Overgrown lilacs

I bought a property that has 7 large lilac bushes (several different varieties). My problem is that the previous owner never pruned them. Now these plants consist of long woody stems that go up 6 to 8 feet with flowering blooms all across the top and no blooms below 6 feet.
Question: if I prune these bushes back to six feet, can I expect any blooms at all next year ( I don't even know where the blooms would come from because there is nothing but long woody branch-like stalks from ground to 6 feet)?
Should I start over and cut them down to ground and try to get new growth that way?
Thank you for replies. Bruce
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On 11/7/06 10:03 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@m7g2000cwm.googlegroups.com, "Bruce"

Regional wisdom is to cut out about a third of the oldest (and there for biggest) trunks at ground level. Don't take any more than a third, wait a year and do it again in the fall.
Cheryl In NH where the lilac is the state flower.
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Prune them 1/3 at a time and let the suckers come up.
Derryl

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