Yamaha Buys Ampeg - 4 Years Later

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jim C, May 13, 2022 at 12:05 PM.

  1. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Please let's not turn this into a mean spirited post.

    Approx. 4 years ago Yamaha bought Ampeg. I had high hopes for a revised SVT (either tube or SS) but especially for a dedicated modeling bass amp. Seemed like a likely product considering all of Yamaha's amplifier design experience coupled with Line 6.
    We all understand COVID, supply chain, and other key world events but 4 years feels like a really long time.
    And Ampeg is certainly a favorite at least on TB with the @JimmyM Portaflex thread with nearly 2 million views!

    So to any of you music industry folks: why it is taking so long for any new bass equipment other than slightly redesigned combo amps?
    Even in these difficult times, it seems other manufacturers (in many industries) have been able to design and offer new items for sale.
    And it's certainly not a problem considering that the older Ampeg gear as well as other great new gear is available for sale.
    I was just hoping for something new from the makers of The King!
  2. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    One would first have to have insight into why Yamaha acquired Ampeg in the first place. I'm not even going to guess at that.
    I've also had the impression that Yamaha isn't a company that makes revolutionary changes, but are quite methodical and somewhat conservative in their approach.
  3. Ampeg is a Legacy company, people love their "classic" gear, it sells well for them to this day.

    When people think Ampeg, it is SVT, B-15, V-4B, Portaflex, fliptops and a few modern items like the Pro, no need to stray too far from that at this point.

    I think of them like Fender (Jazz, P, Strat, Tele) and Gibson (Les Paul, SG, Thunderbird) if they go too far from the classics people will complain or they just will not sell.
  4. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Me too. I have a BA110v2 and it's a nice practice amp but for performance it seems as if YamaPeg is a step behind the other major players. Still, I have hopes that they will step up with something to compete.
    Before someone blows a cog, I'm talking lightweight hi performance gear. Their cabs are tubby and even their PF heads are a bit bulky for the working musician. Let's not even get into the weight of their tube Amps..
    Last edited: May 13, 2022 at 1:50 PM
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  5. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    You could be right but it seems like a pretty dated idea that a company that has a legacy product can not design and modern equipment successfully. OTOH, it hasn't worked all that well for Fender.
    Thankfully, nobody feels that way about the automobile industry or we'd still be driving Model T's.
    Lovep likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yamaha has never been in the revolutionary changes business. They don't really get after the powered PA speakers market as enthusiastically as some of the other players. They are "kind of" in the prosumer digital mixer game, but not really. The DX7 synth is probably the most splash they've made with any one product in MI. And that was decades ago.

    Plus, they've never really gotten after the bass amp market anyway. They've dabbled.

    I used to sell pianos. I'm guessing there haven't been any changes in the Yamaha U series piano for decades.

    Yamaha is steady. They're known for great quality across the board with every product line. They're NOT known for headlines and huge leaps in any given product line.

    Throw in Ampeg's legacy with boomers and you get....well.... not much, really.

    But, hey, Fender just released a 475th version of a burst P bass with tort! So we have that going for us!
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Actually, quite a few newer model cars (especially iconic cars) look like throwbacks from the 60s.
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  8. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I'm OK with the old style Ampeg look!
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  9. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    They did come out with the 50th Anniversary SVT, which is a new item and their flagship bass amp. So they have done something.

