What Guitar Amp After The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe?

Published 1 Oct 2021

What amp would you get as an upgrade to this 40-watt valve classic?

Life too short for long YouTube videos? Please see the ‘Interesting bits and go-to sections’ information below.

Welcome to the show! Fender’s Hot Rod Deluxe is among the most popular and successful mid-power valve amps of all time. Loud, portable and versatile it’s earned its place on stages everywhere. Inevitably, you may find limitations with it sooner or later, so where would you go next? Not as a total sea-change, but as an evolution.
Thusly we choose three amps, pretty much arbitrarily, that we own, that we would consider as an upgrade from the HRD. Clearly, there are hundreds of possibilities out there. We chose these!

A note on Hot Rod Deluxe versions: Our HRD is a version III (3). Fender upgraded the HRD to version IV in 2018 with a new speaker (so say smoother sounding), a different pot taper here and there, and some revoicing in the overdrive channel. We think it’s a more usable amp than the VIII, but it’s not chalk and cheese, radically different, just for the record. Ie, our general observations of the OD channel wouldn’t be hugely different.

Warning: We do rather lean on the overdrive tones today and don’t spend a huge amount of time in clean-land. Sorry to the clean fans!
We also don’t talk much about the reverb. Let it be said that we //really// like the reverbs in all of these amps - they’re all GREAT and we’re totally happy with all of em.

Enjoy the video!

Pedals & stuff in this episode…

• TheGigRig Three2One

• Sonic Research ST-200 Turbo Tuner

• Boss BD-2w Blues Driver
UK & Europe:

• Keeley D&M Drive
UK & Europe:

• Jam Pedals Ripply Fall
UK & Europe:

• Diamond Memory Lane Jr

• TheGigRig G3

* Why do we have preferred retailer links? Find out here:

Interesting bits and go-to sections…
0:00 Intro & playing
3:03 Today’s question
4:33 Hot Rod Deluxe moans
6:05 Context of choosing today’s amps
7:30 Recap of tones from the Hot Rod Deluxe
8:13 The clean channel will overdrive, y’know
10:20 The much-maligned overdrive channel
13:13 Les Paul and the OD channel
15:30 Why the Victory V140?
17:00 HRD clean and Victory V140 clean, Telecaster
18:42 Victory into overdrive, Telecaster
20:55 ES-335 Hot Rod Deluxe and Victory V140
23:10 Exploring the V140 mid-kick
25:29 V140 into heavier overdrive
26:56 Mesa California Tweed intro
28:30 HRD & Cali Tweed basic clean comparison
30:18 Cali Tweed gain and power range, Tele
32:49 Cali Tweed gain and power range, Les Paul
34:07 Cali Tweed EQ
36:03 HRD & Cali Tweed overdrive sounds comparison
37:15 Intro to the Tone King Imperial MkII
38:37 HRD and Tone King clean(ish) tones
39:48 Overdriving the Tone King clean channel
41:16 Tone King clean channel and attenuator
42:12 Tone King overdrive channel
43:20 We haven’t used any pedals yet!
43:45 Overdrive pedal into Tone King & HRD
47:30 Why headroom matters
48:30 What amp would we choose?

Guitars in this episode:
• Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster – Mick’s video here
• Fender Custom Shop ’52 Telecaster (2001) - Dan’s video here:
• Gibson Custom True Historic ’57 Les Paul Murphy Aged - no video yet
• Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335 (2017) - Mick’s video here:

Amps in this episode
• Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 1x 12 combo (ours is a Version III)
UK & Europe:

• Victory V140 The Super Duchess & V212 cab (Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speakers)
UK & Europe:

• Mesa California Tweed 4:Forty 1x12 combo
UK & Europe:

• Tone King Imperial MkII & 112 cab
UK & Europe:

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