The Answer Is Hot Rod Deluxe... Isn't It?

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MrBumpMrBump Frets: 575
I'm thinking about a 1x12 valve combo, less than a grand, pokey enough for gigging, cause I don't want to lug Egnater Renegade head and cab around all the time. 

I love the idea of a simple, single channel amp, but I'm not wedded to that. 

Amazing, Fendery cleans is where I am, with the amp providing a little dirt, think Richard Thompson.

Research seems to be pointing me towards the HRD, which sounds like the most sensible option, doesn't it?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9932
    I avoided them for years because everyone else seemed to use them and of course I know better, but I grabbed a new HRD IV in the autumn and it's a really really good amp. 

    I need a fair bit of gain occasionally but that's not the core of what I do, so pedals are fine for me. 

    Much as I like to be contrary and plough my own furrow, some things are popular for good reason. It's a great tool. 
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  • PhiltrePhiltre Frets: 847
    HRD is certainly a cheap and good option. You can pick up a s/h one for £300 - £400. The dirty channel is....OK, but a dirt pedal into the clean channel sounds better.
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9750
    Demo the Blues Deluxe too - they are quite different.

    Little bit cheaper too.

    "My belief is that bands are made up of bass, drums and a bunch of novelty acts."

    - Nick Mason.

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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1609
    Yup. Makes sense. I had a fantastic Omega modded one which I kick myself daily for selling. Would sell a kidney to get it back....
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  • simonksimonk Frets: 1225
    Makes absolute sense.

    I’d still look for a secondhand Mesa Express or similar if you had up to a grand to spend though.
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 787
    edited January 11
    I'm very happy with my HRD IV. I prefer the sound to the HRDIII I had previously (which is probably largely down to the speaker) and it's slightly lighter too.  I only use the clean channel and get the crunch/dirt from pedals.

    I use the HRD IV with a Blues Cube Artist live, not for the volume but to give more spread. That's a good amp too. But I prefer the cleans on the HRD IV, so I'd choose an HRD IV if I had to choose between them. Having said that, if I wanted to get some break up sound from the amp (instead of pedals), I prefer the Blues Cube for that.

    It's not a competition.
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  • PhiltrePhiltre Frets: 847
    I watched Danhere and Mickhere's YT video on "how to get more from your HRD" and gave the dirty channel another go. Rolled off the treble and upped the bass on the EQ and, to be honest, it didn't sound too bad. YMMV.


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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 10208
    Philtre said:

    Danhere and Mickhere 
    Genuine lol :)
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 439
    I really liked the dirty channel on mine. But the cleans can be a bit hard-sounding, especially with humbuckers, and basically they are too bloody loud. Notoriously the volume goes from 'off' to 'much too loud' in the space of about 0.00005 degrees of travel.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 19961
    Never really been a fan.
    I'd always take a Fender Deluxe Reverb over the HR.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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  • PhiltrePhiltre Frets: 847
    octatonic said:
    Never really been a fan.
    I'd always take a Fender Deluxe Reverb over the HR.
    I have both. I like both for what each does. The HRD is grunty, while the DR is...purer.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7497
    Stuckfast said:
    I really liked the dirty channel on mine. But the cleans can be a bit hard-sounding, especially with humbuckers, and basically they are too bloody loud. Notoriously the volume goes from 'off' to 'much too loud' in the space of about 0.00005 degrees of travel.
    But you can buy a little box for a few quid and fix that. 

    The HRD is almost ubiquitous make louder box from pub gigs to big stages so I guess Fender got something right. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • not_the_djnot_the_dj Frets: 6038
    Stuckfast said:
    I really liked the dirty channel on mine. But the cleans can be a bit hard-sounding, especially with humbuckers, and basically they are too bloody loud. Notoriously the volume goes from 'off' to 'much too loud' in the space of about 0.00005 degrees of travel.
    What version do you have?

    My VIII volume works fine. Haven’t tried a IV. 
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  • exocetexocet Frets: 627
    edited January 11
    Sounds like the right option to me. I really like the clean and am happy to use pedals for dirt.
    My only reservation about recommending them is that in my view, they are "gigging amps" and are too loud for home use for most people. I use a Roland Blues Cube at home, much better usable tone (clean and dirty) at typical home user volumes. Live, there is no contest, HRD all the way. I have the George Benson model.
    Just before christmas, I played a gig with both amps - partly so that the bass player could hear me (large stage) and partly because I could.....used a stereo delay patch to feed both amps. Trying to get a balance between both amps was interesting. I had the HRD on "3" (Clean Channel) but had to have the Blues Cube running in 85 watt mode with the Master 3/4 open in order to get anywhere close. 
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  • RiftAmpsRiftAmps Frets: 1400
    edited January 11
    I was never a fan of the HRD until @ThorpyFX got a mkIV in his bunker and that's a good sounding amplifier. It seems every wedding/function band guitarist has one and they cover a lot of ground with them. Probably a great workhorse amp.
    *I no longer offer replacement speaker baffles*
    Rift Amplification
    Handwired Guitar Amplifiers
    Brackley, Northamptonshire
    www.riftamps.co.uk

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  • martinwmartinw Frets: 1989
    simonk said:
    Makes absolute sense.

