Pickups: Bill Lawrence vs Seymour Duncan?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Gerr, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Gerr

    Gerr Senior Member

    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    I have a 2013 Gibson Les Paul 60's Tribute that I got earlier this summer in a 2nd attempt to learn to play guitar. I play it through a Blackstar HT5 amp. However, I just don't like the Burstbuckers that came with it. I like a wide range of music from 70's classic rock to Metallica with a main focus on 80's rock and the Burstbuckers just can't handle that range. My favorite bands to play are AC/DC, GnR, & Metallica and while they do AC/DC fine, they fail on the other two.

    After doing some research on this topic a few months ago, I ended up liking Kojak's recommendation of an 59-A4 in the neck & Custom-A8 in the bridge. However, something came up and the funds for that project had to be used elsewhere, so I left the guitar stock and have mainly been learning on AC/DC since.

    Now I have the funds and want to upgrade the guitar. Besides new pickups, I am having a tech give it a wiring overhaul using 500K Bourns pots and high quality traditional wiring, not this new circuit board crap. To throw a wrench in my plans, my guitar tech recommended that instead of the Duncan set I mentioned, I should go with Bill Lawrence USA pickups. He recommended the 500R in the neck and the 500XL in the bridge. He said this was a very good set of pickups, better than the Duncan set I was thinking about, and would do an even better job of spanning the range of music I wanted. He also said these pickups clean up much better than the Duncans and also sound better when coil-tapped.

    I did some research on the Lawrence pickups, so I know the difference between Bill Lawrence USA & Wilde pickups, and would likely go with the Bill & Becky series since most people tend to favor those over the BL-USA ones. I asked my tech about the difference and he said that the differences are very minor at best and he just goes with BL-USA as they get him the pickups much faster than Wilde can.

    This takes me to my original question. Knowing my equipment and the type of music I like to play, would the Lawrence pickups be better or worse than the set of Duncans I was planning to get? I am also open to other suggestions.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. NYC LP player

    NYC LP player Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,948
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    Although certain pickups may help if you are new to guitar then its not likely to make a ton of difference. Your amp is more suited for metal though obviously it can do other things.

    You should probably wait for your wiring job to be done or do it yourself since it is fairly easy even with novice soldering skills and then clarify what is missing from your tone.
     
  3. Gerr

    Gerr Senior Member

    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    I have a Fender Jaguar Blacktop HH with Duncan Designed pickups in it(Jazz/JB) that I need to sell and that guitar can hit the sounds I want where my Gibson can't. I know I have a high gain amp, but I just can't get the heavier sound I want(at times) from it. Sure the Burstbuckers can nail the Classic Rock & AC/DC sounds I like, and a lot of the 80's rock also, but they just sound "off" when trying anything heavier like GnR & Metallica. I have played with the settings on my amp and just can't get it dialed in, so my only choice, other than a synthetic sounding metal petal, is to get a set of pickups that is a little better suited for higher gain sounds, but without losing the ability to pull off Classic Rock & AC/DC. Hence my question as I know the 59/C8 combo can do that, but can't the Lawrence set do that as well.

    Ya I could just wait for the wiring job to see if the change from 300K to 500K pots helps. Problem is my guitar has Gibson's solderless system, which I can sell for a decent amount as a complete set if I include the pickups. New sets, which this guitar basically is, sell for around $259 on eBay, so should be able to get at least $200 for the set. That covers around 2/3 the cost of the total upgrade I want to do.

    Also, I want to change the color scheme of the guitar as it has a really dark red finish to it. Instead of the chrome pickups and black rings/knobs it currently has, I want to switch to a more contrasting color scheme of zebra pickups and cream rings/knobs.
     
  4. NYC LP player

    NYC LP player Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,948
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    People try to sell Burstbuckers for that price but realistically even 57s which are more beloved go for about $150-$175 shipped for a pair. I know...Ive been there. I am sure either of the PUs will get you closer to what you want as BB have a very vintagey sound.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Gerr

    Gerr Senior Member

    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    I don't expect to sell the pickups alone for $200, but the whole solderless kit like in this post...

