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help me decide! bill lawrence vs. villex

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by iloveloosey, May 15, 2003.


  1. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    hi, i need the help of any of you talkbassers who have tried either/both bill lawrence pickups and villex. i suspect this is a tall order, as neither is very mass market and seems to be very boutique. what i have is a 91 warwick streamer stage 1 (actually, it's just a "streamer bass", but same thing) that i like the acoustic sound of a lot, but can no longer stand the emg pickup/mec preamp combination (it's p/j). the emgs alone (without the preamp) seem to have a brittle, electronic tone, and i won't really go into the mec preamp (suffice it to say, it's for sale). what i'm looking for is a more natural, organic tone, yet one that still has some raw, funky vibe. i want to represent the acoustic sound of the bass well, but still be able to dial in some balls, if that makes any sense. the bass body is maple, is a neck-through, and has some solid fundamentals, but is also a bit bright because of the maple. of course those warwick mids (the growl) is there as well, although i have a feeling that replacing the emgs will totally change the character of the amplified sound, so i'm stabbing in the dark here. plus, i wouldn't mind staying all passive. which suggests:

    i've got 4 knobs to work with...

    1. villex -- all passive, vol/vol/tone/mid

    2. bill lawrence -- can be passive, ???? (the q-control option is interesting, anyone try it?)

    so, anyone heard these pickups? anyone have any comments? thanks.
     
  2. chucko58

    chucko58

    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I'm a big fan of the Bill Lawrence J-45. I'm sure the P-46 sounds just as good. And it's hard to beat Bill's prices!

    Be sure to tell Bill that you are ordering a P/J combo - normally they don't work well together, but he can do a semi-custom wind that balances correctly.
     
  3. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    yay, a reply! what kind of bass do you use your bl pickups with? how would you say it affects your tone vs your previous pickups? thanks. oh, and what kind of tone control options do you use with them?

    any takers for villex?
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I was interested in the Villex stuff, and emailed then looking for a catalogue. Their website is kind of bare.

    Someone replied saying they didn't have a catalogue, but "we make Jazz, Precision, Music Man, and some Soap Bars, single coils and humbuckers. We will be happy to answer any of your particular questions". I replied with some particular questions, and am still waiting to hear back over a week later.
     
  5. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    actually, i did receive a reply from villex when i wrote. it was:

    I am sure you will love the sound of Villex.

    um, okay. this may/most likely be true. but still, a little more information would have been nice. throw me a bone here.
     
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I agree. I know a nicely designed website takes time money etc, but would it be too much to ask for a single plain page which explains models of pickups produced, prices, options, how to order?

    Why bother to have a website, which lists no information but gives a link to an email address which produces next to no information?
     
  7. chucko58

    chucko58

    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    My J-45s are installed in a Carvin LB76. They have a very nice full-range tone that some might consider bright. It complements the maple and alder construction of the LB76 very nicely. The J-45s are a dramatic improvement over the Carvin J99 pickups, which didn't have enough magnetic field to cover all 6 strings.

    My LB76 has the current active/passive preamp from Carvin. I usually leave it active, and with the tone controls on the bass set flat. In passive mode, the sound loses some of its high-end clarity, but it is still very sweet. I boost the mids at the amp for a nice bit of growl.

    You'll find that Bill and Becky Lawrence are great people to deal with - but don't expect your email to get answered quickly! The best way to talk to them is via phone, on their 800 number.
     
  8. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    thanks! i'm not particularly looking for a bright tone, but i'm going to call the lawrences and see what they have to say.

    villex, anyone?
     
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    William Villex is a man of few words. He is the same to OEMs. He would benefit from a little better marketing, but it takes a special kind of character to develop and go into business selling a pickup. If and when your pickups get a good rep, people will jump through hoops to get them (Lane Poor).

    I do like Villex pickups, but I have never tried Lawrence's pickups so I can't compare. The Villex pickups are very full and meaty. Not overly bright. They somehow have a mid knob, which seems to cut the naturally meaty mids of the pickups.
     
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Maybe he's flat out at full capacity doing pups for Modulus, yourself and other OEM's. So he doesn't feel he 'needs' to do better marketing?

    Either way, I would love to try them out and have asked him for firm quotes on a couple of setups. When you're trying to buy something from someone who doesn't seem to want to sell you it, it's frustrating.
     
  11. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    thanks for the reply. by any chance, would you have a sound clip of the villex pickups that you could share? that would be awesome. also, you might suggest sound samples to mr villex for his website; as he is a man of such few words, the pickups might do the talking for him.
     
  12. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think that he's just a guy of few words. He's not thinking of marketing or that his short replies might be turning people off.

    Anyway, his turnaround time was pretty good. If there are enough people here who want to try the pickups (I'd need at least 4 orders) I'll talk to the man about getting a batch if y'all want to buy them through me. I don't know what kind of pricing he is offering the general public, but I might be able to get a better price for TBers.

    Anyone interested in a Villex order drop me an email, let me know what you are looking for.
     
  13. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    i would be interested in a p/j set. so hopefully there will be enough of us here on talkbass to put this into action. you can email me at

    slinkyjinks@yahoo.com

    thanks
     
  14. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I'm interested in a P/J set also, I'll drop you an email
     
  15. Yamarc

    Yamarc Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    Northville, MI
    William Villex has always been v ery helpful to me. He has answered my e-mails quickly and in decent detail. He custom made me a twin J pup in a MM casing and sent instructions and the pup in very good time. Marc
     
  16. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    tell us about your villex pickup, marc!
     
  17. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'll be getting the MM version this time around meself. I'd love to hear about it.

    Incidentally, William has been very helpful to me, too. But no wasted words. Answered my technical questions and finished with "the best way to understand these pickups is to have a set", which is undeniably true.
     
  18. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Consider me one of the people interested in hearing about them!

    FYI there are sound samples on the Chapman Stick website (www.stick.com) of a Stick with Villex pickups and controls. Not sure if that'll do much to tell you how they'd sound in a bass though.
     
  19. Chrisrm

    Chrisrm Bass Virtuoso Wannabe

    Feb 10, 2002
    Colchester, CT
    Does anyone know what size soapbars he's making. I'd be interested in a EMG DC35 size set, (3.5" x 1.5"). I'm in if they're available.

    Chris

    P.S. Or any other options in that size besides Barts !
     
  20. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    thanks for those samples. you're right, i don't know how much justice they do to the electric bass pickups, but it's great to hear something. and they do sound good.