Price paid: $ 649
Purchased from: George's Music Store
Sound — 9
I mostly use my Strat with this amp. It gets a nice chimey sound from the clean channel (which sounds stellar), and the Drive channel combined with the Strat are great for blues. It is perfect for what I play, and when I occasionally want to play heavier stuff (this amp does not have enough gain for metal), I plug the input of this amp up to the headphone jack of my G-DEC practice amp. That way I can get a great metal sound. Also, this amp is not very noisy on either clean or Drive, and I never had it distort on a clean setting. I don' think the Drive channels sound quite as good as the clean channel, which is amazing. However, they still sound great.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, The Hot Rod Deluxe is great for funk, blues, jazz, and lighter rock. I play music from SRV, Hendrix, and Phish frequently and it gets the job done. I bought it after I had been playing for about 4 1/2 years, and it was my first tube amp. I think it's great for anyone Who wants a powerful, good sounding tube amp, at a relatively low price. What I love about it is that it bridges the gap between a practice and a performance amp. If it were stolen, I would definately buy the same one again. When I was considering this amp, I was also considering the Line 6 Spider valve amp. I found this one sounded much better at low volumes, and I prefer an amp that you can just plug into and play, whereas I found myself scrolling through menus with the Spider Valve. The Spider valve may have cool effects, but the tone was just not the same as the Fender. To sum it up, I think the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is the perfect amp for anyone Who wants a powerful amp that can handle light rock, funk, jazz, and blues, and wants to get their first tube amp. I couldn't ask for more!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I am very careful with my amp, so I don't know how well it can take a beating. This amp has never broken down, and the tubes are fine. I would assume that you can depend on this amp fine, and that it is very durable.
Features — 8
The Hot Rod Deluxe is a 40-watt all-tube amp, with a single 12 inch speaker, and 3 channels. It does come with a footswitch to go from "clean" to "drive" to "more drive". It's a pretty versatile amp, the "clean" channel is good for chimey Hendrix like sounds (great with a Strat), as well as Jazz, which I play quite frequently. The distortion channel has 2 functions: Drive and More Drive (this is why it's a 3 channel amp). The "drive" channel is great for lighter rock, and blues stuff, like SRV. The "more drive" channel gives a bit more punch, and is good for heavier rock, and soloing. Keep in mind this amp does not have enough gain and punch to handle the metal stuff, so if you're a metal player, this is not the amp for you. Not a bad thing at all, it's a quality amp, you just won't be able to get a real heavy sound suitable for metal if that's what your looking for. This amp also comes with reverb, which I believe is a solid-state reverb. The only complaint I have about the reverb is that I find it a bit sensitive. I keep it at about 3, and it gives just enough reverb for me. This amp does not have any other effects, like flanger or tremolo. This is also not a bad thing, I actually prefer to use effects from pedals than straight from the amp. However, some people may want more effects on their amp. This amp has more than enough power for me. I use it for small to medium sized gigs, and I've never found that I need more volume. However, it's not to loud for practicing in your room.