1976
1976 Gibson L-6S Custom1978 Guild B-302F1967 Fender Coronado
Home | Guitar Model Info | Catalogue Scans | Forum | Other Stuff | Search     









pick a brand

The majority of the instruments profiled on this site were produced by the brands to the left (click for more), although there is also some limited content on the following guitars and amps
Ampeg, Baldwin, Dan Armstrong, Futurama, G&L, Goya, Hayman, Ibanez, Marshall, Musicman, Ovation, Peavey, Rickenbacker, Selmer, Silvertone, Supro and Yamaha, WEM

Or try the site search

Trying to find the value of your guitar?

Gibson L6-S
PART 1 L6-S specifications

L-6S specifications | L6-S controls | shipping figures and pricing | schematics & parts lists | famous users

1976 L-6S Custom | 1976 L-6S Deluxe

Gibson L6-S Custom - Its the best damn guitar you ever played
Gibson L6-S Custom - Its the best damn guitar you ever played
This early advert for the L-6S was printed when the guitar was at its peak. 1974 was the only year with reasonable sales, despite the high profile endorsement of Carlos Santana over the following years.
This early instrument has the block inlaid fingerboard, which would soon be changed to dots.
Gibson L6-S Custom - Santana Calls it His Rainbow
Gibson L6-S Custom - Santana Calls it His Rainbow
Actually, it's the Gibson L6-S. But he's got a point. Because the L6-S lets you color your sound any way you want with tone and mid-range control and a six-position sound switch. From pretty and warm to funky and hard-and anything in between-the choice is yours. The L6-S also has two incredibly powerful pickups mounted in its solid maple body for exceptional sensitivity and sustain. And the body itself is designed to give you complete access to 24 frets of the quickest, easiest action you ever laid your hands on. Creem Magazine called it "The kind of guitar that musicians ten years from now will dream about owning." Santana calls it his rainbow. We call it the L6-S.
Gibson L6-S Custom - Santana Calls It his Rainbow
Gibson L6-S Custom - Santana Calls It his Rainbow
Actually, it's the Gibson L6-S. But he's got a point. Because the L6-S lets you color your sound any way you want with tone and mid-range control and a six-position sound switch. From pretty and warm to funky and hard—and anything in between—the choice is yours. The L6-S also has two incredibly powerful pickups mounted in its solid maple body tor exceptional sensitivity and sustain. And , the body itself is designed to give you complete access to 24 frets of the quickest, easiest action you ever laid your hands on Creem Magazine called it "The kind of guitar that musicians ten years from now will dream about owning" Santana calls it his rainbow. We call it the L6-S
Latest L-6S forum posts from the VintageGuitar forum
forum index | post message

Gibson L6-S
13 replies
last message by Guitarman@guitarsofheroes
02/03/2014 17:15

Gibson L6-S
0 replies
last message by tct
02/01/2012 13:45

L6-S doublecut
3 replies
last message by jules
11/10/2011 08:20

L-6S Deluxe Finish and Comparison to SG Standard
2 replies
last message by WAB74
10/10/2009 07:49



The Gibson L-6S. Above L-6S Custom, below L-6S Deluxe

Two versions of the L-6S guitar, the Custom (top) and the Deluxe (bottom).

ModelL6-S CustomL6-S DeluxeMidnight Special
Available1973-791975-791974-79
PickupsTwo chrome-covered super humbuckers (parts 13682, front; 13683, back) Two black plastic-covered super humbuckers (parts 13654, front; 13655, back)Two chrome-covered super humbuckers
Scale24 3/4"
BodyMaple. 13 1/2" wide (lower bout), 16 1/2" long, 1 1/4" thick
NeckSet maple neck, with maple or ebony fingerboard. 24 frets. Dot markers (a few early examples have block markers)Set or bolt-on neck, with rosewood fingerboard. 24 frets. Dot markersBolt-on neck, maple fingerboard. 24 frets. Dot markers
Width at nut1 9/16"
HardwareVolume, midrange and 'treble roll-off' controls. 6 position pickup selector switch. Wide-travel tune-o-matic bridge, with stop-bar tailpiece.Volume and 'treble roll-off' controls. Three position pickup-selector switch. Tune-o-matic bridge, strung through body.Volume and tone controls. Three position pickup-selector switch. Tune-o-matic bridge, strung through body.
FinishesNatural Maple Gloss, Black, Cherry, Wine Red, Tobacco Sunburst, from 1980 Silver SunburstNatural Satin, Wine Red, Tobacco SunburstEbony, Maple Gloss, Wine Red, White
NotesBy far the most popular of the series, outselling the deluxe 4:1, and the MS 6:1 This 'secret' guitar was left unadvertised. Unmentioned in price lists, catalogs and other promotional material

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:

In 1972, I was asked to design a multi-sound system for the SG Standard. This didn't make any sense to me, and after several meetings with marketing, I convinced them to introduce a completely new solid-body that offered a wide variety of different sounds. I was given a free hand as long as I observed a set production cost limit. In order to stay within that limit, I had to make use of their existing hardware, including pickup covers, and the champfered body contours I wanted were not in the budget either. Given a mere $25 more to work with, I could have made the guitar to my specs. Also, I had designed a beautiful three post lightweight bridge made of hardened stainless steel that could be converted into a trem and a two 3 position toggle switches for nine different sounds. The first 3 position switch was a pickup selector while the second was a sound selector -- position one was for Les Paul , position two for Strat, and position three for Tele sound.

