Got a email a few weeks ago from Lisa who was frustrated. Seems she bought a used Fender HRD (Hot Rod Deluxe) III off Reverb and it had developed some issues.
She had purchased it for her son to use and while it worked initially it was now exhibiting low headroom and snapping/crunching sounds.
They had taken it to several repair places around town and the techs pretty much said, “yeah, not a great amp. maybe new tubes will fix it”. Or they could not diagnose the problem.
Could I help her out.
Now, I don’t normally do repairs on newer amps but what the hell. They were in no particular rush as they had been dealing with the problem for many months.
So, I got the amp and a few days later put it on the bench and removed the chassis to get into the bowels of it.
I figured by the explanation of the problem it most likely was a tube or solder joint. But where?
First off touched up many solder joints in that made sense as to where there might be an issue and after that fired up the amp.
No issue! Huh! Tapped around the board expecting something aaaaand nothing. Oh well.
So, I let it cook for about half an hour playing audio through it at a moderate volume. Ok, lets do some more tapping on the board. Nada!
Alright, lets go on to the tubes. Starting with the power tubes nope, nope, PI nope, V2 OUCH!!!!
Ah hah! The V2 crunched madly. Replaced and we’re in business.
I did help them with improving the headroom issue by substituting the 12ax7’s in V1 and V2 with 12at7’s. Making the amp much more playable.
I did imply that a custom build from me would give the player a much better sounding & playing amp than the HRD series.
I go through all this explanation to point out that any competent tech can figure this issue out. It’s not rocket science.
All I can figure, is that the tech’s just are lazy. If they can’t fix it in 5 minutes forget it.
The point I want to make is support your boutique amp builder/servicer. They are willing to take the time and educate the player as to how their amp works and ways to improve the sound.