Today, Fender is officially launching the new, refreshed Hot Rod Series IV, which was first introduced in 1996. The amplifiers have graced stages with the likes of The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr., the Killers’ Dave Keuning and Soren Hansen of New Politics for over twenty years. The line’s four refreshed models, include: the Pro Junior IV ($499.99), Blues Junior IV ($599.99), Hot Rod Deluxe IV ($799.99) and Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV ($999.99), which will be officially unveiled at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, Calif. this week.
“For over 20 years, Hot Rod amplifiers have been the versatile, dependable, and affordable choice for guitar players of all styles around the globe,” said Shane Nicholas, Director of Product Development, Amplifiers. “In developing the Hot Rod Series IV Amplifiers, we were careful to preserve what players love about these models, while adding subtle, thoughtful upgrades.”
Hot Rod amps are used in more studios and stages by more artists than any other amp series in the world. Frequently used as backline, at festivals and on TV shows – Hot Rod amplifiers continue to be used by artists across every genre, who depend on them to build their signature tones. The Hot Rod Series IV replaces the original Hot Rod Series with the updated Blues Junior IV, Pro Junior IV, Hot Rod Deluxe IV and Hot Rod DeVille 212 IV (click for video).
Without deviating too far from the amplifier design players love, each model includes select elevated features, such as Celestion® A-Type and Jensen® speakers for well-balanced output with plenty of high-end sparkle. Both the Hot Rod Deluxe IV and Hot Rod DeVille IV include a modified overdrive tonality with better note definition. Improved bass response and a reverb warmth modification were adjusted in the Blues Junior IV, while the Pro Junior now has a lacquered tweed cosmetic package and volume knob/gain range improvements.
Fender Hot Rod Amplifier Timeline
HOT ROD INTRODUCTION
For more than 20 years, the Hot Rod series has met significant demand for vintage-inspired tube guitar amplifiers that are simultaneously more flexible—and more affordable—than a vintage collectible or a faithful reissue.
Every time Fender revamped the Hot Rod series, it was with subtle changes, not gigantic ones. Thanks to their authentic sound, durability and pedal-friendliness, these amps have maintained their popularity and are used by more players across many genres. The Hot Rod amps are Fender’s best-selling tube amplifiers, standing side-by-side with the great Fender amps of the 1950’s and 60’s with their powerful performance and tube tone.
1990s – After the demise of the hair metal era in the early `90s, guitarists began abandoning the ubiquitous big rack full of digital processors, returning to analog tube amps. Around this time, Fender and other companies began reissuing classic amplifier designs from the 1950s and 60s. There were many mainstream rock, blues and country players recording and touring with vintage or reissue Fender amps like the Twin Reverb™ and `59 Bassman®.
1996 – Hot Rod series guitar amplifiers, with their Drive and More Drive circuits, give modern players ready access to overdriven tones and distortion, in addition to the classic Fender clean sound. The secret to their success is performance–they are simply solid, great-sounding tube amps.
Cosmetically, they blend the 1950s “narrow panel” tweed cabinet design and top-loaded control panel with 1960s black vinyl covering and silver grille cloth. The Hot Rod amps break with the Fender tradition of high-powered, clean-sounding amps like the Twin Reverb, and deliver extra sonic attitude.
2003 – HOT ROD II
Hot Rod II was not a formal or marketed set of upgrades, but a running change in production that included: improved circuit boards and input jacks, reduced effects loop and reverb noise, and reduced background hum.
HOT ROD LIMITED EDITIONS
2003 also marked the beginning of the wildly successful Limited Edition amplifier program. An array of Hot Rod models, offered in exotic vinyl colors or finished wood cabinets with a complementary grille cloth, the Limited Editions are often upgraded with popular aftermarket speakers and unique cosmetic details.
HOT ROD DOMINATES BACKLINE
2000 – Present – In the early-to-mid 2000s, Fender Hot Rod amplifiers attained a reputation as the most-requested backline amp around the world. Their powerful, versatile tone make them reliable workhorses for just about any guitarist, regardless of the band’s sound and style.
HOT ROD III
2010 – The Hot Rod series DeVille and Deluxe models are upgraded to include new features, notably:
– A black control panel with white lettering for easier legibility on dark stages
– Celestion® G12-80 speakers as standard components
HOT ROD DELUXE™ GEORGE BENSON SIGNATURE MODEL
2012 – Jazz great George Benson co-designs the first signature Hot Rod Deluxe model, featuring a single Jensen® C12K speaker, 12AT7 preamp tube, pine cabinet, gray/ black textured vinyl covering and a custom-molded “GB” grille badge.
MICHAEL LANDAU HOT ROD DEVILLE SIGNATURE MODEL
2014 – “Player’s player,” producer and renowned sideman Michael Landau co-designs a signature Hot Rod DeVille 212 model featuring 60 watts of power, special circuitry, two Celestion V-Type speakers and a custom-molded “ML” grille badge.
HOT ROD IV
2018 – The Hot Rod amplifiers’ twenty-plus year legacy is celebrated with various upgrades (depending on the model), including: a lightly aged grille cloth, increased overdriven note definition, an improved smoother reverb and Celestion A-Type speakers as standard equipment.