SUNN
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SUNN
Amplifiers previously produced in Portland, Oregon and in Kentucky. Sunn is now owned by Fender Musical Instrument Corporation of Scottsdale, Arizona, but they currently do not produce any models under the name Sunn.
The Sunn Amplifier company was founded by Norm Sundholm and his brother Conrad. Norm played bass in the band the Kingsmen. He played through a Fender Bandmaster, but needed more power out of it. He changed speakers with improvement, but later changed the actual amp to a Hi-Fi amplifier, leaving only the cabinet the original part of the Bandmaster. So he figured he could build the box and get the components for much chepaer than what a Fender cost. Norm bought the parts to build the box and would buy the power amp from Dynakits. His first amplifiers were named BAMCO, which stood for Burke Aarons Music Company. Enter Norm´s brother Conrad, who knew a little about woodworking. Conrad (Con for short) built some amps after school for Norm, as he was on the road with the Kingsmen. They started putting Sunn on the amplifiers for the first time and Sunn Musical Equipment Company was born. They chose Sunn rather than Sun because of Sun Tachometers in all the cars that could be a problem. This idea came from Barry Curtis.
In 1965, Con hired the first full time employee, and in late 1965 they decided they needed a factory to build amps. They moved to Tualtain, Oregon, which was right outside Portland. Their building was actually an old public swimming pool that had gone out of business. They filled in the hole with dirt, cemented it over and it became the factory. Employees included Jim Peterson and Gene Matheny, and later Bob Teneyck as an engineer.
In 1969, the brothers of the company began to disagree, and Con bought out Norm´s part of the company. However, in three years Con sold Sunn to Hartzell. When Hartzell took over they moved the factory to Williamstown, Kentucky so they would be closer to Cinncinnati and the east coast. Amps were heavy and speaker cabinets were only coming from Kentucky (the amplifiers were still produced in Oregon). They ended up moving back to Oregon in the late 1970s where they manufactured amps until the company was sold to a rebuilding Fender organization in 1987. Fender took Sunn and put them in mothballs until Fender became reorganized in their own name. Either Fender took a long time to reorganize or they forgot about Sunn amps, never producing them until 1998. Sunn amplifiers were mainly for the bass players like they had been in the seventies. By 2002, the Sunn name did not appear on amplifiers as Fender put their own name on Sunn amps. Fender bass amps are now Sunn in disguise (courtesy Ritchie Fliegler: Amps!).

From Blue Book Publications:


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