Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Amps, Cabs, Speakers, etc
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laurie
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Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by laurie » Wed Dec 06, 2023 3:10 am

Just reconditioned a nice series I (1996) Hot Rod Deluxe.

The pic shows an Eminence "The Governor" speaker that the previous owner installed. The speakers are often changed in these amps to make them sound "ok" on the dirt channel. The dirt channel sounds like crap no matter what you do, so changing the speaker makes no sense in my opinion. Just use the thing on clean and use an "external master volume" in the FX loop so you can drive the preamp to get some proper crunch.

I have since reinstalled the factory speaker (luckily the speaker came as part of the amp deal).

Repairs:
  • Ripped tolex fixed
  • Cleaned. And cleaned, and cleaned. It was filthy.
  • Tubes changed. 12AY7 installed in V1 position. Rebiased.
  • Standard overheating low-voltage dropper resistors and Zener diodes replaced and custom heatsink fabricated. Burned circuit traces repaired.
  • Other known weak resistors replaced
  • Every electrolytic cap replaced. Main filter cap increased from 50uF to 100uF to tighten up the known slightly loose bass in these amps.
  • Electrolytic caps in the signal path replaced with Panasonic metallized polyester
  • All jacks replaced - every one was broken or worn out
  • Dirt channel master volume pot swapped for a logarithmic pot (comes with a linear pot standard)
  • New rear panel fabricated (the factory ones always get damaged). The broken panel it came with is actually off a DeVille...
  • Faraday shielding replaced
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Hot Rod front.jpg
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Hot Rod rear.jpg
Hot Rod rear.jpg (405.32 KiB) Viewed 4820 times

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Pepe
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by Pepe » Wed Dec 06, 2023 6:57 am

Thanks again for saving another mistreated piece of gear. I have never heard a Hot Rod Deluxe in person and I didn't know that the dirt channel isn't useful.

Horrible, that a merely 30-year-old amp can be so bashed-up. :|
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laurie
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by laurie » Wed Dec 06, 2023 11:37 am

Another view:
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Hot Rod rear2.jpg
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Pepe
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by Pepe » Wed Dec 06, 2023 1:24 pm

So you decided to go on with the "replacement" speaker?
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laurie
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by laurie » Wed Dec 06, 2023 5:18 pm

Nope. Old pic.

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bigtone23
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by bigtone23 » Mon Dec 11, 2023 6:24 pm

Pepe wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2023 6:57 am
Thanks again for saving another mistreated piece of gear. I have never heard a Hot Rod Deluxe in person and I didn't know that the dirt channel isn't useful.

Horrible, that a merely 30-year-old amp can be so bashed-up. :|
The Blues Deluxe/Hot Rod Deluxe have a clean channel that is great for about 80% of players, but the dirt channel works for about 20% of players, if not less. I know I can't get really anything usable out of it.

These have become something of a backline staple here. They are plentiful, inexpensive, reasonably reliable and sound good, which works great for backline companies. You can get two of these for the price of a single Deluxe Reverb or Twin Reverb reissue. However, they are not built as well, so they often send two when rented. Makes sense they are so popular, the clean channel sounds good on it's own and with a wide variety of drives, it has an effects loop and enough power and cabinet volume to sound good with a band. Players are very familiar with how they sound and can tour with just a board and guitars. For these reasons, they are also used/abused with minimal regard to treating them like a special piece of gear. Kind of like 80s Peavey amps, but Fender didn't really build these to last decades with minimal service.

Laurie hit all the points these amps need: better, tighter components, new jacks, linear taper volume, etc...
Kind of a bummer that it was so dirty, they all ship with a cover, but clearly it was lost a long time ago! :D

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laurie
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by laurie » Sun Dec 17, 2023 2:58 pm

These amps do not have a master volume on the clean channel. The standard way to implement that is to put a 100k potentiometer in the FX loop.

I thought about installing a pot into the chassis (underneath at the rear of the amp), but thought the external control was less invasive if I ever want to sell the amp. If I ever need to run something else in the FX loop, I'll make a splitter box.

Turning down the pot allows the preamp to be cranked. It works superbly.

Unrelated to the actual amp ... I did an A-B comparison between the preamp at max in the amp with the master volume turned down, and the preamp at 2 with the master maxed with the overdrive provided by a DingoTone BSD, and there is very little difference to my ear.

This is the one I fabricated for my amp yesterday:
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Hot Rod master volume.jpg
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laurie
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by laurie » Sun Dec 17, 2023 3:13 pm

Rear view of the finished amp.

I fabricated a rear panel out of 0.25" ply laminated to 0.125" MDF. Gives stiffness and strength without too much bulk. Finished with Duratex.

I included a cutout for the circuit board cavity for heat dissipation. Covered with stainless steel rodent mesh stapled to the board, and the whole area covered with adhesive copper sheet for shielding.

@pepe - the original speaker is back in the cabinet ;)
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Hot Rod finished, rear.jpg
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Pepe
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Re: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Post by Pepe » Sun Dec 17, 2023 6:53 pm

Ah, yes! Great solution with the potentiometer in the loop! 8-)
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