||1977 Gibson Fretless Ripper L9FS|
Two Ripper humbuckers|
||Three piece set maple neck. Ebony fretless fingerboard. Adjustable truss rod. Width at nut 1 5/8"|
||Q-system electronics: 1 volume, 1 tone and 1 midrange control. Gibson 3-point bridge. Schaller BM tuning keys.
Despite the rise in interest in fretless bass guitars in the 1970s, most manufacturers still sold considerably more fretted instruments. The Gibson Ripper was no exception, with around 1 in 10 Rippers sold being fretless - see the Ripper shipping figures for more information.
The majority were in some kind of sunburst finish, usually described as tobacco sunburst; tobacco sunburst usually signifies a brown or black finish that fades through lighter browns to a yellow natural base. This bass, although it has some brown within the burst, is almost black fading directly to yellow.
Like all Rippers, this bass was built at Gibson's Kalamazoo plant in Michigan, USA, during the Norlin period. The bass pictured is a typical Ripper: Ripper humbucking pickups, Gibson 3-point chrome bridge, and Schaller BM machine heads.
What is slightly unusal in this bass is the mix of mid period features (second Ripper body style, six digit stamped serial number) with later features (five ply scratchplate with engraved tone switch nuemerals, and pickups mounted to the scratchplate, late 1976 pot codes). This might signify slightly earlier woodworking (mid-late 1975?) and slightly later assembly (early 1977?). This is unusual in most Rippers, as they were generally shipped as quickly as they were produced, but it seems orders for fretless versions were not as forthcoming as Gibson might have hoped.
1977 zone 1 price for the Fretless Ripper in a Tobacco Sunburst finish was $569. The fretless Ripper was also available in Ebony finish at $30 less.
1977 Fretless Ripper soundclips
Soundclips were recorded on a 1977 alder bodied Ripper with Labella flat wound strings (760FL), plugged directly into a mobilePre preamp.
- Postion 1. Activate both pickups in a series in phase configuration. (Series wiring achieves a bit more "bite" than might otherwise be obtained.)
soundclip - position 1 tone - 10, midrange -10 played with pick
- Position 2. Activates back pickup only for a maximum treble response.
soundclip - position 2 tone - 0, midrange -0 played fingerstyle (bassline is based on Truth Will Out by True Element
- Positon 3. Activates both pickups in an in phase, parallel wiring configuration. ("Parallel" resulting in more bottom end response.)
soundclip - position 3 tone - 5, midrange -5 played with pick
- Position 4. Activates both pickups in series, out of phase for a very funky, dirty type tonality.
soundclip - position 4 tone - 10, midrange -10 fingerstyle |
soundclip - position 4 tone - 10, midrange -0 played fingerstyle (bassline is based on Natural Selection by True Element)