Ok, picture the scene. Your band is main support to a reasonably well-known, if fairly niche, touring band. It’s your first ‘big’ show and you’re all fired up for an amazing night. You’ve met the rest of your gang at your practice room and you begin the process of packing everything up, ready to travel to the show. Then, in an unbelievable twist of bad fortune, your cack-handed drummer drops your amp and large chunks of it scatter across the floor. There’s no time to fix it. “No problem,” you think, “the venue will have backline or I’ll borrow off one of the other bands.” Problem solved. Until…

pile-of-wood-small

Your amp, pretty much.

You arrive at the venue and hunt down the sound guy. “Sorry buddy, the only thing we’ve got is a 15w solid state harmonica amp. You’re welcome to use it though.” Hmm. Nightmare. You locate members of the other bands but unfortunately their gear is covered in Hello Kitty stickers and glitter fountains. Hardly the kind of image you want to give people on your big night. So, the harmonica amp it is then.

You stoically arrange the rather sad looking unit onto the stage, fighting back the tears. The show must go on, right? You semi-seriously give the amp a pet name, to try and foster some kind of emotional attachment. “We’re gonna get through this, Doom Toaster. You and me. We’ll show them.”

But try as you might, there’s not a single decent tone to be found. At the back of your mind you know Doom Toaster sounds like the aural equivalent of a limp handshake from an insecure teenager. Seriously, you’ve heard vacuum cleaners with more sonic gusto than this thing. Applying any kind of volume to it serves only to highlight the disappointment but, at this late stage, there’s no other option.

booing-crowd-boo-signCome stage time, you feel it. Everyone gets it, only this time it’s more intense. The Fear. You pick up your guitar, ring out the intro chord to your opening tune and the entire venue creases up laughing. Your big night, the one with which your band was going to put itself on the map, down the toilet because of bad amplification. Your band mates now hate you. The other bands hate you. The audience throw bottles of suspicious-looking liquid at you. Your partner leaves you. Your parents disown you. Civil war breaks out in Canada. Even your dog won’t look you in the eye. All because of little old Doom Toaster.

You might think this is an extreme example but, unfortunately, it’s not*. History is littered with tales of guitarists who have suffered similar fates due to mediocre, disappointing or sub-standard gear. Don’t be that guy. Here’s a few things you can do to ensure you don’t fall into that trap.

*it is

Buy once, buy for life
Never a truer phrase has been uttered; buy something good at the start and you’ll save yourself years of mediocrity. Buying something just to tide you over is a false economy. Yes, you might have to save longer to buy the ‘right’ one but, trust us, you’ll be glad you did. You know when you buy Orange that you’re getting something built with care, attention and quality which will last you a lifetime.

Get to know each other
Now you’ve got your new amplification life-partner, take the time to learn how it works. Read up on valves, gain stages, tonal variations etc. Do your homework so if, and when, something does go wrong you’ll know how to remedy it. The Orange forum is a great place to learn the inner-workings of your new amp. You can find out which pedals or tubes work best, as well as service tips for ensuring “Doom Toaster’s Return” (that’s what you named it, right?) a long and happy life.

Orange5Prepare for failure
Once you know what could go wrong with an amp (accidents not withstanding) take the steps to counter those things. Doom Toaster’s Return will require some love and care (and possibly flowers on it’s birthday). It’s similar to changing oil in your car. Stock up on spare valves and fuses, and know how to change them at a moment’s notice. For the touring musician, the Orange VT1000 valve tester will ensure any replacement valves you use are properly biased and good to go.

