Hot Rod Deluxe Upgrade | Warehouse Guitar Speakers

Hot Rod Deluxe Upgrade

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02/21/2012 1:10am

Wich speaker for the best Hot Rod Deluxe upgrade? At this time i have a Weber Chicago 12" speaker but it results too dark. I play jazz-rock with clean and distorted sound (thinking John Scofield).

Best choice? G12 C, Reaper HP, ET65?

02/21/2012 11:50am

I'd say ET65 ... but it sounds like you would probably consider it too dark.  So...

Go G12 for a totally vintage Jensen/CTS American sound

Go Reaper HP for a slightly Britt voiced tone

Hope this helps ... post back here w/results!
02/21/2012 3:47pm

Hy Vaughn

In the Brit-sound area, why do you prefer the ET65 over the Reaper for this amp? Can you explain your reasons?


02/21/2012 10:57pm

Personally, I find the HRDs to be a bit strident and overly crisp on top ... so I like the way the ET65 smooths out the top end.
02/22/2012 4:21pm

Strident and overly crisp on top...i think the problem it's not the amp but the characteristics of the stock speaker.

See this modded HRDx with Reaper speaker. What's your opinion?

Thanks, Lorenzo


02/23/2012 9:52am

I agree ... I've always said that the first place a manufacturer will look to when trying to cut the cost of an amp is the speaker!  They will choose the cheapest thing they can find ... of Chinese origin ... then give it a cool name and put a nice sticker on it ... like "lipstick on a pig" ... or as I look at it "polishing a turd"!

The HRD is no exception ... But since your original post stated: "i have a Weber Chicago 12" speaker but it results too dark" ... I would say that you would find the ET65 too dark also!
02/23/2012 12:34pm

Thanks, Vaughn

And what about the new WGS  Liberator 80 for this amp?


02/23/2012 3:54pm

Haven't tried it personally ... but it hit's me as a good match.  The Liberator is a fairly warm speaker, but not so much as the ET65.
06/04/2012 4:39pm

I made a decision and i bought the ET65!

06/04/2012 6:47pm

Post back & let us know how it worked for ya :-)
06/08/2012 6:42am
Hard judgment, both are great speakers. 
The Weber Chicago is smoother, louder, more woody tone, bass are deep and with a lot of harmonics. The clean tone is gritty, smokey and the speaker sounds wonderful with light-medium OD. With my SG is perfect for blues-jazz but with my Strat something is missing in clean mode. Not great quack.
The ET65 is more chimey and tighter, 'bass-mediums-highs' are more balanced and the speaker sounds with more clarity. Better with my Strat, more quack. With my SG sounds good but with this 'lady', perhaps,  i prefer the Weber.
Vaughn, something will changes after break-in?
06/10/2012 7:26am
Hard judgment, both are great speakers. 
The Chicago is smoother, louder, more woody tone, bass are deep and with a lot of harmonics. The clean tone is gritty, smokey and the speaker sounds wonderful with light-medium OD. With my SG is perfect for blues-jazz but with my Strat something is missing in clean mode. Not great quack, a little dark.
The ET65 is more chimey and tighter, 'bass-mediums-highs' are more balanced and the speaker sounds with more clarity. Better with my Strat, more quack. With my SG sounds good but with this 'lady' perhaps i prefer the Weber.
06/12/2012 6:31am

Vaughn, what the ET65 changes after break-in and how long does it take?
10/16/2012 12:02pm

After hour and hour of music with the ET65 my judgment is: great speaker! The Hot Rod has a fantastic tone with my Strat and with the SG too. I love its sound.

Only a doubt, Vaughn: the characteristic 'boominess' of the amp is increased. I play with bass pot at 2 and the Hot Rod it's alike boomy...

Any advice? Another speaker?


