Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Hot Rod Deluxe, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Fender in the Hot Rod Deluxe series.

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Eroachguitar 01/10/2012

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe : la opinión de Eroachguitar (content in English)

"Good clean channel, skip the overdrive."

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Fender has been the golden standard for guitar amplification for over 50 years. From the earliest RCA-inspired circuits to modern models like the Supersonic, Fender has been a prime player in the game every step of the way.

The Hot Rod Deluxe was introduced in 1995 as part of the Hot Rod series, which also included the Hot Rod Deville 4x10.

The Hot Rod Deluxe is a 1x12, 40 watt combo amplifier, powered by two 6L6GC's and voiced by three 12AX7A preamp valves. with a single channel and 3 switchable levels of gain.It has a preamp line out jack, as well as a power amp line out jack that allows it to use an extension speaker cabinet. There's also a footswitch jack for an included 2 button, 3 function footswitch.


The Hot Rod Deluxe is a master volume amp, allowing you to dial as much warmth into your clean tone or as much distortion into your overdrive as you want. A 3-band EQ helps further shape your tone, while a Presence control adds clean treble and a Reverb level controls the built-in spring reverb.

A rather interesting feature of the Hotrod Deluxe is its 3 stages of overdrive. Rather than having 3 separate channels crammed into one small combo chassis, Fender went the economical way and added an extra preamp tube to stack extra gain stages into the mix, essentially just adding more and more distortion to the bass tone. And this is where they strike out.

When demoing the Hot Rod Deluxe, one thing becomes quickly evident. The overdrive is pretty nasty. It's rattly, unfocused, and harsh, and I suspect the Jensen Special Design speaker that comes with the amp doesn't help matters.

The Clean tone is decent, however, and takes pedals rather well. And for this purpose the amp makes a solid grab-n-go or even a backline amp. But, I mean really, it's a Fender. They couldn't get away with having an amp with a bad clean tone. It's just sacrilege.


The Clean Tone, depending on gain setting, can go from sparkly, spanky clean to slightly overdriven, tweedy goodness. The use of humbuckers drives the amp even farther, whereas single coils still allow the amp to breathe a bit by comparison.

Unfortunately, the clean tone, for most players, is the only usable tone in this amp. The Drive mode isn't terrible, but it isn't great either. It's a bit of a rattly omen of what's to come with the More Drive mode. More Drive pushes the amp into all out trainwreck (and not in the Ken Fischer sense) territory. The tones in this mode are harsh, muddy, piercing... it's just bad. It does a fine job of making your guitar sound like a $75 beater fresh out of the dumpster. Which is fine, if you're into that sort of thing. Not so much, if you're not.

EQ settings are decently responsive, though not so much in the overdrive modes. The amp has an underlying harshness no matter how its set, and I suspect the speaker choice has a large influence on that. Reverb is economical and mediocre in depth and texture.


The Hot Rod Deluxe serves best as one of those amps you buy for $300 on Craigslist, take home, do some mods to it, upgrade the speaker, and use it for a small gig amp where most of your non-clean tones will be coming from pedals. I don't consider it an intrinsically versatile amplifier.

The Hot Rod Deluxe III is said to have made considerable improvements on the overdrive modes, and I've yet to hear or play one, but I can only hope this is true. Still, the Hot Rod Deluxe has its uses, and it's not the worst amp out there, but I can think of several other models of Fender combo I would request as backline long before this one.