Learn your tone
Sounds pretty obvious, right? But by learning what specific characteristics make up ‘your’ tone, you’ll not be left floundering if you are ever forced to cheat on Doom Toaster’s Return by playing (having an affair with) another amp (you bastard!).

orange-cr120h-crush-pro-headThe B-Team
If things are going well and you’re playing regularly, it would probably be worth considering buying a second amp to keep in reserve. Clearly if you’re running something high-spec, like a Rockerverb 100 MKIII, then it’s perhaps unrealistic to consider buying a second one just in case. However, a more reasonable option might lie in the Crush Pro range; the CR120 does a more than passable Rockerverb impersonation at a fraction of the cost, and if called upon would quite comfortably provide the tones and stage volume you’re used to. Doom Toaster’s Return will simply have to accept that you’re not a one-amp guitarist, stop throwing your guitars on the front lawn, and come back to bed.

Beware well-meaning drummers
A final point to consider; there’s a reason why drum kits are so big. It’s so there are a lot of cases to carry, which removes the risk of drummers having to touch your gear.

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Grab your drummer a copy to read just in case they get done setting up too fast!

In the past 12 months my fellow guitarist in the band I’m in has changed his gigging amp three times.  Every time the justification for doing so has been different to the last; the reason behind the first change was that the new amp had more bells and whistles than his current one; the second change came about because the new amp was just too damn heavy (in fairness it was quite possibly the heaviest combo I have ever had the misfortune of having to carry on occasion); and the third and final change was due to the fact that the new amp only had two channels.

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“In an ideal world my amp would require a control room and at least two scientists to operate it.”

Recently he’s admitted that he’s not totally happy with the latest one either (it was to be expected) so change number four is on the horizon.  The reason this time…surprisingly, the same as last time; still not enough channels (despite this one having three).  All of this got me thinking about how we actually use our amps when it comes to its fundamental voices i.e. the number of channels, and whether or not some of us are missing opportunities with the amp we have because we’ve overlooked other options.

So before you condemn your amp to e-bay or your local music store as part of a part-ex deal, here’s some alternative ways of adding that extra channel you so badly need…

USING THE EFFECTS LOOP
If your amp has one…do you use it?  Have you even played around with it?  If it doesn’t or you haven’t then you could be missing a big opportunity.  If you’re not in the loop (sorry…couldn’t resist) about effects loops you might want to have a quick look here, but in a nutshell effects loops allow you to place effects after your amp’s preamp but before the power amp. So what good does that do when it comes to more channels you say?  Well…placing an EQ pedal in the effects loop can allow you to create another voice or it could be used as a boost for solos.  Alternatively placing a clean booster here will allow you to hike your volume for solos without affecting your overall sound.  So that’s possibly three new channels already.  

WARNING: this suggestion only works if your amp has a serial effects loop.  If your amp has a parallel effects loop, using either an EQ pedal or boost pedal won’t have the desired effect.

EFFECTS PEDALS
If you’re happy to use your amp’s clean sound as a foundation i.e. as a pedal platform, then there’s a whole load of overdrive, distortion or fuzz pedals available that pretty much cater for all tastes and can provide you with an endless number of channels.  You could also try using the aforementioned EQ or Boost pedal and don’t forget that a volume pedal such as Ernie Ball’s VP Jr, or something like EHX’s Signal Pad could be the solution.  Remember depending on your starting point i.e. your amp sound, the guitar you’re using and where you place the effects in your chain they’ll have differing results…experimentation is the key.

YOUR GUITAR
And last but definitely not least…don’t forget about your guitar.  Your guitar is vital to your sound and how you use it is really important.  The choice of pickup used (i.e. neck, middle (if it has one) or bridge) and how you set (fully open they need not be) and use your tone and volume controls may give you access to several different channels / sounds.  It can be quite fiddly but with a bit of perseverance using your guitar’s controls can pay dividends (if you need a bit of inspiration watch Joe Bonamassa, he can’t help ride those controls).

BI-AMPING
This isn’t necessarily in the same league as the previous suggestions and doesn’t really match the brief, but running a second amp alongside the first may be the solution for some of you.  A lot of the pros do it but then again they’ve got an army of roadies and techs to lug the bloody things about and set them up, and a tour bus is slightly bigger and easier to load gear into than your car.  Plus their pockets tend to be a bit deeper.  But all that said if one amp doesn’t give you everything you need perhaps two (or even three) amps might.