10/28/2012 1:28pm

Try picking up a graphic eq pedal and running it in your f/x loop. If you have a good sounding sonic base in your amp & speaker(s), an eq can really help to fine tune the your case dialling out the boominess. In my case I have an MXR 10 band eq that I've used very successfully in the past as I described above, however with the Mesa Stlletto I described in my question to Vaughn, the V30 is not even close to the sonic ballpark I like playing in.

Another trick you could try is cutting up one of those textured foam mattress pads to fit the bottom, top and sides of your cab. The textured foam will suck up some of the standing waves that lead to boominess. You do not need to put it on all sides of your cab, experiment to find how much damping you need.
10/26/2012 4:37pm

Any advice?...

10/26/2012 11:04pm

Not sure.  I've never considered a HRD to be "boomy"!

The ET65 is in fact the warmest model in the WGS line!  It sounds to me like you are possibly looking for a tone that's more like our Retro 30 (very bright & jangly) or maybe the Invader (focused, urgent midrange).
10/29/2012 6:01pm

Thanks Vaughn and .Hagarsdad. What do you think about this mod?



Why does this amp sound so flabby in the low end? Part of the reason lies in the speaker/cabinet combination. I’ve plugged this amp into other speakers to compare and found that the stock speaker/enclosure seems to really favor the bottom end, particularly for a 1-12 combo. This is great, because it means that the speaker and cabinet are very efficient for these critical lows, and if we can control the amount of bottom end the amp sends to the speaker, we can get great volume without working the amp too hard. The problem lies in the tone control section. I compared this circuit with other vintage Fenders, and the most critical difference is in the way that the Midrange control is wired. If you look at most of the older designs with a midrange control (such as a vintage Twin Reverb), the Mid control is wired with the wiper tied to the high side of the pot, just like the bass control. This effectively turns the potentiometer into a variable resistor (a variable resistor is a 2-terminal device, whereas a potentiometer is a 3-terminal device that is used as a voltage divider, as in a volume control). On these amps, you can turn the volume all the way off by turning all the tone controls to 0. This then allows you to more precisely balance the lows and highs coming through the tone circuit.

The Mid control on this amp is a 25kA pot. (“A” stands for audio taper). Thus, the stock circuit in this amp puts 25,000 ohms at all times between the bottom of the bass control and ground. On vintage Fenders without a mid control, the resistor in its place was usually only 6.8k. On models with a mid control, such as the Twin Reverb, the pot was only 10k, so even with the mid turned up all the way, it didn’t have the same low-end response as the stock circuit in this HR Deluxe. The larger the value of this midrange resistor, the more bass and low-mid the amp has, regardless of the setting of the bass control.

Have you ever seen a “Loudness” switch on an older stereo? The Loudness circuit boosts the bass and treble and is intended for low-volume situations to compensate for the fact that the human ear hears midrange frequencies (where most speech resides) more acutely at low levels than deep lows or high trebles. As volume increases, this effect reduces. If you play a stereo at high volume with the Loudness switch engaged, it can sound flabby because the bass frequencies are now over-amplified for our ears. This is precisely what’s happening with this Fender HR Deluxe. It sounds great at low levels, but the bass overwhelms the tone at higher volumes.

Fixing this takes very little effort:

Follow steps 1 and 2 above. Solder a jumper between the left and middle terminals of the mid control (when facing the amp from the rear, as you would be when working on it). That’s it. You can now reverse steps 1 and 2 and try it out. If you did it right, you should now be able to turn your volume down to 0 by turning all of your tone controls to 0. More importantly, you can now dial in just the right amount of low end with the mid and Bass controls. Remember, they’re interactive. The higher you set the mid control, the more bass you will get.

10/29/2012 10:38pm

That is sound reasoning to me, and oh so easy to do ... and undo if you don't like it.

I always tend to prefer the vintage Fender style tone stack that is described here.

10/29/2012 10:50pm

That looks like the "50's wiring" mod for Gibson Les Pauls and it should work. Personally, I wouldn't muck around with the amps circuitry...a baffle or eq is much easier. And less dangerous if you are a klutz like me.
10/30/2012 5:36pm

Vaughn, another valuable advice to eliminate the characteristic shrillness of the HRDx!!!



