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.