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GIBSON | SOLID BODY | L6-S | 1976 L6-S CUSTOM

1976 Gibson L6-S Custom

Solid-body single cutaway electric guitar

1976 Gibson L-6S Custom
1976 Gibson L-6S Custom

The Gibson L-6S was shipped in relatively large numbers from 1973 until 1979, and then in small numbers into the early 1980s. So this 1976 guitar is right in the middle of its production, and is a typical example. Some 12000 Gibson L6-S guitars were produced between 1973 and 1979, and a third of them were black. This was the second most popular finish for the L-6S, after natural.

The L6-S has a solid maple body and set (glued in) maple neck. The fingerboard is usually maple (for guitars with the natural finish), or ebony, as is the case here, on black guitars. Some earlier and later examples also had rosewood boards.

Hardware is chrome throughout. Schaller M-6 tuning keys, Schaller 'harmonica' tune-o-matic bridge, L-6S humbuckers. All three controls on this guitar were identical 300k CTS pots, dated the 46th week of 1975, part 70029. Despite being stock, there are some minor electrical differences when compared to the published L-6S parts list.

Gibson L-6S headstock

The L-6S had a silk-screened Gibson logo, and model-designated truss rod cover, with revealed edge. The machine heads fitted to this guitar are Schaller M6 with metal buttons, and 'GIBSON' on the gear cover. Note the distinct headstock shape, used on a number of Gibson guitars of this period (but by no means all); wider at the near end than the far end.

The L-6S was fitted with a 1 9/16" molded (Delrin) nut, part 29009.

Gibson L-6S headstock reverse

The decal on the back of the headstock gives the model, 'made in USA' and the serial number. Decal serial numbers were used briefly in the mid 1970s, with the first two digits being a code for the year of manufacture. In this case 00 = 1976. This numbering scheme was gradually replaced by the current system through 1977. Read more about Gibson serial numbers here

Note also the neck volute; the extruding piece of wood where the neck meets the headstock. This feature was widely used on Gibson's maple-necked guitars of the 1970s, primarily to strengthen the area behind the truss-rod cavity. This is a well-known weak spot and was an attempt to avoid neck/headstock breaks.

Gibson L-6S humbucking pickups

The L-6S was fitted with two chrome-covered L-6S humbuckers, without adjustable polepieces. Part numbers 13682 (front, neck) and 13683 (back, bridge). They were height adjustable via two screws, one either end of the pickup surround. These pickups were not used on any other Gibson guitar models, except the L-6S Custom and Midnight Special.

Gibson L-6S controls

The L-6S controls were devised by Bill Lawrence, and consisted three potentiometers (volume, midrange and tone) and a six-way varitone. Knobs are typical Gibson speed knobs, numbered 0-10; widely used throughout the decade. The six varitone positions are engraved onto the scratchplate. Each position offers a different pickup arrangement and series/parallel and in/out phase options. See the L-6S controls page for details.

Gibson L-6S stop tailpiece and harmonica bridge

Schaller tune-o-matic 'harmonica' bridge and stop tailpiece. These parts were used widely in 1970s Gibson guitars. The L-6S Custom was the only model in the L-6S series not to be strung through the guitar's body.

Gibson L-6S body reverse

The neck/body join, body contours and control cavity are all typical Gibson features.

The guitars electronics are accessible with removal of the back panel on the lower left-hand side of the body.

Gibson L-6S Custom wiring

The L-6S custom has three potentiometers and a tone choke (part 70442) See the L6-S schematic

Gibson used a traditional set (glued-in) neck join on the just about all of their guitars until the mid 1970s. The extreme financial pressures of the early/mid 1970s did result in some Gibson solid bodies having a cheaper-to-produce bolt-on neck (e.g. some examples of the L-6S Deluxe and the Midnight Special), but all but the cheapest instruments stuck to Gibson tradition)

The L-6S has quite a wide variety of tones, thanks to the six-way varitone switch, tone and midrange controls. It can be difficult to remember that 'great setting' you found the other day, and it isn't the most intuitive set of controls, but plenty of great sounds are there. Read more about the specifics of each position here. The maple body and neck give it some real bite, especially when compared to the typically warmer mahogany guitars that as so often associated with Gibson. Have a listen to the sound clips below.

Gibson L6-S Custom Soundclips

This is a great feeling guitar, with a wide range of tones. It's all-maple body and neck, with the ebony fretboard give a bright middy snarly tone. I've had a lot of fun playing with it!

WEM Clubman MK8

Through a WEM Clubman MK8. All samples recorded with the amp mic'd (Shure SM57) into a M-audio mobile pre USB interface

Marshall Valvestate 8080

Through a Marshall Valvestate 8080 - clean channel. All samples recorded with the amp mic'd (Shure SM57) into a M-audio mobile pre USB interface


Varitone position 1 (both pickups, in series, in phase) midrange-5, tone-8. Amp volume-8, bass-5, treble-8

Varitone position 2 (front pickup only) midrange-5, tone-0. Amp volume-8, bass-5, treble-8

Varitone position 2 (front pickup only) midrange-4, tone-0. Amp volume-10, bass-4, treble-0

Varitone position 4 (both pickups, parallel out of phase) midrange-5, tone-5. Amp volume-8, bass-5, treble-8

Varitone position 5 (back pickup only) midrange-5, tone-10. Amp volume-8, bass-5, treble-8

Varitone position 6 (both pickups in series out of phase) midrange-10, tone-10. Amp volume-8, bass-5, treble-8

Varitone position 6 (both pickups in series out of phase) midrange-4, tone-6. Amp volume-5, bass-10, treble-0

Varitone position 1 (both pickups, in series, in phase) midrange-10, tone-10

Varitone position 2 (front pickup only) midrange-10, tone-10

Varitone position 3 (both pickups in a parallel, in phase) midrange-10, tone-10

Varitone position 4 (both pickups, parallel out of phase) midrange-10, tone-10

Varitone position 5 (back pickup only) midrange-10, tone-10

Varitone position 6 (both pickups in series out of phase) midrange-10, tone-10
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Haunted Gibson USA ? 76 L6-S Electric Guitar with Original Case

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I am the 2nd owner of this guitar and it's beautiful. The first time I played it was strange .I own a bunch of guitars and have never experienced anything like it. It becomes part of your soul and the things you hear inbetween notes are like the guitar telling you what to play. It does this every time its played. It's a sad, beautiful soul. I feel like weird shit keeps happening so I've gotta cut ties here.
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New York, 100**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2500

You are bidding on a rare 1975 Gibson Midnight Special. (Guitar only. No case )
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1974 GIBSON L 6 S MAPLE NECK - made in USA

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Find more Gibson L6-S for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

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1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

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1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

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1959 Hofner Committee

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1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

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1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.