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Bill Lawrence no-noise Tele pickups - can someone summarize these?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by DHart, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I've spent some time on the Wilde website trying to learn about the differences in their no-noise pickups, but the informative qualities of their website is lacking a good bit.

    For the Tele neck position, we have:
    L-280TN
    L-200TN
    L-202TN

    My impression is that the L-280TN is their primary no-noise neck pickup for Tele. But there is also the L-200TN and the L-202TN. How do these pickups differ? Do they make other Tele neck position noiseless pickups also?

    And for the Tele bridge position, we have:

    L-290TL
    L-200TL
    L-298TL

    How do these differ?

    If anyone can offer a rundown on these pickups, I would sure be thankful - and I'm sure many others would benefit from the summary, as well.

    Thank you.
     
    highwaycat likes this.
  2. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    653
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    DHart likes this.
  3. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Thank you hopdybob! That will help me know the line better.

    I still hope that someone with good knowledge of Bill Lawrence pickups may chime in here to offer a concise run down on the products.
     
  4. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    The L202TN is the same pickup as the L200, which was available earlier. It’s a covered version with somewhat less inductance, but they’re both using Alnico 2 poles. The L280 is considerably more versatile, has greater body and more sensitivity, but takes more to effort to get classic Fender inbetweens, etc. It uses ceramic in the magnetic design.

    The L290L is the same design as the L280 (it wasn’t exactly the same years ago) with more inductance than the L280L that was offered, which was most players’ preference. The L298TL goes even higher inductance, losing versatility, but giving tremendous lows. It also uses Alnico 8 as the permanent magnet (paired with steel poles) to make it easier to get bell tones and classic inbetweens — basically the direction many players want out of “overwound” pickups, but it stays clear, like the rest of the line.
     
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  5. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Are the Keystones also "no-noise" (no hum)?

    And, the micro coils - are they no-hum also?

    Kind of wacky that their website doesn't mention these things, or describe the differences between their various pick up options. With just a little effort, they could offer much better descriptions of the pickup differences.
     
    PhatBoy likes this.
  6. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    653
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    wildegate forum has some enthusiast members (some hang around here to)that could help you out but it would help if you could specify what you want from a pickup.
    keystone pure single coil and are low noise not noiseless

    micro's are even more low noise and still single coil.

    all Bill designs are that you have the most versatile pickup IN THE CHAIN off the whole setup.

    i could explain it with a tribute G&L asat special. man it had power, it had some kind of voicing, that i could not alter much. it had an inbuilt character.
    with Bill design you can go different characters with use off the whole chain. his pickups give you what your playingstyle, your strings, your guitar will give you, and than you start voicing it to the character you need.
     
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  7. reactor99

    reactor99 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    48
    16
    Jan 1, 2017
    Georgia, USA
    The 200/202 are supposed to give you more of a vintage 50's sound. 280 is less vintage but more versatile. It might take more playing around with the height to get the sound you want (this is secondhand info, I don't have one).

    If your bridge plate is regular steel, you probably want to stick to the 200TL or 48TL (which also is noiseless). There are reports that the 280TL, 290TL, & 298TL are designed for stainless steel or brass bridges and can cause squeal with a steel unit when you crank it up.

    The 48TL is a newer design with lots of treble. It's a sibling of the L-45 strat pickup.

    I have a 202TN and think it's great. Also got the 48 and I'm still deciding whether I like or love it. Might go with the 200 bridge eventually (I like vintage). Wildes are very clear and responsive; I actually bought a Squier just so I could try more of Bill's designs!
     
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  8. srolfeca

    srolfeca Tele-Meister

    I have the neo adjustable-pole Microcoils in a Thinline.

    I would put them in the "amazing for true single coils" category when it comes to noise rejection. They are about as quiet a regular set of PAF humbuckers, but with the most bell-like, singing single-coil tone you could wish for.

    Still, in a serious rejection test (I could hold my Kinman-equipped Strat up to the ballast on a fluorescent fixture without getting any noise), they do let some noise through.

    If that's what you're looking for, I would go to one of the noiseless sets.
     
    DHart likes this.
  9. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    Yes, only the noisefree singles have the humcanceling coil needed to reduce 60 Hz hum. The Keystones are a little less noisy than the average Fender-style pickup, and the microcoils are radically better at avoiding it through small coil size, but you can't really eliminate it without that 2nd coil.

    Here's a piece Bill wrote on noise sources: http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/Pickupology/External Interference.htm
     
    DHart likes this.
  10. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Thank you, folks, for the input. I have a better sense of what some of the Bill Lawrence pickups are all about now.

