Photo via the ‘Hendrix live at Woodstock’ documentary.

First of all, let me start by saying that I’ve sat down to write this article three times now, the first two times getting too stoned (sorry Mum & Dad, I did it for the art!) to do anything but eat fistfuls of granola and play with my cat while listening to Santana’s Woodstock set on repeat. This time, my mind is clear – fuelled by coffee to the point of explosion, the western way. Now, let’s get to it.

If there’s one historical event in music I would have loved to be a part of it’s Woodstock, three days of peace, love and music – although the reality of it would probably be getting lost in a crowd of half a million people in a time before phones, while tripping balls on acid – which would be either fantastic or incredibly stressful – it’s a double-edged sword, rabbit-hole roulette.

Either way, there’s no denying the mark it made in music history, and even with all political views aside, that spectacular line up is worthy of headlines on it’s own: Hendrix, Creedence, Santana, Ten Years After, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Johnny Winter, Sly and the Family Stone, Ravi Shankar, Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Mountain, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – I mean are you fucking for real…? Last week marked the 50 year anniversary of the festival, which is why it’s been on mine, and oh-so many other people’s minds.

Being born about 40 years too late to attend and experience the festival in it’s messy and beautiful glory, I’ve done my best in the past couple of weeks to live out the Woodstock experience as well as I could fifty years down the line; I spent three days at Sonic Blast Festival in Portugal with a group of friends, dancing in the apocalyptic rain to Earthless at midnight, before partying at Jimi Hendrix’s London flat during the Woodstock weekend anniversary, drinking his favourite rosé which was handed out for free. Needless to say I felt like an absolute piece of shit the next day as we obviously managed to get our hands on more than the allocated bottle per person.

Anyway, I’m rambling, back to the festival.

Woodstock happened at a crucial moment in time; The Vietnam war was raging and brothers and sisters dying, Martin Luther King Jr had been tragically killed a year before and people were fighting for equality, whether it be due to gender, race or sexual orientation. Then all of a sudden, an angel of a farmer under the name of Max Yasgur kindly leased one of his farm fields to the festival promoters, which then attracted nearly half a million people who celebrating peace, love and music. The festival, did not go down well with the locals, fearing what these scruffy looking longhaired youngsters would get up to in their town. Luckily, Max Yasgur came to their defence:

“I hear you are considering changing the zoning law to prevent the festival. I hear you don’t like the look of the kids who are working at the site. I hear you don’t like their lifestyle. I hear you don’t like they are against the war and that they say so very loudly. . . I don’t particularly like the looks of some of those kids either. I don’t particularly like their lifestyle, especially the drugs and free love. And I don’t like what some of them are saying about our government. However, if I know my American history, tens of thousands of Americans in uniform gave their lives in war after war just so those kids would have the freedom to do exactly what they are doing. That’s what this country is all about and I am not going to let you throw them out of our town just because you don’t like their dress or their hair or the way they live or what they believe. This is America and they are going to have their festival.”
Max Yasgur to the Bethel town board.

If you take away the musicians actually performing and only focus on the logistics of it all, Woodstock wasn’t far from being the Fyre Festival of 1969; they had initially pre-sold 100 000 tickets to the festival, but as attendees started to show up, fences weren’t ready and the amount of people were so high that they were unable to stop the massive stream of hippies pouring into the area – hadn’t it been for traffic being so bad, they estimated numbers would have been higher. With nearly half a million attendees, they were also running severely low on everything; food, water, medical supplies, you name it. Still, despite the sporadic rain, lack of, well, everything, protests from the locals and just general chaos of it all, Woodstock was a peaceful celebration uniting hundreds of thousands of people through to their love of music and acceptance. Today, we might just need a Woodstock more than ever, the rainforest is on fire, and the world is ruled by mad men – we all definitely need to take the edge off a little bit.

Quality.

It’s one of the most misunderstood words in the dictionary.

Yet the history of the word quality can be traced back to Plato. To the philosopher, ‘quality’ is characteristic that exists by itself, and cannot be reduced further. The Latin root from where we get the word ‘qualitas’ translates as ‘of what kind’, or simply put relative to the need.