When I was experimenting with the tone control section, I did some research. Dave Funk of Thunderfunk Amplifiers has written an excellent text on tube amps. He recommended changing the bass cap (C5) to .022uF, changing the treble cap (C7) to 500pF, silver mica, and changing the slope resistor (R12) from 130K to 56K. I tried them all and like them. I didn’t hear much difference with the bass cap, but the treble cap and slope resistor made a noticeable difference. The increase in value of the treble cap basically shifts the treble response down and allows more hi-mids through as the treble control is turned up. This gives the amp more bite and cut-through without making it shrill.
02/06/2013 4:21pm


Hi Vaughn,

now i play in a rock band and i notice that distortion seems to remain in to the amp, not a lot bite. I'm thinking about changing the speaker of my HRDX  (now i have the ET65). What's your advice? (but without losing a good clean sound).

Reaper HP, Libertador 80 or Veteran/Retro 30?

Thanks a lot, Lorenzo
02/09/2013 2:22pm

Hi Vaughn,
 now i play in a rock band and i notice that distortion seems to remain in to
 the amp, not a lot of bite. I'm thinking about changing the speaker (now i have the ET65).

 What's your advice? (but without losing a good clean sound):

Reaper HP, Liberator 80 or Veteran/Retro 30?

Or an Eq?....

Thanks a lot, Lorenzo
02/28/2013 3:36pm

Anyone tried the Liberator 80 in a Hot Rod Deluxe?

10/09/2013 1:12pm

Why, it's a Hot Rod Deluxe in need of a little lovin'

As soon as I get her healthy again, I'll do a big, epic speaker shootout with her! Yea, I know ... "what took me so long" ...Hot Rod Deluxe
10/20/2013 3:27pm

For this great speaker shootout i would try:









Can't wait!!!.....

11/02/2013 2:48pm

Up..... :-(

11/04/2013 10:25am

Got it working last week ... it had the usual burned resistors, plus a cold solder joint on a power tube socket ... so far, I kinda like it overall "stock", as long as you have no "preconceived notions" as to where the tone, presence, and bright switches "SHOULD" be set!  (ie: it's NOT like my vintage Fenders).  I almost took it out on my gig last Saturday ... a Halloween party with a big rock band crammed into a small stage ... wanted to go "no pedals" for space savings ... but ended up taking my 1x12 Bogner that's newly outfitted with a ET65 ... which worked out very nicely :-0

Should get the HRDX speaker shootout video done & posted within 2 weeks!
11/05/2013 1:44am

Great!! Add the British Lead!... :-)
11/07/2013 9:05am


Another suggestion for the speakers shootout: the HRDx has a horrible drive channel, HRDx's owners use clean channel with OD pedals for rock or blues territory. It's important to understand wich WGS speaker drive better this pedals (for example a tube screamer) over the clean channel.


11/21/2013 6:51pm

Started filming this today ... should have it done and posted to the blog in a day or two :-)

11/24/2013 12:23am

Check out the blog:

Michael McWilliams
04/26/2020 6:11pm

I have an HRD 4x10 that I put a 12AT7 tube in V2 to tame the overdrive. Instead of using "more drive," I like to set the drive channel to a bit of breakup. When I want solo crunch and sustain, I use an overdrive pedal, such as a EHX Soul Food or a Timmy, now made by MXR. Almost anything will sound good to put it over the top.
11/24/2013 5:13am

Very, very, nice shootout, Great Vaughn!!!!!!!

So, all the WGS speaker sound better than the stock speaker. The Fender-Emi stock sound thin and harsh, a 'radio-like' tone.

But, all my doubts were reals.... the ET65 is not the best speaker for the HRDx. Too warm and dark. Great sound from the G12C, great sound from the Reaper HP. I'll change my speaker........