Well, I had to stay within the budget, and we ended up with a six-position rotary switch, pickups with large humbucker covers, a stock Schaller bridge with a "stop" tailpiece, and a clumsy-looking body. My original prototype had a beautiful, elegantly-shaped pickguard, but somebody changed that too. Even with these changes, the early production L6-S was still an excellent performer. When the new ownership took over, there were even more changes, and by 1976, the L6-S had become just another Les Paul-style Gibson solid-body. All that remained of my original design was the thin, lightweight body with its large cutaway for easy access to all 24 frets.

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

1973 Gibson L-6S

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 players

L-6S Custom
Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)
Carlos Santana
Al di Meola
Lady Bo (Bo Diddley)
Johnny Borrell (Razorlite)

L-6S Deluxe
Johnny Borrell (Razorlite)

Back to the GIBSON INDEX | comment



Gibson L6S for sale


US ebay listings

1977 Gibson L6-S Vintage Electric Guitar with OHSC

Current price: $949.99
buy it now
Time left: 1d 16h 15m
USA Gibson 1974 L6S Custom L6 S Vintage , Body & Neck project

Current price: $100.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 20h 25m
Vintage 1975 Gibson L6S Midnight Special Green Sparkle Refin

Current price: $695.00
buy it now
Time left: 4d 15h 9m
NEW 1970's STYLE GOLD HARMONICA BRIDGE FOR GIBSON SG L6-S S-1 MARAUDER GUITARS

Current price: $49.95
buy it now
Time left: 10d 16h 52m
Free Shipping!! Gibson L-6S Natural 1973 Guitar β

Current price: $2268.00
buy it now
Time left: 9d 8h 12m
Vintage Gibson L6-S Hard Shell Guitar Case Purple Interior 1970's Purple Lined

Current price: $250.00
buy it now
Time left: 28d 17h 21m
1970s Gibson Hardware Set Tailpiece & Bridge Harmonica Stoptail Style S1 SG L6S

Current price: $29.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 20h 26m
1974 Gibson Tone Coil For Ripper Bass & L6S Custom Tone-Q Filter Bill Lawrence

Current price: $99.99
buy it now
Time left: 29d 21h 56m
1975 Gibson L6-S Midnight Special & OHSC Rare Anniversary Maroon Sparkle Finish

Current price: $1599.99
buy it now
Time left: 8d 22h 9m
Lincoln L6-S Electric Guitar & Gibson Baldwin Gigbag Japan Made L6s Tribute MIJ

Current price: $549.99
buy it now
Time left: 23d 2h 3m
1974 Gibson L6-S Midnight Special Electric Guitar W/Gibson Hardshell Case

Current price: $1100.00
buy it now
Time left: 8d 17h 19m
Vintage 1970s Gibson L6S backplate w/ Screws Standard Custom 1974 - 1979

Current price: $9.99
buy it now
Time left: 3d 20h 27m
NEW 1970's STYLE HARMONICA BRIDGE FOR GIBSON SG L6-S S-1 MARAUDER GUITARS

Current price: $39.95
buy it now
Time left: 17d 14h 54m
1970s Gibson L6S Pickguard For Standard Custom 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 USA

Current price: $39.99
buy it now
Time left: 26d 5h 24m
VINTAGE GIBSON L6S PICKUP TARBACK DESIG. BY BILL LAWRENCE L6-S MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Current price: $149.00
buy it now
Time left: 12d 19h 54m
VINTAGE -RARE -Orig GIBSON L6-S Switch & Knob- NEW & NEVER USED!!!

Current price: $288.88
buy it now
Time left: 27d 33m
1970's Gibson Les Paul Custom Barrel Knobs Black L6 S ES SG 1973 1974 1975 74KN1

Current price: $55.00
buy it now
Time left: 24d 19h 14m
Vintage 1970s Gibson L6S Pickguard w/ Screws Standard Custom 1974 - 1979

Current price: $9.99
buy it now
Time left: 3d 20h 27m
Vintage 1970s L6-S Electric Guitar Case Black w/ Purple Felt Interior Very Cool!