The Quality of Orange Amplifiers

Orange Amplifiers might be synonymous with the grunt and grit of analogue circuitry, oozing with creamy mids, distinctive lows and highs, accurately representing the full frequency range. The beefed-up brother of the British sound; gnarly and rugged, but approachable and easy to understand.

Much of our modern equipment stems from the ideas of Orange Technical Director, Adrian Emsley.

Adrian designs and builds amps, but he worked in all the places that you’d find amps being pushed to their limit, like out on the road and in the studio. Transport vibration, dropping (it happens), bashing (even more likely to happen), temperatures changing from hot to cold, the damp humid air of a sweaty stage to arid conditions outside, it’s a brutal life, that of a rig.

Then there’s the function of the amp itself!

And that’s how we test the mettle of Quality at Orange Amplifiers:

Made by the working musician, for the working musician.

“I’ve had the same two Rockerverb MKII 100 heads and cabs since 2011. Not once have I had any problems with my Orange gear. I’ve never even blown a fuse or a speaker. My band, Evanescence, tours all over the world, playing in different climates from cold and dry to hot and wet. My gear has been shipped back and forth across the Atlantic many times, been in cargo holds in the belly of aeroplanes across the pacific and always performs when the time comes. It’s more reliable than just about every piece of gear that I’ve ever had!!!”
Troy McLawhorn of Evanescence

Beastly Thinking

What Adrian and his team do is make amplifiers that are complexly simple. More time is taken in the design stage to make an Orange Amplifer playable with little user input.

Orange Amplifiers are designed to easily dial in a tone. There’s not much most front panels, removing the need for endless twiddling of knobs and button switching. Instead, by using an all analogue signal path our amps are voiced with a distinct character, from the point of plugging in, it sounds good. Which means more time making music, less time fighting to get the sound you want.

“I want something that’s going to work, not too much hustle and fuss and something that’s just Rock N’ Roll”
– Kelby Ray, The Cadilac Three

As Little Design as Possible

When it comes to designing amps, lots of care, consideration, time and heaps of perspiration go into the design stage. Generally speaking, Orange Amplifiers have fewer components in the signal chain and here’s why:

Remove the complexity and there’s less to go wrong.

So where your money is going is on higher-spec components that work as they should. Components with the lowest failure rates and over-engineered, so whatever you throw at your amplifier, it will continue to operate the same as the last time you switched it on.

Take for example the trace lines on the PCBs. It’s not something that screams rock and roll, but when you get right down into it, it’s about as hardcore as it gets.

As you push your amp to its limits, be that continuous operation or driving it hard as hell, heat can build up. That heat eventually wears out components and then your in trouble. We lay extra-thick PCB traces to prevent impedance from building up unwanted heat, so the amps keep going for longer.

That’s exactly why Orange Amplifiers are favoured by touring rig companies worldwide. They’re a reliable workhorse that can take the punishing rigours of the road.

The Roadies Friend

Moving, lifting, stacking, packing. All the wondrous jobs that eventually take their toll on your gear. Mick Dines (of Orange Amplifiers) knew this well and the result was one of the most solid speaker cabs on the market.

Back when he designed the first cabs, Mick Dines didn’t cut corners and much of the design remains the same today. There’s no illusion of strength, as Cliff Cooper, founder and CEO explains:

“The 4×12 was built to be very strong and featured a baffle centre post, 13-ply (18mm) birch-faced marine plywood and a tough orange vinyl cloth covering called Rexine. The use of Basketweave on the grill really helped to define the ‘Orange sound’.”

Take a look at the bottom of the cab and you’ll find wooden ‘skids’ instead of plastic castors. Skids make moving gear easier but they also acoustically couple the cabinet to the stage, enhancing the bass response and transmit all that power right through your bones.

Endurance without Compromise

At the very heart of the valve amp is the output transformer. We always over spec our transformers, and there’s a reason for this:

An under spec transformer leads to excess heat being produced inside an amp, ultimately causing problems over long-term operation.

Secondly, if underpowered, the transformer will saturate, throttling the output signal. This will cause losses to the bottom and top of the frequency range rather than passing the whole bandwidth.

Equipped for the Modern Musician

Pedals, pedals, pedals; there’s so many tone choices available, but to get the most of your gear, consider the FX loop.

