September 26, 2017 chris

A (brief) history of the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Disclaimer: all information on this page have been carried together from the internet or are result of personal experience and have NOT been verified by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.

I want to point out that this article is especially dealing with the Hot Rod Deluxe. Not his „bigger brother“ the Hot Rod Deville.

To sum up at least:
Both amps use the exact same printed circuit board, preamp, reverb, effects loop and phase inverter. The only but utterly significant difference is the power supply and amount of speakers as the Deville comes with two 12“ or even four 10“.

The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (HRD condensed) has become Fenders most sold amp since it has been introduced in 1995. So I guess it’s fair to call this little all-tube mono combo guitar amplifier a modern classic.
Before we get into the several generations, limited editions and FSRs (Fender Special Runs) there are a few basic specs that have remained throughout the years:

  • 3 channels (Clean, Drive, More Drive)
  • Bass – Middle – Treble EQ
  • Spring Reverb
  • 12“ speaker at 8 Ohm
  • 40 Watt
  • 3x 12AX7 Tube preamp section
  • 2x 6L6 power section
  • solid state rectifier


The standard model comes covered in a black Tolex with silver-thread grille cloth with a plate on the upper front saying „Fender Deluxe“. Built in California from 1995 to somewhen in 2002 / 2003 the moniker F.A.T. can be found. This stands for Fender American Tube.
It comes with a specially designed Eminence Legend 125 speaker ex factory.

This one’s tricky to determine. Honestly I’m not even sure if HRD II is the official description though you stumble upon it several times on the web.
Furthermore not much has changed (still black Tolex / silver-thread grille / plate with „Fender Deluxe“ Eminence Legend speaker) BUT the production of this series moved to Mexiko in mid 2002 so the moniker F.A.T. has been dropped.
Dating this model from 2002 to 2010 is pure assumption.

In 2010 an official update of the amp has been released. The speaker is now a Celestion G12P-80, the front badge changed from „Fender Deluxe“ to just „Fender“, the overdrive has been „tightened“ and the control penal became black.
Tolex and grille haven’t changed.
This is the series that is produced until present.


Throughout the years Fender put out several limited editions, signature series and so called „Fender Special Runs“, meaning: these are commissioned by individual dealers and have been built to their specifications.
If I’m not mistaken, what varies from edition to edition is the just the look and the speaker. I did my best to gather all available information to give you an overlook of what Fender did here.

HRD White Lightning (2006 – 2007)
white Tolex / black grille – Celestion G12 Century Vintage speakers – badge with „Fender Deluxe“

HRD Texas Red (2008)
red Tolex / blonde grille – badge with „Fender Deluxe“

HRD Emerald Green (2008 / run of 800)
emerald green Tolex / oxblood grille – Celestion Vintage 30 speakers – badge with „Fender Deluxe“

HRD Orange Racing Stripe (2008)
polished wood lacquered orange with two black stripes / black grille – Celestion Vintage 30 speakers – badge with „Fender Deluxe“

HRD Bluesman (2009 / run of 500)
blue Tolex / silver grille – Celestion Vintage 30 speakers – badge with „Fender Deluxe“

HRD Emerald Isle (2016)
emerald green Tolex / oxblood grille – Eminence Cannabis Rex speakers – badge with „Fender“


Taking the given hints / ignoring the serial number what we’re looking at here is a „post 2002 / pre 2010“ model that unofficially goes by the appendix „MKII“.
But after all a Hot Rod Deluxe is what it is: pretty much the Stratocaster of combos.

Tagged: , ,

Comments (2)

  1. Steve Camilleri

    Thank you for the information on Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Limited Edition . I’m only a beginner age 67 and live in Australia , And think l have a lacquered tweed / ox blood cloth Limited Edition with alnico 5 Jensen P12N speaker . It is not known how many of this modal was made , on the circuit board dated Fender 2002 . And on the sticker for the valves on the left inside has “Hot Rod Deluxe” on the top , below that it got type of valves and below that has Corona California USA . On the top at the front has Fender Deluxe . The plat on the back has scratches and worn off, and a smaller plate on the right side on the back has Fender Limited Edition . I have paid $750 Australian for it , l’m wondering is it the real deal as you know more than I do . The next question is l like the music of the 1950’s rock’in’roll and rockabilly is this amp suitable . I have two Gretsch hollow body guitars one is g5422t 2014 and g5420tg OS 50s Limited Edition 2019 . Thank you for you help .

  2. Steve Camilleri

    Steve Camilleri may 10 2022 I contacted you about fender hot rod deluxe tweed ox blood grill Limited Edition 2002 with Jensen Alnico 5 P12N speaker would I be-able to play 1950 Rock ‘’n’’ roll and rockabilly music with this amp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.