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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / Played thru a Hot Rod Deluxe III as backline


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
May 16th, 2019 05:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

I recently played a showcase that had a backline provided. My amp was an HRD III (I guess they're up to a IV now). There were a couple things that were really odd about it.

There are separate Volume and Master controls, but "Volume" only affected Ch. 1 and "Master" only affected Ch. 2. Why call it "Master"?
Also the Normal/Bright setting only affected Ch. 1. Why would you do this?

The clean channel was all the way clean, the Gain control doing nothing. I like just a little hair on my signal, even when running dirt from my pedal board. Just for some feel. So I used the Drive channel. But it sounded pretty terrible. There was an unpleasant high mid-rangy thing going on, which I could not dial out no matter what I did. Presence control seemed to do very little. Also, this channel had no Fender sparkle, even with the Treble control all the way up. I thought it was my pedal board.

But then for the 2nd set, I switched to the clean channel, and there was the sparkle (Bright setting not needed)! Like I said, no input gain at all, but it sounded much better overall. My pedal board sounded like it should.

I didn't use the on-board effects, so I can't speak to those.

Some really odd choices made on this amp. I hope for their sake the version IV fixed some of that.

(This message was last edited by gdw3 at 07:36 PM, May 16th, 2019)

Contributing Member


When I get older, losing my hair...
May 16th, 2019 09:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like my Supersonic 22. They were designed by a player. Start with a Deluxe Reverb, add a Bassman-like fat switch, add a channel with 2 gain stages and its own eq, and add a spring reverb. Then put a 4 button footswitch with a long cable on the floor for fat, channel switch, effects loop, and reverb. Voilà!

(edited to apply the thingy over the "à" that I stole from Peppy)

(This message was last edited by Bigfoot at 03:36 PM, May 17th, 2019)

Contributing Member


Home of the Goodyear blimp
May 17th, 2019 06:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

I never cared for the III version of that amp for anything other than clean. Great cleans IMO, but nothing great for anything else. Bring in a pedal of your choice and you can get some great tones with it. The controls are confusing .

Ive never felt Fender did a great job with 2 channel amps. There are a few rare exceptions like the SS22.


Mesa, AZ

May 17th, 2019 07:47 AM   Edit   Profile  


Contributing Member


When I get older, losing my hair...
May 17th, 2019 01:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sorry for being off-topic on the SS22. I am just surprised that it never became very popular. Perhaps it was priced a bit too high. The Hot Rods seemed to have sold by the bushel load. Good amp, most certainly.

Contributing Member


Home of the Goodyear blimp
May 17th, 2019 05:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think the reason the hot rod became so popular is price. The super sonic was similar in price as the ever popular deluxe reverb. Tough to compete with it.


usa Thumb area Mi

May 17th, 2019 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

IMO HRDs for the money, are very versatile amp line. IMO they sound pretty decent. (Clean and Drive)

So much information out there on the internet detailing how to get the most out of one of these amps. IMO that's an added bonus of owning a HRD

For some reason... There is an American "Blue collar" vibe that I associate with these amps.


I have a modded HRD III that hangs with my vintage amps. I also consider very the HRD fun to play and gig.

FDP Data Goon

She hath it all,

& hath no need of thee.
May 17th, 2019 09:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Haven't played a III or a IV.

I'm one of the crazy people who likes the untamable original drive channel and the Emi speaker.


usa Thumb area Mi

May 18th, 2019 05:20 AM   Edit   Profile  


I had a 2001 HRD in my line up of gig amps for years.

The Drive on a HRD is over the top. Fender tried to do too much with that Drive design. IMO it has led to some thinking the Drive channel is bad.

Beyond 6 all you get is oversaturation and too much compression.. kinda reminds me of a Tweed in that respect. Over the years the preamp tube configuration that works best for me is: 5751 in v1, a 12ay7 v2, and a 12at7 in V3. The combo really smoothed out the drive, controlled the volume, warmed the clean, and really helped "voltage wise" push those big bottle 6L6Gcs.

I keep the Drive low (between 3-5 which is like normal with other amps) and let the power tubes fill out the sound on stage. If needed I'll step on something for additional spice)

Live is where a HRD shines.

(This message was last edited by pcalu at 07:31 PM, May 18th, 2019)

Contributing Member


Home of the Goodyear blimp
May 18th, 2019 11:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

I had the Blues Deluxe and it still is one of my favorite amps . The cleans were amazing and the drive on the BD was better than the HR IMO. Loved that amp.

Contributing Member


May 18th, 2019 06:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Run them clean and use a pedal, regardless of what version of HRD you're using. The OD channel on these amps is horrid sounding (to me at least).

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: 1985 - Current / Played thru a Hot Rod Deluxe III as backline

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