Why so many all-time bass greats flocked to the Ampeg B-15 Portaflex

Ampeg B-15 Portaflex
(Image credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

This bass amp, one of the true greats in the world of bass amplification, was designed by Ampeg’s Jess Oliver back in 1958, but it wasn’t until 1960 that it was introduced. The B-15 Portaflex, or ‘Portable Reflex Baffle Bass System’ as it was originally known, seemed both illogical and ingenious at the same time, as the amplifier head was stored inside the cabinet for transportation. 

Four latches allowed the top of the B-15 speaker cabinet to be lifted off. With the amplifier secured to it with bolts, the whole assembly could be flipped over and dropped inside the cabinet, providing ample protection for its delicate tubes while in transit. Thus the B-15 was christened the ‘fliptop’.

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