feedback on bill lawrence L200, anyone ?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Marcello, Oct 25, 2005.


  1. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    Haven't find any reviews of the new L200 from Bill Lawrence. They're supposedly closer to 'real' strat tone. Anyone tried them ?

    Thanks
     
  2. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I'm using his strat-style L280 pickups if that's what you mean.
     
  3. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    The L200 is a new pup from Bill Lawrence supposed to be more strat like than the L280-S
     
  4. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Anyone know if it's the same pickup as Fender's SCN?
     
  5. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    what's your take on the 280s, i read contradictory reviews, too hifi, no quack, etc...
     
  6. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    They sound good individually and mediocre in combinations.

    So on a standard 5 pos strat switch, positions 1,3 & 5 sound good and positions 2 & 4 are mediocre and a bit dull sounding.

    Another drawback is that they seem to lack bass response so they sound a bit thin.

    I think they distort better and have more of the Jimi vibe than the other noiseless pickups I've tried. However, the SCN pickups seem to have a better tone in positions 2 & 4

    My conclusion: I like them but I'm considering switching to a set of non hum cancelling pickups ...
     
  7. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I just did a bunch of research and bought an L200 set for my strat. According to the Lawrences, the the L200 and the SCN are similar but not identical. The L200 uses some version of alnico while the SCN's use samarium cobalt magnets and Fender had a hand in their development. I had L280's and found them to be good pickups but they weren't close enough to authentic SC's for me. Overall they were a bit TOO even and hi-fi. The neck pickup wasn't hollow enough, and the 2&4 postions didn't have enough quack. At the time Bill was saying how his pickups were identical to vintage SC's with no modifications unlike the older Dimarzio virtual vintages that required you to install 500k pots. Guess what? Not only were they NOT identical to real SC's (close but not close enough) but now I read that Bill recommends 500k pots for more Quack from the L280s:rolleyes: Anyway, I tried a strat with SCN's and that was enough to sway my decision. Those pickups sound MUCH closer to the real deal especially in the 2 & 4 position. I figure the L200's should be at least as good as the SCN's and for $40 a piece they are a bargain.

    Here's a website dedicated to BL's pickups. Lots of good info:

    http://p082.ezboard.com/fguitarsbyfenderfrm8

    Here's some of the stuff I got from the site:

    Bill Lawrence Designs
    1785 Pomona Road, Unit D
    Corona, CA 92880
    Tel: 951-371-1494 / Fax: 951-371-9191
    Toll-Free: 877-647-2651.
    becky@billlawrence.com

    $40.00 for one L-200S / L-280S / L-290S / L-200 TN / L-280TN
    $48.00 for one L-298S / L-200TL / L-290TL / L-298 TL

    #1. Our Classic L-280 is probably the most versatile pickup and functions well in most guitars and with most amps. Using different height adjustments and an assortment of amp settings, the L-280 can reproduce a wide range of sounds, especially if the player uses a variety of right hand techniques.

    #2. The "NEW" L-200 is quite different. While the L-280 reproduces a very linear harmonic spectrum, the L-200, with some dips in the lower midrange and some nice peaks in the upper midrange, gives you a more "Stratty" sound without losing that certain sweetness.

    #3. Finally.... the"NEW" L-298 is "The Work Horse of our Noisefree Singles". It performs at its best in the lead position where you need rich lows, combined with a good amount of bite, without getting muddy or harsh.

    Both the 200's and 298's feature a new circuit design that employs alnico 8 magnets. 200's and 280's are variants on the same theme. The tone of 200's is more focused, while the tone of 280's is broader range and more versatile. The downside of the added versatility is that some players find it hard to dial in the classic tone they're after – it's definitely there, but it's part of a broader palette – and is more the case with the Strat PU’s than the Tele PU’s. L-200’s In principle, are less balanced than the L-280's, which come off as being too "hi-fi" to some players. To my ears, the L-280's are great Strat pickups, but the L-200's are a nice alternative to have for those that want more of a '50s voicing. 200's can also be seen as Bill's direct sales equivalent of the Fender SCN's he designed for Fender's Am Dlx Se. That's their tonal ballpark.

    For the most part, 298’s essentially replace 290’s in the range, but the 290 bridge pups remain to mate with 280’s, etc. I suspect that fans of the traditional Strat bridge-middle setting might find it harder to dial in with the 298 in the bridge. 298’s are more P-90ish than 290’s, and the 298L’s are designed to be especially versatile when used in conjunction with the Q-Filter. The 298TL is also squeal resistant when installed in a vintage Tele bridge, and I’m sure many will find the 298TL with Q-Filter to be the ultimate Tele bridge pup. Like a full set of 290’s, a set of 298’s isn’t pure Fender – the 298’s even less so.

    There is also a 200TL and 200TN set, a 298TL (can’t recall about TN; the 290TN has been dropped), and I can't remember whether the 220's are offered in T versions, but I doubt it. The 298TL is designed to eliminate squeal when installed in a vintage style bridge.
     
