Hot Rod Deluxe review by Fender

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.8 (211 votes)
Fender: Hot Rod Deluxe

Sound — 6
I play mostly blues and classic rock through this amp, and if you throw a strat through it, it's perfect for jamming to some Chili Peppers. I have an old '63 telecaster that gets real bright through the deluxe, but the overdrive doesn't really sound too great with a humbucker pickup. Whenever I run my SG or ES-335 through it, the amp basically just gives it too much of this creamy "punchy" tone that's not too great; I'd prefer something a little crunchier, like The Allman Brothers tone. But all in all, amazing clean sound and not too bad an overdrive. A Fender guitar with this amp in overdrive sounds sweet, and to understand how it sounds with a humbucking guitar listen to "Flirtin' With Disaster" by Molly Hatchet.

Overall Impression — 6
My overall impression of this amp is that it's a good stepping - stone from a medium grade tube amp and expensive professional grade. It's a high power, loud, dependable gigging amp but it just doesn't have the best overdriven sound, but it's right in the affordable price range for a teenage Rocker looking to boost op the wattage on their rig. I'd recommend this to someone who likes a dirty strat sound through a big Fender tube amp, or if you like a real bright Stray Cats style tone. Hope this review helped.

Reliability & Durability — 5
So far as I've used it for the last three years this amp has been impressively tough. I've brought it to a few gigs in a rental car with no shocks when mine broke and this amp must have been airborne for half the ride!.. And it still performed perfectly. Before that though the power did tend to cut out often and switch to the clean channel, although it indicated that it was on the overdrive when in fact it wasn't. I could never figure out what it was but when I brought it to my local music store in Eastport, they couldn't figure it out either. However, I got it back a month later when they said they couldn't fix it and it's been working fine since, so props to them for apparently exorcising my amp?

Features — 7
As far as features go, this is a relatively basic amp. It's got plenty of knobs and three channels to choose from - clean, drive, and MORE DRIVE! It's real convenient for gigging since it's got a footswitch to flip from channel to channel, and 40 watts of IN-YOUR-FACE tube power. It also has a bright switch for using the clean channel, but you probably won't need it unless you're jamming rockabilly since this is a seriously bright amp. For the clean channel, it's just got the bright switch and a volume; the overdrive channel has a Drive control and is levelled out by the master volume. It has adjustments for low, mid and high range along with a presence knob and a reverb knob too.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It will give you those Black Keys tones with the Clean channel or Drive channel at a low setting. The spring reverb is deliciously vintage sounding with a nice shimmer at high settings. It has a very swampy vibe and it LOVES FUZZ!! My EQD Hoof and Fulltone Soul-bender mk2 sound completely massive through it. The Drive channel is higher settings kinda rob the swampy mojo from the circuit, but low settings (1, 2 at the most) is like a little flour in the gravy. Love the reverb and the sheer brute volume of it. Mine was modded in the reverb section, bias and Drive channel. I don't know the detail and don't care. A great vintage swampy mess! Mine is Tweed with ox-blood grill. Lovin' what it does.
    I think the people that comment the clean is "beautiful" and that it has nice reverb must have never played a deluxe reverb or a twin... Coming from a twin or deluxe reverb to this hot rod, the cleans are terrible and the reverb sounds mechanical.... I would say this amp is good for blues or something. but the OD channel isn't very good either.. if you want to get a clean amp as starting point for pedals, then go for a deluxe reverb at the least... the only good thing about this amp is that is a cheap all tube... "OK"... no great.
    To be clear - when I say "Twin" i mean twin reverb! best amp ever!