The L500 was established in 1979 and the patent concluded in 1981. Bill wanted a high performance pickup that could be voiced in many ways. The L500 is used from lapsteel, blues, rock and heavy metal even jazz by a whole range of musicians. You color your sound with all your gear and playing styles.
The L500XL is a monster, and the one players go to when they need to cut through the mix. Using in the bridge position is suggested.
The original L500XL is made with the chrome plated plastic housing, as noted in his patent. (The chrome housing does affect the high end to be a little sweeter, but on volume 10 who can hear it?)