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  1. #1

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    I need some help finding an expert.

    I have been using my nephew’s solid body for the last several months because it was collecting dust on the floor of my in-law’s (his grandparents) home, unprotected and gathering dust. It is rough but the first time I picked it up it felt “right” and very instinctive. It had an unusually wide lower bout and the contours were like nothing I’ve ever seen from Gibson. So I suspected it was a fake from the beginning, and a guy who has quite a collection said he’s never seen anything like it before from Gibson, so I ended up peeling off the vinyl logo (already peeling off, and another HUGE reason I have had doubts) and taking it home, with his permission.

    So the other day I was reading an article and I saw THIS GUITAR, except the photo had a stoptail and rotary switch. It was a Bill Lawrence designed Gibson L6-S. But a little digging helped me see there are three different models, including the Deluxe with the same string-through body plate on this. A little reading and this guitar was designed to have a wide tonal range, and used custom pickups, also designed by Bill Lawrence.

    Bill Lawrence Website

    1976 Gibson L-6S Deluxe

    It has a “MADE IN U.S.A.” stamp on the back of the headstock, and the volute is correct. The serial number is 656895, it it is somewhat faint.

    Obviously the pickups, bridge, and from the photos I’ve seen the tuners are all changed out. So either someone got an Ibanez copy and did a horrible job at modding it, or they a total idiot and ruined a very unique instrument to get close to a Les Paul clone. I am still wanting to buy it off my nephew and fix it up, or restore it for him if he won’t sell it (he’s undecided), but I don’t know if it’s authentic or not. And if not, how do I tell an Ibanez from some other manufacturer?



    FULL ALBUM: Real or Fake Gibson L6-S Deluxe? - Album on Imgur
    Attached Images Attached Images Real or Fake Gibson L6-Deluxe-dc8e0efc-60d7-4c60-92ae-d69731ea0350-jpg Real or Fake Gibson L6-Deluxe-86d1f9dc-c4c2-4de5-9919-e7320e67a13d-jpg 
    Last edited by zcostilla; 05-19-2019 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Include pictures and not just link to album
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Looks like an L6S

  4. #3

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    Looks like an L6-S....how exactly was it “ruined”?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by customxke View Post
    Looks like an L6-S....how exactly was it “ruined”?
    By removing the very rare and unique Bill Lawrence super-Humbuckers and tone shaping circuitry. Plus the harmonica bridge and Kluson tuners are gone, and there’s an extra hole in the top. While it isn’t in cherry condition, it certainly isn’t collectible in the state it is in. If I can’t score replacement pickups, I’ll probably change in Duncan P-Rails, use push-pull knobs for the coil splits, and use the hole for a DPDT switch to give different tone caps or fill it in. That way while it won’t be original, it will at least be versatile and keep the spirit of what Bill Lawrence was shooting for when he designed it.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  6. #5

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    It looks right to me. The tuners are probably original. They are the same type as those on the L6-S Custom, and on many examples of the Deluxe.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by zcostilla View Post
    By removing the very rare and unique Bill Lawrence super-Humbuckers and tone shaping circuitry. Plus the harmonica bridge and Kluson tuners are gone, and there’s an extra hole in the top. While it isn’t in cherry condition, it certainly isn’t collectible in the state it is in. If I can’t score replacement pickups, I’ll probably change in Duncan P-Rails, use push-pull knobs for the coil splits, and use the hole for a DPDT switch to give different tone caps or fill it in. That way while it won’t be original, it will at least be versatile and keep the spirit of what Bill Lawrence was shooting for when he designed it.
    The L6s Deluxe didn't have the 6 way switch. So that aspect of it is not modified. My guess is that the hole was drilled by a
    previous owner for a coil splitter or phase switch. The Schallers could be original. I don't see Kluson holes in the pics and Schallers were stock on lots of Gibsons ca. 77-80 These guitars were pretty common late 70s/early 80s, and I tried them many times. I never heard of them being cloned, and doubt this is a copy. The details that usually give away a copy look right on this. If you want to restore it, the pups are the main thing that made that model distinct.

    John

  8. #7

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    I wouldn't be in a hurry to change anything, other than get it properly set up. Your expectations concerning ornamentation may not be entirely correct.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I wouldn't be in a hurry to change anything, other than get it properly set up. Your expectations concerning ornamentation may not be entirely correct.
    At a minimum it needs new saddles because several of the have more than one slot, presumably because of the unique wide bridge/skinny nut taper, and the new slots weren’t filed in correctly. It also needs a correct bridge pickup because the single coil is really weak in comparison because I had Pite Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars Dustin make it for a lap steel project and I wanted something beefier than a traditional lap steel single coil at the time. The tuners and string ferrules are nickel and the aftermarket pickups have gold covers to match the cheap bridge that was swapped in. The neck pickup is mushy sounding and inarticulate as well and the bridge pickup it had installed was dead when I got it from him, so that should also be resolved. Those would be my minimum changes. But since it’s not really mine, I’m only going to do what my nephew wants me to do,
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  10. #9

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    I understand that Kluson is now making a replacement harmonica bridge. In case that's relevant.

