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Bill Lawrence Guitars...

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Last Nerve, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. Last Nerve

    Last Nerve Supporting Member

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    Anybody own one?
    Any comments on them?
    I've found a nice priced Tele and I'm wanting to get some feedback on it.
     
  2. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Which Bill Lawrence - Willy Stich or Bill Lawrence USA?
     
  3. Last Nerve

    Last Nerve Supporting Member

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  4. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I played a SwampKaster Strat at NAMM last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. It had a nice feel and the tones were great, due in part to the L-250 pickups - noiseless blade single coils. They sounded so good that I bought 3 of the pickups right there for $28 each! At that price I couldn't resist. When I put them in my Strat, I was blown away. They're not strictly vintage, slightly more hi fi, but definitely beautiful Strat tones, IMHO. I love them.

    I found the tremolo on the Strat I played was a bit stiff, but you can upgrade the hardware. I could have bought one for about $325, which is a ridiculously low price for a decent guitar like that with great pickups. I didn't play it too long, and was concentrating more on the tones, but the feel was good - it didn't appear cheap or shoddy. I didn't do a thorough analysis, but for the price, you probably can't go wrong.
     
  5. jim lavender

    jim lavender Member

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    I could be wrong but I think Roy Buchanon played Bill Lawrence Teles for a while during the Alligator years. From all I've read they are a great value and I'm considering his p/ups for my Mex Reissue Strats.
     
  6. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm very interested to hear this as well. Obviously, the Bill Lawrence line of pups get huge praise on here so I would assume the guitars are nice for the price. I've got my eye on a used swampcaster... just love that name.
     
  7. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    ive always wanted to try one of these, but i keep hearing such varying opinions.. some say they are great but then you those other who say they are complete crap... its a tough call
     
  8. rdamato

    rdamato Supporting Member

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    I have his pups in all of my guitars and they are really great. Low noise, vintage vibe and really cheap to boot!
     
  9. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, it's similar to me with those GFS / Xaviere guitars. I have some GFS pups and they are pretty nice, amazing for the price. Looks like they have ventured into building partscaster territory and you assume they know what they are doing. But, w/o being able to play one and buying blindly your never sure what you are going to get. I'm speaking more about the expensive models (which seem to be priced to move as far as I'm concered). This one caught my eye:
    Oh SNAP!!! They are gone! There was a killer looking Tele on their site for around $300 but I guess that model is discontinued (XV-800???). Anyway, even these cheapies look pretty sick:
    http://store.guitarfetish.com/xaxvandxvgu.html
     
  10. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Is this a Swampkaster or an actual Tele that says Bill Lawrence on it?
    Love to see a picture. I had a Tele that said Bill Lawrence on it once and had a regular Fender style Tele headstock. It was an awesome Tele with very strong Tele sounds in the Bridge, very fun and good sounding guitars.
    I believe though it was build not by Bill and Becky but by the other dude. (I got some angry emails once when I had it on ebay from bill and becky)
     
  11. guitarmook

    guitarmook Member

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    Those blade 250 pickups ARE really good. I have them in 2 guitars and really like them.

    Never played a swampkaster, but have always been curious.
     
  12. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    Do a Usenet search... somebody on either alt.guitar or rec.music.makers. guitar had a big problem with them...

    Apparently the guy ([SIZE=-1]Jzchak Wajcman[/SIZE]) who claims the rights to use the BL name has them imported from Asia. There have been some quality issues, but check for yourself.

    By the way, search this forum... there was an instance of Wajcman himself logging in as a third-party to slam Bill Lawrence. I'd really question doing business with this guy....
     
  13. rooster

    rooster Member

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    FWIW, I deal with Bill and Becky extensively. I won't deal with the other guy. It's kind of like this: if Henry J. left G*bson, and started up a new company, would you go running to him for his newest creation? If Tom Anderson had left Schecter back in the 80s and started up his own new company, would you go running to him for his newest creation?

    Well, I'd hope to hear the answers, "no" and "yes" in that order. Bill (Willi Stich, of Bill & Becky) is basically like Anderson was with Schecter. The other guy (Wajcman) was basically in Henry J's job. Personally, I'll stick with Bill & Becky, 4 guitars equipped with their stuff, and I've been happy every time.

    rooster.
     
  14. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    where do you recommend ordering a swampkaster from?
     
  15. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Here's the link for the SwampKaster T...

    http://www.billlawrenceusa.com/swampkaster/swampkaster_t.htm

    As far as who to do business with, I've done business with both and had a great experience with both. I don't think there's a bad guy here. BL USA still makes the same pickups as when Willy was with them. Willy, aka Bill Lawrence, makes new stuff, so you have more choices with him, but I'm telling you that the 3 x L-250s I got - that's right, 3 of the same exact pickup in each location on my Strat - are really great pickups, and have replaced the DiMarzio Area pickups I had, which were also great - I just personally prefer the L-250s, YMMV.
     
  16. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    If you're getting the "SwampKaster" you get it from Wacjman (billlawrenceusa.com).

    Bill and Becky Lawrence (billlawrence.com) only sell pickups, not guitars.
     
  17. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    I almost forgot... this may or may not be important to you, but SwampKasters are made somewhere in Asia. The web site seems to imply otherwise, but if you get one the import sticker will tell you where it was made.
     
  18. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    IIRC, the tech at the BL USA booth said he assembles them and sets them up. If they are made in Asia, that's not necessarily something bad. It's not like Asians don't know how to make good products. But keep in mind that the low price means there may be some compromises.
     
  19. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    hmm.. I'm just afraid to buy one of these unplayed... the price is right, which scares me...lol
     
  20. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    I agree on the point that it's Asian-made... I love my MIJ Strat. The problem many people have with Wacjman is that he goes to great lengths to imply things that aren't so.

    They may now be assembled in the US, but they weren't a few years ago, and it ticked off some people who saw "USA" on the headstock and all over the website.

    Like I mentioned, I'm 98% sure (and you can judge for yourself) that Wacjman posted here, pretending to be a supporter of himself. Here's the thread, with his post #28 and my response, #33:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=128520&page=2

    He used to get caught doing it all the time on Usenet guitar groups. That right there has turned me off ever doing business with the guy. YMMV.
     

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