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Thread: The Gibson L6S

  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member Tim C.'s Avatar
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    The Gibson L6S

    What is the history of this guitar? I have seen a few listed for sale lately. I have played them and always thought they sounded a bit wimpy. I don't believe I have seen any famous players using them. Are they considered a decent guitar?

    Tim C.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Came out in the early 70's, Gibson trying a Les Paul variation. They featured Bill Lawrence "Super Humbuckers" (hot ceramic magnets), 6 position switch (neck, bridge, both: in phase/out of phase/series/parallel), 24 fret neck, slim maple body. I've had a few. They play well, are nicely built and are definitely decent guitars. Santana played one briefly (there's a famous ad with him on it), I think Mark Farner of Grand Funk played one. My beef with them is that they're kind of shrill: the combo of those ceramic pups and maple bodies. I'm looking for a "beater" with changed pups for a good price. Good guitar for the money (around $500). There's a later version with bolt-on neck: not the same.

  3. #3
    In the Zone/Backstage Pass Big Al's Avatar
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    I have allways liked them and found them to be cool. One of Norlins brighter ideas.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Semi-solidR9r's Avatar
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    L6s..

    I have the Deluxe model. It does not have the multiple tone switch, has string through the body design, and this one a 1976 has a nice 24 fret dark rosewood fingerboard with low profile wide and flat frets.
    The rw board I think darkens up the tone a little which is not a bad thing here with the all maple body. The neck is a pretty thick D shaped one. It is slightly headstock heavy cause it has had Grover tuners installed. I have since replaced the Dimarzio that is shown in the pic in the Bridge position, with a Joe Barden humbucker, and I like the Bill Lawrence stock neck pickup. It can do some nice blues and rock. Its definitely a beater, the black pickguard is cracked in a couple of places, and the body has had some small holes drilled into its surface by previous owner(s), for reasons I can't comprehend. I got this "beater" for about $350 Sam Ash was having a sale that night. I kind of think this deluxe model as Gibson's version of the Strat.

    Old Boogaz boy

  5. #5
    I have a 77' without the fancy switch...rosewood board and a very thin neck.

    It plays well and can definitely sound good but it does have a unique sound to it.

    I think this model has some very intesting design elements and was pretty well thought out.

    First.. it's very comfy to play. The basic shape is kind of an enlarged LP, but it's thin like an SG with a "belly cut" in the back.

    Mine has the string thru design with a metal "sustain block" if you will.

    They have 24 frets and give you unhindered access to all of them!!! ( unlike their dopey design of the LP DC.) The cutaway is DEEP and lets you get your hand right up there. This guitar probably has the best upper fret access of any guitar that I've played.

    They do have maple body which might scare some of you, however mine isn't overly bright at all... maybe Mahogany-ish...with a bit of a snap... somewhat more articulate.

    It works great when recording to offset different guitars...that's why I've kept the original pickups installed. If it was my only guitar I would probably try some others but as it stands I like it own character.

    I'll probably snag another one at some point and try some different PU's in there.
    MH

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    With the two I had and sold, the "in-phase /series" combo pickup selection was LOUDER than the bridge or neck pickup alone, something you never see in other Gibsons. I felt that the 6 way was somehow robbing tone and "substance" from the individual pickups, adding to the "shrillness". The rest of those pickup selections sounded kind of "corny" to me. I tried them through a variety of amps and I'm a versatile player with lots of different sounding guitars that I use. I should try the model without the 6 switch, with the string-through. I wasn't going to alter the original wiring on the guitars I had, but I'm open to a "beater" that someone else has changed.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    What a coincidence. I just caught an old SNL rerun last night. Devo lip-syncs and robot-dances to "Satisfaction" with two of these bad boys!

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    L6's have gotten a good reputation around town for being a good choice for jazzer's.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member Xeries's Avatar
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    Highly underrated as far as I'm concerned. I played one extensively in a music store where I used to work. I've had a fondness for them ever since. The picture that Guildx700~ put up is it exactly! Very versatile axe, that one, and a bargain to boot. :dude
    May the next to the last words you hear...be mine.

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member GreenManalishi's Avatar
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    I have one in cherry sunburst, which is a rare color for these. I like it, but I like my standards better.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Originally posted by Litcrit
    I think Mark Farner of Grand Funk played one.
    I've seen pics of Mark Farner playing an L-5S, but not an L-6S.

  12. #12
    paul stanley of kiss played a......black one(what else?) when the guitar first came out. a buddy of mine bought a brand new second back in 1977 for $185 and it was one of the best playing guitars i can remember. it was natural maple, had the goofy 6- way switch but had a nice RW fingerboard. i switched from bass to guitar because of that L6S.

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Last weekend I was reading a 70s or 80s GP book with a compilation of interviews with the leading players of the time and noticed that some guys really dug the L6S...Santana wasn't in there BTW.

  14. #14
    Mesa Master 1959burst's Avatar
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    different strokes for different folks!

    i friggin hate them, had a couple dozen come through my hands, just hate them.......yuck!:dead: :dead: :dead:

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    What he said.
    S.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Shrill? Shrill? anything but shrill......

    All my L6 's are warm and beefy......there is no shrill to them

    They have that deep warm Santana tone.....and that even includes some of the recent stuff that he doesn't even use an L6 on.

    I have always found them to be really thick sounding...anyone else?
    Workin from one end to the other, and all points in between.........

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