A new approach to old-school bass sounds from 65amps

(Dave Molter | Posted 2010-01-12)

A new approach to old-school bass sounds from 65amps

There has been a long-running argument among musicians over the virtues of new technology versus old, and you'll still find many bassists who insist that the old Ampeg B-15 "Fliptop" bass amp is among the best for studio use. Motown's James Jamerson cut hit after hit using the B-15, and the amps sell for a premium these days -- if they can be found, that is.

Boutique amp manufacturers 65amps took the initiative for NAMM 2009 to bring back the best of the past while still retaining the best of current technology with its first bass amp, the Apollo 50-watt bass head paired with a 1x15 cabinet. Among the Apollo's newest proponents is producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greg Wells, who writes, produces and records with a wide variety of artists ranging from Aerosmith to Timbaland, Katy Perry, Mika, Rufus Wainwright, Pink, Natasha Bedingfield and more.

Of the Apollo, Wells says:, “For years I’ve been looking for a studio bass amp that gives me the character of an Ampeg B-15, but if needed also could give me the footprint of an (Ampeg) SVT rig. The Apollo does it: search is over. It records so effortlessly – I don’t have to worry about the bass sound again.”

50 watts may seem too low alongside the 1200-watt monsters current bassists favor, but 65amps has geared the Apollo for use in the studio, live gigs that have in-ear monitoring or small stages. Although it's based on the B-15, the Apollo offers some essential enhancements that make it more reliable and usable for modern bassists. Controls couldn't be more basic: Volume, Bass and Treble, and front-mounted on/off and standby toggles. But Apollo has added a 3-way “Pad” switch that adjusts input levels to accommodate both passive old school basses like the fender Precision or modern basses with active electronics. A Bandwidth switch adds to the Apollo’s versatility, with a “Normal” setting that limits the frequency response for an accurate vintage tone and a “Full” setting that expands the Bass and Treble frequencies for the sound of industry standard high-powered amps. The guts of the Apollo feature a uniquely modified Mercury Magnetics transformer and a custom-designed Celestion speaker. The 1 x 15 cabinet is constructed from durable 11-ply Baltic Birch with half-blind dovetail joints making the cabinet an integral part of the sound; not just a box to hold the speaker.

65amps was conceived in 2004 when partners Dan Boul and guitarist Peter Stroud created a custom amp for Peter to use on stage with Sheryl Crow. Today 65amps’ range of guitar and bass amplifiers delivers surprising power at low volume, amazingly versatile tone and meticulous, road-worthy craftsmanship. You’ll find 65amps on stage and in the studio with Richie Sambora, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton and many more.

Street price for the Apollo head is $2195. Matching 1x15 cab is $645.

Find out more at www.65amps.com

Compiled for a 65amps press release.

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