This is a quote from noted music historian; bass player, and radio personality, Brother Dave, and is part of a much larger thread that can be found here. http://forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=75905&start=30&hilit=SUNN The "Cliff Notes" version of Sunn history. Norm Sundholm plays bass in a Portland band called THE KINGSMEN who has a hit record called "LOUIE LOUIE." Suddenly famous the formerly local band is booked on a 50 state tour. Norm wants a louder amp than anything available at the time for large venues and his brother Conrad Sundholm who is an electronics technician builds him one in the family garage. He fashions it by building a tube preamp which feeds two 75 watt DYNACO/DYNAKIT tube power amps that are intended for build-it-yourself HI-FI buffs and the amps push 2 15-inch JBL's in a folded horn cab. The tour goes well and other bassists who hear Norm play want his brother to make them one of these super loud bass amps. Orders start coming to the Sundholm family garage where the waiting list is served one at a time. Conrad builds some guitar amps and they catch on also. The waiting list grows until it is expanding so fast they can never fill all the orders from the garage. The business of SUNN amps that started as a partnership of the two Sundholm brothers outgrows the garage and moves into a nearby industrial facility. It also outgrows Norm's interest so he sells his share of Sunn to Conrad and concentrates on his real estate career. As sole proprietor Conrad grows Sunn quickly and soon The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Buffalo Springfield and other top acts are seen playing Sunn on tour. Almost overnight Sunn is the COOL brand for touring pros. Sunn stacks suddenly are in every high end guitar store and on stage at every major concert. The rapidly rising Sunn catches the attention of Bill Hartzell who is president of Hartzell Industries based in Minneapolis. Hartzell makes Conrad Sundholm an offer he can't refuse. Mr. Hartzell moves speaker cab production to an established Hartzell facility in Kentucky but leaves amp chassis production in Oregon for a while and runs things from Minneapolis. About the time Hartzell buys out Sunn, a brand called Marshall is beginning to take over the touring guitar amp business. Almost as quickly as they became the COOL amp for touring pros Sunn becomes unable to maintain their market share in the high end tube amp game or even to keep their top endorsing artists. Marshall is now the COOL brand for touring pros. As relatively quickly as the Sunn rose, the Sunn sets. To reposition Sunn's price point toward more mainstream musicians instead of touring pros which they've written off, while also improving the profit margin, Bill Hartzell's Sunn abandons all-tube gear to go all solid-state. In exchange for huge power ratings, lighter weight and lower cost, those tube preamps Conrad Sundholm designed are abandoned. It turns out the Conrad Sundholm tube preamp designs are where true Sunn tone lived. Sunn amps are never the same after that. When Bill Hartzell is killed in a plane crash in the early 1980's, Sunn for all practical purposes goes down with him as his estate doesn't know the first thing about the amp business and cares even less about keeping the now marginally profitable Sunn line going beyond the next payday. Production of Sunn products stops almost immediately after Mr. Hartzell is killed. There really isn't a lot of wailing about this at the time because Sunn is no longer a major force in pro amps anyway. There's no Internet for people to discuss it either. A few years after Bill Hartzell's plane crash, FMIC buys the Sunn brand name from his estate. Sunn has been a dead brand for 2 to 3 years before FMIC/Fender takes the brand name over. This was not a case of FMIC buying Sunn and shutting it down because Sunn was already defunct. Next in the Sunn story FMIC pulls the SUNN brand off the shelf to make a serious effort to revive Sunn as a professional level stand-alone amp brand, separate from their other product lines. FMIC launches the new era of Sunn amplification with a new MODEL T all tube 125 watt channel switching guitar head along with two high powered bass heads. The SUNN 300T head is an all tube 300 watt bass model piggyback head that is beastly and there is a 1200 Watt Hybrid 2 space rack model bass head called the Sunn 1200S that is one of the highest power mass production bass amp of the day. These stunning heads with their matching Sunn speaker cabinets make for a totally worthy and exciting relaunch of the once great SUNN badge with all new product designs that could seriously compete with the likes of contemporary Ampegs and Marshalls. This Sunn relaunch should go over great guns. It doesn't. I can't explain for sure why the new and clearly fantastic Sunn branded amps fail to find their market. Perhaps the memory of the solid state Sunn amps left too much of a negative legacy to overcome regardless of how great the new Sunn amps actually were. For whatever reasons FMIC had difficulty moving them on a satisfactory scale to justify maintaining separate brand marketing. FMIC knew they for sure had two bass amps superior to almost anything else on the market. They were monsters. Meanwhile the market for high powered all tube guitar heads is not doing so great even for Marshall. So FMIC re-badges the SUNN bass amps to a FENDER BASSMAN PRO line. The last SUNN bass heads become known as the Fender Bassman 300 PRO and the Fender Bassman 1200 PRO. FMIC's Sunn Model-T channel switching guitar amp, a really great all tube guitar head in an era where most players want combos, is quietly retired. As solid state bass amps go, the late Hartzell era Sunn solid state ones (the Coliseum for example) were among the most powerful on the market at the time and even today are among the most reliable of the mid 70's to early 80's solid state bass amps. However the inescapable fact is Sunn solid state amps lack the oomph of the vintage Sunn tube gear. Hartzell Industries took a Rolls Royce, turned it into a Chevy and charged a Cadillac price for it. They were well made. Today you'll see fifty solid state Sunn bass amps for sale before you will run across even one Fender CBS era Solid State Series Fender amp of the exact same vintage in either guitar or bass flavors. In fact so few examples of the Fender solid state amps of the same era survive today that when one does pop up somewhere people wonder if it is a fake because they never saw one like it before. So I'm not saying the SUNN solid state amps were "bad," I'm just saying they were not the same animal as the tube amps that made the Sunn name highly albeit briefly revered in the first place. As solid state stuff of the day went, the Sunn amps were the best. If I ran across a really good one, I might snag it for a backup or rehearsal rig. I'd have confidence in it working but I know it isn't the same as a Sunn tube amp tone-wise. HAPPY ENDING TO THE SUNN STORY: Today Conrad Sundholm makes all tube guitar combo amps ($2K to $3K per) plus he turns out a 12AX7 based rack mounted bass preamp ($700 per). His amp brand logo is "CONRAD" and the business is named Conrad Engineering. Like the early 60's SUNN amps from the family garage, each is hand wired by Conrad one at a time for a customer whose name has slowly worked its way up on a rapidly growing waiting list. History repeats up to this point, but I think moving to an industrial setting isn't in Conrad's plans this time. He claims he's having too much fun.