Orange Ambassador Ken Rose of the band Hero Jr is currently touring with John 5. Check this page for daily content from Ken featuring the Crush Mini combo, Getaway Driver Overdrive pedal, and Fur Coat Octave Fuzz pedal

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April 10th, 2018 – San Jose, California, USA

Let it be known that Ken Rose of Hero Jr is literally one of the best undiscovered guitarists out there. This solo from “Oceans Dead” proves it.


April 8th, 2018 – Fullerton, California, USA

Wanna take the Crush Mini into full-blown nastiness? Put a Getaway Driver overdrive pedal in front of it!


April 3rd, 2018 – Tucson, Arizona, USA

Here’s everyone’s response when they first see Ken solo: “Why haven’t I heard of this guy before?” The Fur Coat Octave Fuzz pedal is a great way to boost into a lead.


April 2nd, 2018 – El Paso, Texas, USA

The Crush Mini is an awesome practice amp for hotel jams. But plug into the speaker out on the back and you can easily power a 212, or even 412, speaker cab.


April 1st, 2018 – Albuquerque, NM, USA

In case you didn’t know, Ken Rose is a ridiculously good guitarist. That is all.


March 31st, 2018 – Dallas, Texas, USA

Today we have a full song from Hero Jr. playing “Jump Ship” in Dallas. You can hear a ton of “flare” coming out of Ken’s OR50, even from the opposite side of the stage.


March 30th, 2018 – Houston, Texas, USA

Thankfully Ken wasn’t in the shower for this video. Here he is warming up with his Getaway Driver through a Crush Mini.


March 29th, 2018 – Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Today Ken decided to practice his amp on the toilet. Hopefully he doesn’t “stink it up” (sorry).

Intro

When we’re in the market for an amplifier, more often than not we’ll have an idea of what we want from the get-go. We might know, for example, that our band is progressing to larger venues and we need something that can pack the right punch. Or we might want something to fit in with the new ambient death jungle direction we’re heading in.

Given enough time, and a budget in keeping with our ambitions, we mostly get it right. Particularly in this day and age, where the internet offers us all manner of reviews (both from critics and real people), sound tests, videos and blogs, it’s easier than ever to make informed decisions way in advance of parting with your cash.

That said, there are certain traps even the most experienced of us will fall into. Here we’ll look at some of the common pitfalls guitarists face when buying amps.

 

 

Features (too many or not enough)

 

Early on in your playing career, if you’re anything like me, you wanted to cram as many features into your amp as possible. I wanted something that could do quality crunch, metal, clean and blues sounds, along with some effects built in, and ideally a tuner.

Of course, all these requirements filtered my search down quite significantly. And the biggest sacrifice I had to make? Quality. Sure, I found something that could do all of those things, but you know what? It sounded worse than awful. Honestly. I don’t know where that amp is now, but I hope it’s burning somewhere, slowly.

The flipside is getting an amp that does only one thing. If that’s all you’re going to use then fine, but you can find yourself quite restricted if you’re in a covers band, for example, and all you can get is mid-heavy blues sounds.

Work out what’s important to you, and what’s just ‘nice to have’ and make sure you tick the boxes in the first column.

 

Buying on brand (and brand alone)

 

There’s nothing wrong with following the path set out by your favourite player. They might be synonymous with certain guitars or amps, and you decide that’s the brand for you. Fine. But perhaps give yourself a bit of credit too. At some point you may want to find your own voice, and your own style, and if your gear is limited because of blind loyalty to certain brands then you might have a problem.

In short; have an open mind. Try stuff out. Case in point; in writing for a UK guitar mag last year, I tried one of those huge semi-acoustic Gretsch guitars for the first time. I’d never even considered one before and was amazed at how quickly I came to love it.

Try it. Ignore the name on the faceplate. You’ll love the right tone more than you’ll ever love a logo.

 

 

Volume does not equal power

 

Ah yes, the ‘volume’ issue. Closely linked to the ego. We know guitarists are unfairly maligned for having large egos, but turning up to a small open mic with a full stack won’t help that. The simple fact is that, more often than not, you don’t need 100w of power. You probably don’t even need 50w. Heck, 30w nowadays will pack out most things under the stadium bracket. The benefit of this is that you can perhaps put the same amount of money you had in mind for an entry-level 100w head into getting a much higher quality 30w model.

