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Jus Lukin

Where are all the B15s?

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It's all academic- if anything I need to sell some of my amps, but I can't help but wonder-

Is it just me, or is it weird that there isn't an Ampeg B15 available, or anything directly based on it?

It may not be the most practical amp out there for numerous reasons, but it is a bona fide classic and a sought after sound with analogue and digital emulations aplenty. There was a very limited run of the Heritage B15n at some £3000 about ten years ago and the Portaflex heads are said to be similar, but I can't help but feel that a roaring trade could be done on a standard Ampeg B15 model or two. Playing as I do with some quite old fashioned bands with 'authentic' gear, from guitar amps to drum hardware and harmonica mics (all of which are readily available) I'd think that a B15 would be perfect in sound and looks, and in kudos to punters who value the vintage style as much as the music.

What I suppose I'm saying is that if there was one, I'd buy one! I have a lovely Ashdown LB30 and sealed 1x15 which occupies the spot, but it strikes me as odd that Ampeg aren't capitalising on the veneration and appetite for one of their most highly regarded products.

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I’ve used a couple in the studio, great when they work, but both failed. There’s no point live, not enough power or reliability  for the average gig. UAD do a very good b15 plug-in, which I have, but 9/10 I go to the SVT that comes with the package, and that’s been the same whether at home or in studios as well. I get your point about authentic gear for the right band, but the b15 gets more credit than it deserves say for Motown, and it’s character is very subtle, any old dull thud will suffice.

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I used to have one of the later ones and it was pretty much useless on a gig. They do the old school sound brilliantly (of course) but have limitations outside the studio environment.

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Posted (edited)

I once owned an Ampeg B15-S, 60W, 1969 model, which unfortunately I was stupid enough to sell about 15 years ago, after it having served me well for about 10 years at that point, originally having bought it stupidly cheap from a 2nd Hand music gear related shop.

Mind I am planing to make my bass setup ampless now, and coming next month buying the NUX Melvin Lee Davis Bass Preamp that I count on being able to do the job properly, planing to use it's build in amp modeling of the Aguilar Tone Hammer bass amp head, and then using it's 3rd party cab IR loader function to run a few 3rd party cab IRs that I already got in mind, for that.

And even if I still had happened to be interested in carrying heavy amps to future jams, rehearsals and eventual gigs, which I am obviously not, I would rather have got an old solid state Trace Elliot bass amp for that job than the Ampeg B15-S.

Though it did in fact still sound absolutely amazing, even if maybe not exactly the way I'd rather prefer now for the music I tend to play, and I do still very much regret haven been stupid enough to let go of it, back when I sold it. 

 

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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Somewhere between Bexleyheath and Horn Park ?

Ayfangoo. Play me off Johnny.

:)

 

 

  • Haha 1

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There is no reason for a B15 of any series not to be reliable if properly maintained. Mine sits in my studio and when I switch it on it works. When I switch it off it doesn't! :D

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, BassmanPaul said:

There is no reason for a B15 of any series not to be reliable if properly maintained. Mine sits in my studio and when I switch it on it works. When I switch it off it doesn't! :D

I can only agree, as I said in an earlier post, I bought the 1969 model of the B-15S amp, used obviously, about 25 years ago, and for the 10 years forward that I owned it all I did to it, beside ignorantly abusing it brutally, driving it at it's absolute max for 2 times 4 hours weekly at band rehearsals,  plus the occasional gigs and jams, was having the tubes changed once, and in all those 10 years it never as much as just once threw any fits, or even just subtle hints, whatsoever, of malfunctioning at me in retaliation to my blatantly ignorant barbaric abuse, also might I add that it would still sound ever so sweet on the occasions where it was handled more gently and respectfully in the company of less furiously berserkering jam partners, and I'll even bet with quite high probability that it still plays on just as flawlessly warm and beautiful, or blistering aggressively grunting, depending on how it's current owner use or abuse it, as ever, somewhere out there.  

Something in me wishes that it still rages on in some furious avantgarde free jazz trio's company, as it once being responsible for driving the lead bass in an equally furious hard hitting, 2 bassists, 1 drummer, 1 guitarist/screamer, hardcore and noise rock influenced math rock band, now receiving it's final blessings in the form of a perpetual exploding firework of flashbacks from passed sonic wars fought as it's veteran award and recognition, ascended as it now has from punk to fine art torture.

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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I have to wonder just how many b15 units made it over the pond. I can't remember seeing even one back in the day in the Liverpool area. 

I bought mine from the US. It needed work which I did and now it just sings. I love my fretless six through it but it supports all of my other six basses equally well. ;) 

Biggest problem apart from leaky coupling caps, was  flash over in the rectifier tube when coming off Standby. That was easily cured and the amp works like a charm.

 

 

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I'm guessing the market hasn't been big enough to sustain the reissue B15n models as a continuous run, particularly when competing with the vintage market and their own modern Portaflex models. The PF50T is nice, but it's very much a modern amp referencing the originals - it's like a guitarist showing up with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe rather than a tweed or blackface model. For my purposes I'll take the added midrange EQ and useful DI outs over any missing vintage vibe, but I'd probably want a proper B15n if I was equipping a high end studio or similar.

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I agree fully. The best thing about Ampegs for me is the flexibility in the midrange. 
I don’t like the original Sansamp BDDI for the same reason, but they do seem to be reasonably popular... 😉

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I'm lucky enough to own one of the Heritage models (there's a pic of it on my profile page) - it was a major purchase but it's a keeper on many levels.  

Gigged it the once, used it in a video, but it's mainly my very pretty expensive house combo.

Edited by mxm
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666 posts MXM! 🤘

I agree that part of the market would be for home use. For those who can, why not have a great sound and beautiful bit of kit in the house? And for those who can't, it might be something to aspire to- makes more sense to me than an SVT in the living room or garage.

Studios, too. Emulations seem to keep getting better and better, but for a genuine amp sound, something like a B15 seems ideal. You don't come across them much because even the well priced ones are old, need step down transformers, etc. I'd think that for the price of a Classic Series B15, lots of people would want to get in on the action.

Having played gigs with a 40w solid state 1x10, I know that I could probably use one live- probably not all the time, not least because that little 1x10 is so capable and practical, but for when it's right, it would be so right!

Of course, it does all come down to business, and I'm no businessman. I may be nonplussed, but I'm pretty sure Ampeg know what they're up to. Perhaps one day they'll do another run of Heritage B15's and I'll be flush enough in that moment to snap one up. 🤞

Edited by Jus Lukin
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@Jus Lukin I think the tech 21 VT Pedal comes close to a B15 Sound. I was thinking of getting one & using it with my B15 to see if I can get it any better! I have an Ampeg Scramble DI that I use & that’s pretty good. 

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Yeah, the VT is great! I have the rack version, think it might have been the last brand new one left in Europe when I tracked it down!

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4 hours ago, Jus Lukin said:

666 posts MXM! 🤘

I agree that part of the market would be for home use. For those who can, why not have a great sound and beautiful bit of kit in the house? And for those who can't, it might be something to aspire to- makes more sense to me than an SVT in the living room or garage.

Studios, too. Emulations seem to keep getting better and better, but for a genuine amp sound, something like a B15 seems ideal. You don't come across them much because even the well priced ones are old, need step down transformers, etc. I'd think that for the price of a Classic Series B15, lots of people would want to get in on the action.

Having played gigs with a 40w solid state 1x10, I know that I could probably use one live- probably not all the time, not least because that little 1x10 is so capable and practical, but for when it's right, it would be so right!

Of course, it does all come down to business, and I'm no businessman. I may be nonplussed, but I'm pretty sure Ampeg know what they're up to. Perhaps one day they'll do another run of Heritage B15's and I'll be flush enough in that moment to snap one up. 🤞

I had the great joy of playing through one of the heritage models as the house bass amp at Rimshot Studio in Kent. Gorgeous thing.

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I've not been there, but it's only about an hour up the road from me. If you're going to play an amp as amazing as that, you might as well play it in a live room as amazing as theirs! 😎

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True. It's a really excellent studio and well worth the slightly higher cost of a budget place.

I'd go back just for the coffee and home made bread!!

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