Dedicated to Jess Oliver

Mar 15, 2016
Dedicated to Jess Oliver

  • Jess Oliver(top)

    Jess Oliver (born Oliver Jespersen) was the creative genius responsible for many of the classic Ampeg amplifier designs of the sixties, the most notable being the ground-breaking B-15 Portaflex bass amplifier. Jess left the company in 1966 and formed Oliver Sound Company. Jess ceased production of his own line of sound equipment in the 70's, but continued to operate his repair business, under the Oliver Sound Co. name, for more than 30 years.



    Jess was honored for the outstanding contributions he made to the music industry and the world of bass. He was an innovator who was able to bring his designs to fruition. Not an easy thing to do. Despite all his accomplishments, he loved these amps and made himself available well into retirement whenever anyone needed help with repairs or had questions. He really made a difference in the lives of musicians, and for that, we should always be grateful.

    This award was presented to Jess in 2004, when St. Louis Music owned Ampeg. In typical Jess fashion he modified the frame several years later so that it was Edge-lit, much like the logos on many of the Portaflex Models.

    Jess' reflection was captured in the award.


    Godfather of Bass Amplification Award - NAMM 2011

    LOUD Technologies, the current owners of Ampeg, bestowed the Godfather of Bass Amplification Award on Jess at the 2011 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show. This was an important event in the industry and many attended to pay tribute to Jess.


    Godfather of Bass Amplification Award being presented to Jess by Chrys Johnson.


    "In recognition of unwavering dedication and immeasurable contribution to bassists the world over"



    Electrical Stringed Instrument


    Oliver Portable Sound System

    Jess Oliver Interviews(top)

    A video interview hosted by Dean “Dino” Monoxelos, 2007

    Keith Rosier Interview 2002

    Vintage Guitar Magazine article by John Teagle, November 1999

    Jess Oliver's Home Workshop(top)








    Old garage door opener motor modified to function as a hoist for lifting heavy amps onto the bench.

    By comparison, this is Leo Fender's shop at G&L. It is interesting to note that the test equipment and other tools of the trade are pretty basic in both shops.

    Leo Fender G&L shop.jpg

    From the Desk of Jess Oliver(top)

    B-15R Design Recommendations(top)

    B15R design recommendations.jpg
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