 

 

Practicality

 

Tying into the previous point about volume, consider the practicality of your amp. Be realistic. If you’re playing four shows a week, you’ll soon find yourself resenting that enormous double-speaker-cab setup that you have to shift up 3 flights of stairs each time.

 

 

 

The intangibles

 

Finally, the point that’s hardest to quantify. Matters of the heart.

You can almost ignore each previous entry. Yes, it’s all very sensible but I’m not your dad. When you’re buying an amplifier, whether it’s your first or your 101st, you have to allow yourself a bit of emotion.

Music is, after all, a creative pursuit. And we tend to be creative people. So make sure that ‘that’ side of your checklist is met. Otherwise you’ll end up with a sensible, practical amplifier that you love in the same way you love your lightbulbs or your tumble dryer.

When our Lead Designer Ade Emsley first came to Orange in the late 90’s he was tasked by Cliff Cooper to create a new line of guitar amps that would bring the brand into the 21st century.

Originally the AD series consisted of the AD30 Single Channel head, AD30R (Reverb) 2×12” Combo, and the AD15 10” Combo. The success of the AD series led Emsley to consider a two channel design that would offer more versatility. In 2001, two years after the first AD15 rolled off the production line, the AD30 Twin Channel was introduced to high praise, both from consumers and big-name artists alike.

One of those big-name artists was Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page began using the AD30 Single Channel in 1999 while on tour with the Black Crowes. He was smitten and immediately incorporated the amp into his studio and touring rigs. In the past nearly 20 years, he has switched back and forth between the Singe Channel and Twin Channel AD30. But the 2007 Led Zeppelin Reunion is by far the best example of Jimmy utilizing an AD30 (Single Channel at that time).

“Pictured: A small nation-state’s GDP worth of advertising”

Jimmy removed the “A” and “N” from the logo so it read “OR-GE” (which we assume was a play on “Orgy”). It didn’t matter to us though. Jimmy Page essentially took care of our entire 2007 marketing campaign in a single night.

Over the years the AD series has remained our flagship model. It’s our most classically British guitar amp. The tone is crunchy yet springy, simple yet complex. It’s been called one of the best “palette amps” by players who seek to have a good baseline tone before they start adding their multitude of effects pedals. They marvel at how well the amp takes pedals even though it lacks an Effects Loop (something Emsley said would change the tone for the worse if added). All these years later, the AD series is still one of the best examples of “modern British tone.”

Beyond Jimmy Page, a wide variety of guitarists have used the AD series in bands both big and small over the years. Here are a few choice cuts:

Robert Smith – The Cure

“Smith played the AD30 between 2003 and 2010” (Photo by Trixie Textor/Getty Images)

James Bowman – Against Me

“Bowman was one of the original AD30 endorsers, going back to Against Me’s ‘Is Reinventing Axl Rose’”

Omar Rodríguez-López – The Mars Volta, Solo

“Omar’s AD140 stacks were iconic even without tolex or logos”

Earl Slick – New York Dolls, Solo

“Earl played the AD30 between 2012-2015 with the New York Dolls”

Matthew Murphy – The Wombats

“Murphy called the AD30 ‘one of the most integral parts of my band’s sound’”

The first thing you need to know is that you’re almost certainly not going to get an endorsement at NAMM. Why? Because every single Artist Relations rep at NAMM is bothered by you. They’re bothered by you asking for an endorsement. They’re bothered by you asking every employee at their booth to point out who you are. They’re bothered by you making them stand there while you fart out a blurb about how you’ve “played 20 shows so an endorsement is the next logical step.”

They’re bothered by you barging in when they’re doing something important, and visibly hurried, so you can give them a physical EPK. Giving someone a physical EPK at NAMM is literally the same thing as saying “here, YOU throw this away.”

Most AR reps at NAMM play an essential role in the actual operation of their booth. Personally, I start planning the Orange booth upwards of 6 months in advance of the show. I fly out early to ensure the set-up goes smoothly. I fly out late so I can make certain the booth is broken down properly. During the show I have artist signings, employees, and media interviews to manage. At night I have dinners with retailers and other industry contacts. Some nights I just go back to our rental house and drink away the tears.

