Bill Lawrence pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by SpinWheelz, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    gmacdonnell did a nice write-up of Bill Lawrence pickups in his "10 pickups off the beaten path" thread (great thread, mate!). And as I look around for humbucker candidates, I'm becoming increasingly drawn to these pickups. The fact that they're insanely affordable in a bonus.

    So I basically see three humbuckers by Bill Lawrence:
    The L-90
    [​IMG]

    The unshielded L-500
    [​IMG]

    And the shielded L-500
    [​IMG]

    So how do I choose? The website doesn't give a ton of explanation between the variants. I see that within the L-500 range, there are subvariants as well. Anyone got any insight as to the tonal qualities of each of these? Thought I'd ask here for first-hand experience before I start calling up the Bill Lawrence company.

    If it matters, I was thinking of throwing these into an SG. Cheers.
     
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  2. EEF13

    EEF13 Senior Member

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    all I know is if you pick any of those you will be very happy
     
  3. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    Gmacdonell should point you to the right direction.. he knows his Lawrence stuff
     
  4. gmacdonnell

    gmacdonnell V.I.P. Member

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    Hi there,
    Bill's website is a bit outdated, I wish I knew webdesign because I'd do it for them for free. They offer so many options, but you don't really see that on the site.

    To generalize, the L-90 is a humbucker that has a very clean, clear sound, almost like a single-coil. It's got a great, open, vintage sound, that you don't expect from a humbucker. It's great for blues, jazz, country, and rock. Most guys love it as a neck pickup because it's open and not muddy, but plenty use it as a bridge pickup too, Joe Perry and Buck Dharma love this pickup.

    The L-500 is his most famous humbucker, and while it looks like a high-gain monster, it isn't necessarily. It's a less open sound than the L-90, but gets great cleans and overdrive. It's more humbucker-sounding, but it's got an extended freq. range than most humbuckers.
    The main difference in the shielded/unshielded L-500's is obviously, the shielded pickups are a bit quieter, and have a slightly different treble response, that actually many guys prefer.

    Here's where it gets more confusing.
    Most of Bill's pickups come in 4 variations:

    C -Clean: These pickups are mainly designed for clarity, dynamics, and a great response either clean or with moderate overdrive. They have a lower output than his other designs, but are not underpowered at all.
    They're really popular with jazz and country players, but I know blues and rock guys who love these to. The truth is his pickups are all really versatile, and the "C" models sound great for cleans, crunch or even with a ton of distortion.

    R- Regular: This is "normal" version of any pickup, and has a more moderate output. It's probably the best all-around choice for cleans, overdrive and everything in between. These are the choice of many blues and rock guys.

    L-Lead: As you could probably guess, this pickup has a bit more output than the R models, and is mainly designed for a bridge pickup. They sound great with overdrive, but still are very dynamic and responsive and have a great clean tone. Many rock players use these pickups.

    XL- "Extra" Lead: These are the super-high output models. While they have less dynamics and a more compressed sound than the L's, but have a great overdriven sound many metal guys love, (like Nuno and Dimebag.) It has a lot of harmonics, and pinch harmonics come through really easily. A very searing tone, but still offers good cleans.

    The most popular combos are:
    C neck/R bridge
    C neck/L bridge
    R neck/R bridge
    R neck/L bridge
    R neck/XL bridge


    Also, now that the L-90 is back, a lot of guys are using an L-90 neck, L-500 bridge combo.

    There's also some great info at: L-500: L-500L, L-500XL, L-500R, by Lawrence Sound Research, Bill Lawrence Products, OBL, more... | Bill Lawrence Review
    Some of the articles refer to models as being out-of-production, but the that's not really the case anymore.
    You might also want to check out these testimonials:Wilde USA Electric Guitar Pickup Reviews: Harmony CentralĀ® - User Reviews
    and:
    Testimonials

    Anyway, if you have more questions, let me know and I'll try to help.
    Otherwise, Becky, (Bill's wife,) is a sweetheart, and very helpful.
    You can reach her at:
    (877) 647-2651
    billnbecky@wildepickups.com


    Good luck, I think you'll love them, and Becky and Bill will steer you in the right course.
     
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  5. gmacdonnell

    gmacdonnell V.I.P. Member

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    Here's Buck Dharma getting a killer tone, (on an awesome solo,) with Lawrence's L-90's. 2:40 for the solo:
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrd2xf5DIlU]YouTube - Veteran of the Psychic Wars - Blue Oyster Cult[/ame]
     
  6. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    Thank you so much for shedding much light on this. I just got home from the guitar shop, Epiphone SG in hand ($220 out the door, hard to beat that for a halfway decent guitar to mod up). You've definitely helped narrow it down, and I think I will give them a ring, if nothing else just to pick their brains. And I love to speak with people I'm doing business with!

    Thanks again for such an insightful reply. Really, really appreciate it. Do let me know if I can buy you drink next time you're in the city, gmacdonnell.
     