And now.....we are waiting for the Supersonic 22 shootout!!!!

thanks a lot! ;-)

12/10/2013 10:38pm

PLEASE!  post your comments there ... let me know YOUR thoughts :-)

12/26/2013 2:54am

I had a couple to compare in mine.  I'd bought an ET65  and a G12C/S to replace the two nasty things in my VM Bandmaster cab.  I listened to both in my Hot Rod just to see how big of a difference it would make, and I must say you can't go wrong with either.  Both speakers together handle the output from a Dual Showman just fine, thank you.

The G12 C/S impressed me enough, I have ordered one specifically for the job.  I have plenty of headroom with it, and get none of the ratty mids or the teeth-clenching highs I got with the stock speaker.  If you like a big fat bottom, narrow mid, but sparkling highs, that's how you want to go.  the ET65 was nearly as good, but just didn't afford the top end clean I got with the G12.  

And, as a side not, I have also replaced the power tubes with a set of 6L6GC's to add even more top-end and it REALLY booms through the G12C/S now.  

I have heard several "modded" Hot Rods with different speaker/tube combinations,  I have yet to hear a combination that sounds as good as the G12C/S speaker and the 6L6GC tubes.  It sounds like an old blackface Fender Pro now, but with more clean top-end.

01/08/2014 8:13am

Hey WGS Team, Im also searching for another speaker for my Fender HRD. The G12A sounds good to me! Can you send me something about the speaker dimensions, or a frequency response chart?

Greatings from Germany!

09/01/2014 1:46am

Two things for the Hot Rod amp turned mine into a tone beast (in a very good way).


1.  Replaced the stock coffee can with a G-12C/S.  That helped a LOT, but it still suffered from a little bit of Mid-Overload.

so I did...


2.  Replaced the power tubes with a pair of JJ's 6L6 GC's


THAT did the trick.  Good, clear bass without any break-up.  Crystal highs.  Sparkles, but doesn't pierce.  Mids now sound like mids, not cat caught in a steel trash can.


One thing to note that I've discovered a little more than 8 months and about 100+ hours later:  As good as the speaker sounds when first installed, it gets downright amazing once it's broken in. I would compare the sound this amp produces now to a vintage Super Reverb, and maybe even a little better.

11/06/2014 2:56pm

The Reaper HD is a fantastic speaker for this amp!!  Thank you WGS!!!

02/05/2016 11:37pm

I swapped the WGS Reaper HD into my American Hot Rod Deluxe and am crazy happy with this. The Reaper HD smooths out the tone of the amp. The original Eminence just kicked me in the nuts too much with the mid range poke and high-end pierce that I found myself backing off the amp way too much yet I loved the clean tone of the amp.

The Reaper HD allows this amp to be enjoyed, and has a smooth tone, a hint more bottom end, and obviously a change in the middle, with the high-end still giving enough brightness but not too much. I find myself using some setting son the Hot Rod Deluxe I would never use before (like the dirty channel). The dirty channel on the HRD is now completely usable unlike before. The clean channel I can even bring the volume up to 3-4 and still be in the same room - note that power soak or attenuator is nice to have, and the Reaper HD will take it if you want to drive it with no problem. I find with the high chimy stuff that I bring the presence back up to 12, treble up more than it was before, and now even the bright switch is useful. The speaker is not dark by any means, just smoother and allows the amp to be FAR more enjoyable to use.

Sidenote - I also ran my Mesa Roadster into the Reaper HD as a single speaker while in the HRD open back amp, and wow, that was nice - a good alternative to the sometimes box-y tight sound of the Mesa closed-back combo. I found the Reaper really shines with some nice gain, even heavy gain into it - and doesn't fatigue you, yet the clarity is there. My Mesa Mark V also liked the Reaper HD a bit, although that amp has a tendency to have more high-end presence and chime, so at least I know the Reaper HD can take it if I want to give it.

