Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lafayette Model U-750A Amplifier


Story Submitted by Alex Herrlein

This amp got its own story not so much because I miss it, but because it was an odd one. I don't know what I was searching for on eBay, but I found, bid on and won this 1968 Lafayette combo for probably less then $200. It was pretty obviously made by Univox, since they didn't do anything to change it from the equivalent Univox except make the logo read "Lafayette" in the same font. These were made in Japan and featured a circuit board with the words "muscal amplifier" printed on it (see the picture). That's not a typo, that's how they spelled it!

The amp had two 12" speakers mounted vertically, one of which was an original Jensen C12S, which must have been the bottom of the line for Jensen. I replaced the mismatched one with a reissue Jensen C12Q. The power tubes were weird--6973 I believe, which I found out were much more common in jukeboxes than in guitar amps. I think the amp put out around 15 watts. The rest of the amp was all tube, and it had just tone, volume, and tremolo controls. I remember the tone knob after a while working more as a midrange control than a treble roll-off.

The tremolo was pretty nice and I think made to sound more Vox than Fender. Since there were two channels with two inputs apiece, you could jumper the channels and get a little more gain. However, gain wasn't really the issue so much as headroom. The sound was pretty nice at low volumes; somewhat more jangly than a Silvertone, but not as lush as a more expensive amp. The headroom was stupidly low--when you got it past normal speaking volume it started to break up. I tried a Groove Tubes plug-in solid-state rectifier in place of the 6CA4 tube, but it was what it was. Ultimately, I realized that it was too much amp for too little wattage. It would have made a better 1x12" combo, but as a vertical 2x12", it was too tall for what was otherwise a cheap low-wattage amp.

I took it to a music store and pitched it as a poor man's AC30, but I don't think they were buying it.


I ended up putting it on consignment and eventually someone else got intrigued for $199. It's just as well that I don't have it anymore, since I might have tried to cut the cabinet down at some point and ruin what little collectibility it had.

4 comments:

Eric said...

I had a similar one, about the same year. It was a one/twelve combo. It would sound great fully cranked. Anything less was still OK,but you wanted that thing pinned!

Have not a clue.... said...

2I had one exactly like it. It was my very first "BIG" guitar amp. I bought it brand new around 1968 at Lafayette Electronics in Portland Oregon. THe other guitar player in our band bought the one that was a 1X12 and it was a lot louder than my 2X12. I actually have a picture of us using both of these amps at a gig when we were in grade school. Which I could upload a picture...

Anonymous said...

This was also my first amp. I got is in 1968 whgen i was 14. Purchased at a Lfayette electronics store in Cherry Hill NJ. I am almost 60 nowand have owned a lot of gear. From what i remember this wah actually a pretty decent sounding guitar amp.
I can't remember what happened to it...

Anonymous said...

In my first band back in 1972 my friend had this amp sitting in the corner and we pulled it out to use as a bass amp. It was not too loud but dam! It sounded freakin great! 2 12" Jensens must have been the icing on the cake. I always tried to buy it from him, but this guy would not part with anything, not even his Mother! Great Old Amp.