Compound all of the above with the fact there are literally hundreds of A-level rock stars all around me at NAMM, and it only makes sense that I’m not going to prioritize cold-call meetings with complete strangers or the “my 9 year old son is going to be the next big thing” dad-managers. I’d rather spend the limited amount of time I have on the floor of my booth talking to actual rock stars. In fact, I’d rather spend that time talking to Joe Blow from Crazy Wacky Guitar Expo in Butthole, Oregon since the end result might at least be a sale (and I’m EXTREMELY removed from sales at this point in my career).

So how do you actually need to approach trying to get an endorsement at NAMM? It’s easy. If you’re an actual rock star, just walk up and say “I’m a huge f*cking Rockstar and I want to play your amps.” I will then say “works for me, bro,” we’ll hug it out, and shortly thereafter you’ll be endorsed. Don’t be hesitant to tell me who the hell you are. It makes everyone’s lives easier because I don’t have time to figure out who you are, you coy bastard.

If you’re not a rock star, then it’s even easier. JUST DON’T ASK ME FOR AN ENDORSEMENT AT NAMM. Simply walk up to me, hand me your contact information, tell me you like Orange and want my information, and then walk… the hell… away.

Now here’s the tricky part. I call it: “The Waiting.” If you send me an email less than a week after NAMM, I’m deleting it. There are hundreds of emails in my inbox post-NAMM. I have no choice but to prioritize artists I’m already dealing with during that time. Make yourself stand out by waiting to email me after NAMM.

When you do finally email me I would suggest something minimal, yet creative, but not something packed with facts and links and embedded images and stories about your dog and attached PDFs and your past medical history and your grandmother’s old-world soup recipes. I really only want the basics.

You can see what I’m talking about on our Ambassador request website. However, and this part I happen to believe is universal among AR reps, DO mention that we met at NAMM. The fact you were at the show does carry some weight. There are a lot of goobers at NAMM, but those goobers still made the effort to find a way into the show. And naturally any goober – myself included – that loves Orange amps is a goober I can get behind.

Every AR rep has to be a brutal, quick-thinking judge at NAMM. Also, we’re all hung-over. For best results, don’t try to get endorsed at NAMM. Just make your presence known, then sit back and endure “The Waiting”.

Orange celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, our founder and CEO Cliff Cooper shares his thoughts on this milestone:

Few would have thought, including myself, that half a century ago, Orange would have risen to the dizzy heights it has in the global music arena today. From those very humble beginnings in 1968, my love of music and sound assisted me in my vision of producing amplifiers and speakers that were quality built, reliable and with a sound truly pleasing to the ear. This vision was then and always will be, my goal in life. Musicians are far more demanding these days and not satisfied with just singular loud distortion. Of course, the world today is much more interconnected than it was 50 years ago and we continually strive to service the need to produce the finest working tools for the apprentice through to the master musician.

Orange shop staff, 1970. From left: Robin, Cliff, Rocky, Ed, Veronica.

Orange has always been and always will be an innovative company, but if innovation means gimmicks without improving the quality of sound, then we will not incorporate them into our designs. Our team’s willingness to listen to feedback generated from our global dealer network is of great importance and benefit, allowing us to continually adapt to the needs of the musician.

I feel so proud of our achievements since we started in 1968 and I, with Orange, will always do our utmost to provide the very best tools to assist that wonderful desire to listen and appreciate music, with a sound that is as close to perfect as possible. Finally, on such a significant landmark as our 50th Anniversary, it would not be complete, without a full appreciation of the efforts of all those past and present, who have worked so hard and contributed so much to the success of Orange. To them and all our supporters, I truly thank you. As always, I wish you every good wish in your special world of music.

Cliff Cooper | Founder & CEO

After reading so many well wishes and comments, our Founder & CEO Cliff requested us to grant even more wishes by allowing us to select additional smaller sized gear – increasing the budget to do so. So this ‘up to $10k’ is actually closer to $17k. So this is officially the biggest #wishgranted giveaway we’ve ever done.

We’ve granted 60 wishes – across social media and email. If you entered over email check your inbox (and your spam), or if you entered over Facebook check your inbox there (including your spam). We’ve posted to your Facebook wall when possible.

What did we give away?

Rocker 15, 4 Stroke 300, Crush Bass 25, Getaway Driver, Jim Root Terror, Rocker 32, O Edition Headphones, Crush Pro 120, Kongpressor, OBC212, Micro Dark, Dark Terror & Bax Bangeetars.

