Gibson S-1

Gibson S-1

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S-1, LP-Shaped Guitar from Gibson.

6 user reviews
Find it in the classifieds starting at $770 Avg used price: $1,128Warning, this average price is older than 6 months
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Gibson S-1 tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Gibson
  • Model: S-1
  • Category: LP-Shaped Guitars
  • Added in our database on: 12/07/2004

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Gibson S-1 user reviews

Average Score:4.8( 4.8/5 based on 6 reviews )
 5 reviews83 %
 1 user review17 %
MGR/Dave Rotherham10/21/2011

MGR/Dave Rotherham's review"Gibson S-1"

Gibson S-1
The 1976 model - alder body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. There was a later version with a notoriously heavy mahogany body and maple fretboard, and an early one with slightly different pickups. Mine is natural, gone a pleasant yellow with age. Bill Lawrence's update of a Les Paul Special to compete with a Strat. The classic Gibson LP single cutaway body style, with a flat top and bolted neck. Three single coil pickups wired to combine into spread humbuckers in 4 combinations: Neck and middle for fat rock tone (like middle on Strat, but gutsier) bridge and middle for bright rock tone (like bridge on LP) all 3 for thick melody/rhythm tone(like neck on Strat or Rick)and out of phase for spiky funk tone ( like bridge and middle on Strat plus toe down on wah-wah). Then another override switch brings up the bridge pickup alone (Like bridge on Tele)
I string mine with Ernie Ball Stainless 010s and play rock, blues and country on it, at home or sometimes at open mic nights

Bought from a Kentucky pawn shop through eBay for about $400. In 1975 or 76 Norlin (Gibson) sent a prototype around UK music shops. I tried it and loved it. Then they didn't release it for the UK market after all. I never forgot, though, and when internet shopping was invented, I started looking again.

Easy feel. Comfort. Versatility: 5 great tones. Amazing sustain for a light guitar, but crisp enough for very fast licks, too. General mojo.

Picks up hum from lights.

Sturdy and durable, although one switch needed fixing after 33 years and the other started to crackle after 34 years. Stunning neck, sloppily fitted. The slight misalignment of the neck gives more room for vibrato on the first string, so it is an accidental good thing. Feel is wonderful.

It instantly felt like I had owned it all my life and is the most playable, comfortable and versatile guitar I have ever had.

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This review was originally published on

MGR/DeadShredder's review"Traditions S-1"

Gibson S-1
I have been playing for about 4 yrs now, and I am not in a band.
I play thru a Behringer V-Tone GMX 212.
I like to move from classic rock to Heavy Metal.
It would be a normal day for me to play alittle Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Pantera, Ozzy, and the Beatles.

I bought this unit from "Band Aid Music" in Lynnwood Washington.I Jammed on it for a couple of weeks and really came to love the thing.
I paid $675.00 for the Tradition S-1

Apart from the beautiful wood grains, at least AA quality, Rosewood fretboard with "Bird" inlay's it came with a wealth of esentials.

Locking Grover tuning keys.

Roller nut and Bridge, this was the first time I had used these and was AMAZED at how hard and long I could play and still stay in tune.

Body thru stringing.

3 rail humbuckers, great sustain on bends, Awesome chunk, I really cant say enought here.

3 toggles for switching the humbuckers to single coils independantly.

5 way switching for the pick-ups

Truthfuly there is only one thing I dont like about the guitar set up, the placement of the volume control is way too close to the bridge and became a pain in the backside, I found myself hitting the control knob and constantly lowering the volume!!

I took care of this by removing the tone control and relocating the volume control to the now vacated tone control spot.

This took care of everything, more room to work, who needs tone control anyway, and no volume issues.

As I have kind of stated above, the S-1 seems to represent overseas (China) advancements in the past decade in quality and fine workmanship. If you put the "Made in America" stamp on this you would never guess other wise, but the price would double!

