KEY FEATURES

  • 3 Channels
  • 40 Watts
  • 3x 12AX7 Preamp Tubes
  • 2x 6L6 Power Tubes
  • 1×12 Celestion A-Type Speaker
  • FX Loop
  • Spring Reverb

$799.99 MAP
www.Fender.com

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The Hot Rod Series IV is the latest incarnation of this incredibly popular line of Fender amps. The combination of classic Fender styling, modern features, and excellent value has resonated with players so much that the Hot Rods are Fender’s best-selling tube amps. Over the past few weeks I’ve played the daylights out of this Hot Rod Deluxe IV Fender sent for review, and for the money you’d be hard pressed to find another amp that delivers the range of tonal goodness that this one does.

I also have to tip my hat to the team at Fender because over the past year they’ve really demonstrated that they care about the House of Worship, and that speaks volumes to me. Fender recently invited me to an event where I got a chance to speak with Stan Coley about the new line of (awesome) pedals he designed for Fender. As we chatted I mentioned how impressed I was with the gear Fender was turning out, especially the Hot Rod Deluxe IV. Stan got a big smile on his face and shared the following, “I was involved with the Hot Rod, Blues Jr. and Pro Jr. updates. With the Hot Rod in particular, the team wanted to take another swing at the overdrive channel and give it a bigger, more modern voicing. I developed the prototypes that were then turned into the new production versions.”

Although it responded beautifully to my MXR Dyna Comp Mini pedal you’ll hear in the demos, the Normal (clean) Channel has the perfect amount of natural tube compression that makes you want to play with a clean tone. One of the other tweaks they made was to the reverb, which sounds way better than its predecessor.

The Drive and More Drive Channels feature a Drive control that is not active on the Normal Channel. As I started toggling between the channels I discovered once I got a great tone on the Normal Channel, the Bright switch (pushbutton) and Presence control allowed me to switch guitars at will without having to touch the Treble, Middle, and Bass controls. I’ve never played another amp at this price point that began to deliver this kind of versatility. As I hope you can see in the demos, I loved the tones I was getting on all three channels.

For the demos I used various combinations of an MXR Dyna Comp Mini into the amp, with an MXR Carbon Copy and M300 Reverb in the Effects Loop, also using some of the built in reverb on the amp. Altogether I was able to create a sound that to my ear was a glorious wash of clean, overdriven, and distorted tones, without having to use a drive pedal. The three-channel design on the Hot Rod Deluxe has always appealed to me, but in all honestly this is the first time I really felt they got it all dialed in. My only regret is not having been able to run two of them in stereo in a “master > slave” configuration via the FX Loop!

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