In 2005 I was touring with Lucinda Williams and built an amp for her that was inspired by a Valco circuit from 1947, a schematic I had dug up in an old Perpetual Troubleshooters Manual. My very first amp, build in 1996, had been based on this remarkable design, and this time around I made a few changes, replacing the 6V6 power tubes with 6BQ5s, and modifying the parallel single-ended output stage so that one power tube could be turned off. This allowed for five or ten Watt output with the flick of a switch. Four years after I built Lucinda’s personal amp, I revisited the design and refined it into an Acme product I named the Lulu in Lucinda’s honor.
The Lulu has two output tubes, one biased “hot” and the other “warm,” and a selector switch that allows either or both of these tubes to be used at a time. It features a feedback control that allows for a range of negative feedback, from a high-gain sound with no feedback, to crystal-clean with maximum feedback. The addition of an output volume control rounds out the Lulu and makes it the Acme with the greatest variety of gain and volume, from super-distorted yet bedroom quiet at one extreme, and huge and clean at the other. The Lulu also features a 4-, 8-, and 16-ohm output selector.