Mat was the creator of the most colorful sounding amps in tube amp history.
SERIES 2000 Guitar Amp & Cab........................MATAMP GT-120 and 4X12 Cabinet
Mat Mathias was born in 1923.
In 1939 Mat was evacuated to England with the entire school
he was attending in Berlin. They were settled first in a camp at Sandwich on the south coast of
England and then later moved to Leeds. In Leeds Mat was in Digs in a private house with some
other boys also from the same school. Later on Mat found work in a comb factory, then interned
at York race course later, on the Isle of Man. Mat had a friend in Bradford who found him
work in a cinema projection box as a trainee. From there he moved to Huddersfield to work at
the Ritz Cinema as projectionist under a chief.
Next Mat bought a share of
a business doing Radio Repairs in Albion Street. The original owner
wanted to leave so Mat was obliged to take on the whole business and pay for it with what he
made each week. Mat did not have any wage left for himself for a long time but eventually the
debt was paid off. When television became available Mat went into that and gradually built up a
small business. He did some television repairs for a firm in King Street, Huddersfield.
In 1956 Mat was married and
the following year in 1957 he bought the King Street shop and his
wife worked at King Street whilst he kept doing repairs at the shop on Albion Street.
Mat had an apprentice at
this time who played guitar and used a Tandberg tape recorder which
was part of his Hi-Fi stock. Mat made a recording of his playing. Mat then built up his recording
equipment and spent many hours recording the local pop groups. The groups would discuss with
Mat what they wanted from an amplifier and Mat would make modifications to their equipment.
The King Street Shop became known as MATAMP in 1958, and eventually in 1962 Mat designed
a "new" amplifier for the guitar which he called MATAMP.
By 1964 MATAMP amplifiers
were made on neatly bent aluminum chassis with a white front panel
with the name MATAMP on the front with a single underscore line under the name. With such an audio
sound, people in the pop business began to talk and in 1968 Mat was then approached by a man in
London named Cliff Cooper. Cliff wanted some amps made for his studio in London called Orange.
A sample amplifier was made and taken to London where it was tried by Peter Green of the group
Fleetwood Mac. The amplifier was a success and Peter Green used it to record Albatross which
went to number one on the charts and has been popular ever since. Mat's amplifiers were now in
demand. Fleetwood Mac went on tour through the United States with Mat and he realized that the
amp chassis and box would need to be more heavy duty and the power output would need to be at
least 100 Watt. His next generation amp with an enameled steel chassis with heavy duty mains
and output transformers with 4 EL 34's introduced Mat's GT-120. This became the studio and road
worthy amp for most professional musicians immediately.
After this blossum of success
Cliff Cooper decided he wanted some amps to have the name of
his recording company on the front panel. In 1969 some ORANGEMatamp amplifiers were made
from the same design, right along side the original black vinyde MATAMP equipment. Various
models ranging from 2-EL34 20 Watt Amps to 200 Watt units with 4-KT88's were made one
at a time by Mat for studios, sound stages, bands and touring companies.
By 1973 Mat decided he would
make amplifiers just for himself and disconnected his association
with Cooper's company Orange and the MATAMP name was removed from all ORANGE items.
Mat continued to make amplifiers
for guitarists and slave unit models. D.J.'s became popular and
he designed and made an array of PA Amps and Mixers that are still ahead of their time.
With disco thriving at the end of the 70's and the 80's digital era ahead Mat's PA gear was put
to use to fill the void where the towering 120watt stacks in arenas left off.
In 1981 Mat Mathias designed
& created his "Rembrandt" guitar amplifier unit known as the V-14.
This 160watt 1X15 combo amplifier was "true" guitar tone at all ranges. Featuring reverb and a
boost channel on a very large chassis that could be removed and mounted into a head sleeve
to drive 4 cabinets if desired. 100 chassis were made and Mat made about 30 that were ordered
by pro musicians. By 1984 the Matamp factory was completing assembly only from chassis of
models from the past. By 1985 Mat's health started to fail and in July of 1989 Mat Mathias passed
The factory continued on
with Matamp functions with the help of Mat's widow Ruth and two son's.
Final business details and the closure of Mat's 31 year Pro Audio Company became the end
of MATAMP in Huddersfield. 1958 - 1989
The Mathias Family put the
factory up for sale and it was purchased by a local record collector /dj
and jack of all trades, Jeff Lewis. Immediately Jeff sorted through the shop and then contacted
Mat's rival who had been out of production for years. Cliff Cooper and Jeff, then started building
ORANGE Voice Of The World amps again with hopes to distribute through Gibson in the USA.
This venture turned out to be a disaster, and financially was the death to the new business owner.
Jeff needed a fresh new product
that revels in the MATAMP heritage and had to make
use of the spares and left over parts in this Huddersfield shop. In 1993 the debut of GREEN Matamp
was presented to the world and again MATAMP unknowingly started a "revolution of the sound".
