Just something I've pondered last night, thought I would ask you awesome bass players - see below

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Donna78, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    So, my question is how many of you bass players have owned, played or wanted the Ampeg Portaflex B-15 line or Oliver amps that Jess Oliver himself invented? I'm personally not a bass player, so please don't get technical ;) But, I have seen the insides of amplifiers in my time. I'm hoping you will respond!! I'll be back on later after work :)
    MattZilla, Bret Music and JimmyM like this.
  2. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I've owned one (two if you count the BT-15 transistor version).
    Great amps. Sorry I sold the tube version but I really didn't have a need for it and hope that someone's making music with it. They are not magic but are a well designed and built amplifier.
    Donna78 likes this.
  3. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I've used a few of them. My first experience was in a studio ~20 years ago. I always knew about them, and when I saw it, I asked if we could use it. It sounded great on the record. A few years later, I had an R&B gig. We did a rehearsal at the drummer's house and he happened to have one set up for me. Sounded great there too. I eventually found one for sale at a nice price and bought it. I used it on a few rehearsals and kept it in my practice room for a number of years. I never did gig with it. I replaced the power chord and had it serviced once. I really loved that amp.

    In the end, I just had way too much gear, and decided to sell off a ton of it. So I sold it and made a few hundred $$ on the deal. It was such an amazing amp, easy to get a good tone and looked cool too. I much prefer the tone of the Ampeg to my newer amps, but my newer amps are louder and lighter. If I saw a clean one for a good price, I would probably buy it, but I don't really NEED it.
    Donna78 likes this.
  4. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    That's awesome! I generally hear of people regretting giving up their amp. She's definitely used more now for the recording studios due to the clear crisp sound. Thank you for sharing!! :thumbsup:
  5. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    Haha, you can always use more amps! All I can say is my Grandfather (Jess) was very picky & went for perfection. He wanted to make the best amplifier! Jess was so smart, especially for the times. You are correct, they are built very well. When he broke off from Ampeg he invented the "Oliver Powerflex". It was bigger & louder lol ..it's on the internet. Thank you for sharing!! I love to hear the stories.:hyper:
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
    rodl2005, Clarkenstien, Heady and 6 others like this.
  6. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Now you tell us!
    Your grandad as well as Mr. Hull and Mr. Tiers changed music history with their contributions to Ampeg.
    You should buy an Oliver amp just for family history.
  7. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Wow, you’re amplifier royalty. Are you a musician in any capacity, or otherwise involved in the MI industry? Anyone else in your family?
    Heady and Donna78 like this.
  8. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    One of my 1st bass amps was an Ampeg B15, awesome tone but not for a rock band, not loud enough. I had an amp in for repair once and they gave me an Oliver amp as a loaner. It was cool how the amp guts would rise out of the cabinet via a sewing machine motor arrangement. Other than that it was the same as a B15.
    VoodooJazz, Donna78 and S-Bigbottom like this.
  9. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Heady, nbsipics and Donna78 like this.
  10. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    t tone, vastly underpowered, even back in the 60's, but great tone.
    Donna78 likes this.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I've owned two, still have one.
    dbase and Donna78 like this.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Hi Donna, glad you could make it. Never met your grandpa, did talk to him a few times and had him restore a B-15 that was in awful shape. I also know a couple of his daughters, and hung out with Roberta a few times, who is a blast.
    Jbass1979, lowendrv and Donna78 like this.
  13. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    My first real amp was an SB-12, in the mid '60s. I scraped up all the money I could, rode a bus into Manhattan (I grew up on the NJ shore), walked to 48th Street, and ... I couldn't afford a B-15, so I came home with the SB-12. Fantastic tone, but it just wasn't loud enough for the garage band adventures I was having. So I sold it to get something bigger.
    nbsipics, biobass and Donna78 like this.
  14. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    Haha...I have many keepsakes & most of all, I treasure my memories with him. I'm just so very happy to hear stories like you guys who posted on here enjoy what he created. It's truly a beautiful thing. If he didn't create that B-15, who knows what today's bass would be like, of any brand. That's what is so amazing.
    DrThumpenstein, BOOG and bassface69 like this.
  15. That was my experience the one time I played through one with my three-piece band. Not nearly powerful enough to keep up with a fairly quiet drummer, but played through the same amp for a recording session where power wasn't an issue and it sounded fantastic.
    VoodooJazz and Donna78 like this.
  16. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    I know all about Rochester! Those B-15 were very heavy. But the SB-12 had a cool diffrence sound. Most musicians today only use them for studio recordings & generally use STV. Jess actually hired Bill Hughes that made those! Thank you so much for sharing!!:cool:
  17. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    They definitely have a clear crisp sound to them. Jess later on created the "Oliver powerflex". It had more power. The man was like Einstein! All timeless amps.
    JimmyM likes this.
  18. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  19. sharpiemarker


    Feb 15, 2013
    I had a a 65 b15. It was awesome I loved the sound. I had it and used it for five years. Eventually I had to make a mature decision when I was broke and needed money. It wasn’t the most practical amp for my situation and could have benefited from some work I couldn’t justify the cost of.
    I am proud of the albums that I recorded with it so I have good memories that I can revisit when I miss it. I am glad I had it so I could experience a real one with my own ears and my own playing. It is the tone I judge all other amps on.
    Donna78 likes this.
  20. Donna78


    Aug 1, 2021
    Haha..that's awesome!! I have a pretty cool family. Jess loved to work on his amplifiers downstairs. I always use to say to him, grandpa Jess, you could build a robot down here and he would laugh. He was such a sweetheart, to everyone he encountered. Thank you Jimmy for responding to my post! :hyper:
    bignc, Heady, George Dennis and 3 others like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 20, 2021

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