Jimi Hendrix’s Sunn 100s

access_time First seen circa 1968

Sometime in early 1968, Hendrix signed an endorsement deal with Sunn amp. Allegedly, he was approached with this idea by Buck Munger (PR, Sunn Amps.) sometime after Monterey Pop Festival.

I went backstage (Monterey Pop Festival), and by the end of the night I knew what record label he was on. Someone invited me, I think it was Chas Chandler, to a gig in Los Angeles to come and see Jimi, and talk about equipment. So I showed up at this gig, it was in Santa Barbara, and had a very quick conversation with Jimi wherein I said “I work for this small company in Oregon, and we make high quality stuff; we use JB Lansing speakers and Dynakit transformers: I had all my little buzz phrases, and I was a musician. He just said, “Hey man, set me up for this gig. It’s down here, this is the date, have all the stuff there and we’ll see what happens.” [Buck Munger, Straight Ahead Magazine 1996]

Looking at the tour dates, Jimi played a gig at Robertson Gym, Santa Barbara on February 11, 1968. Interestingly, he was already using Sunn amps at that gig, and Buck Munger is seen in the background monitoring Jimi’s performance. It is likely therefore that Buck and Jimi struck a deal sometime prior to the gig itself, and that this was the first time that Jimi ever used a Sunn amp live. According to most sources, the actual deal took place after the Anaheim gig on February 2, 1968 – during which both of Jimi’s Fender Dual Showmans allegedly broke, and the band managed to play only four songs.

The amplifiers broke down during the first show, resulting in only four numbers being played during the second show. After the show Chas and Jimi were approached by Buck Munger representative for Sunn Amplification who replaced their Fender gear (provided at the start of the tour, but not powerful enough for Jimi’s tastes) with brand new Sunn equipment. [1968-02-09 Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California USA]

According to photo evidence, Jimi used what appears to be either a 100s or a Spectrum II model (they look identical) for a very brief period of time. Only seven days after he started using the amps, at Music Hall, Houston, Texas, he made a public statement that the move to Sunn was a mistake. It seems that at this time Jimi just couldn’t find an amp that would satisfy his needs, and the frustration was starting to set in.

… a nightmare jumps out to me, here in Houston. I was not at the gig, I was back in Los Angeles. But somebody called me, and said that Jimi got up on stage and did a long monologue about how shitty these amplifiers were performing for him here. By Houston, he was having a little trouble. After Houston, things started running downhill. [apperently an interview from Houston Chronicle (19 February), further confimation needed]

He did, however, continue using the amps, and was seen with a huge stack of Sunn heads and cabinets at The Scene Milwaukee on February 28th. By mid-March 1968, Sunn heads were gone and were replaced by a Marshall / Sound City head combo.

Sunn Cabinets

In the beginning, Jimi mostly seemed to have used four Sunn 100-F cabinets, with two more sitting on top of them horizontally. These were originally shipped with one JBL D-130 in the bottom and an L-E 100-S in the top. According to Buch, Jimi later requested that all the cabinets be fitted with 12″ Eminence speakers. These continued to be used until the end on the 1968 US tour, although by that point Jimi had already stopped using the Sunn heads and went back to Marshall.

We then went to four 12″ Eminence speakers at Jimi’s request, and we also took his advice that the minimum acceptable power at that time was 100 watts. [continued] Jimi was used to the big numbers, and when he turned his Sunn amps up, he got a lot of noise he didn’t like. [Various Comments About Jimi’s Gear, Crosstown Traffic]

There is some talk that Jimi continued using Coliseum P.A. tops for guitars altered to 120W, but we haven’t seen those on any of the photos.

Continue browsing, or go subdirectory_arrow_leftBack to Jimi Hendrix Gear Page
access_time 1966

Marshall Super 100 JTM45/100

Allegedly, Jimi first came across a Marshall amp, and tried one himself, while sitting in with Brian Auger’s band Trinity – most likely on September 28, 1966. According to Brian Auger, Jimi turned the amp all the way to 10 and instructed the band to follow him while he played “Hey Joe” – of course leaving everybody […]

access_time 1966

Fender Twin Reverb

Jimi was seen using this amp in the pre-Experience days. More precisely, photos dating to his Curtis Knight days (late 1965/most of 1966) all seem to show Jimi playing through a Twin Reverb combo amp. Given that he played the last gig with Curtis in August 1966, and left for the UK in September, it […]

access_time 1968

Fender Dual Showman

It seems that for a short period of time, around early 1968, Jimi used a few Fender Dual Showman amps for his live gigs. The amps were seen during the show at Fillmore East on February 1, 1968, on the 2nd at Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, and lastly at Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim on February 9, 1968. […]

access_time 1966

Supro S6420 Thunderbolt

Allegedly used in the early days with Curtis Knight, circa 1966. It is worth noting here that although some argue that an amp resembling a Supro Thunderbolt was seen on stage behind Jimi on at least one photo, it is very questionable if this actually holds any credibility. The whole theory seemed to have originated from […]

access_time 1968

Sunn 2000s

Hendrix allegedly used this amp during his endorsement deal with Sunn circa 1968. One of these amps recently appeared on an auction over at Reverb.com, paired with 2X15 Cabs with JBL-D140 speakers. The asking price was around $150,000. Unfortunately, the posting has since been removed and we couldn’t find any additional info about it. In our research, we […]

access_time 1968

Sound City One Hundred

Jimi used a single Sound City One Hundred amp briefly during the latter part of the 1968 North American tour, from around mid-March to early April. The amp seemed to have been used together with one of Jimi’s old Marshall JTM 45/100s. He started using this setup after a short stint with Fender Dual Shoman amps […]

access_time 1963

Silvertone Twin Twelve

Jimi seemed to have been using this amp around late 1962 / early 1963. It can be seen on a photo of him performing with the King Kasuals. Based on the fact that this is the only time he was seen using the amp, we suspect that it was likely borrowed. At the time of […]

access_time 1967

Vox AC30

According to Phil Brown, who was the audio engineer during the session, all of the overdubs on ‘All Along the Watchtower’ were recorded on a Vox AC30 The setup for Hendrix’s electric guitar overdubs was achieved simply by placing a VOX AC30 amplifier in the studio, close to the control room window. We then placed […]

Interested in other artists? Check out GroundGuitar's subdirectory_arrow_rightGear Page

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of