So…still think your amp doesn’t offer you enough channels?  It may not (and only you know the answer to that) but don’t write the poor little bugger off straight away if you haven’t considered the above options.  They may not get you anywhere near where you want to be and trying them out may drive you to the edge of insanity but until you try ‘em don’t knock ‘em…besides who doesn’t like messing around with gear?

– Darren Carless

 

By Darren Carless

If you’re a guitarist (or any kind of musician for that matter) there’s nothing better than standing back and admiring your gear in all it’s glory (for anyone reading this who hasn’t done this…it comes highly recommended). It’s hard to put the feeling into words…there’s just something about the smell of your amp, the sight of the cables snaking their way around the floor, your guitar sat in its stand, your pedals’ lights…it just gives you a warm feeling inside (you know the one). But as a guitarist how many times have you stood there admiring what you have and thought to yourself ‘if only I had one more pedal’ or ‘if I got rid of that and changed it for this’?

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (or G.A.S. as it’s more commonly known) is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact with today’s improvements in research methods and technology, scientists have discovered that it’s a very common ‘problem’ among guitar players. They’ve also been able to establish that more often than not the condition will affect you for your whole guitar playing life and in the majority of cases is unfortunately incurable. That said there does seem to be some hope and there have been several key discoveries made with regard to controlling the condition. Trials are still on-going but to date the most successful treatment seems to be the threat of physical violence or divorce by your better half (no-one’s really sure why this seems to have such a profound impact).

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And thus marks the 400th time we’ve used this picture…

So hands up…who’s got G.A.S.? Who’s longing to add another pedal to their board even though the ones they’ve got already don’t fit on it, or who’s dying to get their hands on the guitar they need to complete their collection, despite the fact that they already have every model imaginable. Do we really need that new thing or should we be happy with what we’ve got and call it quits?

It’s pretty much a certainty that the one little voice inside your head (let’s call it common sense) will at all times be saying that you don’t really need anything else but another little voice (the little mischievous one) is without doubt smoothly suggesting that you could improve on some part of your setup.

Now unfortunately in this day and age common sense doesn’t get much support (other than from the aforementioned better half and in most cases it doesn’t need much more). The ever expanding Internet & smart technology (e.g. mobile phones, tablets etc.) mean that today anytime or any place we’re able to log on and check out what’s new in the world of guitars and amplifiers, what’s for sale where and even do a price comparison check and consider several reviews all before we’ve even really thought about it. It’s not like the good ole days where you had to visit your local music store (which was usually at least an hour’s drive away) or know someone who knew someone to satisfy your G.A.S..

Manufacturers don’t help the situation either. They constantly feed our desires by releasing new models or updated versions of the classics. There’s always a new edition (or a special limited edition) of the same pedal, guitar or amp with additional knobs and extra switches, that has been refined and improved upon since its previous incarnation using the latest technology and materials available.

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Or the oldest technology and materials available

As guitarists we’ll claim that it’s all about the quest for tone…but that’s a whole different story (in fact see our previous article). We’ll justify the expenditure by saying that we haven’t quite found what we’re looking for, or that what we have doesn’t do what it should, and without doubt we’ll always claim that our latest purchase is ‘the’ purchase, that it will fulfill every expectation and we will never ever again need to purchase anything of its like (sound familiar?). We’ll all go about it in different ways too because every one of us has our little niche that gets us going. For some it will be guitars, for others it will be pedals…there’s just so much stuff!

