GIBSON | SOLID BODIES | L6-S | USERS

Gibson L6-S notable users


The Gibson L6-S was launched in 1972, and had numerous high profile users and endorsers throughout the mid 1970s. These L6-S endorsers include Carlos Santana, jazz guitarist Al DiMeola, and Rich Williams of Kansas - all of whom appeared in official Gibson publicity with this model.

Other early L6-S users include Keith Richards of the Stones who has been pictured with the L6S Custom, and Paul Stanley of Kiss who had a Midnight Special. Both of these musicians were Gibson endorsers at the time, but were more usually associated with Les Pauls.

Carlos Santana - Santana

Carlos Santana endorsing the L6-S. From the cover of the 1975 Gibson solid-body catalogue.

Carlos Santana endorsing the L6-S. From the cover of the 1975 Gibson solid-body catalogue

Carlos Santana endorsing the L6-S. From a 1974 music publication.
Carlos Santana endorsing the L6-S. From a 1976 music publication.

1974 and 1976 Gibson L6-S adverts

Carlos Santana started playing the L6-S in 1974 - he heaped praise upon it in the November '74 issue of Guitar Player magazine, and by 1975 was on the cover of the Gibson solid-body catalogue, and further magazine adverts as an endorsee.

Oh, I just flipped over this Gibson L6-S. It's not like i'm endorsing it, but that axe is beautiful. It's got more accessible frets, and the pickups are just incredible. With the controls, I can make it sound like a Stratocaster, a Telecaster, an SG, or a Les Paul - I get them all. It has a very fast fingerboard, and it's clean sounding.

Within a couple years Santana was endorsing Yamaha guitars. From June 1978's edition of Guitar Player magazine: The reason I left Gibson was because I feel like they're McDonalds now; they just wrap a hamburger and throw it at you... Yamaha to me, is more like my wife at Thanksgiving.

Yamaha came out with a guitar called a Super Combinator, and the body looks like a takeoff on a Stratocaster, but it's got all those phases that the L6-S has. It sounds like a Telecaster, or like a Strat with the switch between the pickup positions. That's why I liked the L6-S - because it was a Gibson, but it sounded almost like a Strat. But i've got to tell you the truth: that guitar was like a General Motors car - within two months, man, something would always go out. I found myself almost bleeding to sustain a note, and I know it wasn't all the amps fault.


Rich Williams and Kerry Livgren - Kansas

1977 Gibson poster featuring Rich Williams of Kansas, with his modified L6-S
1977 Gibson poster featuring Rich Williams of Kansas, with his modified L6-S

Rich Williams used the L6-S widely in the mid 1970s, and was featured in a 1977 Gibson poster, performing live. Both Williams and Livgren talk about the L6-S in their Guitar Player interview from 1978 (the relevant section is reproduced below).

Rich Williams ..shattered the neck on the Les Paul, and so I thought i'd try something different after that. The Gibson L6-S came out around that time, so I bought a couple of those. One of them was a real piece of crap - it didn't sound any good at all. The other one I liked. The L6-S I played is the first one that ever came to Kansas, and it looked a little different than others i've seen. The inlays on the new ones are round and on mine they were square. I liked it a lot, but I got tired of the maple neck - it seemed to play hard. It's amazing - Kerry's had an ebony neck, and we'd both put on the same kinds of strings on our guitars and his was much easier to play.

Kerry Livgren For some reason stretching strings on a maple neck is really hard.

Guitar Player What is it about the L6-S that you like more than the Les Paul?

Rich Williams I like the variety afforded by the six-way switch, and the pickups have a little bit more groan to them. The bottom seems a little tighter. What I don't like about it is that the six-way switch is a little inconvenient; the standard three-way pickup selector on a Les Paul is a lot easier. The main thing I don't like about the L6-S is that the pickups have so much gain on them - it's really hard to get good crisp tones. Basically my L6-S was stock except that I put Grover 16-to-1 heads on it; I also had the neck worked on and the frets filed down a few times to get rid of buzzes.

Kerry Livgren The thing I like about the L6-S is how high the neck goes; on my Les Paul it's hard to play up around the high A, but on the L6-S it's really easy. It has two full octaves, which means there's two more frets.

Rich Williams' Gibson L6-S - signed by Kansas as a gift to artist Jefferson Wood

Actually Rich Williams' L6-S - has been modified, probably around 1976. Note the extra control knob where the original output jack was situated. Also the non-polepiece L6-S super-humbuckers have been replaced by what are(perhaps) Gibson PAF style pickups. This guitar was signed by Kansas and gifted to artist Jefferson Wood, who produced some concert artwork for them.


Keith Richards - Rolling Stones

Keith Richards was a Gibson endorsing artist in the middle 1970s, most famously appearing on the cover of the 1975 Les Paul catalogue, but he has been pictured with a natural L6-S, which he received on a visit to the Kalamazoo plant in July 1975.


Al DiMeola

Al DiMeola in his 1977 Gibson advertisement for the L6-S Custom

Jazz guitarist Al DiMeola appeared in this 1977 advertisement for the L6-S playing an ebony Custom.