Your amp, pedals and instrument all need to work in harmony together. Too much signal into your pedal board and the circuit overloads causing distortion. On the way back in, you want sufficient level to drive the power amp.

Orange Amplifiers always * feature a Valve Buffered FX Loop, ensuring you won’t lose any of your amp’s mojo.

* Almost always, Terror Bass features a solid state FX Loop

Instantly Playable

While digital modeling is pretty incredible, we believe the costs outweigh the benefits in comparison to solid-state circuitry like in our Crush range. We design amps that are instantly playable; so you’re straight into making music, not tone hunting.

Flexibility in the Design

Versatility is often overlooked which is why our valve amps (except the AD30) have wattage switching options built-in. That means you can tailor your amp to whatever situation you’re playing, be that in the studio or on stage, you can always hit the tonal sweet spot without the need to make ears bleed

Summing it up

With so many different options out there, choosing the right equipment for your setup is a bit overwhelming. Our equipment is designed by the working musician, for the working musician.

Simply put, gear that handles anything you can throw at it.

Think you have what it takes? Think you’re an amp master? We’ve created a comprehensive quiz to separate the Satsumas from the Tangerines! Test your knowledge and see if you can reach BLOOD ORANGE.

Of all the genres of music, country is exceptional.

Formed by a continent of migrants, country music is a concoction of hardships and woes interlaced with the music and culture from across the globe. Its predecessor, Roots, spawned a vast array of musical styles that have since split and reconnected many times over.

Claudia Hoyser
Claudia Hoyser plays Orange Rocker 15

It’s music built on experimentation and where one in a million chance happenings seem to occur on a frequent basis. Swerving the direction into new unexplored areas, just as the pioneers had done way back when.

From Cash to Stretches

Although there were many country greats before Johnny Cash, the Rockabilly sound of the 50s, driven by amplified guitars, was a defining moment in the evolution of country music. Luther Perkins, ‘the original man behind the man in black’ paid a huge part in that with his signature ‘boom-chicka-boom’ sound which defined the genre.

It is said that Perkins’ style of playing came by chance when defective equipment left him little choice but to dampen his strings with his palm. Consider the classic locomotive stomp from the hit song ‘Fulsom Prison Blues’. To pull that off requires skill and equipment capable of bringing out those tonal nuances.

A Modern Twist on an Old Faithful

The Orange TremLord 30 was designed with careful consideration to players needs, offering a compact 30-watt all-valve combo that replicates the golden age of Country tone. It’s a sweet sounding amp with an Orange twist, featuring those classic EL84 tubes that add a little British character to the mids.

Orange TremLord 30 Amplifer

What makes this amp unique is the custom made Lavoce 1×12” speaker providing a smoother top end along with more headroom before the amp starts breaking up. It’s the perfect match for players looking for responsiveness; faithfully replicating the subtlety and spacious voicing of that golden age.

Eloquent clean tones can be ceremoniously battered by a crashy, splashy beast of a tube driven two-spring reverb tank that oozes with vintage class. If you want to add in delays or compression for a truly authentic sound, the low impedance 12AT7 tube driven FX loop gives you flexibility without sacrificing on tone. Even at lower volumes, Tremlord 30 is designed to be switched all the way to 1-Watt, ideal for even the most intimate spaces.

The Bakersfield Sound

Speaking of intimate spaces, it was Mearle Haggard experience of watching Jonny Cash perform at San Quentin State Prison in 1959 that lead him to pursue his calling in country music. As far as country players go, Haggard is what Joe Strummer was to Punk Rock; he provided a stark contrast to heavily producer controlled music that choked the mainstream airwaves.

The music was called the Bakersfield sound and its reverberations have cut deep into the music of America, influencing the artists like the Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival and The Flying Burrito Brothers. These artists, in turn, influenced the Southern Rock movement, and at its peak in the 70s, guitarists began to turn to the grunt of an all-tube British amplifier.

Orange AD30 All-Valve Amplifier

Our flagship Orange AD30 is an ideal midpoint between the classic country tone and that synonymous British sound that harks back to the heyday of the all-valve amplifier. Its balanced and natural compression is the perfect all-rounder amp for country picking. If you need more heat, the second channel gives you more attack while still emphasising the bottom end for a full-bodied tone.

