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  1. #51

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    Santana, too. But, like you, I never saw these artists playing the L6S except in Gibson ads.

    This is pretty common...artist endorses an item but plays/records with something else.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Martino played an L5S during his Joyous Lake period. Never saw him with an L6S in the 40 years I followed and studied with him.

  4. #53

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    1975 I saw Santana using a L6S into his Mesa Boogie Mk1. Sounded wonderful,but it's the magician not the wand.

  5. #54

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    Yeah, Santana for sure played it in 74 and 75 ... pretty sure it can be heard on Borboletta, Iluminations with Alice Coltrane, and one track on Flora Purim's Stories to Tell.

    Di Meola endorsed in advertisement but doesn't seem to have used it. Martino played the L5-S, which perhaps has become confused with the L6-S. That leaves Mclaughlin, who perhaps ended up on the list erroneously due to the Santana association?

    This is as I had expected. I held a glimmer of hope as most of the rock players on the same list had in fact played the L6-S at one point or another.

    Thanks.

  6. #55

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    FWIW, artist use or no, the L6S is a very good guitar. The ceramic magnet pickups, designed by Bill Lawrence, are quite useful for a wide variety of sounds and types of music.

    I used to use a first-year, Gibson L6S Midnight Special for work in the pits for shows because of the wide variety of music I was able to convincingly cover with it. I could play everything from jazz to chicken-pickin' country to hard rock with the guitar. I still like it very much, but I gave it to my son when he was touring the country in a Southern rock/Jam band. He has owned a large number of instruments, but the L6S is still his favorite guitar.

    Look for examples that still have the sealed, Bill Lawrence pickups--if you can find them.

  7. #56

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    I ran across one of them in a pawnshop in the early '90s, and almost bought it, but it had a bent tuner so I passed. I don't recall the price, but IIRC it was only a few hundred dollars. I still kick myself for not buying it.

  8. #57

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    Agreed! ... I actually have two ... a '79 blonde Deluxe and a '76 tobacco burst Custom, which is my main guitar. Thus my interest L6S players. I just enjoy hearing what other people have done with it.

  9. #58

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    Not a bad guitar but always hated the neck profiles on Norlin era Gibsons.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Martino played an L5S during his Joyous Lake period. Never saw him with an L6S in the 40 years I followed and studied with him.
    The Gibson L6-S-1977-jun-cover-pat_martino-jpg

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Martino played an L5S during his Joyous Lake period. Never saw him with an L6S in the 40 years I followed and studied with him.
    Ditto, I bought one (and still own) due to my love of PM's music but unfortunately mine didn't come with the PM Talent Knob.

  12. #61

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    mike oldfield used one...


    The Gibson L6-S-gibson_l6-s_live-jpg



    cheers

  13. #62

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    I have had mine for twenty-two years. I am still finding new sounds in it.


    The Gibson L6-S-1975_bychristophersimonsykes-jpg

  14. #63

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    For me the L6S was "the one that got away" in my guitar journey. My wife spotted one of the L6S ads in GP and opined that I should get one. I agreed but only ever encountered one in the wild. Gibson had seen fit to adorn it with a shade of brown that I really, really didn't care for, so I passed it up, which for me is highly uncharacteristic. Seriously, I'm very broadminded, but that brown was a bridge too far.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    The Gibson L6-S-1977-jun-cover-pat_martino-jpg
    That was the GP issue that introduced me to the thinking of Pat Martino and ignited my interest in the L5S. I've only seen one in the wild, but couldn't swing the jing at the time. A weight-relieved version would be most welcome, especially if G threw in a stereo VariTone. A guy can dream, right?
    Last edited by citizenk74; 07-31-2019 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Spelin

  16. #65

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    The Gibson L6-S-fb_img_1589118801814-jpg

  17. #66

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    One cool feature that I think a lot of people don't often notice is, you get 2 extra frets clear of the body, compared to a LP.

  18. #67

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    “No jazz tones”? What are you talking about......

