Oliver Powerflex Model P-502-T *LOCAL PICKUP ONLY* Tube Amplifier (1967)

Oliver  Powerflex Model P-502-T *LOCAL PICKUP ONLY* Tube Amplifier (1967)
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Item # 12183
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Oliver Powerflex Model P-502-T *LOCAL PICKUP ONLY* Model Tube Amplifier (1967), made in Brooklyn, NY, serial # 001404, black tolex covering finish.

This is simply one of the coolest if more eccentric amplifiers of all time, designed by one of the great unsung amp creators of the 20th century. Jess Oliver played a major role in the success of Ampeg as primary designer of the iconic Portaflex B-15 and B-12 amplifiers, still standard recording bass amps 50+ years on. In many ways, Oliver Sound Company, Inc. is to Ampeg what MusicMan and Randall are to Fender. In 1966, a dispute over finances lead to Oliver leaving Ampeg to start his own operation. He soon teamed up with Harry Bloom, whose name appears under his on the Baby Bass patent (along with Ampeg founder Everett Hull). Oliver and Bloom started their small amplifier factory right here in Brooklyn, out of Bloom's shop at 49-01 Farragut Road.

The Powerflex, Oliver's initial patent-applied-for design, was a Jetsons-like evolution of its Ampeg Portaflex predecessors. It offered a modern beefed-up alternative to the popular Ampegs of the day with internally connected speaker cables, retractable AC cords, a light-up control panel and of course "...the patented telescoping amplifier unit which automatically elevates the amplifier section out of the speaker enclosure." The recessed three-way power switch activate a motor which mechanically raises the amplifier head from inside the cabinet as well as powering the amp on, conveniently offering some warm-up time while the head is elevated. Vice-versa, the switch practically turns the amp off in the middle position and then stows the head when flicked toward the front. All of this is a truly astonishing sight to the uninitiated!

The 22-model Powerflex line-up was designed around one or two circuits with various speaker compliments and optional on-board effects. The speaker configurations ranged from a single 12" all the way to four 15"s. Model 502 features on-board reverb and tremolo and model 500 was essentially the same circuit, sans effects. All versions featured two channels, the first having controls for volume, treble and bass and the second also including midrange and Ultra-High, including controls for reverb and tremolo, if applicable.

This particular model is the 502-T, the T standing for the twin twelve speaker format. The two 7027A power tubes put out roughly 60 watts into the two ceramic 12" speakers, housed in the ported all-encompassing cabinet. The rear panel features 'mid-range' and 'full-range' inputs on each channel, as well as an external speaker jack and hum-dinger adjustment. This is a fantastic sounding bass amp, but equally suitable to other instruments. With the effects and low-end headroom available it may be one of the best vintage amps ever designed for the 6-string Fender Bass VI and equivalent Danelectros.
Height is 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm.), 22 3/4 in. (57.8 cm.) width, and 18 1/8 in. (46 cm.) deep.

Cosmetically, this amp is in great shape considering its age and size, leading to a proneness to transport abuse. The black Tolex covering is nicely intact all around, showing only the occasional scuff or ding. The piping and trim is nicely intact overall; a small piece missing just at the top left on the head. The grille cloth shows some minor wear and a few very small punctures but is otherwise nicely taut and free of any major damage. The control panel and clear panel above it are clean, shiny and beautifully preserved overall. All the chrome trim and hardware is clean with no significant signs of corrosion. The metal-reinforced side handles are fairly worn; the right handle to the point where some of the leather is coming off. The handle on top is still in good shape and has plenty of life left in it.

Electrically, this mighty Powerflex is nicely original. Both the 12" speakers appear original to the amp, although no legible date codes are present. The speakers appear to have been reconed at some point and still test and sound fantastic. Both the power and output transformers appear to be original as well. The amp has seen our typical maintenance and servicing, including replacement of electrolytic capacitors, all sockets, pots and jacks cleaned and output tubes biased to spec. Because of the rather involved design of the retractable power cord, we decided to keep the original two-prong cable.

The twin-twelve variant of the Powerflex line-up is exceedingly rare and this is the only one we've ever seen. It's a fantastic sounding amp, for any instrument quite frankly, not just bass. This P-502-T represents a fabulous specimen of Jess Oliver's legacy, made with love right here in Brooklyn, NY. Overall Excellent - Condition.