Guitar Speaker Guide

The 10 Best Speakers for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Amplifier

The 10 Best Speakers for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Amplifier

This article will cover the 10 best speakers for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier.  The Hot Rod Deluxe is one of the best selling guitar amplifiers ever and upgrading or replacing the speaker is fast and easy.

The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe sounds great straight off the shelf but a speaker upgrade improves things further. If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your speaker in your Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier, this article is for you.

This list will cover the speakers you need to know for upgrading the internal speaker to something much better. Changing the stock speaker is the best upgrade you can make to get a better guitar tone.

If you are unfamiliar with changing speakers I highly suggest reading my article about changing speakers and what you need to know.

The “best” is very subjective.  This list is in no particular order but it includes some really fantastic options for your beloved Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier.  This is the best 10 speakers I have tried for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

10 Best Speakers for a Hot Rod Deluxe
Hot Rod Deluxe Version IV – Sweetwater

1. The Eminence Swamp Thang (150 watts / 102 dB)

This speaker has the “Fender Sound”.  Lots of nice low end topped with some beautiful high end.  The Eminence Swamp Thang speaker is also used in higher gain amplifiers as well thanks to the extended bass response.

Rated at 150 watts, it can handle as much volume as you throw at it. The Eminence swamp thang is an ideal first speaker upgrade for anyone wanting to ditch the stock speaker.

Another advantage of this speaker is it has a lot of clean headroom.  If you want your amplifier to be louder and cleaner longer, it’s a great choice. This is one of the most efficient speakers on the market which means it is very loud coming in at 102 dB.

This speaker really shines on the clean channel of the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier.

The Swamp Thang speaker is also ideal for anyone with a Fender Blues Deluxe amplifier as well.

Top 10 Speaker for a Hot Rod Deluxe
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2. Eminence Texas Heat (150 watts / 99.4 dB)

The Eminence Texas heat is one of the best speakers for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. If you like your tones fat, thick and juicy then it is a great choice.

One thing to note about this Texas Heat speaker is it will roll out some of your treble frequencies.  In comparison to the Swamp Thang (above), the Texas Heat has far less treble.

If you are a fan of the drive channel of the Hot Rod Deluxe then this is a great choice.  Due to the nature of the drive channel sounding a bit “thin” this speaker fattens thing up.

If you’d like to dial out a bit of that Fender top end then this is a great choice.  The Eminence Texas Heat sounds thick and full for recording and is also a great choice in a Blues Deluxe.

Eminence Texas Heat
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3. Celestion Century G12 Neodymium (60 watts / 98 dB)

The Celestion Century G12 Neodymium speaker is a beast. The Century is one of the lightest speakers on the market mixed with some of the classiest tones out there.

Wanting to make the Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier lighter is a good move for a lot of people with bad backs.  This speaker only weighs in at 3.7lbs or 1.7kgs which makes it a perfect choice for many.

Weight aside, the Celestion Century G12 was one of my favorite speakers of all time for how it sounded.  This is a detailed speaker somewhat reminiscent of the Creamback but with a less exaggerated low end.

This speaker will suit musicians ranging from Jazz, blues, to rock players. I used this speaker on many of my studio recordings and it made recording the amplifier all too easy.

Back in the day, this speaker was stock fitted into the White Lightning Hot Rod Deluxe. Those amps were a Fender Special Release and can no longer be found new.  The good news is upgrading the speaker in any hot rod deluxe will give you the exact same sound as that amplifier.

Celestion G12 Century Neodymium
Celestion G12 Century Neodymium

4. Celestion Creamback G12H-75 (75 watts / 100 dB)

Some of the best tones I have ever heard on stage was a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and a Celestion Creamback.  These speakers are so nice to the ears in many ways.

The Celestion Creamback is an English voiced speaker but it’s a great choice for a Hot Rod Deluxe for a few reasons.

If you are looking for a speaker that doesn’t take away from the Fender tone too much this is a really great choice.  When I think of Celestion Creambacks I instantly think of note articulation.  What this means is you will be able to hear each string clearly as you play them.

One slight downside to the Creamback is they are quite bass-heavy.  If you want to tame the low end then this is not the speaker for you.  You might find you will need to adjust the Bass EQ on the amplifier down to 2-3 on the dial.

Another thing to take into account is the Creamback G12H-75 is rated at 100dB.  Celestion also makes a G12M-65 model that only comes in at 97 dB.  I would stay right away from this version.  This is nowhere near as loud as the Eminence Texas Heat for example.  This speaker is great for recording and it is also loud enough for most club gigs.  Make sure you get the G12H-75.

Celestion Creamback
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5. Eminence Cannabis Rex (50 watts 101.8 dB)

The Eminence Cannabis Rex is a great speaker for the Hot Rod Deluxe.  You will also find this is a very popular speaker for many other Fender amplifiers. I have heard this speaker make massive upgrades to a Super-Sonic 22 and Blues Jr as well.

While the Eminence Cannabis Rex is only rated at 50-watts it’s very, very loud!  The sensitivity of this speaker is 101.8 dB making it one of the loudest speakers on the planet.  If having a loud volume is important to you then this is a great choice.

Tonally speaking, this speaker ticks a lot of boxes.  The top end is very Fender without getting too carried away into a bright territory.  The bass response is very nice as well without ever sounding muddy.

