What can I say, old 60’s SUNN amps occupy a special place in my heart. I used these amps when I was in my early teen’s playing at grade school and high school dances. I grew up in the same city where SUNN amps were made and when SUNN moved to Tualatin, Oregon from Portland the band I was in at the time practiced only a few miles from the SUNN factory. On several occasions late at night we would dig through the dumpsters outside the SUNN factory finding such treasures as SUNN name plates, knobs, tolex, grille cloth and even cabinet pieces.
I met Conrad Sundholm a few years ago when he called me saying that he was sure happy to see someone making good KT88's again because this is the power tube that helped make SUNN amps famous. Conrad told me he was making amps again (Conrad Amps) and wanted to come by for some tubes. I showed him part of my SUNN collection that was in the studio and he was very surprised to say the least. As he looked over the gear stories started flowing about the different models and the stars that played them. As a SUNN lover you can just imagine how I was feeling at the time.
In July of 2008 Conrad called and asked if we could take a picture of him with a SUNN amp, my response was "of course!" It turns out that a mutual friend (Mr. Ted Weber of Weber speaker fame) was also a SUNN fan having owned and played one. Conrad uses Weber speakers in his new amps and during a conversation Ted had asked about getting a picture.
So I'm no Einstein, but I have been known to seize an opportunity or two and this one was NOT going to be the one that got away! A few weeks went by and after a little coordination I had the date set. Eddie and Michael helped me in moving all the SUNN gear from the studio and a couple other rooms out into the yard. This was actually the first time I had all of it in the same location! I foolishly sold several pieces over the years to local friends who really wanted to own and play a piece of history but that ended in 2003. It's getting hard now to find real nice pieces that are all original. Of course that was 2008 and the collection has mysteriously continued to grow...
So Ted, thanks for the inspiration and great speakers! Conrad, MANY thanks for being the father of SUNN amps and continuing to make great amps!
The first pic says it all. A great shot of the father of SUNN amps! The top middle shot is the Eurotubes crew with Conrad. Starting from the far left is Craig, Eddie, Conrad, Bob, Carla, Jay and Michael. The only guy missing from the pic is Aaron so maybe I'll photoshop him in later!
After Conrad left we decided to gather up a few of the guitars we have for a shot and then Eddie proceeded to get a bit abstract in the last shot where you can see him in the vintage "Chocolate chair" staring at the SUNN.
The sound of a SUNN amp is something that you can’t really describe, you just have to experience it! It’s big, fat, warm and thunderous. For you SUNN fans who are interested in the amps pictured starting from the far left the little stack is a Solarus with the stock matching 2X12 cab. This is probably the most dead mint SUNN I have and I even have the original vinyl covers for it.
The second amp is probably the most famous and well known which is a 200S.
The third stack is a fairly rare 6X10 cab and the amp directly on top of it is also a fairly rare piece which is the four channel Studio PA head and the top amp is the only non-original amp I own. It started as a Spectrum One with with missing trannys that I bought for 30.00 and a local friend, musician and amp maker "Rooster Ross" went thru it, added a push pull master volume and total custom wiring job. It really does sound great! Nice job Rooster!
The forth full stack consists of two 4X12 cabs and a 1000S with verb and trem.
The fifth stack is an original 1000S cab shown here with a 1200S amp on top. I very carefully removed the top baffle board holding a JBL 15" and JBL horn and replaced it with a new baffle board holding four 12" Celestion 70's so it's now a hybrid 4X12 and 1X15 that I can put back to stock at any time. In it's current configuration as a 4X12 and 1X15 we refer to is as the "Gawd" cabinet. This seems to be the reaction from just about anyone who plays it. The first word usually said is "GeeaawD!"
The sixth stack is a very rare SUNN magna cab that is loaded with four 15" D140F's (yes, four of them!) It's topped by the youngest SUNN amp I own which is a Model "T" and the top amp is another Solarus.
The seventh and last stack is another 200S cab and on top of it are two of the first SUNN amps ever built know as the "Top control amps" The first one is sitting upright and I sat the top one on it's face so you can see the controls. One of them is the Mark III with a pair of KT88's and the other is a Mark IV with a pair of EL34's.
In the early 70's Bill Hartzell bought SUNN from Conrad Sundholm and kept up production of the Model T while concentrating more on the solid state amps. Hartzell was bought out by Fender in the early 1980's and shelved.
As for the new SUNN amps which I refer to as "Fender/SUNN" amps they are really nothing like the old SUNN amps, they were only SUNN by name. The SUNN T50C and reissue Model T amps are close cousins but share nothing in common with old original SUNN's. This is not to say that the Fender/SUNN amps were not decent amps. The T50C and Model T were not bad and provided a good clean sound as they should (it is a Fender amp) and a decent drive sound. In my opinion the shining star of the Fender/SUNN's was the 300T. This is a monster bass amp that is very versatile and packs a huge punch that I actually prefer over the new SVT's.
With the demise of the Fender/SUNN amps the 300T
was dressed in Fender threads and called the Pro 300. Still a great bass amp!