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

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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

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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

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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

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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. 

A CLOSER LOOK BACK AT THE VERY EARLY DAYS OF ORANGE

Orange Amps’ enthusiasts well know that the Orange Story began 45 years ago on Monday, September 2nd 1968 when founder and Orange Amps’ CEO, Cliff Cooper, opened the Orange Shop in London’s New Compton Street. On display in the window was the shop’s entire stock: this amounted to one secondhand Vox PA that Cliff still owned from his days as bassist in The Millionaires.

It was sold that same day and the Orange Shop soon grew to become much more than a music equipment store – it was the place where famous musicians such as Marc Bolan, Peter Green, Eric Clapton and Paul Kossoff would often spend their free time.

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Perhaps what is not so generally known about those very early days is just how quickly things did move forward when Cliff decided to diversify and make his own amps and cabs as well retailing secondhand guitars and gear. The following timeline speaks for itself.

In early October 1968, Orange Amps didn’t exist; the company was called Orange Music – which meant the Orange Shop selling secondhand guitars and amps.  But then Cliff had no choice but to make his own amps, having been given the brush-off by all the major manufacturers when he tried to buy new equipment from them to retail in the Orange Shop.

And yet by the first week in November Orange’s first endorsees, top UK blues-rock band Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, had a full Orange PA . This comprised 6 100-watt amps (2 with stand alone spring reverb units) and 16 speaker cabinets (a mix of rectangular 4x12s and 2x12s). The band first road tested the PA in the north of England before taking it with them on a three-month tour of America starting in December.

The picture-frame amp sleeves and speaker cabs with the unique Lloydloom basket weave front cloth; the psychedelic, once-seen-never-forgotten logo: and the orange finish itself – all these were colourful new design features  that grabbed the limelight in what had become a rather monochrome and  conservative industry.

And all this came together at New Compton Street in less than 28 days – and almost as many sleepless nights most probably – in what must have been a pretty relentless burst of creativity.

Those first six prototype amps (100 watters powered by two 6550/KT-88 valves  not 4 EL34s) were branded Orange Matamp. But a lot of confusion still surrounds the Orange Matamp years – 1968-70.

Wrongly, many people still think that Orange Matamp was a company and joint venture between Cliff Cooper and Matamp’s founder, Mat Mathias. Guitar magazine articles and histories about guitar amps referred to Orange Matamp as a company and partnership, which simply reinforced this confusion.

The truth about Orange Matamp emerged, almost incidentally, during one of the many interviews given to me by Cliff, about halfway through researching The Book of Orange (most of which was done during 2007/8). The truth being that although Orange Matamp was a brand it was never a company…. There was only ever Orange – at first called Orange Music and then Orange Musical Industries (OMI).

What actually happened was that one Sunday in early October 1968, Fleetwood Mac’s new road manager, Dinky Dawson, took Peter Green to the Orange Shop and Cliff was delighted to land an order for the first ever Orange PA. But Dinky and Peter insisted that the amps had to be 100 watters.

Having been recently been put in contact with Mat Mathias, Cliff appointed Matamp as a sub-contractor to manufacture amplifiers for the Orange brand. At that point Mat was making his own 30-watt Matamp Series 2000 guitar amps in small numbers in the back of his tobacconist shop in the north of England, in Huddersfield town centre.

Cliff supervised the Series 2000 upgrade to the100 watts specified by Fleetwood Mac.  Meanwhile, the picture-frame amp sleeves and speaker enclosures for Mac’s PA were being built in the Orange Shop.  In order to save precious time, Cliff sent the newly-designed Orange psychedelic logo up to Mat so that the white Traffolyte amp front panels could be engraved by a local firm Mat had used before.

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It was at this point that Mat asked if the Matamp logo could also be featured on the front panel and, out of courtesy, Cliff agreed.  Ironically, it was in this way that the confusion began:  music press such Beat Instrumental subsequently wrote about “Orange amplifiers” but the branding on the actual product was Orange Matamp.

The rise of Orange Amps during 1969 was no less than meteoric – so much so that there was even talk at Orange HQ about the company’s motto being Voice Of The Universe!   By spring 1969 world-class guitarists such as BB King, gave Orange amps the thumbs-up and also that year the BBC made Orange their PA of choice for the corporation’s outdoor events. So in less than a year Orange rose from obscurity to being the coolest brand around. As a consequence, the 100-watt and 200-watt OR models were selling in big numbers,

Huge back-orders prompted Cliff to bankroll Mat Mathias’s move from his small shop to a much larger production facility at nearby Cowcliffe in early 1970. The big picture Cliff had in mind was that this factory in the long term would not only meet Orange’s orders worldwide but expand and also become a sub-contractor (called Cooper Mathias) for other amp manufacturers.

Mat’s preferred plan was not as ambitious and so eventually there was an inevitable though very amicable parting of ways. The two remained good friends right up until Mat’s untimely passing in 1989.

In 2013 any Orange Matamp amps and cabs that appear on eBay and other auctions command very good prices as collectors’ items. Of course, in terms of their design and sound the first OR100 and OR200 series were low distortion “hi-fi guitar amps.” Sonically, they had little if any resemblance to the characteristic Orange mid-range crunch that began with the introduction in 1971 of the 100-watt Orange Graphic  ‘Pics & Text’ amp – a distinct sound back then that resonates today with the critically-acclaimed OR15 and OR100 models.

Interestingly, though,  I know of one 1960s’ valve amp enthusiast in the north of England who is pretty sure that he owns one of the very early Orange Matamp 100-watt prototypes powered by two 6550/KT88s, fixed ratio, and featuring two chassis and an ‘umbilical’ connecting preamp and output stages. Alas, that highly collectable amp mysteriously went missing a few years ago but when we last spoke determinedly he was on the trail to recover it.

An ‘Orange 1968 Prototype Reissue’ head to commemorate 50 years of Orange Amplification in 2018?  Now there’s an exciting thought….

Written by Martin Clemins