A 1967 Matamp Series 2000 guitar amp head that was owned by the late Peter Green is up for sale. Played onstage and in the studio as Green shaped blues-rock history with Fleetwood Mac, the historic tube amp is being sold through Denmark Street Guitars – and if we were, say, Kirk Hammett, we would be calling them up right now.
The amp head is a real piece of history. As with many pioneering designs of that era, it was there when players such as Green established some of the most foundational tones for electric guitar. But for an amp that has seen a lot of action, it looks in excellent condition. The black vinyl covering is in excellent condition – the insides are pristine for an amplifier that was made a time when guineas, half crowns, and threepenny bits were all legal tender in the United Kingdom.
On the front panel, you’ll find Normal and Bright inputs, over-sized dials for Boost and Drive, Depth and Volume, with smaller controls for Bass and Treble, a power switch and a green lamp indicator to let you know the amp is on. You will also find contact details for Radio Craft in Huddersfield across the top of the formica front panel, which also tells you that design was every bit as important to amplifier history as it was to music history.
Radio Craft was founded by Mat Mathias not long after the second world war – the Matamp site is hazy on the exact year, either 1945 or ’46 – and operated out of a workshop behind his wife’s music accessories store.
It would later change its name to Matamp in the ‘60s when electronics and hi-fi whiz Tony Emerson jumped onboard. This was when the Matamp found its way onto the Fleetwood Mac back line, with Mathias even joining the Mac on tour in the US.
The partnership with Green was key. It showed how the amp could be developed, and even the departure of Emerson did not slow Matamp down; Mathias entered into a partnership with Cliff Cooper, whose own music store, Orange, would give them a branding advantage at a time when their sound needed little help in convincing a new generation of players – including Free’s Paul Kossoff and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page – to play through an Orange Matamp.
The Orange Matamp era was shortlived. But Matamp retained a cult following, particularly among retro amp enthusiasts and doom metal guitar players. The Series 2000 was reissued in 2006, offering the same design, 35-watts of power, and you can pick one of these up on Reverb for around £1,300 if you’re lucky.
The Greeny Matamp might require deeper pockets. But then if you’ve just forked out for one of Gibson’s super-deluxe Greeny replica 1959 Les Paul Standards, the budget might just stretch to this. And Kirk Hammett, if you’re reading, this might just be one you need in your collection for that hot tube warmth and bluesy breakup.
For more details, head over to Denmark Street Guitars.