    I’d still look for a secondhand Mesa Express or similar if you had up to a grand to spend though.
    +1.

    The HRD is a good amp, but for £1000 I'd spread the net a bit wider.

    They do benefit from a speaker change though (subjectively) and you can factor that in.
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  • exocetexocet Frets: 627
    RiftAmps said:
    I was never a fan of the HRD until @ThorpyFX got a mkIV in his bunker and that's a good sounding amplifier. It seems every wedding/function band guitarist has one and they cover a lot of ground with them. Probably a great workhorse amp.
    I agree - the "wedding / function band" thing has a certain stigma attached to it but once you get over that, it's easy to understand why they sold so many. That said, if "dirt" was my core tone, I wouldn't use one.
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2533
    They are Fenders best selling combo ever!  They must have something going for them.
    In practice you can get a very usable live sound out of them easily and they are reliable and flexible. I bought mine a few years back as a backup to my vintage valve amp and because it looked shiny and new for those posh gigs. It's been a a great work horse and I'd buy another in a heart beat. I've used it live exclusivly for the last two years.
    The volume taper and speaker have been argued about all over the web, but most combos out in the wild are working for people just as they are. The George Benson model is an interesting take on the model.
    If you only play in a limited genre of music there may be more suitable options available, but for working musicians they have discovered it's a gem.

    If you need convincing, buy a used one. If you don't get on with it you can flip it and get your money back. Whats not to like.


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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3717
    Most people do find the volume taper annoying, leading me to sell over 1000 Lion tamers in the last year 

    https://reverb.com/item/9884039-fender-hot-rod-volume-module

    The HRD is now my main giiging amp across 4 bands. It cost less than £400 2nd hand, sounds great, is plenty loud enough and a doddle to repair due to the vast knowledge contributed by people like ICBM and others across the web. The design does have some weak points but all in all it's a solid, reliable and well spec'ed 1 x 12"combo that gets the job done. 

    I tried a few dirt pedals but settled on a Soul Food for my basic tone. the EHX Soulfood is a pretty organic overdrive into an HRD and preferable to the amps own dirt IMO BUT you can get some cool tines out the drive channel, just stay away from the more drive button
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • munckeemunckee Frets: 2341
    Danny1969 said:
    Most people do find the volume taper annoying, leading me to sell over 1000 Lion tamers in the last year 

    https://reverb.com/item/9884039-fender-hot-rod-volume-module

    The HRD is now my main giiging amp across 4 bands. It cost less than £400 2nd hand, sounds great, is plenty loud enough and a doddle to repair due to the vast knowledge contributed by people like ICBM and others across the web. The design does have some weak points but all in all it's a solid, reliable and well spec'ed 1 x 12"combo that gets the job done. 

    I tried a few dirt pedals but settled on a Soul Food for my basic tone. the EHX Soulfood is a pretty organic overdrive into an HRD and preferable to the amps own dirt IMO BUT you can get some cool tines out the drive channel, just stay away from the more drive button
    Have tried the lion tamer and can vouch that it makes an enormous difference to home usability.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 19961
    ESBlonde said:
    They are Fenders best selling combo ever!  They must have something going for them.

    This is true but it is also a little reductive.

    It is at the right price point for a lot of people and it sounds acceptable to good most of the time.
    Clean channel volume taper is weird (2 is louder than most people can use) and a lot of people don't like the drive.
    I think the FX loop sucks as well.

    40w is too loud for most gigs these days too.

    I like using a Zendrive or SOV2 with it myself.
    I find the more 'transparent' drives don't do it any favours.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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  • 545454545454 Frets: 58
    I gigged a Blues Deluxe for a few years, pretty solid and dependable - they're great value amps, especially second hand. But if you're happy to spend up to £1000 for Fendery cleans, I reckon it's worth checking out a Deluxe Reverb for comparison
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 1914
    edited January 11
    Danny1969 said:
    Most people do find the volume taper annoying, leading me to sell over 1000 Lion tamers in the last year 

    https://reverb.com/item/9884039-fender-hot-rod-volume-module

    The HRD is now my main giiging amp across 4 bands. It cost less than £400 2nd hand, sounds great, is plenty loud enough and a doddle to repair due to the vast knowledge contributed by people like ICBM and others across the web. The design does have some weak points but all in all it's a solid, reliable and well spec'ed 1 x 12"combo that gets the job done. 

    I tried a few dirt pedals but settled on a Soul Food for my basic tone. the EHX Soulfood is a pretty organic overdrive into an HRD and preferable to the amps own dirt IMO BUT you can get some cool tines out the drive channel, just stay away from the more drive button
    I wouldn't even call it a taper. It's like nothing, nothing, nothing, then standing a yard from the Hiroshima bomb.