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74 View Post
    That was the GP issue that introduced me to the thinking of Pat Martino and ignited my interest in the L5S. I've only seen one in the wild, but couldn't swing the jing at the time. A weight-relieved version would be most welcome, especially if G threw in a stereo VariTone. A guy can dream, right?
    The L5S was my main guitar for a couple of decades. I had a 74 (I think, just after they dropped the low impedence pickups) which was stolen, and then an 86.

    It's a beautiful looking guitar. Very comfortable to play, except for the weight. I had a PAF reissue in the neck position, which I preferred to the Super Humbucker that was standard.

    Eventually, it developed some thinness of tone in the highest notes, which I could not get rid of, even after taking it to three master luthiers.

    The L5S may be brighter sounding, on average, than a Les Paul. I think (without really knowing) that it might be due to the use of more maple.

    I preferred the older model which had a trapeze tailpiece iirc.

  20. #69

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    I own a 74' sunburst L5S. It was the first year of the humbucking pickups. In 76', Gibson switched the L5 tailpiece to a stoptail. In 74', it was Gibsons most expensive solid body at $965.00 and $110.00 for the case. If someone wants to buy one, make sure it comes with the OHSC as that is nearly impossible to find. The only guitar I owned that was heavier was my 69' Dan Armstrong Lexan.
    Last edited by rob taft; 05-29-2020 at 01:21 AM.

  21. #70

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    I've had two Gibson L6-Ss - one was a blonde reissue from 2011 with maple fretboard, the other was a 1977 sunburst with ebony fretboard.

    The 1977 sunburst was a far prettier guitar, the ebony fingerboard with dot inlays was very elegant looking. The sunburst finish was beautiful too. The original Gibson "superhumbucker" pickups are great too. Much clearer sounding than the typical PAF style pickup. More like a filtertron in a lot of ways. The narrow nut and strange neck profile was a bit strange though, I never really got used to it.

    The 2011 reissue was much more comfortable to play. Had a normal nut width, the neck profile was the typical Gibson slim-taper neck I think. I put Bill Lawrence L-90s in it and had it rewired as per the original 1970's Gibson schematic.

    I no longer have either, I found the neck pickup sound on both a bit choked due to having 24 frets. I did a lot of musical theatre gigs with them as they're so versatile. But as a pure jazz guitar, a Les Paul is probably better. That said, I would love a set of the L6-S superhumbuckers to fit in a LP or even an archtop. They're really unique sounding.

  22. #71

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    Also, are we sure he's wearing jeans and a denim shirt (not cool) or (god help us all) a jumpsuit that he copped from.......DEVO?


  23. #72
    Terry Haggerty of the Sons of Champlin played one . His outstanding work can be heard with the Sons live on YT or by himself. One of my and R.Fords favorites!

  24. #73
    If someone can post the Goldmine solo on the Sons live from YT they would really be doing the JGO community a good deed!!

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve burchfield View Post
    If someone can post the Goldmine solo on the Sons live from YT they would really be doing the JGO community a good deed!!
    This ?

  26. #75

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    Check this out. A half-hour all about the L6-S.


  27. #76
    A flat five aint no jive!! Thanks for posting Goldmine solo!! The Sons leader joined a band named Chicago . When I was starting out watching guys play good music on arch tops led me to check out jazz. Earlier Hag shows him playing an Gibson L-7 I think.

  28. #77

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    Rich Williams and Kerry Livgren of Kansas also played the L6-S.

  29. #78

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    I owned a '74 L6 Midnight Special for years that I gave to my son about 10 years back. Great guitar for every style of music. I still play it at every chance.

  30. #79

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    I recall that Santana used the L6S for a while then discarded it, referring to some kind of problem. Might have been reliability, but I can't quite recall. It was in a GP interview.

    In case there's still any confusion, the L5S was a 24 3/4 scale solid body. It had L5 in the name, I think, because it had very fancy trim. Otherwise, it had nothing in common with the L5.

    The L6S was a completely different guitar from the L5S.

    The sunburst L5S is a beautiful looking guitar, as pretty as any I've seen.

    It was not used by a great many well known players. Pat, of course, who I think used it because it would tolerate his heavy strings. Paul Simon played a black one in One Trick Pony. Boz Scaggs used it. One of the Rolling Stones, maybe Ron Wood, used one. I don't know why it wasn't more popular. The sound, arguably, was a little brighter or more brittle sounding than the Les Paul, possibly because it is maple, not mahogany, but I don't really know.

