AGS / Regal / Lifco Guitar Amplifiers

(Last updated, May 25, 2020)

What is this page, and why is it here?

A few years ago I came across an amplifier head as a project to restore. It was a partial unit in very rough shape, which had been electrically modified away from the original, and I knew little about it other than what was written on the front:

Made In Canada
Model No. 630 2
Lifco Company Montreal
CSA LR11639

When trying to gather data, I found there really wasn't much.

There were a couple on-line references to suggest that CSA LR11639 belonged to KEIL (Kitchener Electronic Industries Ltd).  That said - I've not actually seen a KEIL amplifier with that CSA number nor have I seen any other evidence to confirm a connection.  I have seen at least one piece of KEIL equipment (a record player) with an entirely different CSA number - and so the original on-line KEIL tie-in is expected to be in error (can anyone out there confirm/deny what CSA number is present on KEIL amps?)

The 11639 CSA number does appears on older 'Lifco' phonograph equipment - which suggests that Lifco is indeed an intentity unto itself.  This same company appears to have made radios as well (see Note 4 below for background on Lifco). 

In terms of on-line information for more recent guitar amplifiers, there were some posts from other Lifco owners with pictures - but most of those were requests from people looking for information.

Making things more confusing is that while the Lifco name might appear on the unit, there could also be another badge showing something different - including Regal, AGS, Cobra, Imperial, etc. - so sometimes they were referred to as ‘Lifco’ amps but other times ‘Regal’ or something else.

In on-line posts people might refer to their “Lifco amp” - and others would reply with information on their “Lifco amp” - but there was often no reference to a given model number and so one person might be asking about model X, but the answers were for model Y.

Yet further confusing things, some units that look completely different (and have different implementations) will have exactly the same model number.

The original amp discussed above was from Canada. I am from Canada. As I’m electrically inclined and like a puzzle, I’ve developed a specific interest in these units.  To that end, I’ve put together this page to collect the information I have on them, so that others might be able to use the bits and pieces I've come across.

I’ve already picked up a couple of these amps - and as the opportunity arises I hope to get one of each model (and to update this page accordingly).

My initial focus is on those amps that seem to have a direct connection to the first one I picked up (e.g., Lifco Model 630 2). Specifically - I’ll be looking at those units that are either listed as:

1) Lifco Company Montreal or
2) Have a CSA number of LR11639

If you happen to have more data on these specific units, data on other similar units, background on the company, advertisements that might have referenced them, corrections, etc. - please feel free to get in touch.  As well, if there's something additional you would like to see in the table below, just let me know.

If you happen to have a unit that I don’t, and want to sell it for a reasonable price, then feel free to get in touch. (Note - I’m most interested in items that have not been ‘modified’ or ‘updated’. Preference is given to items in their original condition - even if that means that they don’t necessarily work, have blown parts, or may not look very nice.)

I can be contacted via e-mail at "ac151RemoveThisBit @ ncf.ca" (remember to remove the spaces as well as "RemoveThisBit").

Notes:

0) There were many different amplifiers available in Canada - and even several different companies operating out of Montreal.  In on-line discussions many of these have been mixed together, implying that one sort of amplfiier was perhaps made by one company when it was actually made by some other company.  The best way to distinguish between manufacturers is to look for the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) number on the product. Items marked with LR11639 are from 'Lifco', as discussed above. If the item is marked wth a CSA number of LR19952, then that is a Pine Electronic Products/Pepco amp - and if it is marked with LR24510 then it is a Garnet amp (http://www.garnetamps.com/stencil.htm). While some models are nearly identical between Lifco, Pine/Pepco and Garnet - insofar as I know there was no formal relationship between the companies.

1) Some units appear to have been made available both as combo amps as well as separate amp heads.  For that reason, no information is given on the size or number of speakers, as that would differ depending on the specific unit at hand.  There also appears to have been different styles of cabinets used for the combos - some with sloping fronts, others with flat fronts, different size and number of speakers, etc.