Johnny Borrell - Razorlight

Johnny Borrell of Razorlight playing his Gibson L6-S Custom
Johnny Borrell of Razorlight playing his Gibson L6-S Deluxe

Johnny Borrell of Razorlight plays two L6-S guitars, left: a natural L6-S Deluxe, far left: Tobacco Sunburst L6-S Custom.

I just got a new guitar! And I got a new amp, so I’ve now got two amps onstage and two guitars exactly the same. And they’re very rare – not expensive, but very rare. It’s a Gibson L6S and they were only made for about five years in the ‘70s, and now I have two of them. So my life is fucking great! Hehehe. I’ve got a Marshall stack, a fucking Vox, and two beautiful guitars. Know what I mean? What more could I want?

Photos courtesy of photographer Sophie Jarry, quotation from an interview with Johnny Borrell on drowned in sound website



Vintage Gibson L6S Parts For Sale

Gibson Varitone Control Knob
Gibson L-6S Deluxe Humbucker 1978
Gibson Plastic Strap Buttons 1970s/80s
Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Superb recording interface for any guitarist - "the perfect choice for the small/home studio"

Related Forum Posts
new post

Gibson L6-S

Guitarman@guitarsofheroes

Gibson L6-S for sale

Vintage 1970's RARE! Gibson L6-S Midnight Special Natural Maple W / Case & Strap

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, 99507, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $1976

This is a true vintage 1974 / 5 L6-S Midnight Special USA. One the rarer Gibson releases. Notice the natural color of headstock. Please Google and research for yourself. Natural Maple body, maple neck and finger board. Original pickups. Machine heads are not original Gibson but vintage Schaller. Through the body stringing style. It appears the original grommet sleeves where strings come through are missing but does not affect play. A couple chips on pickup housing but still good. Sounds and ... more

1974-1975 Gibson L6s Deluxe Electric Guitar Natural Incredible Cond. Orig. Case

BUFFALO, NEW YORK, 14225, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1499

This is a Beautiful Guitar, Plays excellent. The condition is excellent. and comes with the original case. The guitar is all original . please check pics for visual inspection .... more

Gibson L6-S Natural 1975 w / Gibson Hard Case

HUNTINGTON, INDIANA, 46750, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1299

Gibson L6-S Natural 1975 w / Gibson Hard Case. Condition is Used.... more

1980 Gibson L6S Electric Guitar W / HARDSHELL CASE

ENDICOTT, NEW YORK, 13760, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1199

This Gibson is a solid body electric has a very similar shape and structure as a Les Paul. Cosmetically it's in good shape for its age except for some dings in the headstock as well as what appears to be several small finish / paint job on the front and back of the body and headstock see pictures for cosmetic issues. Otherwise considering its age and wear this is a very unique guitar. Was built in 1980 (USA) and has some very stand alone tones that I can't think of a comparison for. The tone is ... more

Vintage 1975 Gibson L6-S Electric Guitar Natural Finish

BROOKFIELD, WISCONSIN, 53005, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1199

Vintage 1975 Gibson L6-S Electric Guitar Natural Finish PLEASE CONTACT US WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR FOR AN IN-HAND DESCRIPTION What makes this guitar special: A wonderful player's grade L6-S with a smart upgrade, namely the Alembic active pickups which sound amazing. The guitar has been professionally set up by the experts at Cream City Music, so it's ready for action upon arrival Cosmetic Condition: Great shape for its age with some minor wear & tear - various nicks, chips, dents & dings; surface ... more

Gibson l6s

OAK HILL, WEST VIRGINIA, 25901, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$950

own a piece of guitar history with this original L6s. only changes made to this beauty have been to upgraded pickups. one tiny chip at the top corner of the pickguard and a small less than 1mm crack in one of the pickup housings. no repairs ever and the neck is as straight as the day it was made. incredible action on the neck with limited fret wear. this was owned and played professionally by an old blues / jazz guitarist. it does look like the varnish was either redone many years ago or was ... more

Find more vintage guitars for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

There are 1 comments on this article so far. Add your comment

Comment on this article

Name
Email address
Anti-spam question - to catch web robots
How many legs does a duck have?
RLSchwinden Comment left 14th September 2016 07:07:18 reply
Paul Stanley of:KISS played a White '74 Midnight Special told to me by Him in Dec'82. Dave Davies: KINKS played a Blonde L6-S in 1975 for "School Boys" LP & Tour. told to me by him in May'02 Barry Goodreau of: BOSTON played a Blonde L6-S in 1977. DEVO: 2 guitar players used Blonde L6-S in 1978 I have played a modified Black L6-S (in KISS Tribute) since 1984 ... Rik (MrZerr0)

Guitars and Parts for Sale


Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Superb recording interface for any guitarist - "the perfect choice for the small/home studio"

Related Forum Posts
new post

Gibson L6-S

Guitarman@guitarsofheroes

Latest Forum Posts
new post

Contact
info@vintageguitarandbass.com

Follow

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Google+

Other Great Sites