A Divided Country

On one side of the ravine, a glassy formation looms ominously; its meteoric rise is a paragon of success and excess. Below, overshadowed by the enormity of its neighbour, a gritty cliff edge juts out over the ravine.

And there’s no way better to explain it, mainstream traditional and pop country guitarists usually opt for the open and glassy chimes of an amplifier with those iconic American 6V6 tubes. It’s a path well trodden.

Artists like Tim Montana and The Shrednecks aren’t just pushing the envelope of sound, they’re pioneering a new wave of southern rock that’s like a sonic punch in the face. The bastard love child of ZZ Top where smashing out riffs like Thor’s hammer on the Rockies is just another day in the trailer park. Their weapon of choice is the Rockerverb MKiii.

“Orange amps give me the versatility to go from the cleanest, warmest, country sounds to the melt your face, Shredneck shakedown, in the click of a switch! These amps are built for the road and built for life” – Tim Montana

This boozed-up, steroid-fuelled monster is no roadhouse frequenter. It’s built for a hardcore workout on the road with a feast of total delights that range from chimey cleans and iconic gain tones of a classic British crunch right through to a fistfight with Satan himself.

But others choose to expand the frontiers.

Looking Back to Go Forward

Not so long ago the general public could distinguish the difference between that classic American tone and the British sound. While they are fundamentally different, the lines have become blurred. That’s when the magic happens.

Claudia Hoyser – What Kinda Man

Take modern country artist Claudia Hoyser, her amp of choice is the Rocker 15. It’s an amp that is perfectly voiced to bring out the natural sound of the instrument, the perfect accompaniment for Hoyser’s sultry vocal styling. Sensitive to the touch of dynamics and oozing with valve warmth the Rocker 15 begs one question.

How long before others walk the line?

To purchase tickets for Cambridge Folk Festival, visit their website here: www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk 

FESTIVAL DATES: 1ST – 4TH AUGUST 2019

As if summer wasn’t great enough as it is with longer days and being able to leave your house without a coat and brolly, summer is also peak-time festival season which means swapping office-time for field- and fun-time on a very regular basis. We’ve already had our fair share of fun this season with Desertfest, Download and Black Deer – to name a few, and now it’s time for us to get at it, yet again.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be dusting off our cowboy boots as we head to Cambridge Folk Festival for a long weekend 1st to the 4th of August. The festival, which was first held in 1965, is one of the longest standing folk festivals in the world, which despite of it’s name, hosts an eclectic variety of artists and performers ranging much wider than just folk.

As we all know, festivals can be a somewhat daunting experience with a bunch of incredible artists playing, and manoeuvring oneself through the lineup deciding who to watch when is a difficult task. That’s why, we’ve decided to share our top four at this year’s festival – these can’t be missed;

Jack Broadbent

Jack Broadbent first became a household name, or sort of, when a video of him busking in Amsterdam went viral on Youtube. Equipped with a hip flask for slide and whiskey infused vocals, Broadbent have been bringing dirty blues to the younger generations for quite some time now, playing festivals such as Montreux Jazz Festival as well as smaller venues such as London’s Jazz Café. Personally I have yet to catch him live, but based on reviews and life footage I feel like it’s safe to say he’s a must-see at this years festivities.

Ben Caplan

I first saw Ben Caplan in January 2016 playing London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, deciding there and then that he would be the musical highlight of 2016 – which he definitely was. He has somehow got this ageless thing to him here he plays and sings with such tenderness and charisma that you at times wonder if he might be from another era – until you realise that he’s actually just some early 30s 21st century guy which is just way better than all of us combined.

Graham Nash

This one is a no brainer, surely you don’t expect us to get into why you should catch Graham Nash at the festival…? Well, if so, how about his astonishing tenor voice and contributions to ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash’ or his ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ induction? If that doesn’t get ya – he’s also got four honorary doctorates, meaning he’s not just a better musician in us, but a better human being all in all – might as well go bask in the ambience.

