Fenders Iconic Volume Control
Odds are if you ever been into a music shop you’ve no doubt plugged into a Fender hot rod deluxe. One thing that you’ll notice is how loud they get really really quickly. But how loud are they? This is my latest things when it comes to Fender amplifiers that not many people know about. All the clean channel gets extremely loud even at number two on the dial, it doesn’t get much louder than past half way.
Fender intentionally set up the voice control this way so when you plug into it, it sounds like it’s going to just peel the paint off the walls if you turn it
up too much.
Going from the clean channel over to the overdrive channel you can see the difference between how the volume controls work on both channels. The drive channel volume goes up as you would expect – incrementally. The technical term for this is linear volume control. The clean channel has what they call a logarithmic scale and the volume difference is instantly noticeable.
Depending on which speaker is loaded into the hot rod deluxe and get different results in terms of body and obviously also in terms of tone. I believe the stock speaker in the hot rod deluxe sounds better in that amplifier and how it sounds in its brother the blues deluxe. The something about the voicing of a hot rod deluxe that just works with that stock speaker.
Some speakers and more efficient than others as well. The higher the decibel rating the more efficient the speaker actually is in the louder the amplifier will be.
Power Handling Explained
The fender hot rod deluxe is rated at 45 Watts and the Blues Deluxe is rated at 40 watts. This five what’s the difference makes no appreciable difference to the actual output volume. What you will lose though is a bit of headroom but not much. This means the Blues Deluxe will break up a little faster on the clean channel once you crank the amp. This is inherent of tweed amplifiers and a very desirable sound for most guitarists.
Part of the reason the Hot Rod Deluxe is so loud is because of its configuration. The Hot Rod Deluxe IV (and all other versions) are loaded with 2x 6L6 power tubes and 4x 12AX7 tubes. For those that don’t know much about tube amplifiers. Anything loaded with a pair of 6L6 power tubes is louder than the majority of amplifiers loaded with 6V6. Some examples of amplifiers loaded with 6V6 tubes would be the Fender Deluxe Reverb and Fender Princeton Reverb.
EL84’s are a whole different thing again. These are “more common” in English voiced guitar amps like the Peavey Classic 30, the Artist TweedTone 20r, and even in the Fender Blues Junior.
Does it sound good at low volumes
This is not a good home amplifier. 45 W from the tube/valve amplifier is way more than anyone will ever need playing at home. If you live in an apartment this amplifier is overkill. If you want a decent tube amp for home use, I would suggest going for something like the Bugera V5 Infinium. 5 watts is more than you’ll ever need at home.
The other reason why this amplifier sites for home use is it gets extremely loud really quickly and anywhere below about 1 1/2 on the clean channel the tone really suffers. You really need to push the volume between 2-4 on the clean channel to make the most out of them.
You could use the dry channel at low volumes but it’s definitely not gonna sound as good as it dedicated practice amplifier. If you don’t have an issue with volume where you live and you’ve got your own place and you like to be louder maybe that it’s an option but that would be the only option.
Is the 40 watt Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Loud Enough to gig with?
ABSOLUTELY! I’ve never had a chance to get mine up past half on the clean channel when running pedals. The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is easily loud enough to keep up in a live mix with even the most aggressive drummer. If you don’t like the voicing of the stock speaker you could add in something like an Eminence Swamp Thang or Eminence Tonker and you’ll have your drummer crying in no time! haha.
How loud in dB is a Hot Rod Deluxe?
It’s possible to get them up to around 124 dB at a distance of 1 meter. This is much louder than bands you’ll see at medium-sized clubs and bars. If I turned up to a gig and ran my Blues Deluxe at 124 dB I would be never asked back. Most bands sit somewhere between 110-119 dB on average and that is towards the loud side too. Having an amp hit 124 dB is drastically louder because of how the dB scale works. You will not have a problem with volume from a Hot Rod Deluxe, Hot Rod Deville, or even a Blues Deluxe.
Who is the Hot Rod Deluxe For?
The Hot Rod Deluxe is for anyone who wants that big and full clean tone sound. As I mentioned, the Hot Rod Deluxe is a great pedal platform. There is nothing to stop you using the amplifier without any pedals as well. If you play Country, Blues or Rock odds are you’ll enjoy this amp. Country players will want to add in a nice compressor pedal as well to get that classic sound. Blues players who never use pedals will probably live on the drive channel and just use their volume control. The drive channel on the Hot Rod Deluxe IV is actually really good, for the first time in the history of the amplifiers. Thankfully Fender finally made the amplifier gain channel something worth using!
These are the most sold Tube amplifier for a reason. Did I forget to mention these amps are extremely loud too?