Loading... Please wait...

Blog

The Orange Amplifier Story

Posted by

ORANGE 1968 LONDON ENGLAND

In 1968, CEO Cliff Cooper, an electronics student and keen musician, borrowed £50 to start a musical instrument shop and recording studio in London’s West End. Against the backdrop of one of the city’s most vibrant districts, the shop was decorated with psychedelic script and painted a bright shade of orange which gave the company its name.

Even in those early days the shop was awash with stars. Famous musicians such as John Lennon, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Eric Clapton, Paul Kossoff, Marc Bolan, Peter Green and many others were all visitors to the store, whilst Brian Wilson, Robin Gibb, Mickie Most, John Miles and Stevie Wonder cut records in the basement.

As the shop grew, many distributors refused to supply the new business, Orange began designing products which quickly established a reputation for their innovation, superior quality and distinctive sound.

Initially made in low numbers and finished in our now legendary livery, the company went into full scale manufacturing in 1973 to satisfy the overwhelming demand. It was around this time the classic ‘Pics Only’ styling was developed, using hieroglyphic icons to explain the controls – characters that still proudly adorn our amplifiers today.

BRITISH MADE AMPLIFIERS

Since the classic “Pic Only” amplifier through to the modern day Rockerverb, Orange has built amplifiers in Britain to the same high quality standards.

The companies first amplifiers were built in Huddersfield using Matamp as the sub-contractor, as demand for the Orange amplifiers rapidly increased they were unable to keep up.

In the early 70’s production moved to Short Gardens in London, this quickly became too small and a new factory was needed. Mick Dines explains how the move to Bexleyheath occured:

“In 1973, as we looked to move from Short’s Gardens, we found a place near James How Industries in Upland Road, Bexleyheath in Kent. James How was our UK distributor at the time, and the firm also manufactured Rotosound strings. During one of our visits to buy strings, we saw a ‘For Sale’ sign on a factory premises just two buildings along. We viewed the place and decided to buy it. There, we began a proper production line, and we employed local people in Bexleyheath to assemble the amplifiers – the output being about one amp per worker a day.

There was plenty of storage space which meant we could buy cardboard packaging in bulk and store it. Back in Short’s Gardens, we used to build one cabinet at a time, put it in its cardboard box and then start on another one. Now we could have twenty or thirty cabinets lined up on long benches that could all have speakers fitted and wired in sequence. We had the electronic workshop at the front of the building and the cabinet-making and finished packaged goods ready for delivery at the back. It was also, of course, useful having our UK distributor just three doors down the road. Bexleyheath marked the start of a different scale of operation for Orange. When we had a shipment going out to our American distributor, we would have a forty-foot container delivered to us at the end of the day. Most of our staff would work through the night to finish the production and then load it.”

Casio Privia PX760 Represents Excellent Value For Money

There is little doubt that at only £499 the Casio Privia PX760 represents excellent value for money. Originally retailing at £799 the new price now makes this fully weighted 88 key digital piano very affordable.The key features of this instrument are:Slim line cabinet design with roll down lid in a satin black durable finish.Realistic 88 [...]

Read More »


Jacob Collier talks music, instruments, and what fires his creativity

London based double Grammy award-winning Jacob Collier is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, arranger, composer and producer described by Quincy Jones as "an absolute genius”, he continues “I have never in my life seen such a talent like this. One of my favourite young artists on the planet - absolutely mind-blowing". Jacob is hailed as one of the [...]

Read More »


Yamaha Genos Versus Tyros 5 By Rainbow Music

Our Opinion:How does the new Genos compare to the old Tyros 5.Having just got back from Yamaha HQ in Milton Keynes I was lucky enough to have a full day of training and playing on the brand new Yamaha Genos. One point worthy of mention is Genos is 100% compatible with Tyros 5 and all of the [...]

Read More »


Rainbow Music Shop's Guitar Amp Guide for Guitar Newcomers

Look anywhere on the Internet and you will see an abundance of different options to choose from when you need to buy a new amplifier for your favourite guitar. In this post we are going to give you some advice on selecting the best one for you! Read on to discover the factors that you [...]

Read More »


Blackstar Amps: 5 Reasons To Buy Blackstar Amplifiers' UK Sound

When it comes to buying amps, there's a whole constellation of brands and models to choose from. It can be a tough decision to choose the right brand of amp to go for. With everything from Marshall and Orange amplifiers to Blackstar amps to pick from, it can be a bit overwhelming. Why should you [...]

Read More »


Orange Amplifiers – The History Of The Famous Orange Amps

If you're a guitarist or rock music lover, you'll be familiar with the distinctive presence of the Orange Music Electronic Company. Usually referred to simply as Orange; this company was founded almost 50 years ago and they have built up a huge presence on the rock circuit, especially in the UK, which is where they are still [...]

Read More »


I Remember Buying My First Guitar.

Back in the day in 1973 I decided at the age of 12  that I would like to learn to play the guitar. In those days the main shop in Carlisle at the time was J.P Dias who sold a variety of instruments including HH amplifiers ( Who remembers those !! ) sheet music , [...]

Read More »


How to Spot a Fake Gibson Les Paul Traditional (and Other LP Lookalikes)

World-famous Gibson guitars, like the  iconic Gibson Les Paul Traditional, are practically the byword for quality, beauty, and overall musical sophistication: this has made them objects of desire for musicians and enthusiasts the world ove for many years. The Les Paul family of electric guitars has in itself been a huge influence in shaping the today's musical soundscape, and this [...]

Read More »


The Epiphone Guitar Collection at Rainbow Music

Although your first thought about Rainbow Music might be that we are the people to come to for Epiphone's big brother, we have also got a huge collection of Epiphone guitars ready and waiting for you to try out in our shop.You can find us just opposite the castle in Carlisle.  As Cumbria and the North West's [...]

Read More »