5/21/07 UNDER CONSTRUCTION! Check back regularly.....

Bill Lawrence
"Over Half A Century of Guitar Innovations and Still Going Strong" by Bruce Morgen

The Musician

The Bill Lawrence story began literally in the rubble of World War II.

A tall, skinny teenager from the outskirts of Cologne, Germany had injured himself experimenting with a home-made rocket-propelled bicycle and could no longer play his violin, so he took up a new instrument: the guitar. Inspired by the records of pioneer electric guitarists like Oscar Moore, Barney Kessel, and recording innovator Les Paul, young Willi soon became known as "Hot Bill" for his uncanny ability to play guitar solos with the high-speed drive of celebrated jazz players like Charlie Parker and, in 1948, he already made his first pickup to amplify his already-impressive sound so he could be heard over the powerful horns and drums of post-war jazz bands!

Within a couple of years, Bill was enjoying a thriving career headlining shows on American military bases mostly in Europe, on the same stages as American stars ranging from Roy Acuff and Hank Williams to Dinah Washington and Sam Cooke. Bill's performing life continued to flourish through the '50s, initially going by the stage name "Billy Lorento" and becoming the first major endorser of German-made Framus guitars and strings. By the early '60s, his professional name had permanently become "Bill Lawrence," and he formalized his commitment to the great American guitars he'd always loved by signing on as a Fender endorser.

Lots more fascinating information about Bill and his life with historic pictures to be included! Thanks for being patient while we update the website.... Becky
Bruce Morgen is a veteran technical writer and musician who's known Bill Lawrence since the early '70s, when both men worked with singer-guitarist Bobby Hebb in New York -- Bruce as a sideman with Bobby, and Bill making sure Bobby's guitars played and sounded perfect. Today he works with Bill and Becky in marketing and sales.