Fender hot rod deluxe - what can you do to make it sound better?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by sf audio, May 23, 2015.

  1. sf audio

    sf audio Member

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    I just picked up an old USA HRD for $200....it's stock, in good shape, and it sounds OK, I guess...comparing it to my Mesa Lonestar it falls short of that amp, as you would expect.

    The clean channel sounds good, if not a little pedestrian. The OD channel is a bit cheezy but I don't care about that so much...

    Iv'e read about guys replacing the speaker, using 12AT7 tubes, and a reverb mod (clip one of the wires?) to improve the sound of this amp.

    So my question is will any of these changes make a noticeable difference? The amp is what it is, and I'd hate to disappointed by spending another $100 to find out it wasn't worth it.

    So give it a shot, sell it, or just live with it? :)
     
  2. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

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    The twin stack mod is a must have. Its a very simple jumper across two of the lugs on the mid pot. Turns the tonestack into Blackface. A JJ ECC83 in V1 helps tone down the brightness some and a 12AT7 V2 does help the dirty channel but ut still sucks. Its best use OD pedals instead.
     
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  3. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

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    And JJ 6L6s as well as new grid resistors and a speaker tgat chage us good too. I like the circuit boards on the older units.
     
  4. elron hoover

    elron hoover Member

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    Did the same thing with my buddy's HRDX with the exception of the twin stack mod... I'll have to tell him about this since he is internet-handicapped. The V1 tube makes such a huge difference in these amps - it takes away the icepick trebles. I went from hating to appreciating the HRDX clean channel in a hurry; it actually made me want to check out Fender amps for a complement to my SD30 II. I would pay $300 for one in an instant.
     
  5. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Emi C-Rex
     
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  6. sf audio

    sf audio Member

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    so where are instructions on the tone stack mod? I may try another speaker to...looking at the eminence patriot series, specifically screaming eagle and red/white/blue. Looking for a more crisp sound with less flub...
     
  7. lawrencedesigns

    lawrencedesigns Member

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    I recently picked up an HRD III. Put in JJ tubes, did the twin stack mod, and installed a C Rex.
    I haven't plugged in my Marshall since then.....
     
  8. Tone Meister

    Tone Meister Member

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    V1 - RCA 7025 or 12AX7A
    V2 - Longplate old stock 7025/12AX7A (Sylvania is great)
    V3 - Sovtek 12AX7LPS
    JJ 6L6GC or Ruby 6L6GCMSTR power tubes (biased to 58 - 60%)
    Eminence Swamp Thang
    Twin Stack mod
     
  9. Castro

    Castro Member

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    JJ Tubes and a Jensen Blackbird
     
  10. sf audio

    sf audio Member

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    OK, this might be a stupid and obvious question, but regarding speaker wattage....the higher it is rated that means the cleaner it will sound at high volumes? A 30watt speaker will break up earlier?

    the HRD is 40 watts - that means a 100 watt speaker will "take it" better and won't fart out as compared to Celestion V30?
     
  11. J M Fahey

    J M Fahey Member

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    No.
    What really breaks is the amp itself clipping; and will do it at the exact same pot "number" , if guitar and playing are the same, of course.
    But different speaker efficiencies will change a lot the acoustic pressure you feel , so a low efficiency speaker might be struggling against a drummer even if amp is set to 5 or 6 ... which is quite dirty, and an efficient speaker may be cutting through with punch and authority on 2.5 ... obviously clean.
    So that is how a better speaker gives you more headroom, by making better, more efficient use of what the amp has to offer, not because the speaker itself distorts or not.
     
  12. tresspassor

    tresspassor Member

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    My 2 cents.
    Speaker replacement along with tube choice can go a long way toward changing the character of this amp.
    I would suggest at least a 65W or more rated speaker for this amp if you plan to play it at gig volumes.
    Choose one based on how you will primarily play it.
    Country clean: WGS G12C, Jensen C12N, and the likes
    Bluesy stuff: Eminence C-Rex, RWB, etc.
    Gainy stuff: Celestion style speakers. GT-65, V30, etc.

    For tubes, I like a 5751 or 12AT7 in V1, TAD 6L6WGC-STR in the PA.

    Lots of circuit mod info can be found here:
    http://home.comcast.net/~bandweb2/justin-holton_files.htm

    Be aware that the PCB has to be removed to perform most circuit mods. And this PCB isn't exactly designed for serviceability. In other words, don't use this amp to practice your soldering skills. Or else, you might have to use it to practice some trace repair skills.

    The BF tonestack mod is simple and quite useful for scooping some mids.
    Reducing some of the bypass and coupling cap values can help tame some of the overpowering bass response.
    Forget about the drive channel. It's just not worth modding when a pedal into the clean channel still sounds better.
     
  13. Floridaplayer

    Floridaplayer Member

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    [​IMG]I have the FSR Silver Bullet. Has a V30 in it. I love the cleans! Very thick. Forget the stupid drive channel...it's worthless. Loves pedals!
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  14. Guitar55

    Guitar55 Who was that masked man? Silver Supporting Member

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    Does this apply to the HRD III?
     
  15. coltranemi2012

    coltranemi2012 Supporting Member

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    For me after trying a bunch of things like changing speakers and doing some of the popular mods...dumble type mods...the best thing I ever did was to sell it and buy something way better.
     
  16. vbf

    vbf Supporting Member

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    I acquired a MIA HRD and did the Fromel mod....made a very noticeable improvement and I never touched the stock speaker or tubes. I highly recommend the Fromel mod!!
     
  17. Sean

    Sean Supporting Member

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    Send it to Jim @ Omega Mods. Get the midboost.
    I gig a modded HRD all the time (despite having a few $$$ amps).
     
  18. elicxirmixer

    elicxirmixer Member

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    Lots of good speaker suggestions. I agree bonded with the C-Rex.
    Do the Twin Stack Mod.
    Install JJ tubes.
    And set the bias correctly (after tubes are installed). The Holton link above will tell you all about it.
     
  19. The Funk

    The Funk Member

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    Send it to Omega amps with $250. All problems solved.
     
  20. Caprica

    Caprica Member

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    Just bumping this old thread, to see f there are newer mods out there people are doing ...
     

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