Since it first became available, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has been one of the most popular tube amps on the market from Fender or anyone else.
Now, reviewers who once gave it positive reviews but had a few qualifications to mention now rave unequivocally about the value and real tube sound you can get from this Fender amp.
It is a 40-watt combo amp with a single 12-inch speaker, what just about every regularly gigging guitarist wants for versatility – and it’s easy to transport, too.
Technically a combo amp because an electronic preamp helps along the real tubes inside, the currently available Hot Rod Deluxe III Fender’s latest version of this modern classic — is getting even more popular every time someone new plays one.
And since it price in at less than $1,000, it’s within reach of value-conscious players, too.
It’s not the cheapest amp on the market, of course, but it’s just about the least expensive way to get real tube sound with that all-important Fender logo on the front.
The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III now features a new variety of Celestion speaker that tightens up the sometimes weak base response of previous generations and bumps up the character of the sound when you push the drive channel hard.
The tone circuit has also been worked over to give players a tighter overdrive and some much-needed punch in the midrange.
Even the volume and tone pots have been refined to give a linear sweep that’s smoother.
Stage players will also appreciate the non-reflective control panel — new in the third generation — if they make frequent onstage adjustments.
It’s about time that you’re able to see what you’re doing.
The footswitch has even been reworked to make it tougher and ready to pop into your pedalboard.
Add your own stomp box to give the simple Hot Rod Deluxe a few of the features it’s missing.
Designed to be a no-frills amp choice, you don’t get many effects to play with without adding another piece of equipment.
An effects loop and Fender’s spring reverb are there, however.
True tube sound, a truly reasonably price and the Fender name on it… Those three things make this a good amplifier choice for serious but value-minded players.
You haven’t heard clean until you’ve listened to it from a 6L6-equipped Fender amp, and short of the hand-wired custom made stuff, it is as good a place as any to get it. The Deluxe III’s normal channel has all of the shimmers to make single-coils sparkle, but it’s the room-filling bass, combined with the slightly scooped mid-century that completes this sound.
We have to be aware that all of the aforementioned is significantly improved when using a high-quality cable between guitar and amp.
As you flip up the wick, you can introduce some light overdrive, particularly with stronger pickups, but we’re talking about gig volumes such as that. With or without pedals, this station alone will out-shout most normal amount, acoustic drummers.
- 40-watt tube amp
- 1 x 12″ Celestion G12P-80 speaker
- 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes, 2 x 6L6 power tubes, and 1 solid-state rectifier
- 2 inputs
- 3 selectable channels (Normal, Drive, and More Drive)
- Volume, Drive, Treble, Bass, Middle, Master, Reverb, and Presence controls; Bright and Drive switches
- Spring reverb effect
- Extension speaker jack
- Black textured-vinyl covering with Blackface-style black/silver grille cloth
- 2-button, 3-function footswitch included
- Amplifier cover included
I’d indicate the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III is the perfect plug to get a mature musician, who’s looking for quality tones, as opposed to merely being the loudest person in the room. It is a perfect gigging amp for this musician: it is highly likely they are past the days of trying to impress folks with the magnitude of the pile.
In case you’re searching for high-end, tube-driven blues or blues rock, I would suggest getting down to the local guitar shop and cranking out a couple of licks. I would be quite surprised if you did not enjoy it!