Vintage ampeg b-15n

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Komadinic, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Komadinic


    Feb 28, 2018
    Hi all,

    I have a chance to buy this amp. The owner claims everything works as it should but it needs to be retolexed from the wear and tear over the years. I like the motown sound and wanna buy it, but can you tell me how much it's worth in your opinion? Thanks!
  2. Komadinic


    Feb 28, 2018
    Can someone please pitch in? Calling all ampeg connoisseurs!
  3. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    There were many revisions of the B-15. It appears to be a single baffle cabinet model, maybe 65-67 era. The grille cloth does not look original. Ask what speaker is in the cab if you don’t have an image.

    Check out the TB Portaflex Wiki for lots of details: Ampeg Portaflex Wiki |
  4. Komadinic


    Feb 28, 2018
    Thank you for getting back to me. I can't quite distinguish between the models, they really look quite similar (the one I'm inquiring about). I'm sure it's been discussed many times before but if someone could give me an ELI5 breakdown I'd appreciate that a lot. Thanks again!
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  5. Vintage-Blue

    Vintage-Blue Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Owner, Vintage Blue (repro cabinets)
    Can you find out what tubes it is using? Not the brand but the type, such as 6L6GC versus 7027A power tubes. The reason I ask is due to how tall the transformer cans are. In my mind this at least puts it close to the timeline when Ampeg was producing the B-15ND, which was essentially a B-18N head on a 15" speaker cabinet. The 6L6GC tubes would mark it as a B-15NF; 7027A power tubes would mark it as a B-18N/B-15ND. That distinction itself could affect what it might be worth to somebody. Beyond that I will leave it to others to comment on what it might be worth. Just keep in mind that there is always the potential that it will need some electronic work. You also need to consider how important the cosmetics are to you and how much, if anything, you would be willing to spend to recover the cabinet and grill.
  6. Komadinic


    Feb 28, 2018
    Asked the seller, hopefully he gets back to me soon. He did share the speaker it has with me, he claims it was a factory upgrade.
  7. Komadinic


    Feb 28, 2018
    Back says
    5ar4, 7027a, 7027a, 7199, 6sl7, 6sl7

    This is his response
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  8. Vintage-Blue

    Vintage-Blue Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Owner, Vintage Blue (repro cabinets)
    Yep, electronically that is a B-18N.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  9. Komadinic


    Feb 28, 2018
    I guess it's not worth 800$ in the current condition then? If it was you would you pay that? Sorry for boring you.
  10. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I have seen these go for between 500 and 1000 at a local used shop. Maybe it wasn’t this exact model though. I think vintage amps tend to have more of a price ceiling since they ultimately deteriorate unlike guitars. Caps, tubes, speakers all are like tires on a car suffering from wear and tear needing replacement.

    I have never owned one, but aren’t these fairly limited in what they can do? As in, this won’t be a gigging amp unless you have something backing you up?

    I know someone who has the 12” speaker version of this.

    Keep the gnarly tolex. It has mojo. Looks sweet.
  11. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    Depends on the gig... They are definitely limited, but great at what they do. I had one in the early 90's, used it in pits, acoustic gigs, and for recording hard rock and even 80's / 90's metal.

    I sold mine in '95 for $250 to an upright player. :rollno:
  12. Vintage-Blue

    Vintage-Blue Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Owner, Vintage Blue (repro cabinets)
    If I was in the market for one I wouldn’t have any problem paying $800. There are probably plenty of people out there that would jump on it for that price. If the amp and speaker are in good working condition you’d basically be spending $800 for a 50w B-18N head mounted on a single baffle cabinet loaded with an Altec speaker. While the Altec could be considered an upgrade, its tone may or may not be your cup of tea. If you can try out the rig, do so. If you like what you hear I don’t think the price is unreasonable.
  13. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    My B15 says 'NF' on the circuit board. It runs 6L6GCs and 6SL7s. It's my practice amp and I love it. :)
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  14. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    I guess the question for me would be, what is a B18N head, doing on a B15N cab ? I don't believe they came that way, although I'm not a vintage Ampeg expert. If so, its not an original rig, as such, so $800 seems pretty reasonable for a vintage portaflex of any type, as long as everything works as it should. As for whether or not it sounds like a B15, probably not. I've had two of them, a '67 and a '71, and, though very similar, did not sound exactly alike in every way. With the different tubes in the B18, it might be a totally different beast, sound wise.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
  15. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    I would think 800 is a fairly solid figure.
    IMHO buy it hug it with love and play the living heck out of it.
  16. Vintage-Blue

    Vintage-Blue Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Owner, Vintage Blue (repro cabinets)
    In late 1966 Ampeg started offering two configurations similar to this one. They were designated B15NC and B15ND. Note that in this case the NC & ND refer to the cabinet configuration and not the circuit revision. The B15NC was basically a B18N head that came on a 2x15 column cabinet. The B15ND was the same amp but it was mounted on a regular 1x15 single baffle cabinet and came with a second single baffle extension cabinet. Jess Oliver had told me that it also wasn't unusual for them to do B18N head/B15 cabinet combos on request, although it wasn't a cataloged option. Below is an example of a schematic from a B18N/B15ND:

    16_B18N-B15ND Schematic (10-66).png
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  17. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    E69F6260-6D03-4B05-AD2E-548869CDDE88.jpeg I have heard it said that the reissues from the ‘70s sound better than the ‘60s ones.
    Not sure if that is true as I have never done a side by side. That one sure has a nice vintage look.

    I can say that I’ve used mine on about 5000 gigs, electric & upright, and only replaced a couple of tubes and 2 or 3 sets of wheels.

    So most of the tubes are original and still fine. (that’s with rolling it to the car, to the gig and all back again, thousands of times, amazing really)
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
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  18. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    For $800 I'd be knocking on the door cash in hand. Even if you have to put $400 or so into it to get it checked out and have out of spec components replaced, it's still a good buy. IMO
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  19. drumvsbass


    Aug 20, 2011
    Cannot believe you haven't called the Dr. yet.

  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    David and Mark have the guy covered pretty good, although I'm not feeling $800 for it. To me it looks like a full cab recovering, tolex and grillcloth, and the JBL D130 was the proper upgrade speaker for that era, while the Altec was for the bigger Thiele cab B-15's. But the Altec is a really good speaker that's fairly desirable, and if it works without needing service, it's certainly worth something.
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