Lucinda Williams

This list wouldn’t be complete without Lucinda Williams, the country and blues artist who had to wait nearly two decades for commercial success after releasing her debut album. Mixing elements of country with rock, americana and blues, Lucinda’s honest lyrics have helped her maintain an authenticity that is rare to see in this day and age, making her a must see at this year’s festival.

Accounting/Office Manager

We are looking for a key individual to join our team in the role of Accounting/Office Manager.

The position is Monday – Friday 9:00 AM -5:00 PM. No weekends or major holidays. We offer several benefits including vacation/sick time, employer paid health, dental, and vision. All job references will be verified prior to employment offer. Company is located in Norcross, GA by Jimmy Carter and 85. Local applicants only please.

Summary of Position:

This multi-faceted, hands-on position is centered on providing operational and accounting leadership for the company at its Atlanta location and reporting into its Head Quarters based in the UK.

This person will be responsible for providing company leadership, along with supporting all aspects of its accounting function, and some HR duties.

Essential Skills and Qualifications:

Candidate must have 5+ years’ experience as a full charge bookkeeper or accountant with a demonstrable track record of increasing job responsibility and career advancement

Formal education or training in accounting practices and methods

Proficiency in SAP Business One Enterprise software strongly desired

Must be adept at negotiation and problem resolution; strong people skills are essential.

Key attributes:

Attention to detail, confidentiality, thoroughness, and professionalism

The successful candidate must:-

Exhibit leadership, mentoring and a positive attitude to other staff members and external partners to maintain company culture and achieve financial success

Candidates should include salary requirements with cover letter to: michelle@orangeamps.com

Experience:

Accounting/Bookkeeping: 5 years (Required)
Office Management: 3 years (Required)
Human Resource support: 3 years (Preferred)
SAP Business One: 2 years (Preferred)

Education:

4 year college/university (accredited) BS or BA (Required)
Work authorization: United States (Required)

Once upon a time, when guitars amplifiers needed batteries to operate…

For most of us today, the concept of life without guitar amplifiers seems like ancient folklore. In reality, there are people alive today that lived through the invention of the guitar amp. Long before Les Paul created the electric guitar, a world existed where, if you wanted to hear sound amplified, you would go to a movie theatre or public address to hear sound through large and expensive sound systems. It wasn’t until 1927 (according to Wikipedia) that the portable PA and Speakers became available for musicians.

It’s all in the tone
It wasn’t until the 1930’s that amps had an acceptable form of volume and tone control. Some of these early invention had deadly voltage issues and while I haven’t found any stories about musicians getting killed by their amplifiers, you can sense the poetic irony in the thought alone.
By the 1950’s the kinks seemed to be getting worked out and vibrato and reverb became a standard.

The truth gets distorted
Distortion was the tone that seemed to change the game for the popularity of the electric guitar. In the 1950s guitarists like Chuck Berry began experimenting with the distortion. Once Dick Dale worked with Fender to help design the first 100 watt amplifier, the door opened to the world of amplification that came to the forefront of music in the 1960s.
With pioneering musicians like Jimmy Hendrix and Dave Davies of The Kinks, the leash was taken off and the way amplifiers were being used in the process of creating effects and distortions created an extra sense of purpose to the amplifier.

Cover your frequencies
As would be expected, competition between amp manufactures pushed the purpose of the amplifier to suit the needs for an increasingly electrified world. The needs of electric piano, bass guitars, synthesizers and organs, made the expansion of frequency and tonal range inevitable.
In came the subwoofers!


Tube, Solid State, Current State
As specifications changed and got more focused, amplifiers were offered in different configurations. Amplifiers made use of vacuum tubes or solid state transistors, sometimes both. Really, it was and is all about the desired tone. Each type of semi-conductor, be it tube or transistor, have a their own vibes. A guitarist like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin might want one tone, while Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead will want another. In addition to that, the amplifiers became optional to have separate then the speaker cabinet, allowing the musicians to pair the amplifiers they like the best with their favorite speaker cabinet. Fortunately, for musicians from the beginner guitarist to Geddy Lee of Rush, the options are expansive, with a high range of options in everything from tone and look, to weight and price.


