Ampeg develops the monster amp rig that sets the tone, punch and arena-rattling
standard for all future big gun bass amps: the 300 watt SVT or "Super
Vacuum Tube" amp, with a pair of 8 x 10" cabinets. The SVT is
introduced at the July, '69 industry NAMM show and the Rolling Stones take it on
tour in '69 and '72 and thereafter, using it for both guitar and bass.
SVT speaker cabinet is introduced in 1969 using an infinite baffle (totally
sealed) design that houses eight 10 inch speakers in four compartments. Each
compartment holds a pair of speakers and is completely sealed from the rest of
the cabinet. The speakers each have a 32 ohm impedance and the eight speakers
are wired in parallel to yield a total impedance of 4 ohms. Removable dollies
are included with the cabinets. By 1977, the cabinet no longer has the
removeable dollies but has a pair of fixed wheels to tilt the cabinet back while
navigating the amp using the new "towel bar." The CTS speakers give
way to Eminence drivers around 1972. In 1980, Ampeg designers install new
speakers which give the cabinet a power handling rating of 350 watts. This
allows the player to use one cabinet instead of two with an SVT head.
In mid-1966, Ampeg introduces electric basses-which fondly
recalls the upright-with scroll-shaped headstocks, f-holes cut all the way
through the body and the "Mystery Pickup," which can be used with gut
strings. Another innovative feature is the optional unfretted neck-quite
possibly the first in production. Over the years, Horizontal Basses are used by
everyone from Joe Long of the Four Seasons, who used a rare left-handed version,
to Chris Novoselic of Nirvana.
St. Louis Music, Inc. saves Ampeg with a bankruptcy court
buy-out in 1985 and quickly establishes the name with a run of 500 Classic SVT
amplfiiers, using '60s production techniques and new parts from the original
manufacturers. Ampeg develops a wide variety of effective bass amp products
including all-tube, solid state and hybrid amps. In April, 1988, Ampeg creates a
nine foot tall, 720 pound giant SVT which receives a "World's Largest
Working Amplifier" award from the Guiness Book of World Records.
1946, Everett Hull files his patent application for a "sound amplifying
means for stringed musical instruments of the violin family." The
invention, called the "Ampeg" for "amplfiied peg," places a
transducer inside an upright fiddle on an extended support peg. The patent is
granted in 1947...Everett Hull and Stanley Michael open the Michael-Hull Labs to
manufacture and market Hull's "Ampeg" transducer along with the 18
watt 1 x 12" Michael-Hull Bassamp. The closed-back amp, designed
specifically for upright bass, kicks off the modern era of bass amplification.
1949, the Ampeg Bassamp Company is founded by Everett Hull in New York, after
the Michael-Hull company break-up. The first Ampeg Bassamp is the 18 watt 1 x 12"
Super 800 model with a rear ventilation port that led to later experiments with
sound porting-but then Ampeg breaks new ground in 1951, using a larger speaker,
with its 20 watt 1 x 15" Model 815. Throughout the '50s, Ampeg refines its
1 x 15" Bassamp line, upping wattage and control features and offering
briefly, the 50 watt 2 x 15" Model 950-C in 1959 and 1960.
Ampeg introduces the B-15 Portaflex, flip-top bass amp in
1960. Tuned and front-ported, with a closed back, the 25 watt 1 x 15"
Portaflex sets a new standard for tone, cabinet and speaker efficiency, and
convenience in bass amplification. The 25 watt 1 x 12" B-12 follows shortly
and by 1963, Ampeg offers the stage-shaking 50 watt 1 x 18" B-18 Portaflex
In 1958, Ampeg adds to its "Universal Series" (which
includes the space-age named Mercury and the Rocket) with a new small combo-the
Jet. Initially produced with a silver-speckled, navy-colored vinyl, the Jet
undergoes a cosmetic change to a new blue covering in 1962 which features a
"checkered" or diamond-shaped pattern which signifies the beginning of
the "boom" years of Ampeg.
Ampeg debuts a new amp in 1961 that offers a fabulous new
effect in addition to the traditional tremolo feature...on-board reverb. Ampeg
calls its new amp the Reverberocket R12R and uses the neoteric Hammond spring
type of reverb. The Reverberocket is introduced at the summer industry trade
show in July, 1961, about a year after Hammond introduced their spring
reverberation unit. The Reverberocket is quite possibly the first combo amp ever
to be offered with on-board reverb.