    My experience with pickups has led me to my appreciation of AlNiCo magnets vs. ceramic. The few ceramic magnet pickups that I’ve had did not sound rich, clear, and articulate. I didn’t like them, and that has tainted (to some degree) my view of pickups with ceramic magnets in them.

    It certainly could be, though, that my impression doesn’t hold true across all pickups with ceramic magnets.

    So, hearing that the L-280Tn uses a ceramic magnet does give me some pause.... perhaps I should ignore my previous experience with ceramic magnet pickups and go with a 280 neck position anyway.

    Or is there a Bill Lawrence tele-sized neck pickup that is noiseless, clear, articulate, and rich that uses an AlNiCo magnet?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  11. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    The L200/202 is available as a Tele neck. I understand the prejudice against ceramics, and Bill's pickups are totally different than other ceramic-based designs you would have experience with, but if you're looking for Alnico-poled it's easy just to start from there.
     
  12. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ
    All of his pickups are clear, rich, etc, just with some being closer to the limits of what's possible than others. The microcoils and the twin blades could be considered the "highest performance" pickups, with the Keystones being the closest to conventional.
     
  13. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Thanks Derek... I appreciate that.

    If you had to make a recommendation for a no-hum set of Tele pickups from Wilde... what would they be? Keeping in mind that I like rich, articulate clarity and sparkly brightness.

    I'm not sure how to interpret "high performance" as a descriptor of a pickup. Can you elaborate on that?
     
  14. I always take the easy path to wisdom of Bill's pickups. Just call and talk to Becky, Bill's wife, at Wilde pickups. No one knows more about them and she has never steered me wrong on all their amazing pickups.

    Eric
     
    DHart likes this.
  15. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Wow... the Microcoils aren't noiseless pickups, but they are about as "no-hum" as a PAF humbucker? That's impressive. Given your description of their tone, I might easily be able to tolerate the noise-level that you describe!
     
  16. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Thanks Eric... this will be the step I take before ordering. I like to learn as much as I can in advance of making the call, so I can make the most of the conversation.
     
    eallen likes this.
  17. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

    Sep 7, 2008
    Princeton, NJ

    Depends on whether you're committed to poles or not. Given you're unsure about going with a pickup that uses ceramic (L280/290), the best bridge would be the L48TL (the L298 being much less versatile), which will pair well with the L202 (Alnico 2 poles, which you were asking about). If you're willing to go with a Strat-sized pickup, you may consider the L45.

    By high performance, I mean being able to maximize the delivery of changes in tone and dynamics to the amp, general clarity, overall frequency response, strong representation of the note fundamental, etc. The microcoils are on par with the twin blades in terms of clarity and responsiveness, but because of basic design differences, they're two types of great. The microcoils do have about the hum level of a PAF and arguably less noise from other sources. They're my personal favorites, but they're not unanimously loved across the forum or anything like that :lol: The bridge pickup won't satisfy someone with conservative Tele tastes, but it brings out what I want to hear from a Tele. The neck pickup is as clear as could be too, which makes it a big departure from the old Tele neck pickups with the metal covers. Tele players tend to be less committed to the covered neck tones and more concerned with the bridge pickup. If you go with the micros, just have fun and experiment with pickup heights, amp settings, etc. You'll probably find plenty you appreciate.
     
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  18. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    653
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    the pickups in my puzzle caster (see avatar)are a strat L280N at neck and strat l200 (n) in de bridge.
    i love the l280, and i think you don't hear the ceramic magnets. i prefer the L280 above the l200.
    the l45 is brighter in my ears, but has a softer attack, almost acoustic.

    don't forget, ceramic is not bad. Bill made the humbuckers for the L6s and santana called that guitar his rainbow, and the humbuckers were made with ceramic.
    i think Bill would have made a good pickup with every magnet type because he understood what materials are made off and their influences.
     
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  19. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

    I believe incarnations of the L500 over the years have used ceramic magnets too. It's all good -- it's the whole circuit not the magnet per se that determines the sound.
     
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  20. srolfeca

    srolfeca Tele-Meister

    When Derek talks about maximizing the delivery of changes in tone and dynamics and responsiveness, I think he nails what the Micros are about.

    If I have my Wilde lore right, the Neo magnet version with the adjustable height pole pieces was Bill's final, upgraded design. There is also a non-adjustable version, with Alnico magnets.

    Some people describe the alnico microcoils as sounding a little more conventional, but I haven't been able to find any back to back comparisons.

    That said, I love the touch response with the adjustable version. Adjustments to pick attack come through much more strongly than with regular pickups.

    I found them a little intimidating at first, because of the dynamic range and clarity. However, it only took a couple sessions to get used to it, and now I love the way I can vary my tone without touching the controls on my amp or the guitar.
     
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