GIBSON L6S or Midnight Special series...

flyingvguy

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i don't see much about the GIBSON L6 series these days but i usually only use the many flying v's i own but once in a while i like to tool around on one of my les paul's or my L6... it is seeming to make a comeback of sorts. just a reminder paul stanley played one on the MIDNIGHT SPECIAL late night tv show in 1974. i have a '78... i think they stopped making them in '79 or around that time. anyways mine is 42 years old and still looks pretty cool... she has the 6 channel switch on it for various tones. this guitar is way under-rated especially for studio recording... anyone out there know or care about this guitar?

1978 gibson L6S ebony.jpg
 

Stinky Kitty

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A 1973 block was my first real guitar at 16. The ebony is bad ass.

It was a love hate relationship for me. It has great tone all it's own. No matter how hard I tried, could not get into Les Paul or Strat tones for growing up learning covers. Once I made peace with that, I reveled in the huge range of tones it is capable of making.

And yes, vastly under appreciated.

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ca 1974/5
 
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BornToLooze

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I looked into them because I was wanting something different, but still a Gibson. I wound up going for a more "modern" guitar, a Gibson that was originally an Epiphone

spirit.jpg
 

Stinky Kitty

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So, do you guys have a fave position on the six position selector?

An did/do you use the midrange knob much?






Mine depend on context, but I found I used 2, 5, and 6 the most.
 

Stinky Kitty

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Before and after shots of one I bought to mod. It arrived wired like the reissue.

DSC_0190.JPG


I restored it to the original type wiring and pups

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The knurled selector knob is much easier to use than the original.
This one now has a different set of pickups with the stock wiring.


And finally, this one because I really dig the ebony boards of the era.

DSC_0104.JPG


(It now has a happy home after a herd thinning spree.)
 

flyingvguy

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WOW! thanks guys you all did good and posted some really nice beauties here. all of them are incredible. i love this guitar she is sexy and subtle. it's good to see she is still appreciated by some of us. i have the L6S ebony... like the one above. and here is the inspiration... his is 1974 string through the body called the midnight special... and mine is a L6S 1978.
 

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flyingvguy

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used to have two of these... called the V2 with the 'heart' PUP. i had a dark green one too with standard humbuckers... sold them back in the 90's, decided i didn't like the contour cuts. now i mostly play on a 1974 flying v. i have one of paul stanley's old ones and i just sold another one that used to belong to the guy in wishbone ash... and nazareth.
 

dspelman

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I have a pristine black one like that in the OP. Took forever to find one that hadn't been "modded."

And yeah, I use the mids rolloff knob all the time.
 

Stinky Kitty

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I have a pristine black one like that in the OP. Took forever to find one that hadn't been "modded."

And yeah, I use the mids rolloff knob all the time.
It really brings out the best of the neck pick up.
 

brianbzed

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i don't see much about the GIBSON L6 series these days but i usually only use the many flying v's i own but once in a while i like to tool around on one of my les paul's or my L6... it is seeming to make a comeback of sorts. just a reminder paul stanley played one on the MIDNIGHT SPECIAL late night tv show in 1974. i have a '78... i think they stopped making them in '79 or around that time. anyways mine is 42 years old and still looks pretty cool... she has the 6 channel switch on it for various tones. this guitar is way under-rated especially for studio recording... anyone out there know or care about this guitar?

View attachment 532770
Those were popular when I was coming up! No one in my circle of friends could afford a Les Paul, but an L6-S was barely affordable. Really versatile, too! Wish I had bought one in the 90's, when you couldn't hardly give them away!!
 

SASouth

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Those were popular when I was coming up! No one in my circle of friends could afford a Les Paul, but an L6-S was barely affordable. Really versatile, too! Wish I had bought one in the 90's, when you couldn't hardly give them away!!
The reality is you still can’t hardly give them away.
 

Stinky Kitty

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The guy that inspired me to play as a teen had this. I always thought it was such a cool guitar. He alway b!tched about those v pickups and how much he hated them.
That V2 is such a novelty guitar that the lessons I learned with the L6-S trying to make it be was it is not, let me enjoy it for its own characteristic voice. The V2's bridge can have a chimey almost chorusing timbre. The neck can be warm and glassy. Middle position is a playground that makes me wish for all four controls (but I tend that way naturally). The brass nut and string through, suspended bridge give it a distinctive bite, peculiar resonance, and quite a particular decay.

When I began learning songs during high school on the L6-S in garage and basement bands, my band mates persisted with, "That's not how it sounds on the record.." Many times I wanted to trade the L6-S for a Les Paul copy.

I couldn't afford the real thing, and the guys at the shop bitched about the real Gibsons being inferior to what they once were. The import LPs in the shop at the time were built like the inferior Gibsons.. Yamaha was for motorcycles! But, they were affordable. By then my best bud had an SG that he didn't like and wanted a Lester. And the L6-S has 24 frets man! Two full octaves.

So I hung on to the L6-S, learned some Kansas and Devo, and replied to my band mates to go buy me a Strat or a Les Paul if they didn't like how it sounded. By the time I got to play in the college jazz groups and the fusiony jams we'd have on our own, I'd learned to appreciate it on it's own merits.

I can see where your teacher was coming from. The V2 is definitely not easily suited for the type of music that Vs are normally associated with.

The bevels make it the most accessible neck I've touched so far..

What did your teacher do?
 
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bytemare

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I got a 1978 L6-S. I think the others really described it well: It's a really cool, unique, strange, comfortable, hard to deal with, etc. The neck is skinny at the nut, C shape, and pretty thick as you work your way up. But you can get good upper fret access and it feels comfortable. The rotary dial is kind of a pain , like you want to turn it into position 5 to get the bridge pickup and let it rip, but you have to turn it to 6 and then back 1 because you can't really tell where the dial is pointing to at any given time. It's awkward.

Really great for jazz though at the 1-2 settings.

One thing is that the frets are really short, like terrifying low and flat. They wear out fast and the lacquer gets rubbed off the fingerboard.

But all of that said, it's actually a lot of fun to play and if you want to other players to ask you "What IS that?" just bring it to your local jam.
 

dspelman

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I got a 1978 L6-S. I think the others really described it well: It's a really cool, unique, strange, comfortable, hard to deal with, etc. The neck is skinny at the nut, C shape, and pretty thick as you work your way up. But you can get good upper fret access and it feels comfortable. The rotary dial is kind of a pain , like you want to turn it into position 5 to get the bridge pickup and let it rip, but you have to turn it to 6 and then back 1 because you can't really tell where the dial is pointing to at any given time. It's awkward.

Really great for jazz though at the 1-2 settings.

One thing is that the frets are really short, like terrifying low and flat. They wear out fast and the lacquer gets rubbed off the fingerboard.
My frets aren't like that, and they're definitely original. And since my guitar has an ebony fretboard, there's no lacquer to rub off. The guitars that have a "natural" finish over the maple (and maple fretboards) may have these issues, of course, but I've rarely run into an L6S with terrifylng low/flat frets.

I'm not sure that the rotary dial was in the original design of the guitar. Gibson made several modifications of Bill Lawrence's design before producing it, and I have a feeling that may have been one of them. The "skinny at the nut" business is all Gibson's doing; that was pretty common among '70's Gibson guitars.
 


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