Bill Lawrence Brand confusion & question about coil tap pots

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by beedoola, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. beedoola

    beedoola Senior Member

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    I have Gibson LP SL Special with a Bill Lawrence L-500L in the bridge - I got this one from Bill, and I have a L-500R in the neck - this one is the BL USA pickup with that written on it.

    My first question is: How different are the BL USA pickups different from the actual ones you get from Bill directly? Are there big tonal differences?

    My second question is: I want to install push/pull pots for both pickups. What pots would you recommend?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    Over the years BIll has had legal problems with former business partners which is why I thought he only sells direct now. One of the problem situations involved Stew-Mac. You could raise the question with Bill - just be ready to wave the white flag really quickly
     
  3. dvilla76

    dvilla76 Member

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    From what I've heard I would suggest calling first and buying only from Bill and Becky directly as the stuff from his ex partner is not the same.
     
  4. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    It may not be the same but the Bill Lawrence USA (ex-partner) is exactly the same "Bill Lawrence pickups" people have been buying for 30 years. If you want a pickup from the same people, company, and equipment that made the pickup you see in old Pantera videos, you don't call Bill and Becky, you call BLUSA. I don't care where you buy your pickups, but whenever I see a statement that infers that the "ex-partner's" pickups are somehow inferior, not the "real deal", or stolen designs, I'll call you on it because it is patently untrue.

    For the OP, I'd recommend 500K pots. If you find that the split coil sound is a little too bright, you could switch in a resistor with the coil split to simulate a 250K pot.
     
  5. beedoola

    beedoola Senior Member

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    thanks, any particular brand pots the ones to get?
     
  6. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    OBL blades are thicker than BL USA blades. The OBL's sound better to me, but that could be blind prejudice on my part. Call "Wilde" Bill and get the real deal from the original designer builder. I notice Wjackman hasn't designed anything new after 20+ years of making the same pickups OBL designed. That tells me something right there.
     
  7. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    Heretic!
     
  8. beedoola

    beedoola Senior Member

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    Pots folks, pots
     
  9. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    CTS are generally considered the standard. Not too hard to find and not particularly expensive.
     
  10. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    Oh yeah!, that's kind of the giveaway right there that you're getting the same thing they've been selling for 30+ years. I'm not sure there is another pickup maker that has consistently manufactured the exact same product without changes for that long. Even Duncan and Dimarzio have updated their molds and tooling.
     
  11. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    You may actually have a hard time finding CTS push/pulls. FWIW I've had trouble with the Bourns - the shaft will yank out of the pot/switch housing fairly easily if you're trying to remove a knob. :(
     
  12. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Your reasoning is faulty, and I just want to point it out to others here.

    If we employ your logic, then Gibson should be capable of manufacturing and would still be manufacturing today the same quality instruments they made in the late 1950s. Since the recipe had not changed. We all know that's simply not the case.

    Another example: The SCN pickups made at FMIC fell down in quality once Bill was not directly involved in their manufacture. So much so that they were discontinued in mid 2010.

    So lets humor you and put the licensing/rights/ownership issue aside for 10 minutes and ask ourselves: Isn't it reasonable to assume something has indeed changed in the manufacture of these old designs?

    Oh yeah. Forgot. Irrelevant. In this case, the old designs are decidedly inferior to what has been developed in the decades since. By the Master.

    Now. What was so great about these "BLUSA" things you were talking about?

    I thought so. Who got called out here? You know it.

    ++

    For the O.P., if you wanna match your genuine neck pickup, call Bill and Becky and see what they recommend. The individual that designs the pickups is gonna be the best source of information, as you might expect.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  13. Zingeroo

    Zingeroo Member

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    I guess you can choose to buy a product from a designer, who basically invented the aftermarket pickup industry and taught people like Larry DiMarzio and Kent Armstrong the craft,
    Or you can buy a product from a businessman who knows next to nothing compared to the designer.

    BTW, Bill reissued his L-90 pickups and they are just killer. They were Ken "Trainwreck" Fischer's favorite pickups. I've got a L-90XL in my strat and it just smokes.
     
  14. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    Gibson is absolutely capable. They just don't. Gibson also kept trying to make things different, "better", cheaper, etc., even destroying or altering old tooling.
    Not a valid comparison. A more close analog would be Coca Cola. The guy who invented it has been long dead but the company essentially makes the same product you've been drinking all your life. ....Yes, sugar tastes/feels better IMO than HFCS but that's nitpicking.
    A company that has one thing they've always made that is popular doesn't screw with it. New Coke anyone?

