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This Ripper bass was made in the one year when Gibson wisely chose Alder as the wood for the body. Maple bodied Rippers start out at 9 pounds in weight and work their way up. This alder bodied version weighs just 8lbs 9.2oz. I've sold several of each version over the years and the alder bodied ones always sound better.
This bass came to use with a three-way switch wired into the circuit and the "choke" removed - a part that is an important factor in the sound of an original Ripper bass. So, we ordered a new wiring harness with all the right stuff. The original pots and jack are included, though one of the original pots had also been replaced. The knobs, tuners, pickguard, bridge, bridge cover and pickups are original. The ring around the varitone switch is a repro - the black part with the numbers 1 through 4 on it.
The bass was well played and has that killer, vintage look. The truss rod was tested and is effective in case you need to adjust it. Frets show wear, plenty of it, but the bass plays great.
There are no other repairs that have been done to the bass aside from the electronics change.
Here is a description of the functions of the 4 way switch system in this bass:
The Gibson Ripper has three controls: volume, midrange and tone; and a four-way rotary tone switch; unfortunately these are not marked, so players have to learn and remember what they do! The varitone positions are as follows:
Position1: Both pickups, in-phase, wired in series (result: more "bite)
Position 2: Back pickup only (result: maximum treble)
Position 3 Both pickups, in-phase, wired in parallel (result: More bottom end)
Position 4: Both pickups, out-of-phase, wired in series (result: Funky, dirty tonality)
The Ripper was designed to use all of these controls in conjunction with each other. Today, people that don't like Rippers (yes there are some!) have probably had a bad experience without really experiencing what this bass can do. But this is perhaps not surprising, especially if the pickup outputs are not balanced.. it is tempting to leave all controls on full and only change varitone positions. But this was not how Bill Lawrence designed the bass to be used. Pickup signal must be comparable for neck and bridge to get the correct out-of-phase signal.
The volume control is the knob closest to the bridge. The Midrange control is furthest from the bridge - at "0" it gives the minimum midrange response, at 10 the max. The Tone control is closest to the output jack - at "0" it delivers maximum bass, and 10 it delivers maximum treble.
Gibson made a total of 1185 Rippers in 1976, the last year of this satin finished version. Comes with a pretty lame gig bag. I will double box the bass for shipment.
- Color: Natural
- Weight: 8lbs 2.9ozs
- Body: Alder
- Neck: Maple
- Fretboard: Maple
- Inlays: MOP Dots
- Frets: Original Jumbo
- Fret count: 20
- Nut material: Original Synthetic
- Nut width: 1 9/16"
- Scale: 34"
- Radius: 10"
- Neck thickness at 1st fret: 0.84"
- Neck thickness at 12th fret: 0.97"
- Action 1st String at 12th Fret: 1.5mm
- Action 6th String at 12th Fret: 3.0mm
- String gauge: .045-.10"
- Hardware: Original
- Bridge Pickup: 6.35k OEM
- Neck pickup: 6.4k
- Tuners: Original
- Pots: All New!
- Case: Gigbag
- Notes: We installed a complete, new wiring harness, w/pots, and 4-way rotary switch, because when we took it in, the 4-way rotary switch had been replaced with a 3-way switch. Original included in the gigbag.