Johnson Celestion Amplifier

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Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby dadsbuyingstuffagain on Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:43 pm

My son recently acquired a 1963 Johnson Celestion Amplifier. From what I have been able to find online, it was built in Brandon Manitoba Canada by Albert Johnson in the back of his music store. He hand built all the solid pine cabinets, had the chassis stamped out at a local machine shop, he silk screened the control panel himself and hand soldered and assembled each amp by hand. He would start and finish one amp at a time as orders dictated. The only thing that he would pre-assemble in larger quantities were the cabinets. It came with a Celestion P44 12 inch Alnico speaker that he ordered with a smooth cone. The speaker was originally built with a ribbed cone. From what I understand the smooth cone gave the speaker a better tone for a guitar amplifier. I could be wrong here though. If some one knows what the difference will achieve, please comment. This amp is supposed to be a clone of the Fender Tweed Deluxe of that time. However I do not know what design that might be. Does anyone know what design platform this might be? I assume that it's output must be approximately 10 to 15 watts. It has 4 input jacks on two channels. each channel has 2 volume and 1 tone control. It also has vibrato. It is a great sounding amp and has a very cool "Canadianna" story. There were not too many guitar amp builders in Canada at that time. Further to the quirkiness and uniqueness of this amp is that Mr. Johnson built this with unconventional electronics materials that were available to him. In that he used "arborite" (commonly used for countertops) as the board to solder the components on. Now that using "farmer ingenuity"..... or he was "the Macguver" of his time. Does anyone have any experience with these amps? Have any information on the design platform this was cloned from?
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Dean Jr. on Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:54 pm

I know nothing of these amps. IT would take a tech with the amp on the bench to know the fine points of the circuit, but some good pictures of the inside workings might give someone a clue as to what you have there.
Two volume controls per channel? Did I read that correctly? The 5E3 Deluxe has one volume control per channel, one tone control, and no tremolo function.
Got pics?
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Brown Recluse on Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:03 pm

I have a couple of these amps. They even have a Celestion branded output transformer.
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Vortexion on Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:34 pm

Dean Jr. wrote:It would take a tech with the amp on the bench to know the fine points of the circuit, but some good pictures of the inside workings might give someone a clue as to what you have there. ...Got pics?

What he said. With an amp as unusual as this, we want to see LOTS of pics. :excited:
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby dadsbuyingstuffagain on Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:21 pm

I will try to get some pictures that will fit the format required here. The pictures that I have won't compress enough to be downloaded here.
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Vortexion on Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:34 pm

Don't try to post photos directly here - it won't work. You need to open a picture hosting account with Photobucket (or similar service), then post links to your pics, with each link inside IMG tags, like this fake example:

Code: Select all
[img]http://www.yourhostingservice.com/addressofyourpicture.jpg[/img]
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby dadsbuyingstuffagain on Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:49 pm

Thanks Vortexion for the tip here on how to load pictures on this site. I have not done this before. But having said that, I loaded 14 pictures of the amp on "photobucket". Hopefully the link will take you and others to the photo album for your viewing and allow you to pass on any thoughts about what I have here. I think you might have to copy this link and paste it in your "Google Search Box". Gee.... can you tell that I am not that handy navigating and using all these online tools????

http://photobucket.com/user/bhogy/media ... e.jpg.html

Thanks again....and enjoy the pictures on this 1964 (the date code on the speaker is Dec 20, 1963) Johnson Celestion Amplifier.
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Dean Jr. on Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:08 pm

Image
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Dean Jr. on Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:14 pm

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Dean Jr. on Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:26 pm

[URL=http://s347.photobucket.com/user/bhogy/media/Pre%20Amp%20Tube%20Uncovered_zpsesszs5j2.jpg.html]Image[/URL

Can someone tell me what the black metal thing is to the left of the power tubes in this picture. IS it a metal envelope tube??? IT is wired like one? IT is also to the right of the power tubes in the picture of the inside of the chassis.....it isn't a rectifier...what is it?
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby JJman on Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:19 am

The metal tube appears to be the one for the trem. He used 6sJ7 and 12sJ7 in some other amps per this:

http://www.preservationsound.com/wp-con ... atalog.pdf
-If it says "Vintage" on it, it isn't.
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby Dean Jr. on Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:37 pm

Thanks for that insight, JJMan.
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby bingo boy on Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:32 am

I may not have the info you are looking for, but I knew Albert. I live in Winnipeg, MB and I travelled to Brandon a few times to visit. I picked up a dozen of those silver colored P44 speakers. They could only handle about 10 watts. I also acquired 2 of those chassis that you have and a Mohawk. The Mohawk was suited for a Champ Amp.
Albert was a neat old guy, and I think he was more into copying amps rather than designing. That was my take on his business. I also knew Gar Gillies of Garnet Amplifiers. Now there was a cool dude. In Canada, he was like the Leo Fender to Americans. He was very well liked by all the musicians, and he helped many of them get a "start" in the biz. Most notably the "Guess Who." That's all I have, and I hope the nostalgia was helpful. Ken
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Re: Johnson Celestion Amplifier

Postby dadsbuyingstuffagain on Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:08 pm

Thanks for the info Ken. Since my last post, I had the amp serviced by our local amp tech and he figures that Mr. Johnson based this design on several amps of the day and made this "hybrid" using mostly Fender design. It has a 7 watt output and after having it serviced and replaced whatever need to be replaced....... it does sound GREAT!. Had an extension jack installed so that we can try different speakers to get different tone and also to extend the life of the Celestion P44. Sounds real nice through 2 X G12H-55's wired in parallel to get a 4Ohm resistance. I see these P44 speakers and Vox Silver Bells (which are the same speaker) listed on ebay/Reverb for way more than what we have total invested in the amp. So overall.... we are very pleased with what we have here. Again... just a cool amp with a great Canadian heritage.
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