I’m having a problem with my tube amp - a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp, which I got new, less than six months ago.

Today when I turned up for my band’s practice, the clean channel sounded very vibrant and defined. But by the end (without me messing around with any settings) it was muddy and very distorted (for a clean channel).

I’m sure this has happened before, where for no reason, my tone has just been muddier than usual. Surely I don’t already need new tubes (I only play a couple of hours a day usually) - so I’m struggling to think what could be causing this. I gig a lot, so it’s taken some knocks, but nothing it shouldn’t be able to handle…

When you gig do you push the amp? As with practice... It could well be the valves...

My suggestion is take to a local recommended tech. It's always good to have someone look over your amp every once in a while anyway. So yea, take it to a tech, but it could definitely be the valves.
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fine, screw the cheese sandwich if you must...

although i could be wrong, i'm just going to through a new thought into this:

How long was the practice? how loud were you playing? it might be a case of your ears reacting to the loud high frequencies, and your hearing is slightly de-sensitized. it happens all the time to me at work. even a few minutes with a loud drummer will "distort" the way I hear things.

It might however be a case of tubes, or even just the speaker becoming more broken in.
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You may have had a faulty valve or something :/
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Faulty tubes?

Might as well anyways, don't those Hot Rods come with Groove Tubes anyways?
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Grooves Tubes = not good?

If it really is the tubes, then surely I shouldn't have to pay for them? Hopefully I'm under warranty, seeing as it's only been six months.
^You'll definitley be under warranty. And GTs aren't regarded that highly on here for reasons I don't quite understand. But then I've never used them
it could be a number of things: firstly, when you immediately turn an amp up loud, your ears haven't quite adjusted to it and that somehow makes it sound brilliant with just about any half-decent amp (my Vox AD50VT does this, for example). Once your ears adjust to it, it starts to sound a bit less exciting.

Secondly, I'm not speaking from experience about the HRD, but a lot of people on this forum have negative things to say about the HRD's overdrive, although it might just be the drive channel they are talking about. So that could also be the problem, but i honestly don't know what i'm talking about here, so i'll shut up about it

Thirdly, it could be because the tubes have warmed up, or because a tube (probably a power tube) has started to burn out

Finally - I just noticed this in your post, but sometimes, you will love your tone, and other times, on the same settings, you'll be really dissatisfied with it. And that can be caused by too many things to list.
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Finally - I just noticed this in your post, but sometimes, you will love your tone, and other times, on the same settings, you'll be really dissatisfied with it. And that can be caused by too many things to list.

Including sexual frustration.
Sexual frustration aside - I'm sure it never sounded quite this bad before!

How bad of a knock would the amp have needed to take for a tube to become faulty?
Well it really doesn't have a set scale, like you hit it this hard, tubes will break - Have a look at the power tubes, is one burning brighter than the other? Is the filament glowing in either of them?

Although I have to say it is probably the preamp valves if anything. Replace them and see?