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1976 Gibson Ripper

1976 Gibson Ripper - more images and sound clips of this middle-period alder bodied bass

  1974 Gibson L-9S Ripper, natural finish

1974 L-9S Ripper

1977 Gibson L-9SF Fretless Ripper 1978 Gibson L-9S Ripper, ebony finish

1977 L-9SF Fretless Ripper

1978 L-9S Ripper

Gibson Ripper L9-S Bass

Solid alder or maple body, maple neck. 34 1/2 inch scale.

The Gibson Ripper was launched in 1973, as something new for the guitar buying public, who had began to tire of the EB basses that had dominated the 1960s. As one of their mid seventies adverts proclaimed, they haven't been hanging about for fifteen or twenty years. Mahogany was out - the earliest Ripper bodies were manufactured from maple, though in 1975 to 1976 alder was used before going back to maple in 1977. It was designed by Bill Lawrence who was working for Gibson at the time.

Economic pressures in the 1970s meant the L-9S had to be affordable. A good quality bass, certainly, but no expensive inlays or finishes, plastic pickup covers, and controls and pickups mounted on the scratchplate (reducing production time and costs, compared to mounting in the wood).

It was still a big bass, compared to Gibson's previous models. Long scale (there was no short-scale equivalent), with a big rounded body. All-maple ones can be quite heavy. Hardware consisted of the then brand new Ripper humbucking pickups, Gibson 3-point bridge, with chrome cover; and usually Schaller BM machines.

Gibson Ripper promo record, 1974

But the controls were interesting. Bill Lawrence developed their 'Q-system' electronics, which had an impressive array of tones, if a little difficult to find them all again... So Gibson put out a fantastic vinyl record with a demonstration of the bass; including suggested Q-system settings, and some funky live performances by Richard Evans and Dartanyan Brown of Chase.

The Ripper was available as a standard fretted instrument (left) and from 1975 as a fretless, though only 898 fretless ripper were shipped between 1975 and 1979; around 10% of the total. Have a look and a listen to a fretless Ripper here

The exact Ripper specifications can be seen in the 1975 Gibson bass and 1978 Gibson catalogues.

The Gibson Ripper shipping figures are taken from Larry Meiners book Gibson Shipment Totals.

 1973197419751976197719781979total
Ripper Fretless L9-FS   951077674352
Ripper Fretless L9-FS Tobacco Sunburst  108255577947546
Ripper L9-S Ebony194261187344424661982403
Ripper L9-S Natural Maple Gloss203075  7153511874348
Ripper L9-S Natural Satin  10571185    
Ripper L9-S Tobacco Sunburst  522521928126



The specifications listed below are taken from the 1975 Gibson bass catalogue
Gibson Ripper bass guitar1975 Ripper L9-S

BODY SPECIFICATION
Solid alder body with contored shape (maple 1973-74, and 1977 onwards)
Double cutaway design contored shape
3-point adjustable Tune-o-matic bridge with handrest
Combination tailpiece (strings enter through body or connect at end of bridge)
Two Gibson "Super humbucking" pickups
Master volume, midrange and treble roll-off controls
4-position transfer switch for multiple tonal changes
Available in Natural or Ebony body finish Body size: Length 21 1/2", width 14 1/2", depth 1 1/4"

NECK SPECIFICATION
Laminated maple construction
Width at fingerboard nut 1 5/8"
Choice of Natural Maple or Ebony fingerboard with dot inlays
Chrome-plated individual machine heads
Gibson truss rod with moulded truss rod cover
20 frets 34 1/2" scale length
Gibson Ripper fretless bass guitar1975 Ripper Fretless

BODY SPECIFICATION

Solid alder body with contored shape (maple 1973-74, and 1977 onwards)
Double cutaway design contored shape
3-point adjustable Tune-o-matic bridge with handrest
Combination tailpiece (strings enter through body or connect at end of bridge)
Two Gibson "Super humbucking" pickups
Master volume, midrange and treble roll-off controls
4-position transfer switch for multiple tonal changes
Available in Sunburst finish (also ebony and natural by 1977)
Body size: Length 21 1/2", width 14 1/2, depth 1 1/4"

NECK SPECIFICATION
Laminated maple construction
Width at fingerboard nut 1 5/8"
Fretless Ebony fingerboard (also maple by 1978)
Chrome-plated individual machine heads
Gibson truss rod with moulded truss rod cover
34 1/2" scale length



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US ebay listings

gibson ripper bass parts

Current price: $50.00
buy it now
Time left: 8h 47m
Pair of 1970s Gibson USA Speed Knobs For SG L6-S Grabber Ripper Special EB3 Eb0

Current price: $39.99
buy it now
Time left: 18h 38m
70's Gibson BASS BRIDGE Ripper RD EB-3 Les Paul? 3 point

Current price: $239.99
buy it now
Time left: 20h 6m
70's Gibson Ripper BASS Bridge Pickup 6.1 ohm original Vintage

Current price: $229.99
buy it now
Time left: 20h 6m
1974 Vintage Gibson Ripper Bass Bridge Cover Original USA

Current price: $119.00
buy it now
Time left: 2d 2h 53m
GIBSON THE RIPPER 1970 Bass, Made in the U.S.A.