We’ll be sending gear to fans in: Chile, China, Canada, England, Mexico, Russia, USA, Norway, Japan, Bulgaria, Australia, Israel, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Finland, Portugal.

Thanks so much to everyone that entered.


That announcement #wishgranted video again:

This upcoming Thursday, 14th December, sees the final of 2017’s Firestone Battle of the Bands. The public votes have closed, and the top three that made it to the final are Welsh four-piece Fire Fences, London-based rapper EL-Emcee and Malvern’s Nuns of the Tundra. One of the things we’re very excited about this year is that we’ve managed to cover a lot of ground and sound with this year’s bands and artist, from indie and rock ’n’ roll to hip hop and rap.

Fire Fences:

Fire Fences, who can be compared to the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy have had some incredible things happen to them during their four years as a band, from being invited out to LA in 2015 to record and play a sold out show at the legendary Viper Room, to being picked as one of the top ten UK unsigned bands in 2017 by Rising Sounds. This allowed them to record their single ‘Weather’ which has been chosen to be featured in the new NASCAR Heat II Video Game. The guys have made it clear that they’re in the music game for the thrill of it, and that the successes the band have seen so far have only been an added bonus. If they don’t make it in the end? Well, they’ll still be going at it at 60, as long as they’re still enjoying it.

EL-Emcee:

EL-Emcee is the only solo artist that’s made it to this year’s final, and also the only hip hop act in the top three. The Ipswich and London-based rapper, who’s real name is Lloyd Millwood, has been making tracks and beats under the alias EL-Emcee for years now, and records everything at home in his bedroom. For EL-Emcee, hip hop has become a way to express feelings, opinions and thoughts, and he’s already got hundreds of tracks under his belt. He is always still striving to learn, and adapt better to his soul, and will always find a way to stand out among the competition.

“Spreading Mind, Heart, Soul, to the world. Let our voices serve our purpose. Whether we become Pacs or Killer Mikes.”
-EL-Emcee

Nuns of the Tundra:

“Dirty desert rock from the unlikely tranquil town of Malvern. Nuns will make it their holy mission to get you moving.”
– From Nuns of the Tundra’s Soundcloud

Nuns of the Tundra will be the heaviest band on the bill for this year’s Firestone Battle of the Bands final, floating somewhere between Royal Blood and Queens of the Stone Age with their alternative indie psychedelic rock. Nuns of the Tundra have used their social media and SoundCloud to build up a following and reach new audiences, and love seeing people’s faces light up in excitement at gigs and shows.


As you can see, this diversity’s key, and it’ll be extra hard to pick a winner this year as all of the finalists are so good in their own field. The Birmingham final will be live streamed on Firestone’s Facebook, so tune in there from just before 6pm Thursday night to cheer your favourite to the top!

For the fifth year running Orange Amplification is delighted to reveal it is once again granting holiday season wishes to everyone worldwide.

Previous years have seen lucky winners receive more than $10,000 worth of gear including amps, combos, cabs, headphones and more. Orange is continuing the tradition again this year by offering everything from the current Orange Product range, giving you the chance to win a truly exceptional prize.

Contestants can enter this FREE giveaway by sharing their wish with Cliff Cooper, Orange’s Founder and CEO on their Facebook page by liking, commenting or sharing any #wishgranted post – every action increases your chances! Plus, entrants can double their chances by sharing their wish on orangeamps.com. All wishes must be posted between 1st and 24th December (11.59pm GMT) 2017.

Orange will be announcing the winners on their Facebook page on 25th December, 12PM GMT 2017 so be sure to Like and Follow their page to be notified if you win. Winners will discover whether their dream has come true on Christmas Day.

This year, as an extra bonus, Orange’s online Beginner Rock Guitar Course is FREE throughout December. Signing up will give you unlimited free access to learn the guitar at your own pace which includes video, quizzes and online help from qualified teachers. It’s worth signing up now even if you plan learning guitar in the new year to take advantage of the FREE offer!

Orange, ‘Where the Magic Happens®’. Check out the 2017 Orange Christmas Wish video here https://youtu.be/bWYnL2t-j3w.

Good fortune to all who enter.

Enter the competition below and on Facebook to increase your chances of winning: