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Monday
Oct032011

Ampeg 1965 B-15N Fliptop

I hesitate to call this bad boy the "grand poobah" of bass amps, but only for one reason:  I wouldn't drag this thing around from gig to gig because it's 46 years old! Other than that, hands down, this is the holy grail of bass amps.  It's hard to find these in good condition nowadays, but that's also what the good people over at FLIPTOPS are for.  If you do own one of these amazing amps - FLIPTOPS has any and every replacement part that you'll ever need.

Now, on to the amp.  I found this guy on eBay. It's an original 1965 B-15N, but it's had some cosmetic upgrades.  It has the original CTS speaker, original tubes, transformers, cabinet, and electronics, but the previous owner had it recovered with the Ampeg blue tolex, a new logo, new transformer covers, and a new tube cage.

It's rated at a whopping 30 watts, but the B-15N is louder and has better tone and response than most solid state amps rated at 4 or 5 times that power.  This amp has been the absolute standard in bass recording ever since James Jamerson used it on just about every Motown song ever recorded.  The SVT and 8x10 cabinet might be the touring standard, but the B-15 is still the go-to set up for recording.

This amp just has the warmest, fullest bass sound that can't seem to be fully replicated.  Not to mention, it just looks really cool.  The fliptop feature was designed to solve the heat problems that combo amps were having and also provide better portability than head & cabinet stacks.  My favorite feature has to be the glass Ampeg emblem that is lit from the glow of the bass tubes.  Doesn't get any cooler than that.

It took years of scouring eBay and online shops until I found a well priced B-15N that was in good shape at a time that I was ready to take the plunge.  I recommend buying local if at all possible so you can take a bass that you're comfortable with and test it out.  Be sure to let the tubes warm up for a couple of minutes before you start playing...the only time this amp sounds bad is if you try to play it right away.

 

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    Awesome page, Continue the fantastic work. Many thanks.
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    Coop's Bass Blog - Home - Ampeg 1965 B-15N Fliptop

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