  31. #80

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    I suspect a large difference in sound between a humbucker equipped L5-S and a Les Paul is the fact the neck pickup on the L5-S is a bit closer to the bridge pickup. Both are 22 fret instruments, but in photos, you can see the neck pickup is closer to where one would expect on a 24 fret instrument. Makes a huge difference.

    The woods used make a difference too.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02 View Post
    “No jazz tones”? What are you talking about...
    Guess I'm with Jads then. Pop music just ain't what it used to be!

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by entresz View Post
    I suspect a large difference in sound between a humbucker equipped L5-S and a Les Paul is the fact the neck pickup on the L5-S is a bit closer to the bridge pickup. Both are 22 fret instruments, but in photos, you can see the neck pickup is closer to where one would expect on a 24 fret instrument. Makes a huge difference.

    The woods used make a difference too.
    I played the L5S for years and don't recall ever noticing that, but you're absolutely correct.

    The harmonic is over the edge of the pickup cover closest to the nut. It is not directly over the pole pieces.

    I checked two other guitars, a Comins GCS-1 and a Yamaha Pacifica 012. In both cases the harmonic is directly over the pole pieces.

    I would assume, for an open string, you'll get more fundamental if the harmonic is right over the polepiece. But, for a fretted string, how does it affect the sound? The octave harmonic won't be over the pole piece for a fretted string.

    Did they screw up the sound of the guitar so they could have that decorative pointy thing at the bridge end of the fingerboard?

  34. #83

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    I don't think the 24 fret harmonic necessarily matters too much - as you said, once you're playing on other frets any "magic" from the harmonic being over the pickup no longer applies.

    I think it's just there's a surprising difference in tone between having the pickup after the 22nd fret (like on a Les Paul) or having it after the 24th fret (like the L6-S and L5-S). It's like the neck pickup always has this hint of bridge pickup twang in it. Nothing can dial it out. You can cut the tops to make it dark, but it still won't sound as round or full.

    Dare I say, yes - I think the cupids bow in the neck of the L5-S actually really compromises the sound of the neck pickup!

  35. #84

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    I've wondered if the idea is to have the pickup as close as possible to the exact middle of the vibrating length of string. It seems to me, that would get maximum fundamental. But, that's the 12th fret, so you can't do it there. The usual solution is where the 24th fret would be. That gives the second octave. It may be true that the closer you are to the point where the string is divided into 4 equal parts, the better, at least, for the open string. The idea that it's the best place to sense the lowest possible harmonic.

    So, there's some open string magic in that. But, suppose you finger a string at the first fret. The node for the second harmonic moves towards the bridge, where the 25th fret would be -- and therefore towards the polepieces of the neck pickup on the L5S. The node would then be better (in this theory) on the L5S than the Les Paul for an F. Except, the LP's pickup would still be closer to the node at the 12th fret. At the 13th fret, the situation changes. The first harmonic is now at the position of the 25th fret, which is closer to the L5S's polepices.

    But, I played the L5S for years (two different ones) and never noticed any of this.

  36. #85

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    That logic does make sense. I wonder how guitars with a 20 fret neck compare? My observation is they seem to sound warmer/fatter than guitars with the 22 fret neck. So many variables at play though - it's hard to find a single explanation for why one instrument sounds different to another.

    I had two Gibson L6-Ss- while I liked them both very much, I found it hard to get a nice sound from the neck pickup. It's like they always had this slight 'sheen' of bridge pickup in the tone. It wasn't noticeable on the low register but became more apparent in the mid-high register of the instrument. They were really nice playing guitars though.

    I've replaced them both with a Les Paul Recording. The LP has a beautifully round/full neck pickup tone, but the playablity of the L6-S was better!

  37. #86

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    I gotta say, it's grown on me since 2011.

  38. #87

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    Glenn Phillips, from Atlanta (or Athens) has played heavily modified L-6s for most of his career. His tone is not exactly what I would call “warm,” more like an ice pick in your ears.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  39. #88

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    I had one for quite a few years and ended up selling it several months ago during my COVID guitar purge.

