Lawrence pick up - anyone know what it is?

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
I've had this pickup for around around 20 years and I don't know anything about it. A guy who made a crap guitar for me slapped it in the neck position and I didn't care much about it for a while because I played metal mostly and used the bridge pickup all the time. But later on I discovered that this thing sounded really sweet, just really funky and clean. It could almost get like a Hendrix sound with some distortion. I could probably take it out of the guitar and look more closely at it (which I will be doing probably in the fall when I order an Explorer body for it and my JB) but I don't feel like it right now and I was just wondering if anyone knew anything about this pick up. Whatever it is I'm keeping it because it sounds better than any neck pickup I've had yet. Btw - it looks like an EMG with the all plastic cover, but it's not active. I'd say it's almost definitely lower output than the JB. Oh and yeah it's got some purple spray pain on it hehehe ;)


lawrence.jpg

 

Rick

Senior member
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4,509
It may be a "bill lawrence" pup.  There's some strange story about who is the true bill lawrence.  Just do an internet search, have a beer and you're good for about 3 hours.

That said, I have a bill lawrence tele bridge pup, made by http://www.billlawrence.com/ and it is excellent!
 

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
I've been searching around for the past couple hours and I can't find one that looks like that. Though I did find a site that says they did market some stuff under just the "Lawrence" name. Though maybe it's some sort of fake hehehe. I don't really care, it's just a mystery to me. Even my tech guys who have been doing this stuff for like 30 years or more didn't know what to make of it. I think I need to look under the plastic if that's possible and at the bottom to see what on there. I guess I'm getting the screw driver out.
 

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
OK - I unscrewed it and this is the first time I've seen the back of this thing. Definitely weird.

I'm thinking maybe there'd be some identifying marks or something. No. Not a thing except plastic and a felt-like but I think synthetic type substance:

lawrenceback.jpg
 
N

neilium

Guest
Rick said:
That said, I have a bill lawrence tele bridge pup, made by http://www.billlawrence.com/ and it is excellent!

I've tried and tried to get them to sell me a pickup and Q-filter. E-mails, phone messages. What's the secret?
 

Rick

Senior member
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4,509
I bought mine two years ago.  The secret was that I called them. Bill's wife Becky picked up, took my order and a month later I had my pup.  No problems. It is FANTASTIC!  Clear with twang and nice overdrive on a tube amp.

Maybe they're on vacation?

I think they are small operation give them some time to respond, the tele bridge pup will be worth the wait.
 
N

neilium

Guest
Rick said:
I think they are small operation give them some time to respond, the tele bridge pup will be worth the wait.

I'll try again. I'm not mad. I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It's just funny.
 

stubhead

Senior member
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4,669
Lawrence pickups all around:

FirstAct011.jpg


Bill Lawrence worked at Dan Armstrong's shop in the late 1960's, where he taught Seymour Duncan and Larry DiMarzio how to make pickups (Kent Armstrong is Dan's son, makes 'em now too). He then set up Gibson's Nashville factory in 1974, where he also designed the Gibson L6S - a guy named Paul Reed Smith made great use of the switching he "borrowed" from that. One of Lawrence's business partners stole his name in a crazy legal battle - Bill just doesn't want to spend time in court, he wants to make more new stuff all the time. He also taught George L how to make steel guitar pickups, and solderless cord systems... he moved his shop to California a few years back because he's doing consulting work for Fender, he designed their noiseless single coil pickups and their "S-1" switching system.

