Price paid: A$ 1349
Purchased from: Mega Music
Sound — 9
The stock standard Deluxe is a very practical single 12 speaker model. The clean sound is where its at for this amp. Very smooth and crystal clear. Played with a 56' Relic Strat through the clean channel with the volume on 5 I could easily pull off great natural breakup. With a single coil guitar your natural break up volume point sits around 4 or 5. Otherwise you can sit anywhere under 4 and get a very sweet glassy tone without any added crunch. Fender Hot Rod DeluxeOn the Drive channel you have access to an independent gain Switch which means if you want a bit more added bite you can run your master volume a bit hotter and back of your gain to get a very raspy crunch without it being over the top. The amp has 2 inputs 1 low and 1 high gain input. If you're a Les Paul (or anything humbucking) person, you can utilize this feature by running your humbucking guitar into the low input taking a slight edge off your volume so you can juice up those valves that extra 10%. Now we Switch on the More Drive setting which effectively crunches your original Drive signal by a couple of notches, in turn adding a boost of output. Great for Solo boosts or staging levels eg to lift to a chorus in a song. As a high gain alternative rock/metal amp it does get gritty however the gain sound is definitely more suited to your blues and classic rock players. Otherwise if you have a hot little distortion pedal you just can't bare to part with, the impressive clean channel makes your pedal soar! (Suggested Pedal choices to go with this amp Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde or Route 66, Ibanez TS9 or TS808 Tube Screamer or a T-Rex Alberta.) One of my loves for this amp is that it naturally reacts to the amount of attack out of your strumming hand (as all good valve amps should) so you can get a massive amount of control over your dynamics. You attack hard you get a bit of bite/crunch, you play lighter and you still have that clean control ala Clapton or Stevie Ray.
Overall Impression — 9
Although these amps will be more suited to Blues, Rock, Country and Jazz players, you can't overlook its blank canvasappeal. By that I mean, the clean channel is where its at for these amps. If you want to play any style music outside of what the amp traditionally offers eg you're specific gain of choice, then plug in your favourite pedal and you're sound will become more powerful than ever before.. If you're looking for a smaller wattage single 12 speaker combo without sacrificing thinner tone, the Hot Rod Deluxe is one to look at. Whether you're a bedroom player, gigging muso, or just live and breathe anything Fender, come check out the what the range of Hot Rod Deluxe amps can offer you.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Texas Red & Emerald Green With all their style and pizazz these new editions to Fender are proving to be a great seller! With a Vintage 30 at the helm the Texas Red & Emerald green gives you everything that the standard Deluxe offers but with an added amount of grit. Celestion Vintage 30's are traditionally very smooth and sweet yet when driven gives you a nice big growl. These 2 amps are no exception. If your a purist looking for that slightly more Vintage flare, for an extra couple of hundred dollars more you can get a bigger bolder single 12 with funky cosmetic to boot. White Lightning White amps.. Very cool! The White lightning houses a Celestion Century Vintage speaker. Very similar in tone to the Vintage 30. You get a nice low end growl when playing chords at a decent volume but there is still clarity on the top range. The Century Vintage however is 2.27 kg lighter than a Vintage 30 which does alter its tone ever so slightly. But at its core it still has the great characteristics of a traditional Vintage 30 speaker tone. Wine Red A wolf in sheep's clothing! This is my favourite sounding setup. The Wine Red Hot Rod Deluxe sports a Celestion G12 P80 which has all the creamy tone of a Jensen but still a ferocious low end bite. Its clean tone has crystal clear clarity without being tinny and in your ear. Not to mention a cool Vintage crunch you can pull out without it being too dominantly gainy. So if you're chasing a classy smooth sounding single 12' setup with loads of potential this one has definitely set the bar pretty high.
Features — 9
The industry standard for a portable, powerful, full-featured tube amp, the 40-watt Hot Rod Deluxe is one of the best gig ready amps under $2000. Featuring historic Fender clean sounds and classic crunch pushed out through a 12" 8-ohm Fender Special Design Eminence speaker, this amp oozes tone.Fender Texas Red Stack Packed with three channels-"normal," "drive: and "more drive"-with gain and master controls for the "drive" channel and a "bright" Switch for the "normal" channel. You can pull off everything from Jazz and Country right through to Blues and Rock! Other features include FX loop, Fender spring reverb, Vintage style chicken head knobs all finished off in black textured vinyl with silver grille cloth.