The GREEN Matamp line was
introduced as a tribute to Peter Green. Peter had recently made
a new return into the industry with his Splinter Group. The GREEN Matamp amplifiers and
cabinets never gained popularity in the UK. Nobody understood the connection to Peter Green,
and thought the amps were made by "Orange". Production was slow, sales were slower, and their
was no marketing except in the Huddersfield Examiner periodically.
In 1994 the first GREEN Matamp
gear entered the USA. Rarely seen by one band in the USA,
GREEN amplifiers were often referred to as a "myth".
In 1997 an individual in
the USA named Joel Wheeler changed the "myth" into a reality. A customer
from 1994, who had been ordering items from Matamp went to place an order in 1997 and was
informed by Jeff in the UK that he was going to start making Air Conditioning Units, and ending
Matamp's struggle since Mat deceased.
Joel Wheeler photographed
his current gear in the USA, and within 3 days started a website
as a test, then later in 1998 developed WWW.MATAMP.COM.
By January 1999 the "Official"
MATAMP Distribution, USA office was announced to the world over
the internet, postal mail, and magazine articles . The availability of amplifiers from MATAMP USA was
being spread and promoted. In the UK, amplifier engineer Dave Green began with MATAMP in 1999
and resurrected original schematics of Mat's and began runs of the original GT-120.
Later in 1999 Joel and Dave released the "Legend" GT120 Master Volume Version.
The amplifiers began to arrive
into the USA and were then put through harsh testing. After the
completion of inspection and testing, Joel and Dave went to the table and sorted out ideas that
would mold the future of MATAMP. Original and New models were beginning to be released and
the demand for custom colors introduced a buffet of amps in various vinyde choices.
During the year 2000 the
MATAMP factory went under construction and was remodeled fueled by
USA Dollars. The construction created many delays for USA orders and wound up creating a down
time for the UK Factory which lasted until the end of winter 2001.
Whilst the factory was dismantled,
the holder of the reigns at MATAMP's USA operation was
dismantled too. Suffering an 11 month long concussion and a brutal neck injury, Joel Wheeler
was thrown out of orbit and placed upon the demands of injury.
The USA Distribution continued with hired hands to fulfill the duties while Joel recoops.
2001 through 2003 the MATAMP
USA team delivered 100's of units to customers all over the globe.
Dave's engineering attracted contract work in the UK such as HIWATT, ASHDOWNE, and
later on Harry Joyce. The little factory in Huddersfield became a one stop British Amp Shop.
MATAMP production became secondary business in it's own factory. The frustration for the
factory grew to high levels. MATAMP orders for the USA became delayed 6 months in delivery
time for the standard wait.
The amps began to blend components.
Matamp's were now on an Ashdowne chassis and sporting
Hiwatt's chicken head knobs. PC boards were being sourced, and a new engraving machine
installed in the factory ended the traditional front panel cosmetics.
By August of 2003 everything
MATAMP USA had secured for the preservation of MATAMP's
original authentic amps seemed gone for the USA owner. A quest for the restoration of original
products was pursued, however it created territorial issues between the two MATAMP operations.
Joel wanted to continue with the original custom 120watt amps, Jeff wanted to move forward with
small 30watt music shop combos and small amp heads.
A deal was made between the
two companies and Joel Wheeler set the path for the return of the
abandoned MATAMP Trademark to be owned 100% on UK Soil. In return, 3 basic amp models
drawn out by Matamp USA were to return to MATAMP production. Later in 2003 a discrepency
over the speaker cabinet construction created another obstacle for MATAMP USA. In 2004
MATAMP USA started speaker cabinet construction in the USA with one of the finest custom
shop builders. Big custom hand made cabinets were now on the music stages again under the
generic label ELECTRIC Amp.
At the end of 2004 UK Factory
formally informed Joel in the USA, that the GREEN Matamp line
was to come to an end due to supplies. Heavy persuassion to convince them otherwise on
MATAMP USA's part. 5 years invested and a dedicated site www.greenamps.com to
promote this line. With more "can not's" than "cans" coming from the UK, Joel realized to
have any future for his customers needs, the production would have to be 100% owned.
2005 New drawings, old designs,
streamline construction, and sourcing original parts created
the next amp line for the USA operation. Dave Green, engineer for many companies now in
the UK put forth his best, and built the first run of the USA's new line, ELECTRIC AMP.
Today MATAMP UK continues
to build amplifiers in a new tradition to accommodate the UK market.
Low wattage combo amps made custom that resemble units found at street side shops.
MATAMP USA, now only deals
in used amps, parts, repairs and restoration. The new breed
of "Old School" amplification and speaker cabinets are being built one at a time by hand in
the USA now by ELECTRIC AMP INNOVATIONS , LTD.
Like MATAMP USA, Electric
Amp Company holds highest respect to the original creator,
Mat Mathias, and continues in tradition of a great innovator.
Written by Theresa Wheeler in collaboration with RUTH MATHIAS - 2002 - 2005