Orange enters the dual-channel preamp pedal fray with the Guitar Butler

If guitarists were casting envious glances at their bass brethren when the Orange Bass Butler was released in 2020, they can rest easy. The Guitar Butler is here; and it's also packing a lot into the chassis.

Like the bass version, it's built in the UK. The proposition is simple; clean and '70s-style tube overdrive channels. Unlike the Blackstar Dept 21 preamp pedals, there's no valves involved here, but the JFET circuitry of the dirty channel aims to get you in that zone for gigging, home playing and recording.

Orange Amps

(Image credit: Orange Amps)

The Guitar Butler is designed so players can plug it straight into either a power amp / speaker cab combo or a PA system, with tone shaping controls designed to complement your other pedals.

You'll need to decipher Orange's signature control labelling system first – it uses icons in place of names for each control. But we do know the controls for the dirty channel include volume, treble, middle, bass and gain and designer Ade Emsley gives a rundown on both channels in the video above.

Orange Amps

(Image credit: Orange Amps)

Emsley points out that he's designed the clean channel with your overdrive pedals in mind and bottom, middle and top controls to tailor your sound without the preamp excessively colouring drive pedals you may choose to use. This kind of blank slate clean channel use could be an ace card for the Guitar Butler, further widening its potential appeal.

And some players may need to bring their own overdrive pedals to the party because the overdrive channel here isn't for modern high gain tones; think blues, classic rock and perhaps eighties metal.

A Buffered FX loop also allows you to add modulation, delay and reverb after the preamp. Additional connectivity includes Amp Out without Cab Sim and a Balance Out with it included, plus a Ground Lift switch to stop any earth loops. 

US street price is around $429 and £279 in the UK. More info at Orange Amps.  

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.