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Anybody Using Bill Lawrence Jazz Pups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jim C, Apr 1, 2009.


  1. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    And if so, do you like them?
    Can you described the sound and/or how they compare to a stock Fender or Dimarzio Model J?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    There's a guy here by the handle of "Chucko58" who's used the Bill Lawrence J-45 pickups, and likes 'em. Looks like Chuck hasn't been on TalkBass for a few months, but you could always look up his profile and shoot him an email. Chances are he'd tell you what he knows...

    MM
     
  3. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks
    Sent Bill Lawrence / Wilde pickups an email on Monday and hadn't received a response
    Called them today, got voice mail, but the mailbox was filled
    That doesn't sound good
     
  4. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Used a J-45 for ages. Great pickup, quiet, very full and extended without any harshness. I think he must be using an aircoil to get that response. Seems to be about as unfussy about string spacing as a blade too. Bill Lawrence is a god among pickup designers, a lot of brands have set up house after learning at his feet. He's getting old, but still in the game.
     
  5. Hey Jim C, sorry I didn't reply in the other thread. Just saw your question now!
    I've played around with primarily Fender's Original Jazz Bass and the Custom Shop '60s in my own bass, as well as vintage pickups in others' basses. Compared to these, the J-45 has more fundamental, more clarity, better balance, and more easily translates changes in technique. Noiseless performance is a huge plus. I've tried offerings from Aero, Bartolini, SD, Duncan, and a few others, and was never in love. If I didn't find what I wanted in Bill Lawrence, I'd probably look into Delano's bladed designs, Villex, or Q-tuners, but the J-45's poled design gets me what I like from the traditional jazz bass sound with the full, extended sound I'd look for in a "modern" design.

    I like clean, full tone, and until recently played through my studio setup at home to get a relatively uncolored amplification. In the past, I've used a variety of heads and cabinets from Ampeg, SWR, and Eden. I picked up a Genz Benz Shuttle 12.0 MAX when it came out earlier this year and play it through a Bergantino AE 210. Definitely a lot more color than a studio setup, but still sounds clear and full. I love the Berg but can see myself building greenboy's fEarful 15/6 in a month or two :D

    I suppose I play rock, but I try to remain as versatile as possible for dense mixes involving layered effects, walls of distortion, or heavy varied instrumentation. I end up playing a lot of cello pieces on bass (cello is my "first language") and arranged piano pieces with friends on guitar. Translating nuances really helps with phrasing and contrast in general. I find having a clear tone with everything there keeps you from needing to turn up the volume or cut through the mix to be heard. Pretty optimal for my needs.
     
  6. Yup! He also uses winders he modified to avoid pressure points in coils, causing shorts/eddy currents. I visited his shop in California in the fall and saw them in action :smug: Hand-winders run their machines slow to help avoid shorts - similar result, just not as consistent coil-to-coil. The coil form is smaller and uses finer wire than standard jazz pickups, which contributes to the cleaner sound. You might be interested to know the poles are permalloy, which plays a large part in the J-45's sensitivity.
     
  7. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yep, they seem to be more responsive than a lot of pickups in that regard, and I think it's because they don't exaggerate one region of the spectrum while being deficient in another, and they seem to have more dynamic range.

    A lot of people are taken in by the visual thang of some real fat slugs on the FE Delanos, but the bladed ones are really good pickups. I consider them very high on the list of pickups that sound very full yet have detail and top as well. Kinda like taking the Barts that are fuller sounding and mixing them with the Barts that have more articulation and mixing them together, and a lot more output too.

    Can't speak on the Villex, but once I got the J-style Q-Tuner it was all over. It's kind of like a Lawrence J-45 that has more output. It's got it all, louder. Which was a consideration because I liked the Lawrence but my V-Bass needed something with a little more output to layer to best effect with the signal that was coming off the GK-3B. I ended up with Q-Tuners for my fretless six after that. I doubt I'll ever swap another pickup in or out of either bass, now.

    From what you said about amps and cabs and effects and layering, I think you will love the fEarful!
     
  8. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks boys.
    Does the Lawrence have any issues with high magnetic field and string pull?
    Have been using Fender Lace Sensors which sustain for days but don't have enough output.
    Also, would these be a good choice for use with either an SVT through an EV 1x5 with vented midrange or Trace through a Berg 322?
     
  9. All of Bill's pickups have very little string pull compared to standard designs. You can adjust the bridge pickup pretty close to the string if your technique allows and you like that tone.

    I''d say they're a good choice for any setup, really. Can you play the SVT through the Berg? That might be pretty amazing :eek:
     
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Derek/Greenboy -

    Are either of you guys playing the J-45 passive - without onboard preamp? If so, wouldn't the relatively modest output be a non-issue with a pre?

    Also, have either of you ever tried the Sadowsky hum-canceling Js? If so, how does the J-45 compare with it in balance & output? (I'm guessing the Sadowskys would be a little hotter, but a little more scooped?)

    Can the J-45s get phat & warm, as well as clean? How do they sound wired in series?

    Thanks,

    MM
     
  11. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    So now it's Friday night and still no email repsonse from Monday and today their voice mailbox is now allowing for messages
    Didn't get a call back from todays message at about noon their time

    They make it hard to buy thse pickups and my three messages have been that I wanted to place an order.
    Maybe it will happen next week.
    How much does a pair of J pickups sell for?
     
  12. MysticMichael - I use them passive. They have a stronger voltage output than traditional designs but nothing close to what I would call "high output". Lots of people seem to use them with preamps with no difficulty. Sadowsky uses pickups derived from DiMarzio's Ultra Jazz model, which he mentions about 4 minutes into this video. I have no substantial experience with them.

    The J-45s are clean by default. Warm is more subjective, but I feel they are, although not in the way a very colored pickup would be - generally by lacking highs or having exaggerated responses in other places. The bridge position sounds considerably stronger and fuller than in other sets while balancing well with the neck. I play with the bridge over half the time now, whereas I'd only use it by necessity before. I would not consider their general voicing as being fat, but can easily get it by playing closer to the neck, especially with coloration from amplification through tubes, EQ, or a particular cabinet.

    The J-45s use three wires like some single coils, so you can't do any wiring tricks. I would use a capacitor on a switch in parallel to drop the resonance lower if you find they sound too bright or simply want another option for distorted tones, etc. This better preserves the highs by not changing the inductance as a series/parallel switch would and keeps away mud. I would recommend the same if you try them first and find you want a darker sound when they're both full on. I could help you with capacitor values later if this interests you.


    Jim C - I paid $60 each, so $120 for the set. I tried giving them a call today as well without getting through. They're generally pretty good about calling people back when they're able. I know they're in the final stages of readying their new offerings, which might be taking up all their time. Hope they're doing well!
     
  13. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Bill Lawrence can be hard to contact by email. I've tried a few times and never got a response. I did get through by telephone directly to Becky Lawrence a couple times though. I think that's your best option.

    From what I've heard from the J45 pickups (i've tried a couple basses using them) they are worth the hassle of trying to order. What Derek says about them is right on. Their P 46 pickup is great too.

    If you try a pair of the J45s and don't like them, you'll have no trouble selling them.
     
  14. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Bump!

    MM
     
  15. Tim Marshall

    Tim Marshall

    May 26, 2012
    I have the p46 in my p bass and i don't think ill ever take it out, the tone is there, the 5 percent over is good, all across the neck everything is there. best pickup i have ever used. The hunt is over. just as soon as the j45's come in, they will be in my jazz, and i am sure the hunt will be over for the jazz bass.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016

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