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1976 L6S Custom
1976 L6S Deluxe
schematic / parts
Two versions of the L-6S guitar, the Custom (top) and the Deluxe (bottom).
The L6-S was designed in 1972 by then Gibson employee Bill Lawrence. The remit was to create a guitar with as varied an array of sounds as possible, without over-complicated electronics, and something that could compete with Fenders six string range. Bill Lawrence explains:
Read the rest of this article at the Bill Lawrence website
Launched in 1973 at the summer NAMM show in Chicago, very much as a more affordable version of the Gibson L-5S. It retained the L-5S body shape, still had maple body / neck (although the L-5S was curly maple, rather than close grain) and an (optional) ebony fingerboard. Solid bodies had tradionally been mahogany up to this point, but for reasons of economics, and fashion, the seventies saw a range of maple Gibsons, and L-6S was one of them.
Electrically it differed from the L-5S though, with its six-position phase switching system, and treble roll-off and midrange controls. The idea was to offer new sounds and as much versatility as possible. To this end, the L-6S also had a two octave, 24 fret neck - the first Gibson to have this.
The guitar shown below was in the 1973 Gibson Look Ahead to Gibson flyer. Unlike the majority of L6-Ss this instrument has a two-piece scratchplate, old-style headstock script, and block inays. Whether this was just a prototype, or an early production version is unclear. Compare this to a later, 1976 L6-S Custom
In 1974 a second model was released (the Midnight Special), and in 1975 a third, the Deluxe (see a 1976 L-6S Deluxe). The original model was then named the L-6S Custom. Both were a cheaper models with simpler electronics, strung through the body, bolt-on neck for the Midnight Specials and a rosewood fingerboard for the deluxe. Each had its own unique scratchplate. Some instruments may have been alder-bodied too.
L-6S playersL-6S Custom
Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)
Al di Meola
Lady Bo (Bo Diddley)
Johnny Borrell (Razorlite)
Johnny Borrell (Razorlite)
Gibson L6S for sale
|There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment|
|John Oppenheimer Comment left 12th November 2012 20:08:17|
May l know if L6-S Custom electric guitar ebony was selling in December 1983, l mean in Gibson store as new thanks for your answer Good day
|Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 12th November 2012 20:08:06|
They had really stopped making them (in any number at least) by 1980 - but it is quite possible that one was still in a guitar shop window somewhere at that time. Whether one would leave the factory at that time is another matter... certainly not impossible, and Gibson did ship very small numbers of older guitars, long after they had been deleted from the range: presumably using up parts. So yes, quite possible.
|Robert White Comment left 12th March 2013 06:06:56|
How can I tell what year my L6S was made?
|Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 6th January 2014 18:06:09|
Hi Robert, dating an L-6S is not too different from any other seventies Gibson. The serial number and potentiometer codes will give you a ballpark figure. The period of production spans years covered by three different serial number styles (6 digit stamped, 73-75; 8 digit decal, 75-77; 8 digit stamped, 77-onwards) with the last two having a year embedded into the sn itself - see http://www.flyguitars.com/gibson/serial_numbers/