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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Sonny Jr question
Sonny Jr question
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Lou
100 posts
Jun 27, 2020
12:39 PM
Hi, I saw a Sonny Jr on reverb for sale with 6 - 8" speakers & wondering what the advantage is in 6 8 8's vs 4 10's ? I heard the more surface area on speakers helps feedback volume problems not sure if thats correct. Anyway I'm just wondering if the 6 - 8's add more punch or amp cuts through mix better or is tone ?
Anyway I'm not looking for an amp I just saw this and started thinking about speaker configurations. I thought the SJ's were a 4-10 combo. But if anybody is looking for what I think is a great deal on on an SJ you should check it out it's asking price is 1200.00. I have no affiliation with the seller & I never played through one no nothing about them I just saw the ad this morning and figured I'd pass it on.
Lou
tmf714
3194 posts
Jun 27, 2020
3:29 PM
From Sonny himself via Harp- L 2005-
Walter was known to take old PA systems and
put the two speaker cabs on the wall, as can be seen in a pic from Scott's
book. I had heard he used Masco MA17 which is what I based my Sonny Jr 1 and
Sonny Jr 2 on, we used the low voltage to the plates from those amps, the
power section, and Tom of Cotton Amps designed the preamp section for modern day
application with harp, and I went searching for the best 8" speakers, and the
custom big Pyle's outdid any vintage Jensen, and trust me, I tried them all,
so that is where we went , Initially in our search. First the SJ1 to capture
Walter's recorded sound, then we knew the Harpking was coming out and
designed the Sonny Jr, which drove yes that six 8" speakers, only with us we used
two output transformers to keep it fatter and thicker. Of course we tried
bigger outputs running all 4 6L6's but not the same sound. I believe the Gibson
GA90 ran one output for their small 3-5 watt speakers they used, usually Rolas,
285 manufacturer code. The guys with the really loud bands had commented
that the 8 inchers did not project far enough into the audience, and besides,
Pyle went out of business hence ending any other ideas of using 8" speakers. I
have tried every new one on the market and they all use a smooth shiny cone
that sounds like buzzing bees.
SuperBee
6714 posts
Jun 27, 2020
4:59 PM
This was mentioned in another thread recently but I don’t remember the title.
Oh, I may do. Its about modern versions of Masco amps.
There is this quote from Gary Onofrio related to his amps, obviously a response to a question about Little Walter. This is part of it:

“Walter was known to take old PA systems and
put the two speaker cabs on the wall, as can be seen in a pic from Scott's
book. I had heard he used Masco MA17 which is what I based my Sonny Jr 1 and
Sonny Jr 2 on, we used the low voltage to the plates from those amps, the
power section, and Tom of Cotton Amps designed the preamp section for modern day
application with harp, and I went searching for the best 8" speakers, and the
custom big Pyle's outdid any vintage Jensen, and trust me, I tried them all,
so that is where we went , Initially in our search. First the SJ1 to capture
Walter's recorded sound, then we knew the Harpking was coming out and
designed the Sonny Jr, which drove yes that six 8" speakers, only with us we used
two output transformers to keep it fatter and thicker. Of course we tried
bigger outputs running all 4 6L6's but not the same sound. I believe the Gibson
GA90 ran one output for their small 3-5 watt speakers they used, usually Rolas,
285 manufacturer code. The guys with the really loud bands had commented
that the 8 inchers did not project far enough into the audience, and besides,
Pyle went out of business hence ending any other ideas of using 8" speakers. I
have tried every new one on the market and they all use a smooth shiny cone
that sounds like buzzing bees.”
SuperBee
6715 posts
Jun 27, 2020
5:00 PM
Ha ha, delayed crossed post!

