I have four of these pickups that I acquired from different places over the last 16 years: Stewart-MacDonald, a music store, and two used ones from Used Gear By Mail. They ranged in price from $20-$40. I have three of them in a Fernandes Strat copy and one in the neck position of a home made guitar (with a full size Schaller humbucker in the bridge position). I bought them because I wanted pickups that would sound like single coils but without the hum.
These are the L-250's made by the Bill Lawrence Guitar Pickup Company out of California. This is the company that Bill Lawrence (whose real name is Willi Stich) started many years ago, and used to be called Lawrence Sound Research. Bill has not been part of the company since 1984 - it has been run since then by one of his original partners. This model has been in production since at least the early 80's because they are mentioned (with photo) in "Guitar Electronics for Musicians" that was published in 1983.
These L-250's are single coil size humbuckers, with a single blade instead of polepieces. The coils are wound vertically and placed on either side of the blade, not on top of each other.
Even though these pickups are humbuckers, they really nail the single coil sound! They are clear and punchy, sensitive to picking technique, and reproduce harmonics beautifully. The in-between pickup settings on my Strat offer all the funky sounds of a single coil equipped guitar. These pickups have a little more output than the stock single coils and have a little more warmth. The bridge pickup is much fatter sounding than the stock pickup. I actually use it by itself now!
I play rock, blues, jazz, latin (Santana) and these pickups work well for every style. Overdriven or clean, they sound great.
There is nothing that I do not like about these pickups.
These pickups are built like a tank. The coils are embedded in epoxy (?) in the cover so they are essentially one-piece construction. No moving parts!
These pickups are fantastic sounding and only cost about $40 new. They are a great bargain for anyone looking for quiet, Strat style replacement pickups. The website for this company is www.billlawrenceusa.com.
I want to add a note about the confusion surrounding the two "Bill Lawrence" companies. A few years back, Bill (Willi Stich) registered "Bill Lawrence" as a "service" mark for his pickup design/consulting services, to market his design services to guitar manufacturers. He never registered it as a "trade" mark to market his pickups, or any other product. But he has been using the federal registration symbol (circle around the "R") next to the "Bill Lawrence" mark in his print ads and on his website, to market his pickups anyway, which is against USPTO rules (you can only use a registered mark for the purpose it was registered for). This has caused a lot of people to believe that "Bill Lawrence" is a registered trademark for the pickups that Bill currently manufactures, when it is not. Bill makes great pickups, and he even has a very different version of the L-250 (with TWO blades) that I hear sounds very good, but the other Bill Lawrence company, that makes the pickup I reviewed above, has the right to the Bill Lawrence name for marketing their pickups (even though they have not registered it with the USPTO - which is not required for a trademark to be valid). You can verify this information by visiting the US Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov and searching for the "Bill Lawrence" trademark.