Admittedly, I started my days as a guitarist as a harsh solid state snob. My access to boutique-amplifier-sized piles of cash was limited, and I was surrounded by graying bar flies that endlessly spouted off about the good old days in their cover bands. My paltry summer job earnings barely bought me an integrated circuit distortion pedal on clearance, so maybe my bitterness towards vacuum tubes was predictable.
As the band I was performing with started to play large venues with better sound systems, my love of solid state began earning me comments such as, "Brittle tone, bro," and "Too muddy, man." I upgraded the pickups on my guitar, bought an amplifier with a larger speaker, and kept pressing on in my rejection of what I assumed was old school.
Years later, I discovered concerts requiring more than a dollar fifty or a non-perishable food item for admittance. It was while watching artists such as The Cranberries, Collective Soul, Skillet, and Switchfoot that I began to see and hear what the mixing engineers had been commenting about. Tubes. Big, fat, glowing vacuum tubes.
About this time, I had the privilege of working with a band known as The Fabulous Hot Finks. Their guitarist played through an Orange brand amplifier and speaker cabinet, and the sound was nothing short of life altering. He indulged my curiousity by allowing me to mess with the gain and equalization settings. Any shreds of my lingering solid state speculation quickly fled, and I basked in the warmth of the tones from his guitar rig.
I didn't tell my girlfriend at the time, but I had found my new crush. It was Orange amplifiers.
—A.Hunt, SPCS Records