  8. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Hmmm - I have to say I disagree that the SCN's are much closer. I don't think they have the proper SC vibe for the individual pickups. I think they are overly bright. IMO, this is what makes them sound better than typical noiseless pickups in positions 2 & 4 but it's also their failing because they sound buzzy when distorted and they are way too bright to capture the vintage SC vibe.

    The SCNs are definitely a better pickup for rhythm though. The 280s are too dark in 2 & 4 for funky stuff.

    Bottom line - Stick with single coils if you're going after the vintage vibe.
     
  9. Ed Rembold

    Ed Rembold Member

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    As a long time Bill Lawrence customer, I too have been curious about the new L200's.

    I personally have found the 280's to be a very nice, even-sounding SC-sized pickup.

    The even frequency response of the 280 could give the impression of "soft bass" and even soft little "E" .

    I also feel the 280 lacks percussive attack of a true single coil.

    However, for PC-based recording purposes, the 280's lack of noise and hum, is pretty hard to ignore.

    With these thoughts in mind, I'm going to try an L200 for the neck and middle of my shop-strat.
    (it has a BL 460XL in the bridge, and that's Never coming out)

    Thanks, Ed R.
     
  10. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Points taken JZ. But the fact remains that the L200's are not exactly like the SCN's so until I receive them I won't know how they stack up. I did not find the SCN's to be overly bright but I did feel that the neck pickup was a bit thin (bass shy). On the BL site I posted the consensus seems to be an L280 for the neck and bridge (or 290 for a hotter bridge) with an L200 in the middle. This would seem to jive with what your saying and give you good individual sounds in the neck and bridge with a brighter, "quackier" tone in combination with the middle pickup.
     
  11. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Please update the group when you get them. I've considered a 290 in the bridge to be able to get a hotter lead sound. I loved the 280s at first but now when I compare them to my hamer with run of the mill SD single coils, the SD pickups have way more jimi-vibe. The other factor that I've not explored too much is pickup height. Mine are adjusted pretty low and the output seems pretty wimpy.

    Are you going with 3 L200 pickups? I'll be very interested in the results...
     
  12. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I have ordered 2 L200's for neck and mid with a 290 in the bridge. IMO the place where ALL noiseless SC's shine is in the bridge position. To my ears, regular SC's sound like **** in the bridge and the less glassy noiseless pickups are a major improvement. So even if I had a mega-dollar guitar with $300 boutique SC's I would still use a noiseless PUP in the bridge. I have tried mini humbuckers like the Duncan JB jr. and I found them to be way too hot, harsh and overly midrangey.

    Definitely mess with the pickup height. One of the cool things about BL PUP's (and most other noiseless designs) is that they have significantly less magnetic pull so they can be adjusted very close to the strings without affecting sustain or pitch. There is much tonal variety to be found here. I adjust the neck and bridge pickups fairly close to the strings while paying close attention to volume balance between them. Then I adjust the middle pickup for maximum quack in the 2 & 4 positions. Usually the sweet spot for the middle pickup is lower in comparison to the height of the neck and mid.
     
  13. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I think I'm going to try a 290 in the bridge and a 200 in the middle. That may be the ticket...:)
     
  14. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    Great info guys thanks!
     
  15. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I don't mean to be cynical but you really can't believe reviews. One person's perception of "stratty" is completely different than another's . I'm convinced that if you really want SRV or Jimi tones you just have to put up with the noise.

    What's acceptable to each individual is a matter of personal taste and how much original vibe you're willing to sacrifice for hum cancellation.

    Heck, I've even reviewed the L280s as having the single coil vibe but the more you play with something, the more its inherent limitations come into play. That's why you can't believe the typical harmony-central review written by someone who has had their new guitar or amp for 15 minutes! :)
     
  16. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    When I first got my L280's I was blown away. Then my buddy came over with his excellent 80's MIJ stock strat and blew my conception of good strat tone through the roof. The 280's could not compete with the authentic QUACK coming from his guitar (think Sultans of swing) I am hoping that the L200 put me in the ball park but I am NOT expecting these pickups to sound like the archetypal strat I hear in my head. That said I AM willing to sacrifice a little authentic vibe for dead silence. Noise has recently become a real issue for me, money is always an issue and the BL PUP's seem to be the best solution to both problems.

    If money is no object then you guys might be interested to know that Suhr guitars is now offering a noiseless system that apparently does deliver PERFECT strat tones. Unfortunately it is proprietary so you'll need to buy a Suhr with the system installed or have an older Suhr retrofitted.
     
  17. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    I'm considering dimarzios Virtual Vintages, they have a good reputation. I'm ok to sacrifice a bit of vintage vibe, i'm sick of noise.
     
  18. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    If you're willing to wait several weeks I think the BL PUP's are a better deal. Very good stratty tone for considerably less than the V.V. I would love for Guitar player to do a shoot out between BL, Dimarzio and Kinman. The tone per dollar ratio might raise a few eyebrows.;)
     
  19. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Not sure about reviews but one other thing I forgot to mention...I heard that BL will be making the SCN pickups available soon...

    What about the Kinmans?
     

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