It seems like most guitar players will immediately know the Bill Lawrence L-500XL as mainstays for Dimebag Darrell and Nuno Bettencourt. And they’d be right. I have a few of that model and can definitely say they can deliver exactly what you’d expect from them.
The L-500 series is also known for being transparent and versatile. When you check out the different styles of a player like Nuno, he can stretch from funk to pop to hard rock. All with the same guitar and the same pickup.
And that’s what led me to the L-500C for an option for a neck pickup. It seems as if with the L-500 series that you get the same qualities, just at different output level. The L-500C being on the lower end, then up through the L-500R, L-500L and L-500XL. Many players really like the L-500R for a neck pickup and after trying the L-500XL and the now the L-500C, I might have to give that one a go as well.
I’ve been searching for some options for a big hunk of mahogany singlecut guitar with a mahogany neck and a rosewood board. Once again, I’ve had no problem at all with the bridge position, but I keep finding many neck options that result in too much girth. And that’s just the situation with this guitar, and not that the pickups are the culprit. But still, I keep looking. lol!
In this scenario, I do find that the L-500C is open and airy and transparent. The twin blade design not only covers any potential dead spots, but also balances the magnetic pull so that lead and solo work delivers plenty of sustain along with an even and balanced tone. It does really let the qualities of the guitar speak, more than color the tone…so you end up with a nice rich mahogany tone coming through.
But, you say, what about all the challenges with the boomy low end? Well, I reply, the L-500C actually sits right up there at the top of the heap with the pickups I’ve tried that can keep the low end together. Only a few pickups have done this to a degree anywhere near the goal.
This is wired up to a push/pull for series parallel. At the lower output on a clean amp tone, I find that it’s pretty darned clean in series mode. Something I’ve seen on other lower output pickup when going to parallel is that they can really start to wimp out and be a little understated or struggle to deliver any push. The L-500C transcends that quality and delivers enough presence (if that’s the word) to provide an even cleaner sound without having to wear yourself out by picking so much harder. I find that this yields more dynamics.
series – 6.17k
split north – 3.09k
split south – 3.07k
parallel – 1.54k
Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas