Changing Tubes - Hot Rod Deluxe

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jonathna, Dec 22, 2009.


  1. jonathna

    jonathna Member

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    Aug 27, 2009
    Hey all,

    I'm thinking it's time to change my tubes. My tone has been sucking, I've been getting squeals, and it's been around 5 years since.

    It's a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I was wondering if you could give me some pointers on how to go about changing tubes, or whether it's better to just throw it at a tech. I know nothing about changing tubes, which tubes to get, which tubes will sound good for my amp, whether to change preamp or power or all tubes.

    If you could help me out by giving me some suggestions, that would be great!

    Also, the amp I am playing is a Hot Rod Deluxe, limited lacquered tweed with Jensen speaker, produced around early 2000s? Does anyone know how limited run these were? I read somewhere it was 250, but I am not sure. I paid around $1,100 CAN then, and now looking at what HRDx are going for (around $600 new?), I can't help but feel a bit ripped off. What do you think?


    So yeah, two questions: 1) how to change tubes; 2) value of my amp


    Thanks!
     
  2. tcmono

    tcmono Member

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    Preamp tubes are easy to change. I'm using 2 TAD 7025-s (equivalent to 12AX7) and 1 12AX7EH. Pop the old ones out, put the new ones in. very simple. The power tubes probably require a rebias, best left to a tech since you'll need to have the back off of a live amplifier. The voltages inside CAN kill you. I'm running JJ 6l6S's. I've used TAD 6L6WGC's, TAD 6L6GC-STR's, =C= 6L6GC's - like the JJ's the best in this amp. Like the 6L6WGC's best in my Allen Old Flame. YMMV

    Have no idea what your amp is worth.
     
  3. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Call Eurotubes... they've got premade "kits" for HR amps that are targeted as specific tone/sounds. If you need new power tubes, you will need a teck to rebias the amp (as mentioned above). A JJ kit of power and preamp tubes can be as low at $59.

    My two cents here... If you find the Dlx to be too loud, maybe replace the power tubes with JJ 6V6 instead of original 6L6. JJ's are the only ones that can do this and it drops you power from 40 watts to about 28 watts. The guys at Eurotubes will back this up.

    And on the value... honestly, all amps will go down in value for a long time from the original purchase. It's when they become hard to find/vintage or a sought after that they go up. Let me ask you this... do you like it and is it what you want? Then it's of value to you!
     
  4. BlackStrat_Fan

    BlackStrat_Fan Member

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    My amp guy went through quite a few different tubes and found Chinese Rubys to sound the best. I also had a ton of mods done and switched to a V30 speaker.

    Considering there are so many of these amps available, not sure a limited tweed run is going to make it worth more. However, you may have better luck selling it because it's unique. I may be wrong..
     
  5. jhuse

    jhuse Member

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    Very easy to replace tubes in the HR Deluxe/Deville amps. There used to be a great website dedicated to these amps, but it, apparently, has been lost to the internet forever. That said this thread at H.C talks a bit about the site, and there's a Word doc with the biasing instructions for the power tubes.

    http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2489932

    If I were you, I would go a head a retube the entire amp (it has been 5 years, after all). I personally use a Tung Sol 12AX7 in V1 (the tube slot furthest to the right if look at the back of the amp) and JJ ECC83s (aka 12AX7) for V2 and V3. I also use JJ 6L6GC tubes for the power tubes.

    The preamp tubes are simple to replace: 1) make sure the amp is off (I know...obvious, but still...) 2) gently grab the exposed part of the tube, and 3) gently pull down and wiggle if necessary. The tubes should pop right out. When install the new 12AX7s, just line the tube-sockey key up with the tubes and push in until the tubes are seated.

    Actually replacing Power tube follows the exact same process, HOWEVER, power tubes will likely need to be rebiased. Rebiasing requires you turn the amp on, open the back cover, stick your hand into the circuit and tweak. If done wrong, you'll die. But the good news is the Deluxe and Devilles are REALLY easy to bias, and if you're careful, you will be safe.

    There are 2 points to take note of inside the amp when biasing: the bias resistor trim pot (which is a blue disc about 3/4 of an inch in diameter) and the bias test point, which sits on the front left corner of the PCB that holds the power tubes. You'll also need a digital multimeter, which you can buy at Radio Shack for $30, or so.

    I recommend you check out Eurotubes.com. They are an American retailer of JJ tubes, which I really like. Plus, pricing and service is good. Additionally, there is an instructional video on how to bias the Hot Rod amps posted there.

    ***BUT*** with all of the above stated, I highly recommend, if you're anywhere near unsure, taking the amp to a tech and having him show you how to bias the amp. The bias process is a breeze on these amps, but as I mentioned, if you're not careful, bad things can happen to you.

    FYI - in the amp, there are several really big capacitors (probably 2" long, gray in color, and may say "Illinois" on them). THese are the filter caps for the power supply. Caps, but particularly these, can store electricity long after an amp has been turned off, and if you go poking around before the juice has drained, the caps will unless hell unto you. So be very careful around these guys.
     
  6. jonathna

    jonathna Member

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    Aug 27, 2009
    Hey all,

    I'm thinking of going with one of the Eurotubes kits.
    I'm mostly interested in the ones that drop output to 30W, since 40W is too much.
    What will the implications of this decreased output be? I can milk more tone or something by pushing volume knob higher? Earlier breakup (what does that mean?)?

    https://ssl.eurotubes.com/cart/index.php?page=view_products&category_id=7&sub_category_id=32
    Here, for the tubes.

    Also, what are the main differences between the normal/blues/high gain options? The descriptions are all very qualitative, and I don't know necessarily which one to go with.

    Also, being in Canada, I anticipate shipping to be a bit of a hike. Would it be better to just buy a kit from a retail store?


    Thanks!
     
  7. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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  8. 61Ephramite

    61Ephramite Supporting Member

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    I have two HRD amps; one since mid 90's. I have used every combination of tubes, new, used, and NOS that I could get my hands on. I prefer Mullard 12AX7's from Sovtek or their Tung Sol's as a second choice for new tubes. I am currently using TAD 6L6GC-STR power tubes in one and NOS in the other.
    Personally, I don't care for JJ's; their failure rate is WAY too high. My .02.

    By the way, using a 5751 in V2 or even a 12AT7 will help smooth out the overdrive in the gain channels. Also, using a 12AT7 or 12AY7 in V3 will actually lower the volume a bit if that's an issue for you.
     

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