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Tame The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe! [Or Any Loud Clean Guitar Amp With An FX Loop]

Published 14 Jul 2023

Welcome to the show! Today’s video is about offering some solutions to a real-world issue faced by many people - taming volume in a loud clean amp, but retaining a little bit of feel and dynamics. We’re using the specific example of the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III - an extremely popular and great sounding amp… but a goodly number of people have struggled with the somewhat all-or-nothing volume control.
It should also be said, however, that these approaches will work with any loud clean amp that has an effects loop.
I just want to make it clear - Mick here - that nobody is saying the Hot Rod deluxe sounds ‘bad’ or that this is a universal ‘problem’. It is simply to offer some approaches to a different tone and feel if you’re either: a) struggling with that, or b) just fancy trying something a little different.
We also know that the HRD IV (latest version as of July 2023) addresses this issue somewhat. Nevertheless, it’s still bloomin’ loud and attacking for a lot of people.

Would we rather crank it? Yes. Do we think it sounds better much louder? Yes. But this is for the times when that isn’t possible…

Can you mod it? Yes. Are there other ways to do it? Yes. These are just some relatively easy ideas to try.

Finally, you might be confused about the volume you’re hearing in your headphones / monitors, because the quiet sounds are relatively loud too. Ie, you won’t perceive the GIANT volume differences that Dan and I are experiencing in the room. That’s because if we’d kept the recorded levels the same, the quiet sounds would just sound rubbish and relatively inaudible. So in the recording, I make the quiet bits louder so you can hear the tone clearly. If you want to understand the relative volume differences, look at the DB meter when it’s in shot. Hope that explains it!

Enjoy the show!

And please visit That Pedal Shop

Pedals & stuff used in today’s episode
• Nobel ODR-1
UK & Europe:

• Strymon El Capistan V1 - no longer made, links to newest version
UK & Europe:

• MXR 10 Band EQ
UK & Europe:

• Origin Effects Cali 76 Compact Deluxe
UK & Europe:

• Effectrode Blackbird

• TheGigRig Underliner

• Palmer PDI06 Attenuator
UK & Europe:

Interesting bits & go-to sections
0:00 Intro playing
2:30 Today’s task
3:35 The problem explained
5:30 The problem demo’d
7:35 Transient response?
8:37 Limit with an overdrive pedal
11:20 Limit with an EQ pedal
14:30 EQ & compressor in FX loop explained
16:10 EQ & compressor in FX loop demo’d
24:45 Separate preamp in the FX loop explained
26:14 Separate preamp in the FX loop demo’d
30:47 TheGigRig Underliner explained
31:45 TheGigRig Underliner demo’d
40:22 Speaker attenuator explained
41:50 Speaker attenuator demo’d
45:17 Closing thoughts and roundup

Guitars used in this video
• Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335 - Mick’s video here:
• Fender Custom Shop ’63 Telecaster - Dan’s video here:

Amps in this episode
• Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III - links to latest version
UK & Europe:

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UK & Europe: Andertons Music
Australia: Pedal Empire

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