Bill Lawrence P-46 Pickup mini review (BEST P Pickup I've EVER tried)!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Quadzilla, Mar 19, 2009.

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  1. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I recently bought a brand new Bill Lawrence P-46 P pickup and installed it in my 78 P. I gotta tell you, this is BY FAR the best damn P pickup I've ever owned (and I've owned or tried just about everything out there over the years including Duncan, Nordstrand, Fralin, etc.

    Nice even tone across all strings. Fat sounding pickup, but with NO loss of clarity and punch. Incredible!!! NOT one of those thin sounding, whimpy, clanky P pickups that I've tried. Massive and defined low end. Most of all....under $65 shipped BRAND NEW!!! Why so cheap? There is no middleman with Bill. And Bill and his wife are the staff. No employees to pay, no big warehouse or office space, etc.

    Bill makes them individually by hand. In case you don't know who Bill Lawrence is, he designed MANY pickup systems for Fender, Gibson and others including the Fender Roscoe Beck Signature model electronics, the Gibby Grabber (or was it the Ripper?) electronics, etc, etc. Bill is THE MAN!

    Oh, the pickup is almost dead silent. Less hum than any other P pickup I've used also!!! And Bill provides detail schematics for the install including series/parallel switching options.


    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to my website -- large size humbuckers, noisefree singles and low capacitance cable with push-on plugs!

    My pickups fulfill the five most important things any player is looking for:Output, Dynamics,Transparency,Versatility and Balanced tonal response.

    Each coil is carefully wound to precise specifications which insures that the coils are free from any internal shorts to guarantee a consistent sound quality AND all pickups are treated with high temperature resistant wax to reduce micro phonic squealing.

    Finally, each pickup has to pass our quality control check.

    We measure the DC and the total resistance, the inductance and the Q Factor; but most importantly, I have developed a system that detects minor shorts or semi-shorts in a coil. These shorts will cause eddy currents to flow in the coil. Eddy currents interfere with the signal, alter the sound reproduction and cause severe losses. All coils must be free of internal eddy current interferences to pass our final inspection.

    Our extremely low prices may surprise you, but there is a simple explanation. First of all, Becky and I are a small family based company, and we operate on a very low budget. We barely spend any money on advertising, and we don't have any paid endorsers. Also, since my days when I mass produced pickups, I still own an enormous amount of high quality tooling and equipment which makes us independent from expensive, outside suppliers.

    We offer a small & well-selected collection of my favorite & original models.

    My philosophy is: if the product is right, the price is right and you treat your customers the way you want to be treated, the word-of-mouth is faster than the speed of sound!

    Our product is our advertisement.
    tomich, PawleeP and violao like this.
  2. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    That's great. I've tried a bass with his J45 jazz style pickups and they were fantastic. I heard the P pickup was equally good. Maybe I'll get off my duff and finally order one.

    By the way, what strings do you use and what styles of music are you playing?

    Keep us updated on how it works out.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    For Gibson he designed the Ripper (L9-S) bass, pickups and electronics, the L6-S guitar, pickups and electronics, the Grabber, the S-1, the Marauder, the Super Humbucker, Thunderbird pickups, etc.

    He did the Roscoe Beck and SCN pickups for Fender.

    He designed instruments for Framus, and I'm pretty sure he did the pickups on the Ampeg Dan Armstrong basses and guitars.

    Bill's the man!
    PawleeP likes this.
  4. NorCal Dog

    NorCal Dog

    Nov 28, 2005
    i bought a P-46 for a project p in the past & it is a great sounding pickup

    if you decide to order one, call Becky, she'll hook you up :)
    PawleeP likes this.
  5. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Can you compare the tone to the Fralin P?
  6. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    They are fairly close, but the Lawrence seems to have just a bit more girth (thicker) tone, but with NO mud. I'd also say that it's slightly more even string-to-string. One other thing that stands out is that is has a very strong bottom end fundamental on low notes (especially drop tunings). Some pickups just lose a lot of the lows if you do drop or lower tunings. This is NOT the case with the P-46.
    waynobass likes this.
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    You know, I haven't run a Lawrence pickup in an instrument in years, but old Bill has been doing this since I've been playing - My guitar player at the time bought Lawrence p'ups for his strat in... '77(?) when we were in a band together...

    Good for Bill. How many guys like him have stuck around like this?
  8. I have one of these in my Fullerton Reissue right now and you are is an amazing sounding pickup. A friend of mine just played that bass and remarked about it being the best vintage sounding pickup he has heard recently. I am going to swap it out only because I want a more traditional looking pickup in the Fullerton but that is the only reason. I will most likely try to find something to put this pickup into.

  9. LuvMusic


    Aug 18, 2007
    Oak Park, IL
    Your thoughts/comparisons to a Lollar split P?

    PawleeP likes this.
  10. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Thanks - I had a P-46 in a 5 string P a while back and it did great with the low B.
  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Heres a sample I did a few years back. Off the cuff and sloppy (so sue me). This was recorded on a Tascam 788, bass direct to recorder. No Eq, no compression, no chops :D

    The P46 is not my all time fav but. It's in the top 3 for me though. It is very close and for the dough - it's a steal...

    I dig the Vintage Vibe, 5% over wound & Alnico magnets the best - Then the Aero Type 1 - Then the P46. The P46 is a tad 'modern' sounding. Very clear, very punchy, very good. I prefer a bit warmer but it is completely a matter of taste at that point. There really isn't a loser in that bunch...
  12. Anyone? I'm real curious to know this too.
  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Wow, thanks for the reminder; his stuff was great back in the day.
    Completely forgot about Bill Lawrence pickups as they sure don't show up in stores or online sellers.
    Be interested to know how the Jazz pups sound compared to Fralin, Nordy, etc.
  14. mgmadian


    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Huh... these pups actually have 5 pole pieces for each pair of strings? Never noticed that before... I wonder what the idea behind that is?
  15. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    More uniform magnetic field over the pickup, especially at the ends. It also allows the pickups to work with 4 or 5 string basses. The J-45 has 9 magnets.
  16. I haven't tried too many brands of Jazz pickups, but the J-45s seem to be different from other jazz pickups in the ways the P-46s differ from other Precision pickups, as Quadzilla described. More fundamental, more clarity, better balance. The J-45s are also noiseless, which is a huge benefit to me. They seem to better translate my technique to the amp. It's a bit difficult to assess output, although it seems to be a little stronger than a classic style Fender pickup. My favorite pickups so far! Keeps the GAS away, at least when it comes to instrument electronics :p
    PawleeP likes this.
  17. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks Derek,
    What other brands did you have in your bass, what amp, and what type of music?
  18. Does anyone know whether the Bill Lawrence Precision and Jazz bass pickups will fit into the standard routs of Fender Precision and Jazz basses without modification? Thanks.
  19. The precision pickup does but I cannot speak for the jazz pickups.
  20. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    There are two lengths of J 45 pickups available that will fit most J bass routes with a few exceptions. If you can somehow find your way through the incredibly complex redesigned website, you can find out which ones. It's on the Wildegate forum if you can find it. The guys who post on that forum are all guitar players and have very little experience with bass pickups, so don't expect much help as far a sound questions go from them.

    Becky at Bill Lawrence will help you determine which ones you need. Best is to talk to her by telephone. I've never had any luck emailing her.
    PawleeP likes this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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