(The traditions of) playing guitar through Ampeg Portaflex tube amps?

keyofnight

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2022
Posts
9
Age
37
Location
Seattle, WA
A few years ago, and after so much internal strife, I decided to sell a few items and buy myself an Ampeg PF-50t (their lovely 50 watt tube amp) and eventually a PF-115HE to complete the homage to the venerable B-15 fliptop, a mainstay of studios even now. I read in a few places that people would run their guitars through the B-15 too, in the studio. I've even read that this was a great sound. So, I have questions.

1. What are some examples of the B15 being used as a guitar amp on tracks?
2. Is this still a viable option for people who have a portaflex amp & cab and want a different tone option?
3. Have any of you tried this?
 

King Fan

Poster Extraordinaire
Ad Free Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Posts
9,057
Location
Salt Lake City
I actually only know of the B-15 / B-15N being used as guitar amps -- obviously bass players might know more. They're fairly low powered, ≤30W IIRC, and were designed to stay clean... a studio amp for sure. (Ampeg didn't build for R&R at that time.) The cabinet is said to produce a "creamy" tone on guitar.... I look forward to learning more.
 

drmordo

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Posts
3,122
Age
48
Location
Tampa, FL
30 years ago a friend had an original B-15 and I played guitar thru it many times.

It just sounded like really clean and boring electric guitar.

Another friend's Ampeg V4B was a lot more fun with guitar.
 

McGoldTopp

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 15, 2022
Posts
357
Age
50
Location
ABQ
No clue of studio examples, but mine with the 2-10 cab sounds fine.

I have enuff geetar amps so I don’t have a need to do it.
 

ScottTunes

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 14, 2014
Posts
143
Location
Newbury Park
Not sure how I found it, but I bought a '64 B-15N (with a '64 Hag I bass) from a photographer, in about 1969 or '70. I played my '69 SG Std through it, with a drummer friend bashing away on drums (playing like "Moonie"). IIRC, it was only 25 watts. But it was definitely loud enough! Certainly louder than my '66 Princeton, and '65 1482! I just spent 20 minutes looking for a couple of photos I'm certain I have... I'll prolly find 'em when I'm looking for something else.
 

Bob Womack

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 28, 2016
Posts
2,746
Location
Between Clever and Stupid
When I saw the Doobie Brothers play in April of '73, Pat Simmons had a B-15 behind him. This was when he was playing an ES-335 as his main acoustic axe. When he played the intro to "Wheels of Fortune" on the Takin' it to the Streets album, it sounded like an ES-335 through a B-15.

Bob
 

gusfinley

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Posts
1,693
Location
SLC, UT
Short story:

I bought a monoblock tube Hi-Fi amp for a buck at a surplus store. It reminded me of a B-15 with its huge transformers, so I built a B-15 preamp for it, even though I didn't have a bass guitar.

My guitar sounded amazing through it! It was distorting in a wonderful way, so there is definitely hope there.

I later built a 100W B-15 for a friend. I did find that the B-15 phase inverter does not distort well, so I used a fender long-tail=pair phase inverter and it sounded much better.

Long Story:

B-15N Preamp Build Report

100W B-15N Build Report
 

mexicanyella

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Posts
4,913
Location
Troy, MO
When I saw the Doobie Brothers play in April of '73, Pat Simmons had a B-15 behind him. This was when he was playing an ES-335 as his main acoustic axe. When he played the intro to "Wheels of Fortune" on the Takin' it to the Streets album, it sounded like an ES-335 through a B-15.

Bob
Is that what that tone is?!? I always wondered...it almost sounds like a piezo pickup going DI, but “de-quacked” somewhat, to me. I think some of the solo lines on “Rio” amd “For Someone Special” from the same album use a similar tone.
 

ETMusic777

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Posts
316
Location
California
A few years ago, and after so much internal strife, I decided to sell a few items and buy myself an Ampeg PF-50t (their lovely 50 watt tube amp) and eventually a PF-115HE to complete the homage to the venerable B-15 fliptop, a mainstay of studios even now. I read in a few places that people would run their guitars through the B-15 too, in the studio. I've even read that this was a great sound. So, I have questions.

1. What are some examples of the B15 being used as a guitar amp on tracks?
2. Is this still a viable option for people who have a portaflex amp & cab and want a different tone option?
3. Have any of you tried this?

I don't know if this is what you are looking for....but this sounds freakin amazing. Listen to the demo at the end

 

keyofnight

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2022
Posts
9
Age
37
Location
Seattle, WA
Holy crap. I just got a Noventa Tele, and I just plugged it up to my Portaflex (PF-50T + PF-115HE), and it sounded pretty spectacular. Rich and sharp at the same time. I thought the 1x15 bass cab would sound muffled, but it's as great a guitar tone as I've ever heard.

I'm a beginner as a guitar player, so I wasn't able to do more than a few open/barre chords, a few blues/pentatonic lines, etc. I don't sound too good yet, but ooo, sounding bad sounded pretty good.
 




Top