Fender Hot Rod Deluxe V3 Amplifier Review. 28/11/2016

An evolution from the original Blues Deluxe the Hot Rod Deluxe (HRDX) packs a 40 watt powerhouse into a small footprint 1 x 12 combo that is ready to gig anywhere from small pubs to large stages.

In its version three iteration, the HRDX has had several improvements over previous generations, such as a black control panel to avoid reflections in bright light, an upgraded speaker and a tapered volume control. This last upgrade allows for a more gradual progression in volume as opposed to previously where one is nothing and two is blowing your ears off as found on some Fender models.

Specifications

With an understated look covered in black tolex and a black/silver grille, the HRDX looks very much like the Blues Juniors bigger brother. Powering the preamp are three 12AX7 preamp tubes, whilst two 6L6 power tubes run the power stage. The rectification is solid state.

The amp has two inputs, one standard and a second for guitars with hot pickups, and three channels, clean, drive and more drive, the last two are selectable by a footswitch.

A proper spring reverb tank is fitted to provide a lush feeling to those clean surf sounds or long overdriven solos.

Also should you wish to connect your time based effects outside of your main pedalboard an effects loop is provided.

Finally an extension speaker jack allows the connection of external speaker cabinets. A fitted amplifier cover and footswitch are included as standard.

Fit & Finish.

This product is definitely well built and designed to withstand heavy use whether in the studio or on stage. Millions of these units have been sold and are in use worldwide with a great reputation.

Sounds

As you would expect the HRDX does a very warm and clean tone in the first channel, add a little reverb and it becomes lush and fluid. It is very responsive to your picking and dynamics on your guitar. The clean channel also can be a great platform for those wishing to use pedals for their distortion/overdrive needs.

Moving on to the overdrive channel this has said to be tweaked for this new model. The overdrive seems tight and well-rounded whilst letting the sound of your original guitar through, suitable for blues and rock, switch to more drive and the amp goes wild taking you into hard rock territory.

I have so far tried the HDRX with a Telecaster with single coils, a Music Man with Humbuckers, and a Les Paul with P90s and all fared well on this amp. When playing in a live situation the amp was more than powerful enough to deal with a medium size venue without any problems.

Summary

A well-built all rounded amplifier suitable for many applications.

By Ernest H Slade