Looking into the future
While the trends are looking like amplifiers are getting lighter and smaller and packing the same, if not better punch than ever before, there is a creative element to the music experience that will keep the amplifier as an important part of the musical experience. As a musician, I can attest that people pay attention to the look of gear as much as they do to the sound. The classic look of a well designed guitar or bass amp will never go out of style. If anything, the popularity of amplifiers like Orange Amps, shows just how much a musician takes pride in having gear that stand out both visually and audibly. If I had to predict the future, something that I foresee, or maybe would just like to see, is the increase of modular capabilities built into amplifiers. Imagine Jimi Hendrix holding his guitar up to his amp and getting a distorted arpeggiator effect!!

Contributor Adam Chase is the CEO of InstrumentFind.com and a professional touring musician that has performed with everyone from Santana, Aersosmith and Crosby Stills & Nash to Fred Wesley, Clyde Stubblefield and George Porter Jr. 
Adam is also a managing partner at Chase Family Music, a company that books and manages bands and puts on events and concerts around the country with an expansive knowledge of the music industry.

Follow Adam on:
https://instrumentfind.com
https://chasefamilymusic.com
Twitter at 
@adamchasemusic1
Facebook at
@therealadamchase
Instagram at
@adamchasemusic

A couple of days have passed, and it’s time to reflect on yet another festival. This weekend just gone we were at Black Deer festival in Eridge Park, Kent, and for once the weather gods were on our side – three days of mostly beautiful sunshine in even more beautiful surroundings. Ahh, England, you’re pretty alright at times.

Upon arrival we had just about recovered from Download the weekend before, and it felt quite refreshing to be able to give the good ol’ ears a bit of a rest from the heavy riffs and rock, and take in some soothing guitar harmonies and country vibes from the likes of The Sheepdogs, Kris Kristofferson and more. Of course, we still got a solid portion of the heavier side of it all due to Desertscene London’s Roadhouse takeover, but we’ll get to that later.

Asteroid
Child

Only in it’s second year, Black Deer seems very well established at pretty much every aspect from line up to traders, which saw a decent selection of vintage clothing, custom made guitar straps, cigar box guitars, cowboy hats and boots shops, vintage posters (including a 1979 original Hawkwind poster to the neat price of £195, I’ll take two, please), and a bunch of other cool stuff I was not expecting to wanting to throw my money at while out and about in a field. As far as food went, they had a pretty spectacular selection of vendors serving up southern BBQ, tacos, pizza, mac n cheese, as well as live cooking in the ‘Firepit’ with on stage cooks and professionals.

Our presence at the festival was, well, everywhere, as we were supplying the backline for all four stages. We had a variety of acts approach us post show sharing their excitement over the amps, like iconic blues man ‘Watermelon Slim’ who literally came running off stage asking to buy the amp of us there and then, and saying that he’d ‘throw away all the other amps he’d ever own, cause what’s the point of keeping ‘em them when they don’t keep up? Vintage Fenders, goodbye!’

Fantastic Negrito

We also received praise from Brant Bjork who’s guitarist and himself picked up the Pedal Baby a few weeks back to take on tour; ‘We all want that vintage sound that Hendrix had from his Marshall stacks playing to thousands of people. We might not necessarily play venues that size which means a stack of amps would be excessive, however, this little head is the best thing we’ve come across giving us that vintage tone, as well as being tiny and easy to take on tour, it’s perfect.’ Two times Grammy award winning and king of charisma Fantastic Negrito also shared his love for the amps stating he ‘Hadn’t played an Orange for more than 20 years, but they sound so good and look so much better than any other amp out there so I’ll be back in touch to talk more about them…’

Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs – bassist Latch
Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs, Chris & Ken

As far as for the rest of the time spent there, we bounced between stages trying to catch as many bands as possible, as well as stopping by London locals Desertscene, they curated this year’s Roadhouse stage where we saw the likes of The Groundhogs, The Vintage Caravan, Radio Moscow and more, a few acts to pick us up after getting too snoozy in the sun.

Let’s cut to the chase.

When we’re talking about blues amplification the apple fell a long way from the tree of its origins. Yet there’s something fundamentally organic about the sound of the blues that hasn’t been lost in translation.

That’s because the foundation of blues lies in the roots.

“The Rocker dirty channel has been at the heart of my guitar tone for 12 years. Standing alone it’s warm and hits you like a wall of sound, then stacked it cuts and sustains in the best way possible. It’s hard to imagine a show without that signature Orange overdrive” – Hannah Wicklund

Just like a tree, breaks overtime spawn new saplings, fed from a lineage of ancient roots that continue to feed musicians. Inspiring them to push their limits, evolving in ways that are almost indistinguishable from their forbearers.

But once you get down in the mud you’ll notice that everything that was, still is.

The murky roots of the Mississippi Delta

To some extent, it takes a lot of imagination to tell the story of blues amplification. But what we do know is before amplification; we had the acoustic blues. A melting pot of sound, mixed up from traditional string bands, folk, Creole and Broadway theatre songs.

It’s no surprise that legends like Robert Johnson originally made their crust playing American show tunes at Juke joints. These places were wild and unruly, the name itself ‘Juke’ comes from the Gullah word ‘joog’ or ‘jug’ meaning rowdy or disorderly. So the need for louder instruments was a prerequisite. Resonators became widely used for those who could afford them. Not many of these players could.

Blues: amplified

Consider the first amplifiers these blues legends were using. Makeshift designs built by converting old radios. They were pure grit; filthy dirt that was brutality embodied.

The Orange Rocker 32 is the perfect amp to achieve that level of grime. All valve monster tone within the footprint of a self-contained stereo combo. This is an amp designed for experimentation.

Orange Rocker 32 Amplifier

Just as the pioneers had rewired and retubed army issue radios (often players would swap out the smoother 6v6s for European standard EL34s) to create roaring beasts usually resigned to closing time on a Saturday night, the Orange Rocker 32 gives you so much flexibility.

12AX7s on the front end allows you to dial the distortion all the way up to Mr Nasty while the 12AT7s give more headroom and chimey cleaner tone. Add in 4 x EL84’s at the power amp stage and the whole thing fires up when overdriven.

Now the old school blues players didn’t have luxurious stereo effects returns with separate valve output stages, but you can be sure they would have been melting heads in the process.

Some other cool features include half power mode for tinnitus-free wailing, perfect for those who don’t want to experience the deafening silence of a motor shelling during an intimate gig.

Boomtown USA

Many of the Delta players migrated northwards during the great depression, up to the Mississippi and along Highway 61 towards the big city lights of Chicago, from there, blues exploded.

Where money flows, technology grows, and with that amplifier design took off. Classics amps that today now symbolise the American sound became a common workhorse for blues musicians.

Those amps though from back in the day were dirty beasts. The players; innovators. So when it comes to getting close to those classic sounds you got to think about what was going on over there.

Amplifiers were being modded and tweaked, each one was unique, often driven by a need to keep the thing going long enough to play out the next gig. It’s said that when Keith Richards and Eric Clapton paid homage to their heroes by meeting them on American soil they were expected them to be wielding Gibsons, but in fact, they were playing Kays. A perception that comes from an ability to play the hell out of anything and make it sound badass.

Orange TremLord 30

The TremLord 30 is an Orange take on the classic amps that were around in the 50s. It’s quite likely that this beefed up vintage design is an accurate reflection of what was in use, opting for EL84 (nee EL34s) that break up more than the 6v6 type American tube.

What those guys wouldn’t have were contemporary FX chains that give you far more flexibility without suffering tonal loss.

Probably the single most beautiful thing to happen in modern-day amplifier design is to drop the volume but still retain the springiness of a valve amp. That means you don’t need a plethora of amps to keep you away from an anti-social behaviour order.

The Spirit of Revival

Orange, as you may know, played a role in sculpting the sound of the blues from the late 60s when Fleetwood Mac took the first Orange rig out across America. This was a big step away from those early blues players who sacrificed blood and bone to amplify their sound.

This was a wall of sound, thick with mid-ranged compression, tar-like, knurled and jagged edges reminiscent of sun-beaten highways where its origins were performed in road worker campsites. A sound that rang on endlessly as the birds picked at the carrion that laid in their wake, and which has evolved beyond comprehension, yet still is as relevant now as it was 50 years ago.