But all this isn’t meant to dissuade you from expanding or bettering your gear collection. After all…changing your gear and getting new toys to play with is part of the fun. But the next time you feel the G.A.S. building up…stop and ask yourself: do I really need this? Will it make me happier? Will it really let me do something that I can’t already do? Or is it simply a stop gap until the next time? Only you know…

In 2007 Orange released the Tiny Terror. It was the beginning of the “lunchbox” craze of low-wattage, portable amps. Since then we’ve expanded our offerings in the series to include the Dual Terror, Dark Terror, Micro Terror, Jim Root #4 Signature Terror, and the Tiny Terror Combo. But exactly what are the differences between these amps and what was the inspiration behind them? We get this question quite often so we’ve decide to clear it up for you.

Tiny Terror

Year Released: 2007

Older Sibling: AD30H

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Why we did it: In the words of the Tiny Terror’s designer, Ade Emsley, he wanted an amp “that could fit on a piece of A4 paper.” So was it just a matter of convenience? “No,” says Emsley, “it needed to sound like the guitars in the first three AC/DC albums AND be the size of A4 paper.”

What it does: The Tiny Terror is a crunch machine. It’s become one of the most sought-after tones for producers, particularly for its rhythm capabilities. While it can clean up, most players use it for straight-up rock and roll.

Webpage: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-heads/tiny-terror-series/tiny-terror-head/

Best Demo Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWj5sB8PM-E&list=UUIq45Twz23R1srjvWyozIOw

Tiny Terror Combo

Year Released: 2008

Older Sibling: N/A

TT15-C12_TopCenter1

Why we did it: We sold about 10,000 Tiny Terrors in the first year of its release, so there was no question we’d be making a combo out of it.

What it does: The Orange “Voice of the World” speaker – based on Celestion’s Vintage 30 – in this combo adds a lot of weight to the bass and mid tones, giving it a true Orange vibe. The Vintage 30 has a long-standing history of use in Orange products.

Webpage: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-combos/terror-series/tiny-terror-combo/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Gy2UUqzV0

Dual Terror

Year Released: 2009

Older Sibling: AD30C Combo

DLT-H_10371-764x450

Why we did it: Adding an additional channel to the already successful Tiny Terror was another no-brainer. The consumers wanted more options and a higher-wattage setting so they could keep up with a full band.

What it does: The added wattage means additional headroom and a higher threshold for break-up. The “fat channel” is perfect for rhythm while the original Tiny Terror channel works great for lead tones.

Webpage: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-heads/tiny-terror-series/dual-terror/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zouXnTnetc

Dark Terror

Year Released: 2011

Older Sibling: Thunderverb 50 and 200

dark-terror

Why we did it: “Orange’s popularity amongst metal guitarists was taking off around this time. The high-gain British crunch that’s inherent in many of our amps – the Dark Terror was no exception – was seen as a equal alternative to the more nasally American metal tones. The Dark Terror was released just as other company’s were beginning to copy the original Tiny Terror.” – Alex Auxier, Artist Relations

What it does: Much as the Tiny Terror became a producer’s dream amp, the Dark Terror is a hard rock and metal amp that has become a standard in the studio. The “shape” knob is a mid-EQ scoop that’s capable of classic rock overdrive at 9 o’clock and treble-blasting metal when dimed out.

Webpage: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-heads/tiny-terror-series/dark-terror-2/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZGh1xNZE5k&list=UUIq45Twz23R1srjvWyozIOw

#4 Jim Root Terror

Year Released: 2012

Older Sibling: Rockerverb 100 MKII

jim-root

Why we did it: The first signature amp we ever made in our 45 year existence. A lot of people questioned why we’d team up with Jim Root for our first. If you play this amp you begin to understand. Jim isn’t just about metal or hard rock. He’s a huge classic rock enthusiast too. That’s why he wanted the retro Orange logo and the pics-only face plate. But the tone he requested was that of his Rockerverb 100’s dirty channel mixed with our vintage-inspired OR series. We couldn’t argue with that suggestion!

What it does: Despite being associated with metal royalty, the #4 actually an extremely versatile amp due to the full EQ options. It can clean up to a creamy chime or blast into modern metal territory, all the while retaining the darker-side of the classic Orange mid-range tone.