I know this sounds like a commercial for the WGS Reaper HD, but after watching the video, listening critically, and even editing the audio side-by-side so I could listen more objectively, I found the decision to be a toss-up between the Reaper HD and the Blackhawk - so, the value of the Reaper HD pricing made the decision that much simpler. I am consdiering a 2nd Reaper HD to drop in a 2x12 cabinet I have with another speaker, just to have some flexibility in the studio without having to bypass the HRD.

Thanks for making the side-by-side comparison video of the WGS speakers in the Hot Rod Deluxe!!

02/09/2016 5:33pm

Cool beans ... and yea, I agree the Blackhawk & Reaper HP were about on-par with eachother ... but one costs 4x as much ... so that is quite a powerful tie breaker :-)

Peter Refsnider
07/13/2017 4:06pm

I realize that this is an old thread... I've repaired and/or modded many HRDs over the years. A typical mod to minimize "boominess" or "farting out" is to replace the reservoir filter cap (C31, 47uf electrolytic) with a higher value, up to 100uf. Just did this today, replacing all filter caps for a client. One of my other HRD clients selected a WGS G12C, loved it, gave me his Fender/Eminence stock speaker knowing that he would never use it again!

07/31/2017 4:15pm

Yea! I a lot of customers ask me to just keep their old pickups & speakers because they know they'll never use them again ... it always feels good!
And yes, I bet the G12C would be a good match in a HRDX or Blues Deluxe ... especially if you are going for a classic blackface Deluxe tone. The G12C is our brightest 12 by FAR ... and it's got a pretty darn stiff cone ... which totally eliminates "farting out" on the speaker's part! It Basically sounds a LOT like a vintage High-Power Jensen ... when the Jensen was brand new.

Oh, and good tip on upping the filtering ... I kind of think like Gerald Weber ... that you almost can't have too much filtering ... and I hate the loose bottom end of a filter challenged amp!

02/03/2018 1:35pm

Hey I just brought my '90 Fender Super 112 (60w) back to life and serviced. Got rid of the red knobs and changed the grill cloth and logo. New JJ's all around but an unknown speaker. Pretty bassy as well. I play Classic Rock, country and oldies. Mostly just a rhythm guy.
Speaker recommendations?


02/08/2018 8:25pm

Hi, I'm new to this forum. I just bought a Reaper HP, 8ohm to replace the stock speaker of my Hot Rod Deluxe. I like the sound but there is a humming noise coming of the amp with or without a guitar plugged into it. What could be a problem and how I fix it?

Thanks for your help.

02/09/2018 6:33am

I would recommend FROMEL electronics HRD supreme upgrade kit.
This kit should be installed by a qualified technician.
This will create a very noticeable improvement in the sound of the amp. (it makes the amp sound more "hi fi.")
(I have installed several of them)
Then after the amp is dialed in, you can start auditioning speakers which will also be an improvement.

The players who used the Fromel Mod for HRD were very pleased....and I like it quite a lot.

07/28/2018 8:10am

Really and thankful for all the information......especially on which speakers to use .

08/02/2018 6:38pm

I love the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III. My fiance gave me this amp after barely using it for 6 years. This is the first tube amp I've ever owned so needless to say, I was happy. Withe the WGS Retro 30 in it ... This thing screams volume!!! It shakes my house at around 3. Plus, you can't beat true beautiful tube tone. Even the overdrive sounds good now.

08/03/2018 4:07pm

Great. Thanks for share , I could not be happier with the Reaper HP in my Hot Rod Deluxe. Sounds great on both channels now :-)

01/15/2020 7:44am

My fave is an ET65 in the amp cab and a Scumback (or Warehouse Veteran 30) in a 1x12 extension. IME, the HRD IV sounds best with an extension cab as it really opens up the sound and lets the amp breathe.

02/16/2020 9:26am

1954 Fender Deluxe WDS G12Q , 1984 Marshall JCM 800 4210 WDS Veteran 30 , Crate GX-15 WDS G8C