Happy New Gear! Something old (SB-12) something new (S15-B)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by waxcomb, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    Well, I have done a complete swap out of my home bass system and I think I have found the sound. I have always wanted an all tube system for home use. I already have a Fender Musicmaster Bass combo, but I use it for guitar. I found an Ampeg SB-12 head in the local classifieds. I had just recently heard a friend's B-15 and it sounded amazing. I got GAS. I checked out the SB-12 and it was in killer shape. It sounded nice and I was giving it that look. I bought it and gave it a nice cleaning. Now I needed a cab to go with it. I found a Bag End S15-B used at a local GC. Research here praises this cab and once it is dialed in, so do I. Together, it sounds amazing and I can get lots of killer sounds. It also kills for guitar! I used this setup to record new tracks and it gets that thick sound that is creamy and nice.

    I had to do some quick selling of my WM's 10 and extension, but that was pretty easy. I did some serious driving, probably 2-300 miles to get all the deals done. Until I find the appropriate cab, an original Ampeg, I have one serious rig for recording and practice. The Bag End is also small enough to pair with my Mesa Scout for a tiny rig of terror!

    Anyone seen a SB-12 cabinet out there? Any thought on the pairing of Ampeg and Bag End?
  2. Waabs

    Waabs Employee, Musical Instrument Retail

    Aug 1, 2004
    You can get a cabinet from www.fliptops.net as well as a whole range of other parts. If you're a little bit handy you could probably make something pretty easily.
  3. mezzone


    Jan 4, 2005
    You mention a Gk head there. If you can push ur budget and manage the extra pound or two in weight go for a Gk 400rb-iv. Small lightweight and great tone. U cant go wrong!!!!!
  4. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    No GK here, I'm set: Ampeg, Bag End, Mesa. I feel I'm at a certain level of "I'm officially hooked up with some serious pro stuff" and I'm stoked to be here. It's taken time and some sweet deals.

    The Bag End is so small, it takes us hardly any room. Perfect for my knees and back. It's the same width as the head and looks like a sea chest because of the bare wood. I've even thought about having it done in black tolex, just to match the Scout and my Fender.

    Fliptops is a really cool site and I spent some time there. I did a ton of research the night before I met the guy. I knew much more than him because I couldn't sleep and was online instead all night.

    I would like to find the real cabinet, but I'm ready to let that happen later. I just want to turn my GAS into a long term goal that will happen when it's time. I waited over a decade to get my Gibson Grabber, I can wait some more for the cab to come to me.
  5. Oh, that was you doing all that shuffling! Nice work!
    SB-12s aren't B-15s, but they're not bad either by any measure. Does it drive the Bag End OK, or is there a lot of speaker excursion (pumping in and out)?
  6. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    The BE gets a killer sound once I get the setting right. Matching the different instruments with it's simple knobs and getting serious volume is not a problem. It just takes a little getting familiar period. I've recorded with it mic'd in the bathroom, bass and that other 6 stringed thing. I've recreated a couple genres with it and I have found the sound. It doesn't get farty, just fuzzy it you crank it. This speaker uses every bit I can give it super efficiently. I do want to hear what what the original sounds like. It may be even better.

    I wasn't expecting a B-15, I just heard the magic and wanted to have a little piece of it. I had this chance fall right in my lap and I took the leap. I'm not looking for loud or heavy, just tone. That is what I learned from my friend who has always preached Ampeg for that sound. When I brought in the fliptop, he plugged his in to it and handed me the bass.

    I just got an email from a guy with and original 64. I'm very interested in what he has to say...and there's the Marin vintage show this weekend. I may not be done shuffling :rollno: !
  7. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    Well, I have enjoyed my little stop at Bag End, and I wish I could stay there, but I am now officially a real deal vintage Ampeg owner. I'm not saying that I'm any expert by any stretch, but I'm under good watch and my buddy even took it apert and pointed out all sorts of info. Old school tube charts and wiring... it's cool to me.

    So, the guy with the SB-12 calls me from the vintage show and says that he has it wth him. It even has the dolly with it. The only thing is that the speaker has been replaced on a new baffle with Fender cloth. He has the original baffle, cloth and the blown speaker. He wants $400. He thinks it is mid sixties.

    I call my buddy with a booth at the show and ask if he could check it out and pick it up. He says cool and all is good. I pick it up that evening in my new used Tacoma. Car and amp in the same day. The wallet is still smoking. So is the tone! It has been gigged with a [email protected] and has a few layers of bar grit on it. I plug it in and ... nothing. It lights up and glows and the Ampeg plate is really beautiful. Ends up that the jacks have been beat up and the tab broke off. I went to my friend's shop and search for a Swithcraft. He has an allparts that is not threaded all the way up and won't fit. He ends up giving me a different Switchcraft that will work until I get the threaded 1/4 long jack. It sounds killer with the 15 and man is there a natural reverb that sets up the mood. I can't wait to mic it up. It is an old Jensen alnico C15N. I think these were in the B-15N. The cloth dates to the 64-66 era, just before the blue was added. I'm guessing that the owner wanted the B-15, but ended up improvising and this is what we ended up with.

    I spent a day scrubbing it up and got all the blue diamond back in place. There are just a few spots on the front where it is missing in small specks. I glued down the flaps with rubber cement. It was an experiment because I wanted to avoid the white residue from super glue. It worked out nicely. The back corners are rubbed quite a bit because there are no corner caps there, too close to the lid. It is a very nice amp and it is a 66. It needs a new handle, one light for the sign and the front badge.

    I also kept the other SB-12 head and I figure that I am covered as far as I need for a long time. It is a 69 and it is in killer shape. It also has more power and sounds amazing.