Current price: $630.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 3h 20m
1976 Gibson Ripper Bass Rare Sunburst Finish

Current price: $2500.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 11h 37m
Fully Restored Gibson Ripper Pick-up

Current price: $165.00
buy it now
Time left: 3d 23h 20m
Gibson EB-0 1965 vintage bass w/Ripper replacement pickup ebo eb0 eb-o player

Current price: $575.00
buy it now
Time left: 5d 20h 37m
Vintage 1973 Gibson The Ripper bass Guitar Near Mint Collector condition w/ OHSC

Current price: $1899.00
buy it now
Time left: 6d 7h 24m
1974 Gibson dealer imprint brocure Les Paul Sg Ripper bass

Current price: $29.00
buy it now
Time left: 7d 21h 11m
1973 USA GIBSON RIPPER BASS GUITAR BRIDGE COVER SPACER FEET SET EB RARE

Current price: $69.00
buy it now
Time left: 11d 4h 6m
Vintage Gibson Ripper L9-S Bass

Current price: $2500.00
buy it now
Time left: 14d 6h 46m
Vintage Gibson L9-S Ripper Bass

Current price: $1400.00
buy it now
Time left: 14d 7h 20m
EARLY 1970'S GIBSON BASS CASE FOR GRABBER RIPPER AND OTHERS

Current price: $149.99
buy it now
Time left: 16d 8h 51m
Gibson Knob Pointer Set of 3 From 1970s- L6s S1 Les Paul Ripper Grabber G3 SG

Current price: $34.99
buy it now
Time left: 17d 7h 31m
1974 USA GIBSON EB RIPPER BASS GUITAR BRIDGE COVER 1975 1976 ORIGINAL EB-O

Current price: $195.00
buy it now
Time left: 17d 7h 48m
Vintage 70's Gibson EB-3 CHICKEN HEAD SWITCH KNOB Ripper L6-S

Current price: $29.99
buy it now
Time left: 19d 20h 1m
Vintage GIBSON EB-3 RIPPER Bass TUNERS Keys Tuning Machines Gears Grabber? G-3?

Current price: $134.99
buy it now
Time left: 22d 19h 30m
1979 Gibson Ripper electric bass guitar w/ original hardshell case CLEAN

Current price: $1800.00
buy it now
Time left: 23d 11h 34m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

Pair of 1970s Gibson USA Speed Knobs For SG L6-S Grabber Ripper Special EB3 Eb0

Current price: £23.79
buy it now
Time left: 18h 38m
Vintage 1973 Gibson The Ripper bass Guitar Near Mint Collector condition w/ OHSC

Current price: £1129.75
buy it now
Time left: 6d 7h 24m
1973 USA GIBSON RIPPER BASS GUITAR BRIDGE COVER SPACER FEET SET EB RARE

Current price: £41.05
buy it now
Time left: 11d 4h 6m
Gibson Knob Pointer Set of 3 From 1970s- L6s S1 Les Paul Ripper Grabber G3 SG

Current price: £20.82
buy it now
Time left: 17d 7h 31m
1974 USA GIBSON EB RIPPER BASS GUITAR BRIDGE COVER 1975 1976 ORIGINAL EB-O

Current price: £116.01
buy it now
Time left: 17d 7h 48m
Vintage Gibson Ripper Bass Guitar Pickguard Original Screws Set Made in USA

Current price: £11.89
buy it now
Time left: 24d 38m
Set of 1970s Gibson USA Speed Knobs For S1 SG L6S Grabber Ripper Special EB3 Eb0

Current price: £29.74
buy it now
Time left: 25d 14h 2m
1976 GIBSON GRABBER / RIPPER BASS CASE -- made in USA

Current price: £169.00
buy it now
Time left: 27d 20h 29m
Vintage ca.1970's Gibson Black Speed Knobs SG Les Paul S-1 Marauder, Ripper

Current price: £29.15
buy it now
Time left: 29d 8h 36m
See more results on eBay here

There are 7 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
mister ripper Comment left 14th August 2012 12:12:29
Cool basses. I wanted one of these throughout my youth.. always too expensive :( but I've got one now ( as of last week ) and I can't put it down. I think it's changing the way I play. I need a case though. What fits? TIA
Fly Guitars Comment left 2nd September 2012 06:06:09
The second body style Rippers use the same cases as the Grabber and G3 - these are fairly frequently seen on ebay, and you should be able to pick one up in the region of $80. Maybe less for a beater. It probably is worth getting the original case if you can.
Jason8 Comment left 17th February 2013 21:09:35
I just found a 78 black (ebony) ripper with the newer body style and ebony board. Great condition (maybe 8.5/10) and great playing bass, but i'm not sure what it is worth (it seems a tad expensive). I don't want to overpay. What is a really nice all original Ripper worth. With case too. Thanks, Jason
Joe Iaquinto Comment left 20th February 2013 19:07:23
If you can find a sunburst Ripper, BUY IT! Those, for some reason, are the best-made Rippers ever.
CherryBurstRipper Comment left 31st March 2013 20:08:43
Why are there no cherry sunburst finish Rippers not shown in the shipping figures? Gibson certainly did make them. Mark Evans of ACDC had one early on.
Trevor-Australia Comment left 23rd August 2013 16:04:50
I am trying to locate a switch control for my 1974 L9-S Ripper as well as a set of adjustable pick-up magnet screws and pick-up mounting screws. Can anyone please assist me?
Jake Comment left 25th October 2013 20:08:05
Anyone have any info/estimates as to how many fretless ebony rippers were ever made?

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