    The clean channel is lovely but I found the drive channels utterly unusable. 

    Is a Vox AC not on your radar?
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1609
    Hattigol said:
    Danny1969 said:
    Most people do find the volume taper annoying, leading me to sell over 1000 Lion tamers in the last year 

    https://reverb.com/item/9884039-fender-hot-rod-volume-module

    The HRD is now my main giiging amp across 4 bands. It cost less than £400 2nd hand, sounds great, is plenty loud enough and a doddle to repair due to the vast knowledge contributed by people like ICBM and others across the web. The design does have some weak points but all in all it's a solid, reliable and well spec'ed 1 x 12"combo that gets the job done. 

    I tried a few dirt pedals but settled on a Soul Food for my basic tone. the EHX Soulfood is a pretty organic overdrive into an HRD and preferable to the amps own dirt IMO BUT you can get some cool tines out the drive channel, just stay away from the more drive button
    I wouldn't even call it a taper. It's like nothing, nothing, nothing, then standing a yard from the Hiroshima bomb.

    The clean channel is lovely but I found the drive channels utterly unusable. 

    Is a Vox AC not on your radar?
    You can buy upgrade pots to sort that. They only cost about £8-£10 each, and you don’t even need a soldering iron. Push in.....allegedly...
    That’ll sort it for you. 
    I had the same thing with a HR Deville 4x10. Nothing, nothing, full volume with a hollow Gretsch screaming....
    Permanently damaged the hearing in my right ear.  Sold it sharpish... 
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  • robertyroberty Frets: 714
    octatonic said:
    Never really been a fan.
    I'd always take a Fender Deluxe Reverb over the HR.
    I prefer the DRRI too, but word of warning you'll never have your cleans squeaky clean at loud drummer levels. A bonus imo. The built in trem is lusheroo
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 19961
    roberty said:
    octatonic said:
    Never really been a fan.
    I'd always take a Fender Deluxe Reverb over the HR.
    I prefer the DRRI too, but word of warning you'll never have your cleans squeaky clean at loud drummer levels. A bonus imo. The built in trem is lusheroo
    True, which is why you buy two of them. :)
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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  • thomasw88thomasw88 Frets: 857
    someone was selling a wienbrock gringo a while ago on here.  They're great fender clean amps and take pedals superbly.

    fender wise I prefer the deluxe reverb to the hot rod.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 34791
    edited January 11
    Philtre said:
    HRD is certainly a cheap and good option. You can pick up a s/h one for £300 - £400. The dirty channel is....OK, but a dirt pedal into the clean channel sounds better.
    I would say the opposite... if you want a little dirt, ignore the 90% of people who can't get a good sound out of the drive channel because they expect it to sound like a Marshall, and it will do the job very nicely. It's much better than a pedal if you want the same basic sound as the clean channel but with a bit more grit.

    Hattigol said:

    I wouldn't even call it a taper. It's like nothing, nothing, nothing, then standing a yard from the Hiroshima bomb.

    The clean channel is lovely but I found the drive channels utterly unusable.
    You just have to be careful how you dial it in. I don't find the taper that bad, you just have to move it by a small fraction of a turn - which is actually quite easy, because the knobs are chickenheads. I can get a good low volume sound out of them...

    That said Danny1969's Lion Tamer is a superb piece of kit which makes it a total piece of cake.

    I can also get perfectly usable sounds on both the Drive and More Drive channels, although More is a bit too compressed really. Keep the drive control below halfway (preferably below about 4), dial the EQ in for the Drive not the clean (which can take care of itself), bright switch on the clean channel, presence quite low, and there's nothing wrong with it at all... as long as you don't expect it to sound like a Marshall or a Mesa.

    TheMarlin said:

    You can buy upgrade pots to sort that. They only cost about £8-£10 each, and you don’t even need a soldering iron. Push in.....allegedly...
    Er... no. Or not unless you mean pushing a Lion Tamer into the FX loop jacks .

    Changing the pots requires soldering, and taking the main board out which can be tricky if you haven't done one before - and it doesn't achieve that much anyway. If you really can't get it to dial in at the volume you need, the Lion Tamer is the answer.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 9932
    ICBM said:
    people who can't get a good sound out of the drive channel because they expect it to sound like a Marshall, and it will do the job very nicely. It's much better than a pedal if you want the same basic sound as the clean channel but with a bit more grit.

    I wish it did, I'd be delighted. The drive channel is much more middy and boxy than the clean channel, I can't wait for the warranty to be up so I can research making it match the clean channel. 

    Any tips in the meantime are most welcome though.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 34791
    p90fool said:

    I wish it did, I'd be delighted. The drive channel is much more middy and boxy than the clean channel, I can't wait for the warranty to be up so I can research making it match the clean channel. 

    Any tips in the meantime are most welcome though.
    Dial the amp in for the drive channel and let the clean take care of itself. The clean channel is much less fussy and will still sound good even if the settings are quite a lot different from the 'best'.

    I actually find them quite similar though - maybe it's the type of guitars we use...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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