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For years, the Fender Hot Rod series has been a staple of backlines, weekend warriors and professional players alike. This clean 2016 Hot Red Deluxe III features 40 watts of 6V6 power, two levels of gain, and plenty of headroom for pedals. And at 41 pounds you won't throw out your back on the way to the gig.
This 2016 Hot Rod Deluxe III features:
40 watts, 2 – 6L6 Groove Tube power tubes
3 – 12AX7 Groove Tube preamp tubes
Solid state rectifier
Fixed bias design with internal bias adjustment
Volume, Drive, Master, Presence and 3-band EQ controls
Real spring reverb
3 channels – Normal, Drive, More Drive
Two inputs (2nd input is -6dB)
Celestion GP12-80 speaker with extension jack
8 ohm impedence (4 ohm minimum)
Pine cabinet 41 pounds
Made in Mexico
The Fender Hot Rod III deluxe is a well-built full featured amplifier that follows a classic Fender formula: The fixed bias, 6L6 design and generously proportioned 1x12 cabinet pumps out classic Fender clean tones with plenty of headroom that will tolerate just about any pedal you throw at it. Checking it out with our G&L ASAT Classic S, the Hot Rod Deluxe is punchy, clean, and the 23" wide cabinet produces very good bass response. As with many Fender mid-powered amps, volume is ample, and we liked the the -6dB #2 input as it gave us more workable range. If you like the 2 and 4 position "out of phase" tones of a Strat, the Hot Rod positively eats them up, with lots of punchy twang and cluck.
The Drive switch on the Hot Rod was more restrained than expected, and we would characterize it as a "hot blues" tone. It's medium-gritty, but there is a noticeable jump in treble content, and a little treble rollback on the guitar does the trick. The Drive control adjusts the amount of gain/distortion, and the Master only affects the drive volume, so you can easily balance clean and drive levels.The "More Drive" gets pretty serious with an even, linear crunch that is not overly compressed. Even at high gain levels there is enough attack to cut through the mix. It's not "Marshall" and it's not "Mesa" but it can easily take you into the hard rock zone with it's own unique Fender crunch. We really dig it: It's not crazy over the top, and even if you have a bevvy of pedals, it's a cool sound unto itself.
Unless you are chasing a very specific, heavy rock tone, the Hot Rod Deluxe is a value-packed combo that will get the job done from basement to large club. And with its generous headroom and effects loop, whose to say you can't get that very specific heavy hard rock tone? An affordable and portable gem, the Hod Rod Deluxe III is well worth consideration.
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