Friday, September 14, 2012

Tech Talk - Custom Kraft "Electra Bass Amp" (1964)

35WattRMS, 1xC15N Jensen speaker

Custom Kraft (Lectrolab) Amplifiers are cheaply made tube amps from the 1950s and 1960s. They were made by Sound Projects Co. Cicero, Ill., which might suggest that they had something to do with Valco. Once source tells me that Sound Projects was a subsidiary of Bell Labs. Gibson, Valco, Epiphone, Kalamazoo and Lectrolab were all made within 50 miles of each other. The Chicago area built some of the great guitar amps. Workers moved from factory to factory and some set out on their own to start their own factories.

Lectrolab amps are the great tube amp in the cheapest box that could be made. The cabinets for these amps are made of pressboard. No shortcuts were left untaken in their manufacture. As a result, there are not that many of these around.

On the plus side, off the shelf electronic components were of fairly good quality in the late 1950s, and the amps that have survived have great tone and are a good inexpensive alternative to expensive collectable amps.
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