    I have one, and can’t wait to play my first gig with it tomorrow night. I just can’t decide on using the 212av cab or two DB210’s
  10. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Yamaha is a huge company. The wheels and internal bureaucracy move very slowly. Covid doesn't help, especially with supply chain issues.
    BobDeRosa, Roxbororob and Dominic D like this.
  11. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    New Rocket Bass combos???
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  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Yamaha is an enigma to me. I played a Yamaha BB605 for a LONG time. It was a fabulous bass. They have had others - Nathan East - that are really nice as well. They almost had a cool amp. Their PA stuff is ok. You know they have resources. They just never seemed to want to "get into it" and make a push. I think they'd have amazing products if they made it more of a priority.
  13. Gizmot


    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
    Make no mistake - - Yamaha knows and understands the music business. They've been in it since 1887 and they are the largest company in the music and professional audio business in the world by a large margin. From a pure business standpoint, Yamaha knows that it looks better on the balance sheet to buy a brand instead of starting a new product line, so buying Ampeg was a smart move. I have to agree that I expected Yamaha to become much more aggressive about building the Ampeg brand and expanding its product offerings - especially in guitar amps (a much bigger market than bass amps). I guess we'll have to see what (if anything) happens.
  14. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Has the quality/ reliability of Ampeg gear gotten any better since the Yamaha purchase? There's no inference in my question. I really don't know.
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  15. J Wilson

    J Wilson

    Apr 22, 2022
    An Undisclosed Location
    I don't know anyone at Yamaha, this is from the cheap seats reading the tea leaves:

    Some years back, Yamaha was like a lot of the Japanese manufacturers, in that, say, like current ESP, you'd go to their home market website and see all sorts of guitars and basses they did not sell here, and were more attuned to Japanese taste (along the lines of the 'Flying Shrimp' models and more).

    Yamaha did a large internal realignment of their guitar and bass process several years back with the formation of the Yamaha Guitar Group, based in California, with these marching orders:

    2018 saw the formation of Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan, which brings together the intercompany teams that focus on serving the needs of guitarists worldwide. Yamaha Guitar Group oversees the global marketing of guitar products for Line 6, Ampeg, and Yamaha guitars, while developing Line 6 and Ampeg products directly, and collaborating with counterparts in Japan on the development of Yamaha guitar products.

    This is from the YGG website . . .

    Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc.

    If you read that several times, their guitar and bass business is now headquartered in the US, with 'their collaborators' in Japan.

    That is a big shift internally. And, of course, YGG includes Line 6 and Ampeg. Go to Yamaha's Japanese market website today, and by and large, all the guitars and basses are the same thing they sell worldwide. That is a huge shift.

    In that light, the Rocket Bass line, the Revstar guitars, are all from this new arrangement I would think. And this is against the backdrop of COVID, the supply chain derailments, etc., so it's obscuring just how aggressive or how far along the reforming of these businesses may be or where they want to be.

    When I worked in stores in 80's, and up until 5-10 years ago, Yamaha's usual method was to come to NAMM with some new wonder bass, guitar, or amp, wow the assembled dealers, take orders . . . . . and whatever it was usually was back-ordered and back-ordered and back-ordered until they'd finally let you cancel. Then 6 months later they'd finally show up in small numbers and they'd lost any momentum, and they'd blow them out. I waited on a BB2000 for two years . . . . I never got. In the 80's especially, I shudder to think how many BB basses and SG guitars they could have sold . . . . never grabbed the chance.

    So that the previous and this generation BB basses and other guitar/bass products are now readily available or have reasonable re-stock cycles is a big jump. Now we'll see whether they flesh out an instrument range, innovate with Ampeg or Line 6 over time, or is this just a swing at the plate, an industry giant flexing a little muscle.

    The question will be if long-term YGG makes them into a reliable supplier that dealers can do steady business with. So far, save for the common problems of right now, this seems to be the case, but time will tell.
    Last edited: May 13, 2022 at 4:02 PM
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  16. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    All gut busters for this ol man.
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  17. eee

    eee Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    Y A M P E G
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  18. coy garcia

    coy garcia

    Jan 18, 2020
    I'm happy they have a modern version of the flip top, SVT's, and make great sounding affordable combo amps. Other than that I don't desire anything else.
  19. I enjoy mine
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  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    My guess about the reason Yamaha bought Ampeg is because they have never really cracked the amp market here in the USA.
    el jeffe bass likes this.
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