Book Review: Ampeg – The Story Behind the Sound

| July 31, 2011 | 1 Comment

“Ampeg – The Story Behind the Sound” was written by Gregg Hopkins & Bill Moore to provide the complete illustrated history of the company to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The book is 288 pages, with 32 in full color, and over 200 photos, and was voted the “Book of the Year” in 1999 by Vintage Guitar Magazine.

From the Foreword of this book, written by Les Paul, we learn that the name Ampeg comes from the “amplified peg” invention of Everett Hull. The “peg” of course refers to the peg of an upright bass, and the story told here is rich in bass history. The book tells the story of the Ampeg Company through its founder, inventors, players and competitors, set chronologically against the timeline of pop music from 1946 through the 1990s. Each era is covered in detail through a “Tech Talk” covering the product timeline of the period, and then focusing on a special topic such as milestones in bass amplification, the Ampeg B-15 amplifier, the electric upright “Baby Bass,” the “Horizontal Basses” or Bass Guitars, the Dan Armstrong instruments and the SVT (Super Vacuum Tube)amplifier. The color photo section is filled with great images of vintage gear and closeups of coverings (Tolex-type) and grille cloths. The Appendices cover how to determine the date of vintage Ampeg gear, the speaker models used in each model amplifier and technical tips and resources.

This book is well written, carefully edited and richly illustrated with photos. Despite those good qualities we have to say that we found this book a bit dull. There’s a lot of detail here, and frankly we don’t have lot of burning questions we’ve been dying to have answered about Ampeg. That said, it would obviously be of interest to those who are really into Ampeg gear, and some bassists might really like the way it covers the history of amplified bass. The quality of the book is such that it would be a very nice gift.

The book is published by Hal Leonard and is therefore widely available through booksellers including and many others.

Category: Kit Building 101

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  1. avatar Casey4S says:

    I found that book to be quite entertaining. Very nice review.

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