Photos Of Lafayette 99-9141 WX

5 12 2008

From the back.

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A wee bit closer.

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Output transformer mounted on the speaker, which is creatively attached to the amp using scrap wood nuggets rather than bolts.

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Upon Further Investigation…..

15 11 2008

As will be seen, this Lafayette amp is a fixer-upper. It wasn’t well cared after and someone took liberties with the control nobs, but the little thing rocked during the brief time that it worked.

At the moment it consumes fuses like there’s no tomorrow and presents a good learning experience to find out why. I bought this for just $75 about two years ago where I found the Silvertone 1470, purchasing both in the same transaction.

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When running single coil pickup guitars through the amp, it produced a very ratty 1960’s garage rock tone, all treble and spite with hardly any bass response. Forget lush, swirling, harmonically rich chordal moments, this is real bare wires stuff, like a budget version of the guitar lead on “Sympathy For The Devil” by the Rolling Stones.

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I wish Lafayette had come up with a model name for this amp, there’s no joy in referring to it by its given name of 99-9141WX. Fender had the Twin Reverb, the Bassman, even the long forgotten Bronco, Gibson gave it’s amps names like Ranger, Minuteman or Medallist, while Vox combined letters and numbers in an interesting way to produce the AC-10, AC-30, AC-50…etc, but to Lafayette, amps were just catalog order numbers.





Lafayette 99-9141 WX Meets Harmony Rocket

10 11 2008

The amp stopped working so I pulled it apart and it looks like it’s just a blown fuse, but as I’ve learned from Gerald Weber books this is likely an indicator of an additional internal problem. Hopefully, it’s not a bad transformer.

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Until I can get a few replacement fuses and begin to troubleshoot the amp, a description of its sonic properties will have to wait. But, the disasembled state that it’s in will afford a good opportunity for pictures of the circuitry.

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As can partially be seen in the photos above, the Lafayette amp is slightly larger than a Gibson GA-5T but the Lafayette is a real budget model in comparison with the Gibson. Comparing the build quality of the two amps is not too far away from lining up a Robin Reliant to a Rolls Royce.

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The guitar here is a Harmony Rocket from, as near as I can tell, 1974. I bought it the day before Christmas, 1993 with a $175 holiday bonus from a new job. I wasn’t really crazy about it as a guitar but it was the only one in the shop for that amount of money or less that could be tuned!

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The Harmony is a poor man’s 335 to be sure, but it does have that sweet tone shared by most semi-hollowbodies. I recently ran it thru a cranked Silvertone 1470 and the neck pickup produced a nice, bluesy, buttery soft sound while the bridge pickup was much sharper and the tone coming through the 1470 was close to the Vox AC-30/Rickenbacker chime of mid-period Beatles recordings such as “She’s A Woman” and “Day Tripper”.





Lafayette Guitar Amps

29 10 2008

The conventional wisdom on Lafayette guitar amps is that they were manufactured by Univox and then rebadged. I’ve ran across examples of this in photographs but I believe that the same Japanese factories that made Univox amps for Univox also made Lafayettes rather than Univox specifically making Lafayette units.

In either case, both Univox and Lafayette tube amps from the mid 1960’s were considered at the time to be cheaply made and inferior to such industry leaders as Fender, Marshall, Vox, Gibson.  They were intended for younger players in the “student market” and in that ambition, they were pretty successful.





Lafayette Part Two

29 10 2008

 

Lafayette ran into major financial difficulty when the FCC authorized a new Citizens Band (“CB”) spectrum with 40 channels. Lafayette’s buyers had firm commitments to accept delivery of thousands of the older design units, and were not able to liquidate the inventory without taking a serious loss. Eventually, all of the old CB radios were sold for under $40.

With less than 100 stores, far fewer than the aggressively expanding Radio Shack’s thousands of local outlets, Lafayette Radio remained more of a dedicated enthusiasts’ store than a mass marketer.

The company was also hurt by the advent of electronics retailers relying on aggressive marketing techniques and competitive pricing in the late 1970s. Many experienced managers departed. Formerly a national chain, the remaining Lafayette stores in the state of New York closed by the end of 1981.

Most of Lafayette’s models were not the best performers nor were they the worst performers. Products ranged from stereos to two-way radios for Hams and CBers, and shortwave listeners. Many were dedicated types with special functions, such as VHF receivers for police and fire channels built into a CB radio. A complete model line included many models and brand names to choose from for just about any purpose, as opposed to just a few.

The product line also covered other manufacturers’ products through seasonal catalogs. The company’s best selling products were often shortwave receivers, parts, and portable radios. In the 1960s, most Lafayette brand radios were rebranded Trio-Kenwood sets, which were of moderate performance and build quality.

A significant share of 60’s and 70’s vintage Lafayette hi-fi gear was manufactured by a Japanese subcontractor named “Planet Research”. “Criterion” brand speakers were built by several offshore and some domestic assemblers. 

Lafayette also sold a variety of electronic musical equipment made by different manufacturers. There were solid-body and hollow-body electric guitars, probably made by Teisco or Harmony.

Microphones, amplifiers, and various electronic effects such as reverbs were available. One of the most famous effects that Lafayette sold was the Uni-Vibe, used by many musicians, most notably Jimi Hendrix. Robin Trower, Stevie Ray Vaughan and others later used the effect to emulate Hendrix’s sounds and achieve new ones of their own.





About Lafayette

29 10 2008

According to Wikipedia, Lafayette Radio was a radio manufacturer and retailer based in Syosset, New York in America. The company sold radio sets, amateur radio equipment, citizen’s band (CB) radios and other communications equipment, as well as electronic components and even tools, through retail outlets as well as by mail-order.

Established in the 1920s, Lafayette Radio Electronics (LRE) thriving mail-order catalog business in electronic components was a boon to the amateur radio operators and electronic hobbyist located in areas where such components were not available in local retail outlets. Lafayette’s main competitors were Radio Shack, Allied Radio, Heathkit and independent radio dealers throughout the United States.

The company offered a free 400-page catalog filled with descriptions of vast quantities of electronic gear, including microphones, tape recorders, speakers, and other components which could be obtained for free by mailing in a coupon.

By the late 1970s, Lafayette expanded to major markets across the country, struggling to compete with Radio Shack,  which had purchased rival Allied Electronics around 1970.





Say Hello To A 1968 Lafayette 99-9141WX

11 10 2008

Ever seen one of these before?