Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: White House of Music
Sound — 8
Connected to the amp is a Fender Strat outfitted with Lace Red Silver Blue pups and I must admit, it sounds amazing, whether it be driven, or clean. The Strat being my main axe, I admit that I haven't really tweaked the settings when I plug my Jaguar HH in, although I have gotten some pretty intense tones from the more Drive setting. Specializing in blues, the obvious answer to it suiting my needs is 'yes'. I was originally set on a Vox AC30, but I wasn't able to convince the owner to trade and I wasn't set to buy one new. As far as noise goes, there is a bit of a hum when I turn OD on, especially with the Strat, but that's expected. There is no noise that is noticeable enough to dismantle the quality of the amp. As expected, the cleans on this amp are amazing. The OD, however, I felt was lacking. While it does a decent job at a mild blues tone, I feel that it loses a bit of character when the onboard effects are used. Fortunately, this amp takes extremely well to pedals and the tone I get from my Fulltone is stunning, and when I pair it with the more Drive setting, I can get a pretty heavy tone for some borderline metal stuff... But it's still a Fender. Being a bedroom musician, I've never really cranked this thing past '2', but even at that volume, this amp bellows. This amp would do great at a medium sized venue and have no trouble being heard. As I said earlier, this amp is specialized in the styles I play.
Overall Impression — 9
As for the fit, this amp does extremely well. I'm rather torn when it comes to what style I want to play predominantly, but this amp does my main genre exceptionally well, as well as my subgenres, which consists of harder rock (think post Vheissu Thrice). I've been playing for close to six years now and I've acquired a few toys. Those toys include a Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal, a Fender Blacktop Jaguar, and a Fender MIM Strat. The entirety of my setup is able to sound great from this amp, albeit with a little tweaking. As far as let downs, there isn't a whole lot. I bought this amp without much forethought, but I don't regret it in the least. From overdriven rock, to singing cleans, and everything in between - this amp does it all. If it were lost or stolen, I would have no problem buying it again. I love most everything about this amp. I am able to manipulate the controls to find the tone I want with relative ease. The only real thing I'm not really fond of is the Drive channel, but that's not a big issue. As I've said before, I did want to buy a Vox AC30, but I didn't find one for my price. Despite my initial desires, I found this and decided to "deal with it" until I could get a Vox. Upon having this amp for awhile, I've found that it suits my style perfectly. Not only has it met my expectations, it's exceeded them. This is a great amp and I would have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for sparkling cleans and the ability to get down and dirty without losing character.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This amp is solid as far as construction goes. I've yet to find any flaws in the craftsmanship of it and it's yet to even be marked, despite being transported quite often. As far as gigging without a backup, I would trust this thing no problem. I haven't had to change the tubes on it yet, but that's only due to time.
Features — 9
Up for review is the 40 watt tube amp, the Hot Rod Deluxe, purchased new in 2011. It features two "and a half" channels if you count the "More Drive" variant as a channel. The other two channels are clean and overdrive. All are able to be controlled via foot switch, which is included. While it isn't necessarily a channel, there is a "more bright" button which is only able to be switched on and off on the amp. Also, Fender has two input jacks, #2 being the brighter of the two, if I remember correctly. The controls include the standard Treble, Bass, and Mid, as well as Drive, Presence, Reverb, Volume, and Master Volume. Included with the amp was a cloth cover. This amp has all of the features that I need and wanted. As far as versatility, it has all the versatility I need in an amp. I play mainly blues and hard rock; styles that Fender specializes in.