  11. #10

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    These were the basic model sans extras,like 6 way switch, ebony or maple fingerboard.
    Actually a fun little guitar !

  12. #11

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    I get that the Deluxe did not have the 6-way switch, and the custom had the switch, stopbar tailpiece, and a different pickguard. So maybe it isn’t as ruined as I first thought.

    Now I need to find a replacement Gibson decal that is time-period correct. I found one original pickup used online but the owner doesn’t know if it was a bridge or neck position.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  13. #12

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    I spent some time on eBay looking at L6S models. Man oh man there were so many variations... Way I see it if it makes your heart flutter when you play it that's all that matters...

    Big

  14. #13

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    There are at least 3 or 4 on ebay right now that look identical (except the pickups) including the switch/knob configuration. Looks legit to me but without better photos. . .

    Still seems like the doormat of the Gibson line in terms of collector pressure (in High School I would have murdered for one of these).

  15. #14

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    If it helps, the specifications can be found here. I have a Custom, which is an endless source of joy to me. I think some time spent putting right this Deluxe would be worthwhile.

  16. #15

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    Back in the 70s Santana did a few ads for them, here's one. It sorta made them desirable. I thought an ebony 'board was the final touch needed, both visually and tonally.

    Real or Fake Gibson L6-Deluxe-l6s-santana76-jpg
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  17. #16

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  18. #17

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    The only guitar I sort of regret not buying was one of those. I found it in a pawn shop in the early '90s, on one of my frequent searches for a deal I couldn't refuse. It had been rode hard and put away wet, with a bent tuner, a string missing, and a price a little higher than I was willing to pay. I should have bought it.

  19. #18

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    These are great guitars, I have a 2011 Reissue in maple and used to have a 1977 Custom. The 1977 Custom had the ebony board and a beautiful tobacco burst finish. The Reissue has been rewired to the same specs as the 1977.
    Ended up selling the 1977 Custom, the 2011 Reissue after being rewired was better sounding and more comfortable to play.

    The 'Super Humbucker' pickups are great too. The bridge pickup of my 1977 L6-S custom was like a very ''angry'' doubled-up Tele in sound. The neck pickup was very nice for jazz sounds, even with the 24 fret neck.

  20. #19

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    And they only weigh 15 lbs!
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  21. #20

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    I have played a bunch of different versions of the L6S. IMO, the Deluxe is far and away the best one, in terms of sound.

  22. #21

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    I had one. Rotary switch, maple board. No jazz tones that I could find.

  23. #22

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    I reached out to Pete Biltoft at Vintage Vibe Guitars (my go-to for custom work) and he’s willing to make the pickups to any specifications I want. So I may end up making this sort of a hybrid Deluxe/Custom with DPDT knobs for coil splitting and a switch in that mini hole for series/parallel. Just waiting to hear from my nephew who hasn’t replied back to me yet.
    Last edited by zcostilla; 05-23-2019 at 12:10 PM.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  24. #23

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    I had an L6-S Custom (Black), one of the last ones made. I found out by looking up the serial number. It was made in late ‘80 and sold new in ‘81 after they discontinued it. The shop I bought it at was a new Gibson dealer, so they made him take it with his initial stock order. It was my workhorse for 25 years. The pups were good but not as hot as sometimes advertised, and you couldn’t remove the chrome covers. No pole pieces either. I usually just used the bridge pup alone or the neck pup alone. It did okay for the Jazz I played, but it wasn’t a “jazz guitar”. It wasn’t a “rock guitar” or any other genre either. It was a jack of all trades, master of none.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by woyvel View Post
    I had an L6-S Custom (Black), one of the last ones made. I found out by looking up the serial number. It was made in late ‘80 and sold new in ‘81 after they discontinued it. The shop I bought it at was a new Gibson dealer, so they made him take it with his initial stock order. It was my workhorse for 25 years. The pups were good but not as hot as sometimes advertised, and you couldn’t remove the chrome covers. No pole pieces either. I usually just used the bridge pup alone or the neck pup alone. It did okay for the Jazz I played, but it wasn’t a “jazz guitar”. It wasn’t a “rock guitar” or any other genre either. It was a jack of all trades, master of none.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    This is great feedback. Follow up question for you, IF you were going to change out the pickups, what would you go to? (It’s an all-maple guitar, so brightness needs to be factored in).
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  26. #25

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    I stayed with them, as they had better reviews than the guitar itself. If I were to change right now I’d be looking at something like Seymour Duncan SH-2.


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  27. #26

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    FWIW,

    If you can get your hands on a 1974 L6S Midnight Special, it has a mahogany body. I have played all of the 6s, and this is THE one. Great sound.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    FWIW,

    If you can get your hands on a 1974 L6S Midnight Special, it has a mahogany body. I have played all of the 6s, and this is THE one. Great sound.
    i’m actually thinking about letting the Gibby go if I find a willing trade partner. It’s nice but not exactly what I was looking for. And while my nephew was on the fence about selling it I went and got a Hamer Monaco Special Korina, and I get some sweet jazz tone out of the dual P-90s. It does really well for classic rock/R&B tones too.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, Gibson L6-S and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion