'cause I sleep with 'lectric guitars...
June 21, 2007 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Is a Fender Hot Rod (1x12) the best (tube) amp I can get for the amount of money I want to spend (~$400) and the power I want (>15 watts)?

Right now I have a Princeton 112+, which is 'all right,' but has a few problems, especially with the input jacks (which are, thanks to modern technology, very tough to fix), and the sound isn't really much to talk about. I've really liked the sound of a Blues Jr. (which I had in my dorm room almost all the time this year, but I didn't own), and would like something really solid. I have an American Tele which I will never part with, and I'd like sort of the same thing, as far as quality.

Oh, and it's for 'indie rock,' and will also probably be used for my other instruments (ukulele, synth, 'laptop')

I've heard good things about the Peavey Classic series? I could go a bit above 400 if I love something, but that's the artificial price limit I've set in my mind.
posted by tmcw to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I own a 2x12 build of the same amp and I pretty much love it. Great clean tone, dirties up fairly well (I don't really do crazy obnoxious distortion much). Damned loud, though, which is fine if that's fine but depressing if that's not.
posted by cortex at 5:22 PM on June 21, 2007

The Blues Jr. really kicks ass in my opinion...The stock models go for less than $400 IIRC...I don't know how it compares spec-wise to the Hot Rod.
I played a Pro Junior for a while, then got the tweed blues Jr. The tweed runs closer to $500 new, with an upgraded Jensen speaker.
With the Master Vol. cranked it breaks up beautifully even at low volume, and has ample volume for anything I've needed it for.
posted by dan g. at 5:39 PM on June 21, 2007

I got a Fender Hot Rod Deville used in the 4x10 speaker configuration for $500. It's pretty damn awesome and extremely versatile. I would spend slightly more money and at least get a 2x12 -- more than one speaker means a much better and fuller sound.
posted by Heminator at 5:56 PM on June 21, 2007

I enjoy my Blues Jr. Seems to be a pretty good value. You can always replace the tubes, speaker, add a resistor here and there, etc. Lots of online moding resources. It's loud as hell, just no bottom end. You say you want > 15 watts... the thing is, depending on what sound you want, the good stuff comes when you're driving the (power) tubes. And with a lower wattage amp, you can drive them but still be at a reasonable volume. Unless you have a speaker isolation room, I can't imagine when you can turn a 100 watt amp past 4. Of course, it's all subjective. Good luck.

Also, just went and took a look, the speaker in the Jr is connected to the head by a standard 1/4" jack. So if you need a "fuller" sound, you can easily connect it to most cabs, 4x12 or whatever.
posted by erikgrande at 7:21 PM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: I was advised that the Hot Rod uses cheap parts and isn't very durable. Plastic jacks, not metal e.g. Also some of the circuitry is solid state.

I've got my eye on the Classic 50 4x10. It's also available in a 2x12. Probably pushing $500.

Visit harmonycentral.com for thousands of user reviews on every amp (and guitar and more) imaginable.

For a little more money, I've heard great things about the Fender '65 Deluxe Reissue.
posted by bleeb at 8:08 PM on June 21, 2007

I've used the Classic 50 4-10 for the past two years on large stages and club stages and the thing kicks major ass. Mine is beat to shit but internally, it's solid. Sadly, I retired it and it sits in my basement because I treated myself to a brand new Hot Rod Deville. What an amp! I'd say any amp in that series is worth the price. I heard one in Guitar Center and had to have it.

This is a great site (very detailed) on the innards and outards of the Deluxe/Deville series. I learned a hell of a lot from it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:26 PM on June 21, 2007

Addendum: I am selling my Classic 50 for dirt cheap. Email is in my profile if you have questions.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:28 PM on June 21, 2007

The super-cheap epiphone tube amps are supposed to be great especially after modding: http://www.valvejunior.com/
posted by zemblamatic at 2:37 AM on June 22, 2007

I bought an awesome tube amp with a built in (but detachable) 15 for $30 used. It blew an internal fuse after a couple years and before I could replace it a guy offered me $50 for the amp section. I did it. Later an other guy offered me $30 for the cabinetry and the 15. I took that too.

Now, I wish I had just replaced the fuse.

Look at used equipment stores. $400 will go a long, long way and get you far more amp than a fender hot rod.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:08 AM on June 22, 2007

you can easily connect [a blues jr] to most cabs, 4x12 or whatever.
posted by erikgrande at 9:21 PM on June 21 [+] [!]

It occurs to me that this might be bad advice (specifically the 4x12 part). You can easily connect a blues jr to other cabs, but you should research first to make sure you don't overload it.
posted by erikgrande at 5:23 AM on June 22, 2007

Response by poster: @World Famous: I'll try not to run anything terrible through it :)

@Pollomacho: That's pretty crazy. Unfortunately/fortunately, pawn shops are not legal in NJ to the best of my knowledge. I'm checking out our local music place though, since they have a sale of some kind.

@KevinSkomsvold: I'm going to email you. That amp looks huge but pretty awesome.
posted by tmcw at 5:50 AM on June 22, 2007

Best answer: I'm in the same boat as you (same type of music, same guitar, etc). Two amp choices IMO - Fender HRD or Peavey Classic 50. And I'd recommend the Peavey over the two. I was set on a HRD and played several and was pretty happy with them and almost ready to buy one, when I tried the Peavey Classic 50 sitting right next to it. Blew me away. Stellar tone, very versatile and loud. The Fender seems louder because of the silly volume pots they use but it's not a linear increase; once you get above 5 it doesn't really get much louder. The Peavey has a steady, controllable increase all through the range of the knob. And it's cheaper to boot. I wouldn't trade mine for a HRD + cash.
posted by sprocket87 at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2007

Oh and my Peavey was under $400 used but in mint cond IIRC.
posted by sprocket87 at 11:21 AM on June 22, 2007

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