Fender has included this speaker in many FSR amplifiers over the years with good reason.  This will make a massive difference tonally in comparison to the stock speaker.  There’s a lot of people who prefer this over the Swamp Thang because the Cannabis Rex has a tighter low-frequency response.  The Swamp Thang is not muddy but it does have a lower frequency reach.

Eminence Cannabis Rex
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6. Red White & Blues – 120 Watts / 101 dB

The Red White & Blues is a speaker I need to be using more.  This speaker is very well suited in a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe or Blues Deluxe.  The tonal characteristics are similar to the Texas Heat speaker but with more high end.  The Red White & Blues also has a slightly tighter low-end frequency response than the Texas Heat but it sounds great in a live mix.

This is a high-headroom speaker rated at 120 watts and 101 dB making it a contender for one of the Worlds loudest speakers. The Red White and Blues Speaker is part of the Eminence Patriot series that is aimed at US-style voicing.

This would be a very safe choice if you are new to speaker upgrades.  The results would be night and day when compared with the stock speaker.

Eminence Red White & Blues
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7. Celestion Vintage 30 (60 watts / 100 dB)

I had a chance to use a provided backline amplifier at a gig.  The amplifier was a Hot Rod Deluxe FSR.  This special release amplifier was very impressive visually covered in an orange and black Tolex.  Tonally, this amplifier sounded superb.

After the gig, I checked the back of the amplifier and it was loaded with a Celestion Vintage 30! I was absolutely shocked a Vintage 30 sounded so great in a Hot Rod Deluxe.  Had I not played through this amplifier, odds are I would have dismissed Vintage 30s.

The clean tones on the amplifier were beautiful and it handled pedals really well also. The bass response is nice without being too full sounding and the amp had that “poke out of the mix” sound.

Vintage 30 speakers are an English-voiced speaker but don’t let that put you off.  They work great in a Hot Rod Deluxe.  While this isn’t my favorite speaker in the World it is clear it is one of the top 10 speakers for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.  There are however people that swear the Celestion Vintage 30 is one of the best speakers for a Hot Rod Deluxe you can find.

Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker
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8. Jensen P12N Reissue Speaker (50 watts / 97.5 dB)

In many Tweed versions of the Hot Rod Deluxe, you’ll find the Jensen P12N reissue speaker.  These speakers are a welcomed addition to any live players amplifier. On their own, the Jensen P12N can sound a little bit weird in the upper-mid frequencies. In the mix though, they sound fantastic.

These speakers are also a popular upgrade for Fender Blues Juniors and also many tweed Fender amplifiers.

The Jensen P12N reissue is rated at 97.5 dB sensitivity so it is not the loudest speaker on this list but it will be loud enough for most people.  The Italian Jensen speakers are super-high quality, robust, and extremely reliable.  They have stood the test of time as a reliable and sought after speaker upgrade for a Hot Rod Deluxe.

Jensen P12N Speaker
Jensen 12″ P12N Speaker

9. Celestion A-Type Speaker

The Celestion A-Type speaker is getting some really positive critiques online and with good reason! Fender started using Celestion A-Type speakers in their Hot Rod De-Ville Michael Landau amplifiers.  The De-Ville is a 2×12 amplifier but they also sound great in a single 12″ speaker combo too.

For this reason alone, these speakers are really well suited to the American-voiced Hot Rod Deluxe amplifiers.

The Celestion A-Type speaker will accentuate the Fender tone.  It has a nice glassy-top end and also an upper mids push that works with a bit of overdrive. This speaker might not have the extended low-end response as some of the others on this list but it will be what I call a “balanced speaker”.

If you want to avoid the ice-pick high end, this is a great speaker. It has a warm and articulate sound, especially with some lead guitar tones.

The Great news is, if you have a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV it will come with this speaker already installed.  For all other versions of the Hot Rod Deluxe, this will be a great upgrade over the stock Fender Eminence speaker.

Celestion A-Type Speaker

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10. Electro-Voice EVM12L 200 watts / 100 dB

The Electro-Voice speakers are some of the most popular professional loudspeakers.  The EVM12L is a 200-watt monster that will work great in the majority of guitar amplifiers.

Professionals like Joe Bonamassa and Chris Cain use Electro-Voice (EV) speakers in their amplifiers because they are proven to be reliable and very loud.

Due to the huge magnet, this 200-watt speaker will handle anything you throw at it.  If clean headroom is what you like you’ll dig it.  The EVM12L retains the Fender tone by keeping a good balance of high end in without ever sounding too bright.

Electro-Voice EVM12L 12
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No WGS Speakers?

Nope! They aren’t very well suited to a Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amplifier.  Most of them take away too much high end and they aren’t very efficient.  This means you’ll get a muddier sound with less volume.  This combination is not ideal in my experience.  After buying a few WGS ET-65 speakers the stock speakers suited the “Fender sound” more.

I am not a hater, I just go by my experience and what I have tested and tried and the WGS speakers fall short every single time.  WGS is a good value option in a sense because they are cloning other popular speakers. I would prefer to buy the original over a muddy clone.

As I mentioned earlier this is my personal list for the 10 best speaker upgrades for a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier.  If you have suggestions for speakers that work for you please let me know.