    The thing about these guitars is the electronics; specifically the tone controls and pickup selector switch, are significantly different than normal guitars. There have both a 'normal' (high cut) tone control AND a mid cut tone control (more of an upper mid control really), and these controls seem somewhat interactive. The Super Humbucking pickups are bright compared to a normal Gibson-type 'bucker; in fact you might think of them as somewhat 'hi-fi'. This means to get 'normal humbucker' tones from the L6S you MUST use both of these tone controls and find the sweet spot for the tones you're looking for. Running them all the way open or just turning down the treble doesn't really give you usable tones.

    My own feeling was, rather than having the two tone controls go from 0-10, it would have been better to have these with a detent in the middle and numbering them from 0 - 5 in each direction. Setting each tone control at the mid point ("5") gives a humbucking sound that is closer to what most people would expect and allows you then think more in terms of cut and boost. This is a big part of why the guitar never proved that popular, especially with players who played mostly clean.

    The neck profile is also really different. It's quite small and round at the nut, almost like a Fender Jazz Bass but then gets a lot larger as it goes up; sort of like a really stretched out cone. A very odd profile for a guitar neck. Also the wide flat Gibson frets made upper fret access feel very crowded past the 20th fret. I had mine refretted using smaller frets past the 18th which made the playability up there much better.

    All that being said they are very nice guitars capable of a huge range of tones, but getting them are about as non-intuitive as any guitar could be.
    The Gibson L6-S-l6-sb-jpg
    The Gibson L6-S-l6-sfretwire1-jpg

  40. #89

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    I never really got on with mine but it was my first gibson. I put a Dual Sound in the bridge but to me it still sounded the same. Never liked the weird OOP sounds.

  41. #90

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    I don't think being under the theoretical 24th fret has any magic, but the distance from the bridge does make a difference. There is always a difference in sound between the neck and bridge pickup, and the closer the pickup is to the bridge, the closer it gets to being a "bridge pickup". Further from the bridge gives a darker tone, regardless of which theoretical fret the pickup might be under.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I don't think being under the theoretical 24th fret has any magic, but the distance from the bridge does make a difference. There is always a difference in sound between the neck and bridge pickup, and the closer the pickup is to the bridge, the closer it gets to being a "bridge pickup". Further from the bridge gives a darker tone, regardless of which theoretical fret the pickup might be under.
    Interesting point. I just did a quick experiment that may be relevant. Using the neck pickup I fretted a high E at the 12th fret and plucked the string all along the vibrating length. That is, I plucked it from the 13th fret to the bridge, moving maybe a quarter inch at a time. The warmest sound was where the vibrating length of string was divided in half.

    Not the same as being able to move the pickup. But I recall, back in the day, using the D'Armond monkey on a stick, I always got the warmest sound closest to the fingerboard. Unsurprising. But I never checked where the pickup sounded best for notes above the 12th fret. That guitar didn't have a cutaway, so I didn't play much up there anyway.

  43. #92

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    When a string is plucked near the center, it gives more fundamental frequencies. Plucking near the end of the string gives a thinner, treblier tone. The further from the center, the more overtones are heard. There is no dispute about that, that I know of, certainly not from me. But as a guitar string is fretted, the center point moves. The string doesn't have to be plucked directly in the center to get fundamentals, just somewhere near the center. When I tune, I try to pluck near the center of the string length to avoid having overtones confuse the tuner and my ear. When playing, I most often pluck near the end of the fingerboard. Ideally, I suppose I should move my hand as I fret the strings, keeping the pick in the center of the unfretted string. That's how one plays harmonics, but it's more trouble than I'm willing to take. I just keep it near the neck pickup. Of course, not everyone plays the neck pickup, nor anywhere near it. Some play as close to the bridge as they can. I can't argue with them, but I don't like to listen to them.

  44. #93

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    When I play my L6-S, I usually pluck ahead of the neck pickup, over the fretboard between the 20th and 24th frets. I know this is an unconventional approach, but it creates very interesting tones.