Price paid: $ 240
Sound — 10
At first I had somewhat of a tough time getting a good tone out of this amp. When my Boss sold it to me, the tubes were the original Groove Tubes that sounded thin to me. So I bought a tube probe and some new JJ 6L6 and ECC83 tubes. I installed the new tubes and biased it to the optimal powertube voltage. After that I could dial in a good tone easier. I use various guitars including Stratocasters, Les Pauls, Washburn Idol/7 string, and even a BC Rich Bich. From my experiences, my Epiphone Les Pauls and Fender Strats sound and work the best with this amp. I play lots of rock, heavy metal, and blues music. The Hotrod Deluxe is the perfect amp for me because it can be very loud and it overdrives very well if pushed properly. The amp can be very noisy if turned up loud though especially with distortion or overdrive pedals. It's nothing out of the ordinary though because all my amps feedback a lot at loud volumes. Anyways I keep my settings the same all the time except for the channel volumes. The thing I noticed though is that the 3 band eq doesn't effect the tone all that much. the clean channel sounds very clear and refined especially with a chorus pedal through it. If you turn the volume up on the clean channel past 6-7, it starts to Drive a bit while still sounding clean. On the overdrive channel it sounds a bit undefined, unless you put an overdrive pedal to boost the signal. Once you do that though it sounds kind of like Jimmy Pages tone from the first Zeppelin album. Very warm, overdriven, and clean at the same time. I usually use a Boss SD1 through it to boost the treble and signal. I've also been using a MXR Distortion + and Behringer Vintage Distortion for fuzz. The More overdrive just adds more gain onto the Drive channel. The more overdrive channel is good for hard rock and metal, but it also adds a lot more feedback. So in short the amp by itself can do just about any type of rock music. Just don't expect to get a death metal tone unless you a have a high gain distortion pedal to tweak it with. Overall this amp sounds very good for Classic Rock, older heavy metal, and blues music from my experiences. Not really a distorted amp for death metal and hardcore though.
Overall Impression — 10
I was going to go for the Peavey Valveking 112, but my Boss was selling this for a steal of a price so I went for it. The Fender Hotrod Deluxe fits my needs for a portable tube amp very well. I've been playing for almost 5 years. This is my 3rd tube amp and first tube combo. I also own loads of pedals and about 15+ guitars. For a list check my blog at www.myspace.com/gregblsdeth. If it were stolen, I would be rather angry for various reasons. I would probably buy another combo tube amp. I like the way this amp sounds loud, the clean channel, the volume it's capable of, and the price I paid. I don't like how there's a lot of feedback at higher volumes. Also it's kind of heavy(close to 50lb), but I'm a big guy so it doesn't bother me as much. Especially since the other tube amp I have is a 160lb+ halfstack. This amp is good for all types of rock, and possibly death metal if you use a really high gain distortion pedal. I compared it to the Peavey Valveking before I bought this. I'm usually a Peavey guy when it comes to tube amps, but this one won me over. Overall the Fender Hotrod Deluxe is a great affordable tube combo amplifier. I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice tube combo.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp looks very sturdy and well built. My boss told me he had to replace the LED once, but that's about it. If I were to tour I would probably use it as clean amp to Switch from my main amp a Peavey VTM 60. Overall I say this is a very reliable amp.
Features — 9
Judging from the serial number, this amp was most likely made in 1998. It's American made in Corona, CA and 40 watts rms(180 peak)all tube. This amp uses 2 6L6 tubes in the power section and 3 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes in the preamp section. The amp itself features 3 channels; Clean, Overdrive, and More Overdrive. All the channels can be switched by a footswitch. All channels use the same eq's as well as the presence knob. The clean channel has just a volume knob and a small bright switch that tightens things up a bit. The overdrive channels use a master volume amp setup like the older Fenders, Marshalls, and Peaveys. The Hotrod Deluxe also features an effects loop with inputs near the footswitch input. There's also a spring Reverb unit installed. Other features include 2 inputs for high and low gain, extremely durable rubber handle, 12" Eminence Fender Speaker, and a standby Switch. One other notable feature is that all the knobs go from 1 to 12 instead of 1 to 10. Overall it's a nice package for a tube combo.