Johnson Sound Systems of Manitoba circa 1951

Download the abridged (10pp from 20pp) JOHNSON SOUND SYSTEMS circa 1951 catalog:

DOWNLOAD: JohnsonSoundSystems_catalog

Alright here’s a real obscurity for you.  JOHNSON was a brand/dealer of ‘musical merchandise’ in Brandon, Manitoba Canada in the 1940s/50s.  I’ve scanned the 10 pages from their circa 1951 catalog (the date is a guess based on the particular microphone models available in the catalog).  I’ve omitted the pages featuring luthiery parts, electric razors (!), etc.  Amplifier models featured include:  The Johnson Vibrante, Maestro, Johnson Junior guitar amps; and the Johnson M1, M2, M3, and J1 PA heads; plus Hofner classical and archtop guitars, mics from a few makers, Celestion Rola G-12, P-44, Z10Z0 speakers, plus pickups, etc.

For a few words about JOHNSON and its founder Albert Johnson, plus photos of many later models of Johnson amps, visit this site.  The most interesting fact: these amps were not re-branded pieces from another manufacturer; they were in fact unique designs built on the familiar+dear Hammond chassis.

14 thoughts on “Johnson Sound Systems of Manitoba circa 1951”

  1. I grew up in Brandon & was friends with Albert Johnson’s twin sons Stephen & Bradley. I spend many hours of many days in the 1960’s hanging around Johnson Sound System music store. I watched Mr. Johnson. put together many amps in the back of his store on Rosser Ave. My first guitar was purchased there & when I learned to play better a few years later Mrs. Johnson offered to sell me a new ’64 Fender Stratocaster , an offer which I declined & am now sorry for. I always wanted one of the amps that were being made there but they were just a little out of my price range. I’ve managed to get my hands on a Johnson Mohawk & am quite happy with it , but if anyone knows where I might be able to buy any of the other models please contact me @ the above e-mail address.
    Nice website you have here. Take care. —Ray Hall—

  2. Hi, see your comments Ray. I too came from Brandon. I wasn’t old enough to recall Alberts shop there but I have a number of his amps. They are super clean and arent all bad in my opinion. Favorite is the M-4 Monarch combo. though. Ray Fox of Fox Vintage Amps in Georgia says there are a few around his area. Seems many went south with various players over the years. I also acquired a bunch of unbuilt chassis’
    ready to go and a Vibrante/Maestro cab that was never finished (needs tolex). Anyway, have a great day! (Contact me at the site)

  3. I have a Johnson celestion combo 112 that’s all original and even has a wooden footswitch with it. Is just like the one in the picture on fenderbroncos. Can anyone tell me anything about it? When was it made? I love the amp.

  4. Hi Joe, my 1×12 Celestion Combo has a P-44 Alnico 12 inch speaker in it. The speaker dates to Nov. of 59. Other parts inside point towards 63 or so but Albert ran an electronic parts shop so he may have used older stock stuff to use it up.
    My 1×12 Celestion Combo has 2 – 6CA7’s in it. My other ones have 6L6’s.
    All are tube rectified and the M-4 2×12 , has two tube rectifiers. (stinkin loud and clean!!)

  5. Very nice. That sounds just like mine. Mine works very well sometimes, and othertimes makes quite a racket of popping and hissing. I’ll have to have it worked on I suppose. It’s a beautiful amp. I’d never hesitate to buy another if I found one. Thanks for your response!

  6. The Canucks were pretty sharp on amp design. I highly recommend anyone into guitar amps buy (or if truly destitute order from the library on interlibrary loan-a service to all tech heads because if they don’t buy techie books they buy dry-vagina romance crap) “The How and Why of Guitar Tube Amps as “Gar” Sees It”, written by the Garnet guy.

  7. Check out the “You Tube” video by the Cowpuncher band from Calgary.
    They have a song called “Bridesmaid”.
    My old Johnson Celestion combo 1×12 makes an appearance on the vid.
    It is the brown one behind the lead singer Matt Olah.
    2-EL-34’s. Sweet driven tone!
    Say what you will, Albert Johnson’s amps were very musical.

  8. I went there in the early ’90s and bought a record player stylus. There were vintage instruments on display & I recall the faded sheet music from the ’60s & ’70s near the front window. It was a time trip for sure.

  9. Apparently Albert Johnson made a fuzz pedal called the Johnson Zizzer. If anyone has one they would like to sell please let me know.

  10. Knew Albert personally. Back in late 70′ bought alot of tubes from him or his wife. Recently came across a maestro amp

  11. My son recently acquired a Johnson Celestion with the P44 stock speaker. He just had the vibrato repaired and amp completely serviced and replaced what ever needed to be done. It sounds great. Its 7 watts and breaks up nicely. Got to love Albert’s ingenuity because he used arborite countertop for the circuit board. … thnusb.jpg

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