B15-N - good deal or pass on it?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by BaileyMan, Mar 13, 2014.


  1. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    There's a '69 B15N for sale locally for $950.

    Will need:
    one ultra-low switch cleaned/repaired/replaced
    one tone control cleaned/repaired/replaced
    power switch replaced (it turns on, you just to use a screwdriver or key or something)
    at least one of the latches for the lid is busted.

    Cosmetically, looks like it's been used for the past 45 years.

    I think the cab sounds mostly OK, but I'd really love to try it with my Jazz bass with tapewounds instead of some hot rodded J-bass with rounds...
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    B-15's sound killer with a hot rodded Jazz! The stuff that's wrong with it doesn't sound major, but I don't know...based on that description I don't know if I'd pay it without a little negotiation.
  3. bachlover

    bachlover Supporting Member

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    What's it got for a speaker?
  4. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan

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    Jan 8, 2012
    As great as it may sound with a hot rodded J-bass, it's not the most accurate representation of the tone I'd get with my bass.

    Not sure what the speaker is. Tell me more about the speakers...I'm a newb to these amps
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  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Who cares? :D "Accurate representation" is BS when it comes to amplified instruments, really. Once you amplify them, all bets are off.

    There were two different speakers that came with the 69 B-15N...either a CTS with a square magnet speaker, or an Altec 418b which has a round magnet. It's possible that it came with an Altec 421a as well, but the 421a might have come along a little later than 69 (can't remember). The CTS is identifiable by the number 137 stamped on the magnet. The Altecs have stickers that identify them. The Altecs are considered more valuable than the CTS's, although there are some who favor the CTS because it's darker sounding and has a great low mid.
  7. bachlover

    bachlover Supporting Member

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    I've got a '68 that I bought for $1495 in Aug. It didn't need anything done to it though a resistor rattled loose on the 1000 mile ride back from Seattle and I had the original cord replaced at the same time. I also had the speaker reconed later. It was OK when I bought it but appeared to get damaged during the same trip. The speaker is CTS (Chicago Telephone Supply). I put an Eminence in it while it was being reconed. It sounded alright, but the original definitely sounds better, more thump and bottom. The seller had it listed as early '70s but the stamp on the magnet dated it to '68. I play a Jazz through it, sounds great. Just got a P that fills the air pretty nice as well through it!
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Love yours, Bachlover! But it's a different model than what Bailey's looking at. His is a Thiele cab B-15 while you have the single baffle cab. Same basic head, though the 69 has two inputs for the 2nd channel and hi and lo boost switches.
  9. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Thanks for the info guys. I look forward to learning more about these amps and the differences between all the models and options...

    What do you know about http://www.fliptops.net/ as a source for parts, etc? I was perusing their site and it seems like it's possible for the wood in the cabinet to delaminate. I thought I heard a little buzz, and couldn't quite isolate it. May have been the price tag attached to the grill cloth. The more I think about it, the more it sounds like a whole can of worms. The amp needs work, definitely needs to get looked over by someone who knows their stuff...
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Old B-15's can get a little rattle prone. You can get rid of them, but it usually takes me a few days to get rid of the rattles. The newer ones are much less prone to rattles. But they can all be fixed, and the switches can be fixed or replaced, and there are quite a few Portaflex experts on here who can help. Yours does sound like a fixer upper, though, and that price isn't hitting me for a fixer upper.
  11. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan

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    Jan 8, 2012
    That's how I'm feeling too...any thoughts on a fair price for a fixer?
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure how far we can discuss price with you since you're not a supporting member...got yelled at once for it. And I'd feel bad giving you an estimate without seeing pics of it first. But for one in this condition electronically that only looks OK, he'd have to come down on the price by a lot before I'd bite.
  13. bachlover

    bachlover Supporting Member

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    What I can tell you is that there was a B15S (S for solid state rectifier) that was available the same time for $950 but I would've had to drive 3500 miles to get that one! It was in good shape & didn t need anything done to it. It's 35W but not with near the same cool history as the N or B15. Seattle's a lot nicer than Peterborough too! These B15s have some SERIOUS mojo, huh Jimmy? See you got a '64 - nice!
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Maybe not the same history, but the B-15S is a very cool amp, too. I think it does 60w, though. I know it's more than 35 but can't remember if it's 60 or 55w. And yes, I have a 64 and used to have a 77 as well, and they both kick ass.
  15. bachlover

    bachlover Supporting Member

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    LOL Just rebooted my tablet to edit my last post. I owned an S and it was 60 or 65W. It sounded really nice. I was ready to make that drive. By the way OP, Emerald City Guitars where I got mine still has an S last time I checked for 1495. I tried it out as well, works good, but most of the lettering's worn off for the controls.
  16. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

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    Aug 7, 2008
    The broken latch could be the source of the buzz. The lid needs to make a tight seal against the cabinet. Delamination can be repaired. A good place to look is around the speaker cutout. Because the laminations are exposed, they can dry up and rattle. A little filler or glue can fix that. Some additional info can be found here.

    Fliptops sells a lot of parts for this amp. Antique Electronics (www.tubesandmore.com) is another source.
  17. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast

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    An advantage of the '69 is that a suitable vinyl is available should you want to recover it. There isn't anything that can't be fixed on these amps.

    It comes down to how DIY handy you are, how much you want to learn, and how far you want to take the cabinet work. As with any amp, it will be more expensive if you are paying to have someone else do the cabinet work.

    In any event, you can find a lot of support in the Portaflex Thread.
  18. bachlover

    bachlover Supporting Member

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    I checked Emerald City's website and they still have it. The last time I was in there Jay said he'd let me have it for 1000. It's been in there a long time, the faded lettering's probably a turn off and has had a lot to do with it being there so long. Kinda bulky as well.
  19. Thijs V

    Thijs V

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  20. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan

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    Jan 8, 2012
    For sure, I was really referring to how my bass would sound through it, and whether or not I liked the tone enough to invest in the amp and the project of fixing it up. I wasn't talking about whether or not the amp produces an accurate representation of the true tone of my bass...

    didn't know that about the forum...thanks for letting me know...

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