it is that it gets really really loud when you turn it up to 2. But if you change the pot, it will fix this.
-Andrew H
band: syncopated groove punch
#13
Buy this instead:

http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/msg/4354338281.html

Or this:
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/msg/4378187498.html

Or this:
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/msg/4373406163.html

Or this:
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/msg/4377883663.html

Excellent choice here:
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/msg/4377681608.html

Dude, you've got an awesome used market. You shouldn't even be considering buying new. Go try some of these... Particularly that Bandmaster and the Rebel.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
Last edited by tubetime86 at Mar 19, 2014,
#14
^^^ +1

A dozen gig quality amps in your area for less than $500. Go get one!

Keep in mind that 15-20 tube watts is plenty to run with a drummer at a gig. If they mic the kit, just mic your amp. I often find a HRD as part of the back line of stage amps and will always trust it to be toneful and get the job done. In 5 years gigging with a loud rock band I never needed to dime a HRD. They are loudass amps. A Blues Jr would have been plenty.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Mar 19, 2014,
#15
That Bandmaster is incredible, and he might come down to your price range. Next I'd try the Rebel. After that the AC-15 is probably the next best. The Bassman rig is cool, for a cheap package deal, but it's gonna be super clean and a bit dull sounding if it is that late of a model. The Vibrosonic looks cool, but resale is shot I'd guess.

Buy the Bandmaster! Buy it now!

That's just what I saw posted since Saturday. I'm sure there's more.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
Last edited by tubetime86 at Mar 19, 2014,
#16
Quote by Cajundaddy
There is a lot of internet scuttlebutt about circuit board issues but I have never seen a failed HRD circuit board and Fender sold more of these HRDs than any other amp ever built in history. I do prefer my Mesa to the HRD and bought it for $650 used, but it is only 10% better amp IMO. The HRD is a proven tool for working musicians and can be found in use every day on stages all over the world.

mine was repaired 3 times while i had it. all the same circuit board issues.
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