Webpage: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-heads/tiny-terror-series/4-jim-root-terror-signature-head/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J0EZddav2o

Micro Terror

Year Released: 2012

Older Sibling: Tiny Terror

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Why we did it: If you get famous making small tube amps that sound awesome, then the only logical “next step” is to make EVEN SMALLER tube amps that still sound awesome. Could we make an even smaller amp still? Don’t hold your breath.

What it does: Bedsides being an almost perfect practice amp, the Micro Terror is an amazing back-up amp for almost any size stage. Plug one of these into a 212 or 412 cab and prepare to wet yourself with the amount of presence you’ll achieve.

Webpage: https://www.orangeamps.com/products/guitar-amp-heads/tiny-terror-series/micro-terror/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzDohmkXeJs

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2013 has been a successful year for the Orange Brand. More and more emerging markets, particularly Asian markets, are keen for Orange to be a part of their sales lines.

Russia stands astride the two continents of Europe and Asia. This important market represents huge potential in promoting the Orange Brand to millions of guitar enthusiasts the length and breadth of this huge country.

Recently, a large dealer seminar was conducted in which Orange featured prominently. I spoke to Oleg Ivanov, who represents our Russian dealers, and asked him a few questions in relation to this very successful event.

Neil: Hi Oleg, thanks for taking the time out to speak to me. Who organised this event for dealers in Russia?

Oleg:  Hi Neil – No problem, I’m happy to help. The event was organised by our new Russian partner who joined two other distributors and chain retailers – ATTrade is one of the oldest distributors working in Russian market (allegedly the biggest distributor in Europe, definitely the biggest in the Eastern Europe.)

NM: What sort of things were covered at the seminar?

OI: Attrade presented their main product lines. Due to the activities of the PR department of the Russian representation office of Orange Amps, it turned out that the Orange products dominated the scene. The whole range was represented both top end of the line including the most popular amps and cabs amongst world famous artists such as the Rockerverb and PPC412 to the entry level such as the Micro Terror.

The latter was a super eye catcher which, going by the comments I received from the sales people present, will be an enormous success and were most interesting to the Attrade dealers and sales people in terms of potential sales revenues as well as the Orange Crush range.

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An Attrade representative demos the Orange product line to top Russian dealers

NM: When did it run from and to?

OI: It was an all day event. The meeting started at 10 am and lasted till 7 pm with a lunch break and wine reception afterwards. Amazingly enough, nobody was drunk at all!

NM: Who attended the event?

OI: Mostly Attrade dealers, local music shops and sales managers from the Attrade retail chain which covers a large part of the country.

NM: How successful do you feel the event was?

OI: Well, people were very interested to see Orange products and for many of them there was great excitement as the brand is very well known from the early days of Orange. Now they could actually meet the products, “in person.” One of the attending guys a very good guitar player did a demonstration on the fly connecting a Micro Terror to PPC412 and the whole audience was astonished.

He then turned on the Rockerverb to show what this beast can do! I’d say it went very well!

NM: Many thanks for your time Oleg. Much appreciated.

OI: You’re welcome. Have a good one.

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Credit: Adam Elmakias

Suge is a “tech’s tech.” He knows guitars and amps inside and out. Enjoy his interview!

What’s your hometown?

Orange County, CA 

How long have you been a guitar tech?

I started touring in 2001, and started teching in 2002, so about roughly 11 years.  

Who are you currently working with and how has that been?

Currently I am the backline tech for the bands The Used and Panic! At The Disco.  Orange related bands I work for/have worked for are: The Used, Say Anything, and A Day to Remember.

Working for both The Used and Panic! At The Disco have been great.  Both groups are amazingly talented and such good people, personally.  Very fortunate to have gotten this opportunity to work for good people the last few years. 

Have you been enjoying Warped Tour?

