Since opening in 1995, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has welcomed more than 10 million visitors from around the globe, with about 500,000 visitors in 2015 alone. It’s a gorgeous shrine to rock, designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, including a 150,000-square-foot building with seven levels and more than 55,000 square feet of exhibition space. A sunny lobby atrium includes a large indoor stage for concerts and other events.
This past summer, the Hall of Fame also installed a large performance stage outdoors and opened a beer garden during the day. “The indoor stage is great for the established acts that play rain or shine; it’s perfect for a ticketed show,” begins Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Director of Sponsorship and Promotions Steve Dobo. “With the new outdoor stage and beer garden, we’ve made the plaza a vibrant and energy-filled place from the minute you get out of your car and walk up to the museum. Local artists take the stage during the day as part of our Summer Jams series, and our outdoor Summer in the City concert series features the best of the regional indie bands. The new stage also hosts national artists that make the Hall a tour stop. The Struts played here in July, and before that we had the Danish rock band New Politics.”
In assembling backline for the new stage, the Hall team sought a bass amplifier that represented the best of rock ‘n’ roll: The Ampeg SVT. “We could have called any bass amplification company,” Dobo asserts, “but Ampeg is a legendary rock ‘n’ roll brand, so it’s especially appropriate for the Hall of Fame, and we had a connection to Ampeg through Will Lee. In addition to being a great bass player, Will Lee has been a wonderful friend of the museum and has done many things for us, including acting as a music director for some of our shows. Will is an Ampeg user, like many famous rock bass players, and he helped me reach out to the folks at Ampeg, who have been just wonderful to deal with.”
With Lee’s help, the Hall team chose two different Ampeg heads, offering a wide range of classic Ampeg tones. The flagship Heritage SVT-CL delivers 300 Watts of all-tube power in a definitive package that’s pure Ampeg. The compact SVT-7PRO head starts with a 1000 Watt Class-D power section, boasting a tube preamp and a variety of features modern bassists expect from a compact rackmount bass head.
For the cabinet, the Hall went all out, selecting the monster Ampeg SVT-810E, also known as “The Fridge.” The SVT-810E’s Infinite Baffle™ design has remained constant since 1969 and delivers the punchy, round sound that defines the Ampeg tone. Its eight 10-inch speakers react faster to transients than 15s or 18s, delivering powerful, tightly focused bass the audience can feel.
“We have rented the same SVT rig countless times when we’ve provided backline for Will Lee and other top bass players,” notes Dobo. “We’ve had great exposure to the brand through Will. The SVT sounds amazing and always has. There’s a reason it’s a rock ‘n’ roll classic, and we’re delighted to make it available to visiting artists on the new stage.”
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