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Hot Rod Deluxe alternative ?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by koen, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    About a year ago I bought a 2nd hand Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It was an affordable tube amp and I read many good reviews online. After playing it for a while now, I am now not so sure if I like it that much. The clean channel is ok, but I am not getting any nice distorted sound out of the drive channel. Since we practice at our drummer's house, I cannot really crank up the volume past 3-4, so am unable to get a natural overdrive through the clean channel. I used an Ibanez tubescreamer, but that sounds too artificial to me.

    Any suggestions of another amp? For me a 40W is sufficient, so eg a 100W Twin is not an option :cool:

    My guitar is a '52 Tele reissue.
     
  2. Rumble

    Rumble Tele-Afflicted

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    These all have master volumes so you can dial in tube distortion at lower volumes and can be found for less than $800 used: AC15, AC30, Marshall DSL 401, recent Pro Reverb. You can also look at a Vibrolux Reverb (no master but in the same class).
     
  3. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the suggestions. What about the Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue 40W 1x12" Combo Amp - the're priced decently at GC.
     
  4. RumorsofsurF

    RumorsofsurF Tele-Meister

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    You turn your HRD up to 3 or 4 in REHEARSAL? :eek:

    I don't think I've ever had mine past 3, even at gigs. That's LOUD.

    Perhaps something's wrong with your amp.
     
  5. Rumble

    Rumble Tele-Afflicted

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    I really like the Blues Deluxes and I've never liked the Hot Rods. One of my two main amps is a 2x12 Blues Deville. I've recently thought about getting a used Blues Deluxe, putting Yellow Jackets into it so I can run EL84s, and putting a low wattage, early breakup speaker in it. But all that would be costly for a relatively cheap amp.

    Either way, if the Hot Rod's crunch isn't doing it for you, I don't think the Blues Deluxe will do it for you on its own. The only way the Deville does it for me is with my Les Paul (meaning dual humbuckers) and an attenuator. If you're playing single coils you're just never going to get good dirt with a Blues Deluxe or Hot Rod Deluxe without a pedal.

    Try some of those other amps and there's a ton more out there. You want to look for low wattage (you'll probably be surprised that 12-15 watts is enough); EL84, 6V6, or EL34 tubes; and a master volume.
     
  6. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    buy a bad monkey or sparkle drive and use it for the distorto part.
     
  7. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    That's good to know, thanks. Just curious, what are the differences between these two amps?
     
  8. Rumble

    Rumble Tele-Afflicted

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    The Hot Rod has three channels and the Blues Deluxe has two. I've heard there are some significant differences in the circuit boards, but I don't know enough about that to really say. The Blues Deluxe is "supposed" to be a take on the old Bassman amps, but I doubt it's very close in reality. Either way, the change from the Blues Deluxe circuit to the Hot Rod circuit lost some of the organic nature of the tone in my opinion. To me the Blues series sounds a little more like an older amp and the Hot Rod doesn't. But the third channel that was added on the Hot Rod was the extra gain channel, which the Blues Deluxe does not have, so if anything, the Blues Deluxe will probably have less dirt. The dirt it does have is better sounding, but as I said, you'll be hard pressed to get it there without humbuckers and an attenuator if you're not going to use a pedal.
     
  9. RumorsofsurF

    RumorsofsurF Tele-Meister

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  10. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Hotrod Deluxe?

    I got a boss 7 band eq pedal I use with mine. It really helped take out some of the tubyness & control the volume. I also got a few really nice Overdrive pedals (the overdrive totally sucks in this amp). I got a G2D Creamtone. But any good overdrive should help. I also use a Marshall Reflector reverb pedal...10x better than the built in reverb.

    I also changed the speaker & all the tubes. But thats another story.
    I don't think I've ever had my Hotrod past 3 on the volume control either. :confused:
     
  11. Robin Nahum

    Robin Nahum Friend of Leo's

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    I wonder if a Deluxe Reverb Reissue (22W, 1 x 12, 2 x 6V6) might be worth auditioning?
     
  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Try that Bad Monkey before you buy something.
     
  13. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

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    Koen, I have both amps, Blues and Hot Rod. The Blues is brighter all around, and won't get anywhere near as dirty as the Hot Rod. The Blues at it's nastiest is only crunchy, whereas the Hot Rod is a saturated sound.

