Orange-Matmap, OR 200 - custom built for Jimmy Page, 1971


OR 200
Serial Number: 
OR 264 - OR 247 (preamp)
The Story Behind

Founded by Cliff Cooper in 1968, Orange celebrates over 40 years of rocking history!

The actual birth of the Orange brand was not the shop but the basement of 3-4 New Compton Street in early-summer 1968 where, equipped with little more than a Revox tape recorder and Vox reverb unit, Cliff opened Orange Recording Studios.

Mat Mathias designs and craftsmanships for Orange of London, during the 1968 - 1972 era. In the early 1960s, a Yorkshireman called Tony Emerson was a member of ‘The British Interplanetary Society’ – a group of H.G. Wells-inspired space-age futurists. He designed a state-of-the-art hi-fi amplifier - the Connoisseur HQ20. Tony subsequently took this to show his friend Mat Mathias at ‘Radio Craft’ – a small repair business operating from the back of a tobacco shop Mathias had in Huddersfield. This later inspired Mat to build his own guitar amplifier called the Matamp Series 2000 – which was initially a 20 watt, and then a 30 watt model.

In autumn 1968 Cliff Cooper was looking for a sub-contractor to manufacture amplifiers for Orange Music and was introduced to Mat Mathias. The first prototype built by Mat for Orange was still based on the  Matamp Series 2000 30 watt model (see our TYS Collection). This or a similar Series 2000 30 watts amp was used by Peter Green for the recording of Albatros.

By the end of the year a 100 watt upgrade (powered by two KT88 valves) of the Series 2000 went into production housed in a bright Orange picture-frame sleeve designed by Cliff. As a courtesy, Matamp’s logo was added to the front plate below that of Orange’s.

Matamp remained Orange Music’s main amp supplier until 1971-2 during which time three versions of the Orange Matamp were made: the ‘prototype’ 2 x KT88 100 watter; the 4 x EL34 100 watter (OR 100) and the 4 x KT88 200 watter (OR 200) which was also available as a slave amp.

Orange Amplification’s innovative marketing methods ensured that Orange Matamp amplifiers sold in large numbers worldwide but by 1970 Cliff Cooper was looking to design a guitar amp that was definitively rock’n’roll.  As explained above, the Orange Matamp was originally designed to be a clean sounding hi-fi amplifier and, increasingly guitarists were of the opinion that this amplifier sounded too clean.

It was around this time that Cliff hit on the idea and concept of Classic Amplifier #2: the ‘Pics Only’ was launched in 1972 and would define the Orange sound.

The Orange Amplification Company put out a press release in ca. August 1971 that Jimmy Page was proud to endorse Orange amplifiers and would feature them in the next Led Zeppelin tour. Page began using them on August 7, 1971, in Montreux, Switzerland. John Paul Jones also used Orange OR200 Amplifier for keyboard duties on random dates in the 1971 US Tour.

This amp had been sitting in a shed for years before it was found and had looked like a rat had made a nest in it. The person that found it had contacted Cliff Cooper at Orange Amplification Company in London, England who confirmed that it had belonged to Jimmy Page. It originally had been a slave unit and was modded to a main unit.

This amp was assembled from 2 different serial numbers OR 264 - OR 247 (preamp) in 1971. The amp face plate reads custom built for Jimmy Page. It has 4 KT-88 tubes delivering 200 Watt of cheer power. A clean and loud sound!

The 200 watt model was extensively used by Led Zeppelin's Jimi Page on stage during the first half of the ’70. He used this amp on stage from Aug. 7, 1971 through the 1973 US Tour together with a Theremin. This can be seen in the latest Genesis Publications book: Jimmy Page. In this photographic autobiography, a visual history of his career as one of the world’s most iconic guitar players.

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