Gibson started producing the S-1 in mid-1974, but released it on the market in 1974. Its production lifespan was 1974-1980. Like the Gibson Marauder, the S-1 was an attempt to break through into the single-coil guitar market. It too consisted of a flat Les Paul -like body with a maple Flying V neck bolted on. Unlike the Marauder, however, the S-1 featured three "see-thru" single-coil pickups designed by Bill Lawrence, with fairly elaborate circuitry to generate humbucking and single-coil pickup sounds. It also featured a "Nashville" style bridge which was used in some 70's Gibson SG models. The S-1 had one 2 way toggle switch and a "chicken head" 4 position rotary switch. The potentiometers are volume and tone. The sound was similar to that of a Fender Stratocaster or a Fender Telecaster.
The Gibson S-1 was initially endorsed by Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, as well as Carlos Santana. Like the Marauder, the nontraditional construction and Fender-like characteristics contributed to the unpopularity and demise of the model in the early 1980s.