    I love the Blues Deluxe, but I don't think it's going to do what you want it to do. Volume-wise, it's about the same as the Hot Rod, so you're still not going to be able to crank it.
     
  14. shades

    shades Tele-Afflicted

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    At first I was pretty happy with my HRDx but soon discovered that once the volume was at 3-4 that was it, no more adjustment. My thought was to trade it off on another amp that would be better suited for what I wanted to do and have better control.
    I did some web browsing and read somewhere that by swapping out the first 12AX7 with a 12AY7 it would bring the monster under control. Yep, it worked fine mellowing out the amp rather nicely.
    I'm not an electronics guy but all I know is that it worked and nowadays I'm happy with my HRDx, even bought the new 1x12 speaker enclosure so we've got two 12's emitting the blues.

    :cool:
     
  15. david henman

    david henman Tele-Holic

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    ...traynor ycv40wr.

    -dh
     
  16. whodatpat

    whodatpat Friend of Leo's

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    There is nothing wrong with the distortion on that amp. But the Volume pot was a STUPID design. Its linear not an audio taper, so every tick DOUBLES the volume. (Or appears to!)

    I HIGHLY recomend one of these $18 volume control boxes.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/TUBE-AMP-VOLUME-BOX-for-FENDER-Hot-Rod-Deville-Deluxe_W0QQitemZ130208566831QQihZ003QQcategoryZ43375QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Or you can build your own for a few bucks at Radio Shack.
    [​IMG]

    You will SO love the crunch of this thing Dozened with the new Master volume control set to about 4! change out the preamp tubes with 3 12AX7's also, but it can wait.
     
  17. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    There's also an article at the Holton Shrine that explains how to replace the volume pot with the proper one so you can control the volume a bit better. If I ever get mine running again, I'll let you know how it went (it is important to note that the amps failure was due to my inexperience with a soldering iron, not a fault of the amp).

    In the meantime, I found a Rivera R30 1x12 that's pretty nice...same size, a little less powerful, EL34s, two REAL channels with (waaaay over the top) boosts for each and a good reverb. Little to complain about, really. It has evolved into the Clubster/Pubster line, I think.
     
  18. lennyb

    lennyb Tele-Meister

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    My thoughts xactly change out the 12ax7's for something that gives more clean headroom....i just retubed a Deville with JJ's and let me tell yah ill never use anything else ...took the amp from ok to FREAKIN DYNOMITE ....an old musician friend of mine always said ..."IF YOU DONT LIKE THE SOUND OF YOUR AMP......CHANGE THE TUBES.....words to live by!
     
  19. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Simply changing the BRAND of 12ax7 in your preamp will change the tone considerably, but changing the gain (to 12AT/Y/U7 or 5751) will alter the power produced in the preamp, resulting in a change in the dynamics between gain and volume.

    The effect is more obvious in something with a simpler circuit, like the EPi VJr, the Blackheart, or the GA5 to name a few, but the overall impact is something like this: The "grind" at 5 with a 12AX7 is similar to a 5751 at 7, a 12AT7 at 9 or a 12AU7 dimed (all figures approx).

    I feel like it's a question of balance between preamp gain and power tube drive. With my VJr, I definitely prefer a 12AU7 to a 12AX7, but the more tubes you 'downgrade' in a more complex amp, the thinner the amp will sound. Many folks try putting a 12AT7 in the phase inverter, so that the signal going to the power tubes isn't as powerful, but do the V1 dance for flavor.

    Finally, some folks sell 'balanced' 12A?7s for PI tubes. In such applications, it is said that it balances the signals hitting the 2 sides of the Push-Pull, resulting in better headroom/clean tones, but that may not be what we want from a particular amp, eh?

    A big plus is that with a few examples, the old 5751/AT7/AY7 tubes have not hit the seriously silly money point that old 12AX7s have.

    Lastly, changing the tubes in V1 will not change the fact that the volume pot is the wrong taper.
     
  20. koen

    koen Friend of Leo's

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    I actually already replaced the Volume pot (as described on the unofficial HotRod pages), and made my own volumebox (also from that page) a while ago. I'm going to experiment some more with the settings. I will also look at the tubes - the previous owner said he replaced them, but I have no idea what he put in there. I need to have a closer look at that.

    And regarding the tubes, just bumped into this link.
     
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