Monday, October 20, 2008

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

I think it's about time to run through a few amps again. I did a whole week of amps here on the site and it seemed to get quite a few responses, so, since no one else is sending me stories, and I've told most of my guitar stories, we'll go with amps.

I saw this one listed on Craig's List and I was jonesin' for a new amp. It's a pretty standard Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and it was made in the USA the first year of production. A guy had bought it in 1996 (I believe that's the correct year) and put it in his living room and played it about once a month. He had a cover for it and it basically looked brand new. I went over to check it out and he couldn't turn it up much because he had a toddler asleep. So, not only did he not play it much, he didn't play it over about volume level .5 or so. It had the original footswitch and was just a really sweet amp.

These Hot Rod amps from Fender are great sounding stock amps in my opinion and I'm sure you can download about a gazillion mods and tweaks from the internets and I'm sure you could upgrade the speaker(s) and the tubes and you could even hire a cool guy with a Stevie Ray Vaughn hat on to make it sound just like Texas. But you know what? It sounds pretty darn good just how it is and, for the money, that's a good deal.

Not everyone can spend an extra $600 on a used $350 amp.

Now the downside of this amp, and the reason the guy who originally owned it sold it, and the reason I eventually sold it is that they are just too much amp for most of us home guitarists. I don't gig electrically any more (though I do play lots of acoustic gigs...who woulda thought?), so I don't need a whole heck of a lot of amp. I've got my Blues Junior which is really a scaled back version of this Hot Rod Deluxe when it comes down to it. That's pretty much what I did...I sold the Hot Rod Deluxe and downsized to the Blues Junior. I'm pretty sure that if I had an electric gig I could actually do the gig with the Junior mic'd in the PA. I've got some friends that tour and they have three guitarists in the band and they each tour with Blues Juniors and their own distinct pedal boards and they save a ton of room in the van, they save their backs each night hauling gear, and they sound great.

Anyway, the Hot Rod Deluxe is a great amp if you need lots of power and have a strong back. Cranked up to 11 it sounds fantastic.

You can hear this amp on my MySpace page, click on the song Gone Long Gone and (after the intro) all the lead guitar work was done by the great Dave Quillen using this amp and a Nash Telecaster I have profiled elsewhere here on the ol' blog. One take Dave.


Anonymous said...

I just got a used Hot Rod Deluxe (01 USA model) that is mint and sounds freakin' perfect for what I like to play. I actually had a Blues Junior on order at my local music store when I found the HRD on kijiji for less cash. Couldn't pass it up. The owner of the music store sold me a little volume control for the effects loop that lets me get the tubes hot enough to get the coolest tone without the full volume.

I love the HRD and thanks to this blog I will never part with it. I know because my one that got away was a '72 Les Paul Custom and I still think of her every day.

Anonymous said...

Several months ago I decided to get back into electric guitars. (I sold all my gear years ago after a huge case of band burn out) Anyway on a chance visit to my local music store, I got hooked on a used 2 year old mexican strat that just blew away everything in the store. So now I needed an amp. I was looking at a blues junior, which is what I demo'd the strat thru, when I ran into a great deal on a used Hot Rod Deluxe. I love the clean channel and have learned to get the clean tone dialed in and then build on that. The tone controls work very differently than my old boogie. After several weeks of experimenting and just getting used to how this Fender works, I've got some very useable guitar tones. I wish I'd had a rig with this sound along with my boogie back in the 80's when I was playing every weekend. For a bit of crunch I add my old DOD overdrive pedal. I don't use the drive channel at all, too muddy, but the more drive channel, if set correctly with the drive dialed back quite a bit can really sing on leads. So for a total of $550 bucks, guitar and amp, I've got a real nice sounding setup. Thirty years ago I spent more than that on my Mesa Boogie. I don't play out anymore but just wanted a decent rig to play on at home. I turn it up to 2 or 3 and it's way loud. I do like having a presence control and I use the effects loop and more drive channel. The blues junior is a fine amp but has none of those features. I play with the HRD daily, no problems so far.