Posted by Stewart McKenzie on December 19, 2015
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 headquartered. So, continue reading to discover more about Orange amplifiers and the iconic UK firm behind them.
Orange guitar amps have built up a loyal following because of their unique sound as well as their distinct appearance, which comes from the vibrant orange Tolex-like covering.
The story started many years ago in 1968, when Clifford Cooper, an electronics designer and musician, opened a studio. Unfortunately, the studio failed to turn over enough profit, forcing Cooper into deciding to open a music shop on the ground floor of the premises. To get by, he even sold his own band's equipment at one point. In the early days, the Orange store only dealt with second equipment. The company’s unique selling point played on the, then fashionable, premise that there was that more character and that better quality was achieved through second-hand goods, and they were the first business of this kind. Here's a unique piece of oral music history where Cliff Cooper describes how he created the first digital amplifier that could use sound samples to shape and distort the output sound.
But, what about Orange amps in particular? Well, the first Orange amps were small 100-watt valve amps. They were put together in the rear of a tobacconist shop at Cowcliffe near Huddersfield! Production methods were painfully slow and the amps were only ever made in small numbers. However, customers loved their Orange kit once they actually got their hands on their order... and demand for the amps grew rapidly!
To speed up production and meet the growing clamour for the Orange sound, a new factory was opened in the 1970s. It wasn't long before their first iconic amplifier was created! The ‘Pics Only’ was the nickname given to the 'Graphic Valve Amplifier' by most users as they learned to cope with the new icons on the control panel for all of its functions! The clear tones of this amplifier have gone on to influence the sound and design of the company’s amps ever since. Modern descendants like the Micro Terror Guitar Amp Head stay pretty true to the original sound concept of that early "Pics Only"!
So there you have it - a very brief potted history of the early days of Orange, and how Orange amplifiers came about. They endured a difficult start, but Orange has become one of the most ubiquitous music amplifier manufacturers in the world. If you are passing by - why not call into the Rainbow Music shop or look at the range of Orange amps we've got listed on the website: from the beginner level Orange Micro Crush - to the professional quality Dual Dark 50 head, we can kit you out with the sound you want!