If he wanted to spend the rest of his life in court suing people who'd ripped him off, he'd have more money, but he doesn't need it, because he has some proprietary patents on manufacturing processes that means he makes a few pennies from most every electric guitar made in America. The best way to get ahold of them is to call, if you're lucky you can leave a message and they'll call back on their dime, cause Bill can get gassin' away for hours about the old days and all the crazy musicians he's work for or tried to work for - Hendrix, Beck, Clapton, you name it. Fender put him in charge of designing the pickups for both their Eric Johnson and the EVH-branded Eddie Van Halen guitars, and he gave up and blew them off because both those guys are lunatics - don't ask him about  "brown sound" ask him about frequencies.... he's an engineer, not an idiot (that's a quote). To get hold of the real Bill Lawrence:
http://www.billlawrence.com/

The fake Lawrence stuff comes from a guy named "Jzchak Wajcman dba Bill Lawrence Products", it irritates the hell out of Bill because those pickups feed back and hurt his reputation, but again, he's too busy puttering in his workshop to do anything more about it. StewMac was selling the fake Lawrences for a long time, and the thief still sells them on Ebay. Seymour Duncan just recently put out their "Dimebucker" which is a direct ripoff of the killer Lawrence L500 humbucker  (see above picture) - $94 for a Duncan fake or $56 for a real Lawrence.  :icon_scratch:

That one you have could be just about anything, he's made hundreds of different pickups over the years. He's still putting out his own pickups at about 2/3 the cost of the ones Fender, Duncan and others copied from him, I guess because he's got a building full of manufacturing equipment, it keeps his (young) wife busy and he just likes musicians. It's kind of weird, he has done more to advance pickup technology than anybody since Seth Lover and you see the Bardens & Kinmans & Lollars selling for so much, but he just doesn't care - maybe I'll be the same way after my first few million too.  :toothy10:

P.S. Here's a blurb about the work he did for Fender:
http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/SCNHistory.htm
 

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
Yeah searching around I pretty much read about all of that stuff. Still can't find any info or pictures of the weirdo pickup I've got. I don't think it's worth bugging them about. I guess it's just the mystery Lawrence. I'd love to know what it is exactly for the hell of it, but I guess it's not that important. I think it sounds good so... it's going in a future Explorer build, that's all I know.
 

CD

Senior member
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573
The Dimebucker is actually slightly hotter output with a tweaked EQ compared to the Bill Lawrence XL-500.
 

-CB-

Senior member
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5,427
Listen folks... I've spoken with Bill, and Becky... Bill is the REAL deal.  You call, about half the time you gotta leave a message.  But.. sometimes (and I got lucky I think) Bill HisSelf answers the phone.  Becky - ususally - gets things out pretty quick.  Sometimes I guess ya just have to wait for odd items.  Never had an issue with his stuff.  He's into any sort of magnet that gets the job done, magnetic routing and magnetic circuits (how the magnetism goes round and round), where that magnetism hits the strings and how that field interacts with the coil.... don't ask him.  TRUST ME DONT ASK HIM!!!!  You'll be glad its HIS dime.
 

Music Man 91

Senior member
Messages
117
wow, he seems like such a down-to-earth guy. i have a strat with his pickpus and s-1 switching. man, that baby sings :icon_biggrin: i wonder how much he charges for his one-off pickups...
 

-CB-

Senior member
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5,427
i think that pickup is from "the other guys", as he doesn't put his engraved name on things
 

GoDrex

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3,619
ok cool - now maybe I'm getting somewhere...

http://www.billlawrenceusa.com/ - - you mean that company?
 

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
Yeah so? I'm just trying to figure out what the heck mine is. I don't care if it's fake, real or made by Lawrence of Arabia. :p
 

Shmoopie

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1,582
whats the dif with the FAKE!!!
the $54 price tag makes me think the dif can be overlooked.

http://www.aampselectricguitarstore.com/bill_lawrence_pickups/bill_lawrence_l500xl.html
 

-CB-

Senior member
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5,427
Lawrence of Arabia pickups... got tone?  Smuggled into Vienna by way of Istanbul?  Potted in... I dunno what, but it reeks!
 
N

neilium

Guest
Sir? SchmoopY said:
whats the dif with the FAKE!!!
the $54 price tag makes me think the dif can be overlooked.

http://www.aampselectricguitarstore.com/bill_lawrence_pickups/bill_lawrence_l500xl.html

The original is $4 cheaper.
 
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