Last Edited by SuperBee on Jun 27, 2020 5:01 PM
ZackPomerleau
1428 posts
Jun 27, 2020
5:18 PM
I’ve played through the Sonny Jr 1 and it sounds awesome but it doesn’t cut amazingly. I know this one is similar. Definitely a great sound to it though. It entices me but it’s really wide and the eights are definitely not meant for pushing air.
ZackPomerleau
1429 posts
Jun 27, 2020
5:19 PM
I’ve played through the Sonny Jr 1 and it sounds awesome but it doesn’t cut amazingly. I know this one is similar. Definitely a great sound to it though. It entices me but it’s really wide and the eights are definitely not meant for pushing air.
Lou
101 posts
Jun 27, 2020
5:44 PM
Thanks for the replies, so basically the 6 - 8's are for the tone, not sure why but kinda surprised to hear that set up doesn't cut I'm guessing that amp must be 40w-45w. I didn't realize that the SJ's were built trying to get that LW recorded sound. Ahh, the quest for tone it amazes & impresses me what amp builders & players go through. Probably like most guys here I went several amps on my quest if I was a rich man I'd buy that SJ just to see what I could make it sound like !
Lou
SuperBee
6716 posts
Jun 27, 2020
5:53 PM
Yes, it’s a wide box. I was told it projects further if you stand it on end. That seems much the same as just elevating it and sitting the cab up on a couple of crates would probably do a better job of that (because elevating more speakers, not just 2).
Also that amp has dual parallel power amps with multi-tap output transformers. Its capable of driving an extension cab with a full 25w so very feasible to run a pair of 10” or 12” or even a single 12”, in addition to the 6x8” in the cab (which can be all powered from a single 25w output).
But it is very Masco-sound oriented and it’s a big lump of a thing. Same weight as a typical 410 but the cab is a bit wider and a fraction less high. Just fits nicely in the back of my Hyundai hatch, with room for my suitcase alongside.
I’ve had mine about 3 years now and continue to appreciate it.
ZackPomerleau
1430 posts
Jun 27, 2020
6:57 PM
Super bee, how do you think it does volume wise? My buddy has the original 4x8 with the extension cab and I think the issue with eights is they get to a point they don’t really get louder they just saturate. But it sounds awesome. I’m not really sure it’s needed since I have the Wezo 45 which is also kind of a PA amp. That is also a beast of an amp!
Rhartt1234
272 posts
Jun 27, 2020
8:03 PM
I lazily didn't read all the responses, but...

Zack nails it. The 4x8 sounded great but did not project. Apparently if you were 10 feet or so away the sound just died. The 6X8 was an attempt to combine the sound of 8 inch speakers with the volume of 4x10 and still didn't have the volume, projection and ability to "cut" through the band.

From there Sonny Jr. went with a more standard 4x10 setup and the the multi speaker type Avengers and Cruncher.
SuperBee
6717 posts
Jun 27, 2020
8:49 PM
For me I have plenty on stage and I mike it to PA as needed. I’m also vocalist so I am in control of band levels to some extent.
Most average pub rooms it is capable but when rooms are rowdy it may not reach all the way.
Outdoors I just mic it as bau. Those are always managed events and they always want everything through the board. If I had to play outdoors with no spare channel for the harp I would think seriously about taking a 410. I suppose I think of the SJ as a large mid-size amp. Or a small large amp. I see it described as a 50w amp, which is true I suppose but it’s 2 x 25w output channels which might be slightly different. It can definitely push plenty of speakers so I’d like to know how it goes with an array of bigger speakers
Gabriel.Harmonic
56 posts
Jun 28, 2020
7:48 PM
You have good answers above from tmf714 and SuperBee, with the quotes included right from Sonny Jr himself. What I can share is from personal experience (some of it affirms what Rhartt1234 shared from his/her experience also. Some of this I shared in a recent "Masco Type Amp" thread also. Approx. 1998 I owned the hand-built prototype of the SJ2, that became the amp you saw, once he selected what speakers/cabinet to go with. This was a couple years before it came onto the market. I had met Gary (Sonny Jr in 1976 so sometimes he would get things to me to try) I played it with a 4 x 8" cabinet and then a single 15" cabinet. I gigged with it in a variety of settings. In 1999 I bought one of the 4 x 8" SJ1 models. The Sonny JR SJ410 you mention came later, I just moved from Austin and gigged/recorded with one of those for 2 years and owned several prototypes of that amp before it's release. Okay- Short of a rock band, the SJ1 & SJ2 with handle a mid-sized room with "healthy" volume band on their own. They fill the stage with fat tone but, will not project to the back of a larger room as effectively as a 4 x 10 amp. I have had this exact chat with Mark Hummel, sat in with him on his 4 x 10 Bassman and we were talking about the SJ2 you are seeing for sale. He owned and played one for a year or two +/- one of the first ones. We were acknowledging that for the stage volume being the same (or close to it) at the "back of the room" the Bassman would put it back there better than the SJ2. I might add here, for those curious on the Gibson GA-90 with similar size cabinet and 6 x 8" speakers, they are similar but the SJ2 has much more useable volume and puts out the sound better to fill room. I played on of those a year also. All of these get lost easier on an outdoor stage, need mic'ed out the PA if you are high volume concert. As opposed to, I once had a sound man approach me, playing with full band at large outdoor school concert on sports field "what amp is that" I have the whole band mic'd out the PA but, I am adding nothing to your amp, it carries the whole field....well, this is my 1960 Tweed Bassman with P10Q speakers! The SJ2 is pretty heavy but, at $1,200 that is an excellent amp, well-built, Little Walter Tone for days, and at a much higher volume that most anything else except going to the Bassman Type circuit with a 4 x 10. You can try other speaker extentsions too. My feeling is though, even with a 4 x 10" it won't be as much as a Re-Issue Bassman, it just has more of that Masco type sound/distortion from that circuit and the Fender circuit (like the SJ410) projects better.
Gabriel.Harmonic
60 posts
Jul 02, 2020
11:13 PM
Just remembered, I have some recordings done with the Sonny Jr #1 amp I have late 1990's. One was in a studio session, the producer/Engineer (he has won two Grammy's) hired me to play on this Christian Rock Gospel tune.....I am using a 545 and pretty well a Butterfield (ish) tone Norton Buffalo type styling. This was a world class studio but, it was just me laying down my track in a large open room, just a mic straight on one of the speakers.
The other is an outdoor concert (about 900 people) and there are several tunes....Jump Jive 'n Wail, Off The Wall, Route 66, etc.
I am hoping to learn how upload this first one not on YouTube (copyright concerns) onto one of those Google Files or something.....right now they are on CDs, if anyone can advise me please do. Thanks!
tmf714
3200 posts
Jul 03, 2020
5:11 AM
tmf714
3201 posts
Jul 03, 2020
5:16 AM
tmf714
3202 posts
Jul 03, 2020
5:17 AM
tmf714
3203 posts
Jul 03, 2020
5:32 AM
All of the above I was using a Sonny Jr 1 mic'ed through the PA and mixed through a Peavey XR mixer and board.
Im using a late model Hohner Blues Blaster mic.
tmf714
3204 posts
Jul 03, 2020
6:10 AM
Gabe-
You may want to try Soundcloud to upload audio clips.
Fairly sure you can use any media as an upload.
Gabriel.Harmonic
62 posts
Jul 03, 2020
10:25 AM
tmf714 - thanks, I will check out the soundcloud. Nice vidoes/playing. Good example for someone interested in the Sonny Jr #1 & #2. On "Shake It"...how many times have we all had that happen, start and have a different key! I have had it happen with a horn, start an intro line and "oops!". Looks like down in Florida somewhere....pines with Spanish Moss hanging off, palms, and better be sure your outdoor deck is all pressure treated wood!!!
tmf714
3205 posts
Jul 03, 2020
1:10 PM
Gabe-Thank you! Yep-that was Odessa ,Florida.
I had "Taildragger" on my mind just before we did"Hip Shake"-lol

Last Edited by tmf714 on Jul 03, 2020 1:11 PM
ZackPomerleau
1436 posts
Jul 04, 2020
12:26 AM
Sounds cool. I’ve seen two available recently. I might snag one of them. I’m truly intrigued by them and they’re not incredibly expensive amplifiers.


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