    USA Gibson Les Paul 60s Burstbucker Pickups Pots Knobs Jack Assembly Solderless | eBay

    Probably wouldn't make the change if the guitar had a set of 490's or 57'Classic Plus in it, but the BB1&2 are just a bit too vintage as you said.
     
  6. Gerr

    Gerr Senior Member

    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Well there goes my upgrade money...Gibson just dropped the prices on the SGJ by $100 to $499, so couldn't pass up an American made Gibson SJ for only $500 brand new!

    Once I sell one of my spare guitars, will use that money to upgrade both of my Gibson's. Will put the suggested 59n(A4) & 59b(A8) into my Les Paul and a set of Bill & Becky pickups (L500R/L500XL) into my new SG. Those two guitars should cover all sounds I want.
     
  7. lunchie

    lunchie Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Likes Received:
    1,210
    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Go with the Bill and Becky pups aka Wilde, don't buy from the Lawrence USA. Would you rather have a pick up that is just ok in a week or something that will knock your socks off for years to come and wait 4 weeks?

    I just put a set of Keystones in my thinline and they are AMAZING! I have only been able to play it with my little Kustom SS practice amp but it makes that little amp sound killer. I cant wait till I can plug it into one of my good amps and make some real noise.
     
  8. lewis_grey

    lewis_grey Senior Member

    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    210
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Sounds silly but have you tried moving the pickup heights up nearer to the strings?

    Sometimes that makes much more difference than you'd expect!
     
  9. entresz

    entresz Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,155
    Likes Received:
    592
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Personally, I can't recommend Bill and Becky's pickups strongly enough. I am so happy with the set of L90-S that I have. They are fat, but articulate, and sound amazing when coil split (most humbuckers don't IMO).

    They are much better value than SD too.
     
  10. Mpcoluv

    Mpcoluv Senior Member

    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    43
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Burstbuckers (1 and 2) can't be that bad can they? What are you missing tonally?
    For Rawk tones that you mentioned, I like the Duncan Custom, Duncan Pearly Gates (with a cover) and the Lawrence (Bill and Becky) L-90.
    All are different however tonally.
     
  11. Gerr

    Gerr Senior Member

    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    153
    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Once the money starts to come in from my promotion, decided on putting a set of Lawrence pickups (500R/500XL) in the SG and a set of Duncan pickups (59n-A4 & Custom-A8) into the LP. Should get everything I need out of both sets.
     
    2 people like this.
  12. SrDeMaFp

    SrDeMaFp Senior Member

    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    126
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Good choice of magnets! Killer combo right there.
     
  13. Angus Blackmore

    Angus Blackmore Member

    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    30
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    I have SD 59s neck in two Pauls and they totally do it for me. I think their slightly scooped flavour balances out the natural woofiness of the Les Paul design that puts many people off the neck position. I'm on the neck 80% cos my first Les a Paul was an Edwards! Consider the Full Shred neck too.
     
  14. Zoobiedood

    Zoobiedood Senior Member

    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    201
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    I'd go with Kojak's suggestion. His ideas are legit.
     
  15. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    12,132
    Likes Received:
    15,043
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Seymour Duncan Saturday Night Specials, imho nail the tones you're after. I have a set in an LP Special, and it can do GnR and Metallica fine (but then I do have a larger amp pool to select from, and Amp makes a lot of difference in what you're trying to achieve).

    But Seymour Duncan's Pearly Gates were designed after Peter Gibbons' 59 LP. I have a pair of these in an LP, and they are very good Pickups.

    And Seymour Duncan's 'Slash Set' APH-2s is actually designed to get Slash's AFD tone

     
  16. BornToLooze

    BornToLooze Senior Member

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    323
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    One of my favorite pickup combos I've had was a Bill Lawrence USA 500XL in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat in the neck.
     
  17. darthphineas

    darthphineas Senior Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    149
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014

Share This Page