Warped Tour has been awesome.  The cliche answer is that it’s a punk rock summer camp, which it really is.  There’s always familiar faces as well as good friends always on Warped.  The weather is always unpredictable, though, but that’s entertainment, right? 

Who have you worked with in the past that played Orange?

As far as users of Orange Amplification, I worked for Say Anything who used AD30s and Thunderverb 200s.  I worked for A Day to Remember who (Kevin Skaff) used a Rockerverb 100.  

How did you get into working as a guitar tech?

I was THAT kid who took apart his guitars NOT to figure it out, but just to take it apart, but then had to learn to put it all back together in order to play it.   I learned the world of electronics and soldering (which I’ll say I still have no idea about a lot of things) by watching my father (who was an engineer) and kind of went from there. 

What is a typical day on tour for you?

Usually I’m the first one up, but that’s because I don’t sleep well.  I’ll brew a pot of coffee or find a coffee shop, wait until the venue opens up, then go in to assess the upcoming day.  Then we load all the gear in and setup the stage, getting it “show ready” for the band to come in and sound check.  Depending on time I do my everyday maintenance/setup of guitars/basses before (and) after soundcheck.  Then show time and pack up and load the gear back into the trailer/truck.  After that I usually pass out.  I’m old so I pass out.  Hehehe.

What’s your favorite thing about being a guitar tech?

I love that I can say I get paid to fiddle with gear.  I love the guitar/bass/amplifier.  I was never an “Office Job” kind of person.  I tried them, and hated it.  I got lucky, because touring/teching was a career path I never planned on or even intended to take on for this long.  It just kind of happened.  In a way, it’s not fair that I am where I am, when there’s people who go to school to do what I do now.  So I’m real fortunate to get to do what I do, and it’s still weird to even call it a career for me, because I love what I do. 

Any notable artists who use Orange that you are a fan of?

Sergio Vega of Deftones, but when he was in Quicksand; they were a part of my upbringing.  That era of music.  He came from the world of music that defined my youth. And Jimmy Page.  For obvious reasons.  I mean, Jimmy Page, right? 

With your current artist you’re working with what Orange amplifiers and cabinets are being used?

Quinn Almann uses…

US Gear: Rockerverb 50 MKI and a Tiny Terror Jim Root Signature

Europe Gear: Rocker 30 (discontinued) and a Tiny Terror Jim Root Signature

What is it about these amplifies & cabinets that you like?

The construction has a lot to do with the sound as well as the electronics.  It’s solid, and gives it a real tight sound and quick attack.  

The currents Orange amps you are working on, are the tubes the stock or do you have a preferred brand? If so, which?

I just retubed Quinn’s Rockerverb 50 with JJs (both preamp and power) and it’s pretty solid so far.  The Jim Root Terror is stock and sounds tight.  

Are the Orange amps you are working on stock or have they been modified in any way? If modified how?

No mods at all.  Although Quinn’s Rockerverb 50 IS a prototype.  The Serial # is PT001.  Serious.  

Any stand out products from Orange which you would choose over all the rest?

The PPC212 with the V30s (closed back) is the MOST SOLID CAB EVER.  Such a rich, solid and tight sound. 

Do you remember the first time you saw an Orange?

The first time I saw an Orange was from the band Quicksand.  Growing up in early/mid 90s Hardcore and Post Hardcore music, I wanted what all my hardcore heroes used: Gibson for guitars, Orange/Marshall for amps, Fender for bass.  That was IT.  No effects, straight plug in.  Tuner, maybe…

You spend a lot of time on the road, do you have a favorite tour recipe or anything you like to make/eat?

I HATE Starbucks.  They are NEVER consistent AND it’s like they are trained to purposely misspell or write gibberish instead of your name on your cup, and they’re everywhere.  That being said, as long as there is a Starbucks within reasonable walking distance (when I’m outside of CA/home), I’m good to go.