The amplifier which embodies the spirit of the British sound is the Orange AD30, our flagship all-valve amplifier.

So we’ll let the music do the talking:

Orange Acoustic Pre

Faith.

Confidence in trust.

A pledge to the prophets of tone, made at the altar of our craft where rites are read from the runes of bass, middle and treble. A place where magicians dance between dark tones of hallowed wood and the breath of expression. The resonance of two materials, alchemy forged on an anvil of skin and bone.

Zac Ford endorses the Orange Acoustic Pre
“I’ve used the Rockerverb for various bands and styles for years, its been my swiss army knife. I always wanted to incorporate the Orange sound into my acoustic tone too and the Acoustic Pre does exactly that!” – Zak Ford

Songwriting is a spiritual matter. This is especially true when producing music on an acoustic instrument where nuances of tone really do help to create something far more personal. Stripped back to its bare essentials; the tonewood, the ores, alloys or gut, the person making the connection. Yet translating that personal feeling live or digitally can prove to be illusive, especially when time constraints are put into play.

The Orange Acoustic Pre is our answer to the working musician’s prayer.

1. Honest Reproduction

The Orange Acoustic Pre faithfully represents the vibe you felt that very first time you penned your own personal masterpiece. A true analogue unit that can be as versatile as you want it to be. Simmering with rich harmonics, providing the warmth and natural compression previously reserved for the higher echelon of audiophiles.

These days there’s plenty of excellent software plugins that replicate analogue circuitry, but there’s something about the body of true analogue equipment that feels honest.

Acoustic instruments can be unforgiving and so being able to dial your tone at the onset means you can capture the feeling right there and then. This matters because some of those first takes are the real gems; they ooze with passion and intent.

What the Orange Acoustic Pre does really well is the giving you a range of different flavours at your fingertips. It’s like the tapas of preamps, limited to what you need, but complementary to one another.

There are two channels. The first features an ECC83/12AX7 valve which gives two gain stages in one envelope. It’s designed to offer a wider frequency range than you’d expect from a regular guitar amp accenting those subtle nuances that embody the essence of an acoustic instrument. Of course, it wouldn’t be Orange without some heat, allowing fingerstyle players the luxury of added presence in the upper midrange.

The second channel takes a different approach, and in that is the genius of the design. An analogue solid-state channel provides a softer touch and incorporates XLR as well as ¼” input. For the home studio owner, these two channels can be blended right in the box, removing the need to manage multiple channels in your DAW. If you prefer, then both channels can be taken as mono feeds giving you total control over the sweet purity of analogue circuitry.

Pete Thorn discussing the feast of tonal options available with the Orange Acoustic Pre

2. Pain-Free Performance

Stage sharing is a common thing, right? But while amplified bands are already in the tonal sweet zone, acoustic musicians are at the whim of the gods.

Onstage, the hope of good room acoustics and well rung out monitors are often met by shortcomings. Then there’s the front of house sound. In most instances, a half decent DI and some nice digital effects may warm up your tone. Personality, honed from years of crafting can be lost as subtleties become vague, thin and sterile. As a performer, that’s often met with a humbling exit from the stage without the radiance of a newly informed expecting mother.

If there were another option, you’d take it.

What the Orange Acoustic Pre does is remove the roll of the dice; fate no longer rests in the hands of Lady Luck. The onboard stereo reverb adds depth and ambience, guaranteed in your foldback mix, dialled in how you want it to sound. And if your beloved is a temperamental beast there are switches to quickly resolve feedback and phasing problems.

Feature overview of the Orange Acoustic Pre

3. Achieve the Flawless Victory

Solo acoustic performers (or at least small groups of musicians) have an almost perfect promotional vehicle through radio, but we all know the scenario. Time is scarce, you start overthinking; small things appear BIGGER, you then realise you made a fundamental mistake.

Against the highly compressed radio friendlies that run around the clock, a live performance is immediate. Once it’s captured it’s out there.

The beauty of the Orange Acoustic Pre is not only can you sculpt your tone away from the pressure cooker, but with two separate FX loops you can build on your tone. One channel can feature more expressive outboard FX, the other, pure analogue tone blended to perfection.

There’s no need for you to make the sacrifice.