    You're friends with people who work at Fender- or work there yourself? You came upon this knowledge how? Exactly how did Fender let "quality" slip? Did they start using a different plastic molder? Buy poor grade copper magnet wire? Use poorly made magnets that fractured? I only care about this because you're slagging me and I like to collect useless guitar information. I just like it to be CORRECT information. Fender kept updating and tweaking their noiseless designs in a seemingly never ending quest to achieve the level of pickup design technology that Duncan, Dimarzio, Kinman, etc, had long ago! IIRC Bill was brought in to help improve the Noiseless design. Those early ones sounded like doo doo IMO and Bill certainly helped them get better but their discontinuation had nothing to do with quality issues AFAIK. Fender is just moving down the line and had a design they thought was better, for whatever reason.

    It is just as reasonable to assume that they haven't changed anything because BLUSA doesn't know how to and there isn't any reason to.
    I can tell you this for sure- If you want the SAME thing that Dimebag had on his guitar back in the day, Bill and Becky DON'T make it. Fact. Sorry.

    Let's apply that same logic to your earlier example: Gibson. Gibson's old designs are "decidedly inferior to what has been developed in the decades since"
    If "the master" has come up with something better, why doesn't he make it? The answer is that the market demands the original design- that's why he's making the same pickups he started with. I can detect no difference in quality between a BLUSA and a Bill and Becky. Please, if you have detailed factual information, I'd like to know exactly how one is "inferior" to the other. Regarding quality: I've had one "Bill and Becky" pickup arrive D.O.A. in the box. None from BLUSA.

    Nothing! It's a 40 year old pickup design. It has a certain sound that some people like. Personally, I could take 'em or leave 'em. I do think the old Lawrence 550 mini-humbucker/P-90 replacements (long out of production) make a nice pickup on a lap steel. If BLUSA was smart they'd put those back into production because P-90/mini-hum guitars are popular lately.
    FWIW I install more Duncan Dimebuckers by far than either BLUSA or Bill. All of them sound similar.

    My reasoning isn't faulty. I observe, test, and draw conclusions based on facts. You're just spouting accusations and inferences with no basis other than fervent personal belief. That, and the way that you fawningly refer to Bill Lawrence (the man) as "The Master", indicate that you're obviously a shill for Bill and Becky. I just want to point THAT out to others.
     
  15. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    oops, missed the push/pull part.
     
  16. Tubevalvemaniac

    Tubevalvemaniac Member

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    Wilde pickups (Bill 'n' Becky) mean real deal. It is the Man behing Wilde.
    The guy who bought Bill's NAME as brand sells Bill Lawrence USA pickups what confuse many buyers. (what a fvcking practice that someone can own your name, similar like Neve is not owned by originator Rupert Neve, Bill Lawrence name is owned by some Mr. Noone who paid for it long time ago and use it till the end of the world)
    Ignore that, contact Bill and Becky, who are light years ahead as pickup manufacturers and human beings of Mr. Noone who owns legal right to use Bill Lawrence name in selling his copies of Bill's original design. As mentioned, pickups advanced a lot and there are several excellent products that are selling only directly by Bill 'n' Becky.
    BTW, I love some of mid 80s Bill pickups (with OBL label of that time).
     
  17. SW33THAND5

    SW33THAND5 Member

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    i disagree, there are so many MORE variables in a complete guitar constructed 50-60 years ago...especially the wood and certain part/glue sourcing that are not available (or EPA friendly anymore) that its a bad example on your part. if they have the same formula (number of winds...same bobbin, wire, and magnet sources...same specs) if so...the pick-up *should* be the same

    I don't believe that is reasonable. why would they change the formula bill made and sell bill lawrence p-ups?

    they were discontinued because they were not popular ...

    i don't think that he was trying to start a fight (calm down) he was just giving another point of view. forums generally allow an exchange of ideas



    and lastly...just so you know. i would order them from BILL directly because it will support him and his efforts directly. but i would not assume that the current manufacturer's efforts are any less in quality. of course with bill DIRECT. you can be ASSURED of the quality
     
  18. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    Since Bill Lawrence's name isn't "Bill Lawrence" (it's Stich), and since Jzchak Wjackman legally acquired the assets & name of Mr. Stich's bankrupt company, it's silly & pointless to argue "who's right".

    The only thing that counts is tone....which do you like better? If your ears are 'happier' with OBL vs. BLUSA, so be it. But it doesn't make anyone "right" or "wrong". There's no "moral high ground" and to argue otherwise is silly.

    Seriously...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  19. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    +1 Thank you.
     
  20. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    It isn't "silly" to debate matters of settled law. People do it all the time.

    Many individuals, including myself, prefer to reward the artisan or designer over and above the business entity insofar as it is practical to do so. Is there any shame in that? Rewarding the artisan tends to lead to more artistry.

    Dimebag used multiple products and didn't differentiate between them. Same with Nuno.

    Personally, I like the L-90.
     

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