Current price: $195.00
buy it now
Time left: 29d 22h 55m
1970's Gibson Les Paul Chrome Tailpiece Flying V SG L6 S 1974 1975 1976 32TP1

Current price: $39.00
buy it now
Time left: 9d 1h 59m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

NEW 1970's STYLE HARMONICA BRIDGE FOR GIBSON SG L6-S S-1 MARAUDER GUITARS

Current price: £24.76
buy it now
Time left: 17d 14h 54m
Gibson L6-S Deluxe solid body electric guitar, 1970's,rare & vastlyunder-rated!!

Current price: £1200.00
buy it now
Time left: 9d 12h 56m
NEW 1970's STYLE GOLD HARMONICA BRIDGE FOR GIBSON SG L6-S S-1 MARAUDER GUITARS

Current price: £30.96
buy it now
Time left: 10d 16h 52m
1970s Gibson L6S Pickguard For Standard Custom 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 USA

Current price: £24.79
buy it now
Time left: 26d 5h 24m
1974 Gibson Tone Coil For Ripper Bass & L6S Custom Tone-Q Filter Bill Lawrence

Current price: £61.98
buy it now
Time left: 29d 21h 56m
Vintage 1975 Gibson L6S Midnight Special Green Sparkle Refin

Current price: £430.81
buy it now
Time left: 4d 15h 9m
1970's Gibson Les Paul Chrome Tailpiece Flying V SG L6 S 1974 1975 1976 32TP1

Current price: £24.17
buy it now
Time left: 9d 1h 59m
1970's Gibson Les Paul Custom Barrel Knobs Black L6 S ES SG 1973 1974 1975 74KN1

Current price: £34.09
buy it now
Time left: 24d 19h 14m
1977 Gibson L6-S Truss Rod Cover- Custom Standard Midnight Deluxe USA 1978 1976

Current price: £24.79
buy it now
Time left: 2h 14m
Gibson Les Paul Chrome Tailpiece 1980's Les Paul ES SG L6 S Studio 907TP1 3

Current price: £13.02
buy it now
Time left: 14d 22h 32m
1975 Gibson L6-S Midnight Special & OHSC Rare Anniversary Maroon Sparkle Finish

Current price: £991.78
buy it now
Time left: 8d 22h 9m
1973 Gibson Les Paul Chrome Tailpiece 1974 1975 1976 Flying V ES SG L6 S 8213tp4

Current price: £24.17
buy it now
Time left: 14d 22h 32m
4 Vintage GIBSON Speed Knobs RD SG L6-S Les Paul 70's 80's

Current price: £46.48
buy it now
Time left: 6d 8h 55m
VINTAGE 1974 USA GIBSON L6-S GUITAR BARREL SPEED KNOB SET GRABBER BASS

Current price: £30.37
buy it now
Time left: 28d 17h 49m
1970's Gibson Les Paul Chrome Tailpiece Flying V SG L6 S 1974 1975 1976 73TP1

Current price: £26.65
buy it now
Time left: 9d 1h 59m
VINTAGE GIBSON L6S PICKUP TARBACK DESIG. BY BILL LAWRENCE L6-S MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Current price: £92.36
buy it now
Time left: 12d 19h 54m
1970's Gibson Les Paul Chrome Tailpiece 1974 1975 76 Flying V ES SG L6 S 902TP1

Current price: £30.37
buy it now
Time left: 2d 17h 17m
70's 80's GIBSON TUNERS SG Flying V Les Paul RD Standard + Custom L6-S CHROME

Current price: £80.58
buy it now
Time left: 15d 17h 11m
1975 GIBSON L 6 S CASE -- made in USA -- FLAT TOP

Current price: £199.00
buy it now
Time left: 29d 7h 46m
gibson l6s L6-s Guitar Pick Guard Pickguard Black

Current price: £18.50
buy it now
Time left: 5d 13h 36m
See more results on eBay here


German ebay listings

Les Paul/SG Hybrid: L-6S Modell Bj.1979 aus Korea, 24.75" Gibson Mensur

Current price: €199.00
buy it now
Time left: 5d 11h 49m
1973 Gibson L-6S Custom - Natural Maple -

Current price: €1685.00
buy it now
Time left: 17d 3h 25m
70's IBANEZ L 6 S -- made in JAPAN

Current price: €650.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 8h 22m
GIBSON® L6-S® -GENUINE- BLACK WHITE BLACK 3 PLY PICKGUARD GUITAR TOP US QUALITY

Current price: €21.95
buy it now
Time left: 17d 11h 42m
1975 GIBSON L 6 S / L 5 S CASE -- made in USA

Current price: €218.00
buy it now
Time left: 12d 16h 18m
Gibson L-6S Custom Black 1974-75

Current price: €1298.00
buy it now
Time left: 8d 8h 48m
See more results on eBay here

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/

Comment on this article

All comments are moderated. Name and email details are required.

Name
Email address
Your comments

Anti-spam question - just to prove you are a real person

How many legs does a duck have?