Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue - Actually not a very good amp is it?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jamesrohr1, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. jamesrohr1

    jamesrohr1 NEW MEMBER!

    Jun 2, 2018
    Weston, WV
    I know it’s probably blasphemy as Fender amps are usually held in high regard, but I think I may sell my very new Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue in favor of maybe a Peavey Classic 30 or Blackstar HT Club 40. The issue is that while I love the BDR clean tones, I absolutely cannot get a decent tone out of it with any dirt box (and believe me, I’ve tried A LOT of them).

    It’s weird in that I bought the amp specifically because it was supposed to be this wonderful pedal platform. It is NOT that however. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds great with mod pedals and Reverb/Delay pedals, but I’ve yet to get anything other than midrange honk garbage from any dirt box I’ve put in front of it. They all really sound like ass. In fact most of them sound almost as bad as the amps actual "dirty" channel.

    Now I’ve read I’m required to replace the stock speaker if I really want the amp to work properly. My question is why bother? Why throw good money after bad? Why not just sell it and get something that does what it is supposed to?

    In all seriousness, I would bite the bullet and get a new speaker if I could find a single audio/video clip of the BDR killing with any kind of distortion/OD pedal in front. Guess what? No such thing exists on the internet. (Google away and prove me wrong, I'm more than happy to eat crow and discover that this amp actually isn't a complete waste). For an amp that is rumored to be such a great pedal platform, I have yet to hear it actually function in that capacity. Weird.

    flyswatter likes this.
  2. richiek65

    richiek65 Tele-Afflicted

    I had one, thought it did dirt boxes pretty good. I believe they take quite a while for the standard speaker to break in?
  3. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    maybe you need a better dirt pedal !

    I doubt thousands upon thousands of BD and HRD users ( same amp) will even comment one way or the other, if it was a crxxp amp for pedals they would not be on bandstands all over the world. This 40 watt 1x12 platform has been a front runner for Fender sales since the early 90's. You're going to have to convince a whole lot of people that they are not good amps, me included . Are they the best amp out there ? Certainly not but perhaps in their price point for overall performance they very well may be. +/- 25 years of sales for this platform isn't something to take lightly.

    Sounds like you should just get another amp , as you said, why bother .

    By the way , who said it was it was supposed to work with the pedals YOU currently have. I have several drive pedals which are CRxxP ! Maybe the ones you have should work the way they are supposed to ! All drive pedals are not equal.

    And yeh a brand new speaker, any speaker, may take some time to break in for the proper response.

    good luck on your search !
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
    Alamo and MilwMark like this.
  4. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2012
    If it's the same Amp as a HRDX, I'm right there with you. Evert DiRT pedaal gets covered in a thick layer of mud and the EQ on those Amp are useless to fix the problem. But plenty of people do like them. My advice: sell it and get something Else.
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    I am no fan of the BD or HRDx (especially working on them) but it is possible to easily and cheaoly improve them.

    I think the main problem is Fender responded to a strong market for vintage amps and boutique Tweed repros by copying some of their own (Tweed Pro or Super) scematics without the right preamp tubes. Those Tweeds used 12AY7 in the front slot. When Fender brought these out you could only buy current production 12AX7 and 12AT7s readily. They could hardly sell an amp dealers and users had to go searching for NOS tubes for.

    If you change V1 in the BD and V2 on the HRDx for almost any lower gain tube you may find that:

    1) the volume knob suddenly gains a useable range. 1.8 is no longer too little, 2.1 too much. Bandmate's at 4-6 is about right. After that he just loses headroom.

    2) The gratingly bad harsh metallic reverb becomes smoother and more pleasant.

    3) the eqs and drive (more drive on bandmate's HRDx) become a lot more usable and less touchy.

    4) Takes pedals and especially drive better.

    We put a NOS 12AT7 in V2 in his (normal channel), it's transformed it. Mud - mostly gone. Tones are smoother and snappier even with stock speaker (which is basically a less efficient Emi 12 Legend and a decent speaker).

    I wouldn't buy one, but it's much more usable.
    emisilly likes this.
  6. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 15, 2012
    I had a USA made HRD but never bonded with it. Sold a few years back.
    At a recent gig the backline supplied amps where recent HRD and HR deville, both amps sounded great with minimal tweaking and handled pedals well.
    I used the gain side with just a little grit and pushed that with pedals.
  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    every dirt pedal ? every one of them ? The EQ us useless ? Huhmmmm...

    I do agree, it's not the right amp for some people, maybe even many. But for thousands of players it is, they find a way to make it "their own" .

    I've personally been using them since 1995 with no mods.


    I went out of state to do a gig for a High School reunion not long ago. The amp was a HRDLX. kool for me.
    I brought my stock 1989 /52 RI Telecaster and the Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive.

    The owner of the amp ( long time friend from HS) asked me after the gig how I got such a great tone from his amp, as he said he was on the fence with the amp, not quite satisfied.

    I pointed to the guitar first, stock pups, then to the Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive. He called me a few weeks later and told me he picked up a Sparkle Drive and now loves the amp !

    So many choices, so many variations. One shoe does not fit all.
    drlucky, MilwMark and codamedia like this.
  8. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2012
    I used one of those Hot rods on a blues gig and the only way i could get it to sound somewhat "fresh" to my ears, was putting a boss EQ pedal in the effects loop to emphasize some trebles, turn off that awfull reverb and use a pedal of my own. I used a crowther hotcake for drive. Any TS style pedal just adds more mud with this amp, tbh. After that it sounded pretty good, but it does need some serious help you get there, IMO...
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    Interesting, I found each of mine to be just the opposite ! Very bright with not enough low end emphasis, which is probably more related to the stock Fender EMMI speaker.

    Yet, workable.

    Obviously the amp is different for each user, just as each of our guitars are different. Of my 3 Telecasters, they each respond differently to the BDLX. Not in a bad way, but certainly different.
  10. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 12, 2016
    Virginia Beach, Va
    I own a first edition Ckub 40 and it's a really good sounding amp, even with the stock 70-80 speaker. I'm thinking about getting the Mark 2 version of it in a few months.

    I just played the Classic 30 about a month ago. Had I not just bought a new cab with a Celestion V30 I'd have picked up that one. I'm going to get a Peavey Mini 20 head to go with it. Pretty much the same amp as the Classic 30, just not as powerful and has digital reverb instead of spring.

    I'm not a huge fan of Fender amps it seems so I'm with you on the nailing out thing
  11. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    IMO - it's just not the right amp for the OP... but there are thousands of players worldwide that get along just fine with them.

    Apples vs Oranges.... completely different amps. Although I'm not familiar enough with the Blackstar to comment I am very familiar with the Peavey Classics. Regardless of which PV Classic (20, 30, 50, etc...) they are a mid focused amp with tight low end and a soft top end.... pretty much the opposite of an HRD or Blues Deluxe! FWIW... If I was presented with an HRD/Blues Deluxe or a Peavey Classic at a festival stage, I'd probably grab the Peavey for those very reasons... but I would not be disappointed if I were handed the Fender.

    To get a dirt pedal to sound good in the Fender on the clean channel, I'd make a few suggestions.
    Bright switch off, roll back the lows, boost the mids a little, adjust high end to taste. Oh - and don't forget to break that speaker in.

    Whenever I plug into one of these Fenders, I use the gain channel but dialed in with a clean sound... just keep the master higher than the pre-amp. It a more mid-focused tone that I prefer.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  12. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 23, 2003
    Midland TX
    Maybe you just don’t like the fundamental sound of the amp. No magic combination of pedal/rack/guitar mojo can fix that.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that. We all hear things differently, hence the hundreds of choices that are not identical copies of each other for everything. Like OP, I’m just not a fan of the Fender Hot Rod stuff, as much as I tried to be...try work well for others, but I just can’t find anything in any of them I like.

    It’s OK to be different.
  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    First, the people who revere Fender amps online are generally not talking about the Hot Rod series. Too much vintage adulation for that. Also, it is (IMO) complete forum horse**** received wisdom that one MUST replace the stock speaker and do all kinds of component changes to make them sound good. A stock BD or HRD reissue sounds full, dynamic and satisfying from very, very loud TV volume on up. They are not designed for home use and it is difficult to get a quiet tone out of them. But the decent, tweakable, LOUD for the size/price equation is why they are found in so many backlines.

    Putting that aside, I'd always rather find a Hot Rod Deluxe or Blues Deluxe in the backline than a Deluxe Reverb or Twin. I find it easier to get a useable live tone out of them. Pop the "clean" channel on, set the EQ and go. Very good, very useable sounds at show levels with pedals. Modulation AND drive. I don't find them particularly picky about drives and the EQ on the amp is flexible enough to work around whatever drive I seem to have on the board.

    Are you trying to use it at home volumes? That could be why you're having trouble, honestly. But as others said, if you don't like how it sounds and can' make it work with your drives, then sell it before modding it.

    I think your title is off base. You may not like it or know how to use it (or be using it for its intended purpose - loud stage mix) but that doesn't make it a poor amp. Just an amp that is not to your taste.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
    PigBoy, richiek65, jamesrohr1 and 4 others like this.
  14. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    Regarding amps and DRIVE pedals. I've often wondered why we buy an amp and judge it's value based on how it works with a drive pedal .

    here's 3 different pedals

    1 sounds like CRXP with any amp, 1 sounds pretty good with a good many amps and 1 sounds great probably with MOST if not all AMPS.

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  15. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

    Aug 7, 2016
    Champaign illinois
    I love fender amps- with the exception of the HRDLX and its kin. Other than a few clean settings, I just hate the tones it makes with gain. Very popular amp though.
    alnicopu and nocastermike like this.
  16. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

    Apr 25, 2015
    I have had 2 from this series. Both were sold in short order. I couldn't see the point in chasing mods to make it better. Volume knob was a nightmare,gain side is terrible,and the build is cheesy. Just a lttle more money and you can get a reissue blackface or a used maz 18.
  17. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2009
    The city
    They are great and everyone on stage has one because they are loud and go for under 300.00 - 400.00 used all over Atlanta. I had the same experience with mine. Lucky for me, I bought it new and was able to take it back for a full refund before I went down the rabbit hole of trying to “fix” it with another speaker. I tried for 2 weeks to like it.
    jamesrohr1 likes this.
  18. Les H

    Les H Tele-Meister

    Jun 2, 2018
    I still have a classic 30 in a head form and have owned and sold a hot rod deluxe.

    My opinion from memory is I really enjoyed playing the hrdlx alone at home but at a gig it sounded thin and all the timbre and shimmer seemed to disappear in a band setting and it would become difficult to hear myself.

    The classic 30 didn't necessarily inspire me playing at home alone but really filled up the space in a band setting because of its mids and it took pedals better but also has a better onboard lead channel. Plus on mine the longer it's on and the hotter it gets the better it sounds.
  19. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    I dont use modern amps but one of the best RI's I've heard used by others is the BD. 3 popular club players I know use them and when I heard them I had to go up and see what amp it was. Loud though. Not sure what dirt pedals they are using.
  20. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 14, 2008
    Marion, NC
    The Blues Deluxe Reissue gets warm cleans tones and reasonable OD tones on it's own, but if you want a clean amp platform for pedals, check out the BDRI's sister amp, the Hot Rod Deluxe III.
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