1977 Gibson L6-S Deluxe

Model Description:

The original Gibson L6-S models were only produced between 1973 and 1979, although a new take on the L6S has been reissued by Gibson since 2011. Compared to more familiar Gibson lines, the L6-S remains very much ‘below the radar’. The L6‑S was one of several design ‘experiments’ undertaken by Gibson in the 1970s, which included the S1, the RD series, the Marauder and the Sonex-180, as well as Ripper and Grabber basses. While often overlooked and hugely underrated, the L6-S deserves attention and re‑appraisal for several reasons. The L6-S design was derived from the L5S solid body jazz guitar and came about from collaboration between Gibson and legendary designer Bill Lawrence (1931-2013). Early L6-Ss had flexible switching to take advantage of Lawrence’s ground-breaking (at the time) ‘tarback super humbuckers’, while the Deluxe has more traditional controls. All L6-S models featured maple bodies, 24‑fret set necks (except for the little-seen Midnight Special) and through-body stringing.


Guitar Description:

This mid-‘70s blacker-than-black L6-S Deluxe is yet another hidden pearl from the giant American Gibson corporation. It is relatively easy to see why it was not as successful as the core classic Gibson designs. The body shape is like a thinner, flattened, contoured Les Paul. However, it is very comfortable to play and its light weight is easy on the spine. The earlier 6-way switch might have put traditionalists off too, hence the ‘normal’ controls on the Deluxe. Some raised a quizzical eyebrow at a 24-fret fingerboard on a Gibson but why not? The set neck is slim and feels comfortably slinky. Lawrence’s pickups have a great tone but the aesthetics are, again, unfamiliar (plain black in 5-sided surrounds with no visible pole pieces) and the under‑appreciated ‘harmonica’ bridge was relatively unpopular at the time. Gibson’s black nitro finishes can be a bit prone to a bit of wear and tear, as is the case here – nothing serious, just the usual signs of regular use over the years. A couple of the points on the single-ply scratchplate have gone but that’s no biggie either. Apart from a replaced volume pot and the newer case, the natty L6-S Deluxe is all-original; very much a case of ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’. The advantage of the quirky design is that it has become a bit of a cult model and occupying a niche, as it does, means that no-one has been tempted to mess with it. I was pleasantly surprised by how good this often‑disregarded guitar is. Keep an open mind and enjoy something that’s a bit different from the norm. Bargain cool.


  • Black gloss nitrocellulose finish
  • Solid maple contoured body
  • Maple set neck
  • Black bound rosewood fingerboard with 24 frets and pearl dot markers
  • Original nickel-plated Gibson-branded tuners
  • Unbound headstock with gold printed ‘Gibson’ logo
  • Nut width 1 11/16
  • Scale length 24¾”
  • Original chrome plated hardware
  • Original single-ply scratchplate
  • Original twin black Bill Lawrence-designed Gibson humbucking pickups
  • Original body-mounted 3-way pickup selector switch, tone knobs, strap buttons (x2) and jack socket
  • Replaced volume pot
  • Original chrome ‘harmonica’ bridge and through-body stringing
  • Weight – 7lbs
  • Non-original hard shell case



  • Al Di Meola
  • Carlos Santana
  • John McLaughlin
  • Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)
  • Paul Stanley (KISS)
  • Mike Oldfield
  • Dave Davies (The Kinks)

Detail Gallery:

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