2) There may be some other schematics out there floating around.  I'm only listing the ones that I have been able to personally verify.

3) Cabinet backs are often held on with Canadian Robertson screws.

4) From the Quebec Official Gazette (Dated Saturday, May 28th, 1955) (page 1640):

(A.G. 10881-55)
Lifco Record Players and Radios Mfg. Inc.

Notice is hereby given that under Part I of the Quebec Companies' Act, letters patent have been issued by the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec, bearing date the seventh day of April, 1955, incorporating: Joseph Lifschutz, merchant, Sureka Wasserman, secretary, spinster of the full age of majority, both of Montreal, and Jack Shayne, advocate, of Westmount, all of the judicial district of Montreal, for the following purposes:

To manufacture and deal in record players, radios and television sets, electrical appliances and sporting goods, under the name of "Lifco Record Players and Radios Mfg. Inc.", with a total capital stock of $40,000, divided into 20,000 common shares of $1each and into 20,000 preferred shares of $1 each. The head office of the company will be at Montreal, judicial district of Montreal. Dated at the office of the Attorney General, this seventh day of April, 1955.

C. E. CANTIN,
39938-o Deputy Attorney General.

(xref: http://collections.banq.qc.ca:81/jrn03/goq/src/1955/05/28/116644_1955-05-28.pdf)

Based on other elements in the on-line Gazette collection (http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/collection_numerique/publications_gouvernementales/gazette_officielle/recherche/index.html?keyword=lifco) it appears that no returns were filed from 1970 to 1976, and so in 1977 there was a notice that the company was being dissolved.

Model 300 400 500 630 (older, no reverb) 630 (newer, no reverb) 630 2
(older, w/reverb)
630 (newer, w/reverb) 800 800 1000 1000 1000
Name               The Cobra Mark 2 The Cobra Mark 2      
# Knobs 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 3 4 6 7 6
List of Knobs
(Front, Left to Right)
(1) On - Off / Volume (2) Tone (1) Switch (On/Off)(2) Tone (3) Volume (1) Tone (2) Volume (3) Tremolo On/Off, Rate (1) Volume (2) Bass (3) Treble (4) Tremolo On/Off, Rate (1) Tremolo On/Off, Rate (2) Volume (3) Treble (4) Bass (1) On-Off / Volume (2) Bass (3) Treble (4) Reverb Level (5) Tremolo On/Off,  Rate (1) Tremolo (2) Volume (3) Treble (4) Bass
(5) Reverb
(1) Volume (2) Treble (3) Bass (1) Volume (2) Treble (3) Bass
(4) Tremolo On/Off, Rate
(1) Volume 1 (2) Volume 2 (3) Treble (4) Bass  (5) Low Range Expander(6) High Range Expander (1) Reverb ?
(2) Volume 1 (3) Volume 2 (4) Treble (5) Bass (6) Tremolo Speed (7) Tremolo Intensity
(1) Volume 1 (2) Volume 2 (3) Treble (4) Bass  (5) Tremolo Speed (6) Tremolo Intensity
Other Controls (none) (none) Power On/Off Sw, Tremolo On/Off Footswitch Jack Power On/Off Sw Power On/Off Sw, Standby On/Off Sw Reverb On/Off Footswitch Jack Power On/Off Sw, Power On/Off Sw, Standby On/Off Sw Power On/Off Sw, Standby On/Off Sw  Standby On/Off Sw (front), Ground Sw (rear), Power On/Off (rear)   Standby On/Off Sw (front), Ground Sw (rear), Power On/Off (rear), Tremolo Foot Sw (rear)
# Channels 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2
# Instrument Inputs 3 2 4 4 2 (1x Guitar, 1x Bass) 3 (2x Dry, 1x Reverb) 3 (1x Guitar, 1x Bass, 1x Reverb) 3 (2x Guitar, 1x Bass) 3 (2x Guitar, 1x Bass) 4 (2x Ch 1, 2x Ch 2) 4 4
# Tubes 3 6 5 7 7 9 9 5 7 5   6
Tube Lineup 12AX7, 50L6, 35Z5 5Y3, 6BQ5 (Qty 2), 6SN7, 6AU6 (Qty 2) 6AV6 (Qty 3), 6X4, 6AQ5 5Y3, 6BQ5 (Qty 2), 6AV6 (Qty 4) 5Y3, 6BQ5 (Qty 2), 6AV6 (Qty 4) 6BM8, 12AX7, 5Y3, 6BQ5 (Qty 2), 6AV6 (Qty 4) 6BM8, 12AX7, 5Y3, 6BQ5 (Qty 2), 6AV6 (Qty 4) 5U4GB, 12AX7 (Qty 2), 6V6GT (Qty 2) 5Y3, 6BQ5 (Qty 2), 6AV6 (Qty 4) 12AX7A/7025A (Qty 3), 7027A (Qty 2)   12AX7A (Qty 4), 7027A (Qty 2)
Output Single Ended - 1x 50L6 Push-Pull - 2x 6BQ5 (EL84) Single Ended - 1x 6AQ5 Push-Pull - 2x 6BQ5 (EL84) Push-Pull - 2x 6BQ5 (EL84) Push-Pull - 2x 6BQ5 (EL84) Push-Pull - 2x 6BQ5 (EL84) Push-Pull - 2x 6V6 Push-Pull - 2x 6BQ5 (EL84) Push-Pull - 2x 7027A   Push-Pull - 2x 7027A
Ballpark Output Power in Watts (based on tube structure, not amp measurements) 4 17 4 17 17 17 17 14 17 45   45
Output / Speaker Impedance (Ohms) 4 4 8 8 8 16 (for unit tested) - although some may be 8 8
Badges Seen AGS, Regal Regal AGS, Regal Regal The Imperial Regal   The Imperial   The Imperial   The Imperial
Tremolo No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Reverb No No No No No Yes Yes No No No (maybe) No
Equivalent / Similar To Pine 201, Magnatone Starlet, Model 107 Beltone AP-50 Beltone AP-12, AP-14, AP-A Beltone AP-22, AP-24 Beltone AP-22, AP-24     Pine/Pepco Riviera 725 (essentially the same - including chassis and panel style), Fender Princeton AA964 (similar) Lifco Model 630 Traynor YBA-1 (1966), Marshall JTM45, Fender Bassman 5F6-A
Suspect may be a copy of Traynor YSR-1 Traynor YGA-1 (1967)
Notes - No Power Transformer (117v powered)
- Not marked 'Lifco'
- Speaker impedance as measured from combo
- As wired from the factory, the tone control is ineffective.
Only ever seen as a mated pair with a two- speaker cabinet.  The visual similarities with the AP-50 include the chassis setup, speaker cabinet and control type and number.  - Speaker impedance as measured from combo - Combo cabinet uses good plywood. A different cabinet & chassis with the components in different locations (and a 'standby' switch) - but essentially electrically identical to the 'other' Model 630.  Styled similarly to the Model 800.  Not certain what knobs were 'original.'  Pressed-wood cabinet.  As wired from the factory, the Bass control isn't strictly a 'Bass' control.   Styled similarly to the Model 800.  Although laid out differently, I suspect that the electronics are nearly identical to the Model 630 2.   Compared to the 'no tremolo' Model 800, the front panel differs in that the tremolo knob replaces the 'standby' neon light.  While visually the panel appears to be a 'Model 800' - the tube line-up is not the same as the Model 800 - and intead, the chassis, tubes and wiring are like the "Imperial" (new) Lifco 630 Labelled as a 'Bass Amp".  Black-face models have a hole in the rear panel labelled 'foot switch' - but this location is empty (this is presumably due to using a common rear panel with the version of the Model 1000 that offers tremolo).  This hole is not present on the 'blue-face' (non-tremolo)  rear panel.  VERY heavy with large transformers. Looks similar to non-tremolo Model 1000, except for the extra knob control, and the 4 front panel jacks are arranged as two rows of two (vs. 1 row of 4).  Blue-face rear-panel does have a 'foot switch' jack. Looks similar to non-tremolo Model 1000, except that the two 'Range Expander' knobs are replaced by two Tremolo related knobs.
Configuration Seen (Combo config or Head only) Combo Head Combo Combo & Head Head Combo & Head Head Head Head Head Head Head
Panel ID LR11639 LR11639 LR11639 LR11639 & LIFCO LIFCO LR11639 & LIFCO LIFCO LIFCO LIFCO LR11639 & LIFCO LR11639 & LIFCO LR11639 & LIFCO
Variants Forward facing chassis. Rear facing chassis.  Different tolex.  Some with a neon pilot light on the panel.
All silver panel, silver and grey panel, black panel.
Several different colour/styles of tolex.   Several different combo chassis types/styles.           Black face, Blue face    
Schematic (pdf) regal300 (in progress) regal500 lifco630 lifco630new lifco630_2   lifco800   lifco_1000_nt    
Example Year(s) Produced (an estimate based on date code of components) 1967, 1968 1965 -> 1967, 1968 1967, 1969 1971 1966 ->   1968, 1970   1967, 1970   1967 ->
Unit already on hand? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (but would still be interested in getting an originally wired unit) No Yes No Yes No No

Frequency Response/Tone Control Notes

[As time allows, and if there is interest, this section will be updated with documents discussing the frequency response of the different Lifco amp types and how the tone controls do (or don't) afftect the resulting frequency response.]

Tone Response for AGS/Regal Model 300 Amplifier

Tone Response for Regal/Lifco Model 630 and 630 2 Amplifiers

Photos

I don't claim ownership of all these photos.  Many were taken from on-line postings or auction/store listings.  These are only provided here to help illustrate/differentiate the different models/configurations.  If a picture belongs to you, and you would prefer it not to be here - just let me know and it will be removed.


Model 300

Slanting front panel, with forward facing chassis

Slanting front panel, with rear facing chassis

Full-frame style cabinet, with rear facing chassis

Slanting speaker baffle, with rear facing chassis (front) 

Slanting speaker baffle, with rear facing chassis (rear)  

Panel Controls (all silver, no pilot light)

Panel Controls (silver and grey, w/ pilot light on right)

Panel Controls (black)

Chassis (bottom)

Chassis (top)


Model 400

Panel Controls

Front view, showing head and speaker (grey/black)

Front view, showing head and speaker (black)

Rear view (closed cabinet)

Chassis (top)


Model 500

Slanting front panel, with forward facing chassis

Slanting front panel, with rear facing chassis (Tall)

Full-frame style cabinet

Slanting speaker baffle

Panel Controls

Chassis (bottom)


Model 630 (old style, no reverb)

One speaker Combo with slanting panel

Two speaker Combo with slanting panel (front)

Two speaker Combo with slanting panel (rear, open)

Full-frame style cabinet

Head

Panel Controls


Model 630 - The Imperial (new style, no reverb)

Head

Panel Controls


Model 630 2 (old style, w/reverb)

Head

Panel Controls


Model 630 (new style, w/reverb)

Head showing panel


Model 800 - Cobra Mark 2 (without Tremolo)

Head

Panel Controls


Model 800 - Cobra Mark 2 (with Tremolo)

Head

Panel Controls


Model 1000 (without Tremolo, 6 knobs)

Head

Front Panel Controls (Black)

Front Panel Controls (Blue)

Rear Panel Controls (Black, with unused 'Foot Switch' location)

Rear Panel Controls (Blue, with no 'Foot Switch' location)


Model 1000 (with Tremolo, 7 knobs)

Head


Model 1000 (with Tremolo, 6 knobs)

Head

Rear Panel Controls