Dating vintage ampeg amps
In fact, most amplifiers had accordion inputs throughout the 1960s, and Ampeg amps were never really marketed to rock players until Hull left the company in 1968.
Ampeg went through numerous ownership changes over the next two decades with Unimusic taking over in 1967, Magnavox in 1971, and MTI in 1980. Louis Music bought Ampeg in 1985 and finally returned some stability and respect to the brand.
The first Portaflex amp was formally introduced in 1960 as the B-15.
The double-baffle porting system gave the amp what Hull described as “the creamiest tone.” At the time, combo amps were the norm, with all components housed in a single cabinet, but heat from the electronics often caused the amp to overheat and made the speaker fail.
This panel sat in the middle of the head and it could be custom ordered with the user’s name engraved on it.
There are a few things to note about Ampeg production from this time.
Separate head and speaker cabinet systems, often referred to as piggybacks, became a solution in the early 1960s, but it also negated the portability of the combo.
Gregg Hopkins of Vintage-Amp Restoration reproduces these Lucite plates for the B-15 and can even personalize it with your name.
In fact, Ampeg offered a heavy-duty four-wheel dolly for these amps that became standard equipment on later models.
Much like all of Ampeg’s amps, the B-15 underwent constant change, and the B-15 was replaced by the B-15N in 1961.
Ampeg was always trying to perfect the tone of their amplifiers and Oliver began experimenting with designs such as a double-baffle porting system and a closed-back reflex cabinet.
Oliver also borrowed a design from an old sewing machine where the unit would flip out of the cabinet.
The company also reissued the B-15N Portaflex with blue check covering in 1995.