The bottom line is this, if you like to play an assortment of different music styles and have high end sound with each style, not some bland we can do anything Wall-Mart crap, then you sould really give this guitar a serious look.
I have owned and played many "High end guitars" and this can easily play with them.

This review was originally published on
King Loudness01/23/2012

King Loudness's review"A real hybrid..."

Gibson S-1
The Gibson S-1 is another one of the guitars that was designed by the company in the seventies where new ideas were paramount. The S-1 was meant to capture the Strat players market by offering a bolt on, 3 single coil pickup instrument that looked and felt like a Gibson. It features an alder body, a maple neck with rosewood fretboard and 22 frets, Grover tuners, tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece, and a trio of Bill Lawrence designed single coil pickups. The switching is a very cool 4 way pickup selector that offers some unique tones, and there is also a phase switch to further change up and alter the sound spectrum.


This guitar like its sister the Marauder is one heavy ax. It must weigh 11-12 pounds solid, and really is cumbersome to hold and play for long periods of time in my experience. Even compared to some of the Les Pauls or Strats I've had, these guitars really are weighty pieces and not the optimum choice for gigging and playing for long periods in my opinion. The upper fret access is decent considering the general design.

Getting a good sound out of this guitar is easy enough to do. The pickups have a nice Stratty vibe to them that can even be altered for some new tones with the 4 way and phase switches. It sounds like a Fender that's got a bit more of a thicker and punchier thing going on, very cool for rock or blues music.


This guitar has a great range of tones to it surprisingly. The Bill Lawrence pickups have a really nice punchy tonal set that sounds particularly nice clean. It's like a Strat that sounds beefier and with a little more low end heft to my ears. Through a traditional sounding amp like a Fender or VOX it offers a nice chimey quality that's great for blues or funk tones. Using the phase switch really brings in the nasally classic tones. It's actually kind of surprising that a Gibson could sound this way, but here's the proof! Switching over to drive tones offers some very thick and biting tones that are great for rock music. I particularly liked toggling through the 4 way selector and finding new sounds that worked well for classic and hard rock tones. It wasn't as thick sounding as a typical Gibson, but in place of that was a nice Stratty brightness added to that Gibson-esque thing.


All in all I think the Gibson S-1 is a cool guitar for someone looking for a cool instrument that falls off the beaten path. It offers some nice Gibson meets Fender appointments in looks, feel and tone which is very cool. Sure it's quite heavy, but then again so are LPs, so if you're used to that it might not be an issue. At about $700 used these are a fairly good price for a vintage Gibson that is sure to gain some value as time goes on. Definitely worth a look.

Gblii's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Gibson S-1
Gibson S-1:
Manufacturing: USA
Date: from 1975 1980
Type: Solid-body Gibson entirely of maple
this model prsentait a handle screwed.
The specialist of Bill Lawrence pickups had conceived his spciaux circuits (3 single coil pickups oil bath!)
Mcaniques gibson deluxe

Very pretty face model in natural wood (I possde) a nice corp style Les Paul, a honey-colored more pleasant over the years, and oil bath microphones, transparent with their apparent winding is really beautiful ...


The handle is particular and closer to that than a fender gibson!
It is thin, slightly bomb the button, the only problem (is it really a) is the polish gibson which wears on the most jous parties, but that takes a very nice color over the years.
The accssiblit is very corect because of the pan shot taken from "Les Paul".
Weight? ... I do not think this is the worst gibson, but it even when its weight ...
It has a good grip.
Level sound, this is awesome!
3 oil bath microphones give a round and warm in the clear worthy of a Start ', and in attack, it takes the sound of legendary gibsons ... regarding the good old distos it This has nothing to reproach ...
Versatile, really pleasant ...


I think she's really versatile, and having tried everything on it, it only remains for you to find your sound.
I am on power amps stro mesa-boogie with Pramp mesa boogie, and the effects vary my mood ...


I use it for 6 years and if c'tait again, I would ...
It is a model rather rare and if you get it do not hesitate ...

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Other names: s 1, s1

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