  7. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    see? I told you Gabriel was the man!! ;)
     
  8. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    You got that right!

    And this warms the heart...
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHIZMuNhF5s]YouTube - Bill Lawrence at NAMM 2008[/ame]
     
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  9. LiveOak

    LiveOak Senior Member

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    That was reall cool, thanks! I did not know that he played.

    In a better setting, I bet he could dial in a killer tone.
     
  10. Blues Power

    Blues Power V.I.P. Member

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    I had an L-500 back in the early 80's in my LP Bridge

    I didnt have it that long maybe about 6 months

    I can remember it being overly bright with too much bite, hence why i took it out

    not saying its a bad put but it wasent for me
     
  11. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    While I absolutely loathe vanity threads, I do feel compelled to ask for feedback what might look better on an SG: a zebra pair, or an all-black pair?

    (God, I'm so filled with self-loathing for posting a question like this, I want to punch myself in the face)
     

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  12. st.bede

    st.bede V.I.P. Member

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    I got an 500R and a 500L coming to throw in my V...so, in a month I will do a vid of them (I will take up to 14days to get here and it always takes me a long time to get around to fixing/installing or other guitar maintance).....ever one who is in the know says that I will love the Lawrence PUs...will see

    I vote zebra....looks cool...and, you should feel bad :laugh2:
     
  13. gmacdonnell

    gmacdonnell V.I.P. Member

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    To my ear, the harder plastic, (a result of the dyes used) of the creme bobbins lends a nice boost to upper midrange and treble frequencies. The black plastics seem to accentuate low-mids.

    So if your guitar is naturally bright, a set of double-blacks should balance it out, quite nicely. A zebra truly offers the best of both worlds, and should be your choice if your guitar has a balanced acoustic response.


    (belated) April Fools.


    Well, the looks are going to be important, after all, you're going to be looking at the thing for thousands of hours: you might as well enjoy it.

    Just so you know, because of how different their pickups look, Lawrence is able to make double-cremes, (trademarked by Dimarzio, so most makers can't make them,) so you have another option to writhe over... ;)

    Personally, I'm a fan of the way the zebras would look in that guitar, but double-creme sure looks good too.

    BTW, we'll definitely have to meet up for drinks/sometime.:cheers:
     
  14. gmacdonnell

    gmacdonnell V.I.P. Member

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    BTW, not trying to confuse you further, but I wasn't sure if you knew that Bill also made non-blade humbuckers.

    His L-600 is a great sounding pickup, (formerly the L-450 and L-465.) Here's a shielded one in black:
    [​IMG]
    These pickups are very transparent humbuckers. They're more similar to "regular" pickups in terms of tone, but again, have more dynamics and a wider freq. response. It comes in many different outputs, from jazz and country clean, to over-the-top rock. Wes Montgomery and Grant Green loved this pickup, but plenty of rock guys do too. The lower-output models are almost a perfect halfway point between a humbucker and single-coil in tonality: It's got more snap and a much wider range than most buckers, but is fuller, with more output than most singles.

    Lastly, there's the L-609, (formerly the L-490.) It's designed to offer more of a single-coil sound, but it's still a humbucker. It comes in a few variations: some sound more like a P-90, others more like a Jazzmaster pickup, and some hotter versions as well. It's a very cool pickup. Here's a nickel-plated one: [​IMG]

    Anyway, Becky, (a master pickup maker in her own right,) will be able to steer you towards the perfect choice, if you don't already have your mind made up.

    Sorry to throw more fuel on the fire!
     
  15. p90rules

    p90rules Senior Member

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    I've had L220's in my old Tokai Strat for 27 years & I love them.
    I've not altered a thing in all that time. :thumb:
     
  16. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    Thanks for the additional info, mate. I placed my order on Friday: a pair of L500s, R for the bridge, L for the neck. That was Becky's reco.

    If this works out, I doubt it'll be the last time I try these pickups, so the additional recos are certainly welcomed! Thanks again!
     
  17. captcoolaid

    captcoolaid Senior Member

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  18. gmacdonnell

    gmacdonnell V.I.P. Member

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    Blue Oyster Cult rules! :dude: Too bad about the name... :rolleyes: Almost as bad as "Doobie Brothers"
    or "Strawberry Alarm Clock":laugh2:
     
  19. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    Hey gmacdonnell, you got a Cliff's Notes summary of the Bill Lawrence/Jzchak Wajcman sitch? That link you gave to the Bill Lawrence Review site doesn't give much history, just how to try and discern between the two "brands". How do both offer pickups with the same name, L500, and their variants? How on earth do both companies claim usage by the same guitar celebs?

    Lots of litigation drama involved, I suspect.
     
  20. thornie

    thornie Senior Member

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    Gmac thanks so much for all this info. You are just a wealth of great info! While we are on the topic of Bill Lawrence pickups, can you tell me a bit about the Bill Lawrence pickups that came stock in my 1988 Les Paul Custom? I've been looking and looking and can't find any info on them. Thanks!
     

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