Friday, May 15, 2009

Gibson Ripper (L9-S) Bass Guitar with Seymour Duncan upgrade (ebony)

Photos of a Gibson Ripper bass guitar I sold on Ebay

Serial Number 00158218

Manufactured in the USA in 1976, one of 734 shipped by Gibson that year.

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. It was available as a standard fretted instrument and from 1975 as a fretless, though only 898 fretless ripper were shipped between 1976 and 1979

The condition of this bass guitar is what could be described as 'well loved', whilst there are several marks on the bass I have done my best to highlight these in the photos below. None of the marks affect the playability or reliability of this Ripper, it's just got more character than some others I have sold! Sadly the bridge cover is missing, but is was common to remove these as they kinda get in the way!

When I got this bass it was missing the neck pickup, apparently it was fairly normal then these basses were new to remove the neck pickup and rewire the controls, gawd knows why! I decided to restore this bass back to it's former two pickup glory. Getting a replacement pickup turned into quite a mission though. In the end I had to call the Seymour Duncan custom shop in the USA and get them to make a replacement just for me! When this eventually arrived it was fitted and the bass was rewired to the original specifications by the very talented Mark Harwood at Springvale studios. The replacement pickup is near as damn to the original, although it mounts slightly different to the original, hence the three empty screw holes shown in the photo below.

Guitar Setup

While fitting the pickup upgrade Mark Harwood also did an expert setup on this Gibson Ripper, and he REALLY knows his stuff! The action on this Ripper is really nice, it suits pretty much all playing styles. The intonation has been declared as being perfect, however I've found with selling guitars on Ebay that intonation can be a matter of taste so I'm not giving this intonation as a 100% guarantee.

1975 Ripper L9-S Original Spec Sheet


Solid alder body with contored shape

Double cutaway design contored shape

3-point adjustable Tune-o-matic bridge with handrest (the 'handrest' is missing from this bass)

Combination tailpiece (strings enter through body or connect at end of bridge)

Two Gibson "Super humbucking" pickups (in this case one is a Seymour Duncan custom shop pickup)

Master volume, midrange and treble roll-off controls

4-position transfer switch for multiple tonal changes


Laminated maple construction

Width at fingerboard nut 1 5/8"

Ebony fingerboard with dot inlays

Chrome-plated individual machine heads

Gibson truss rod with moulded truss rod cover

20 frets 34 ½" scale length

Click the photos for the huge and very detailed images of this Gibson Grabber Bass!

The distinctive Gibson headstock

There's a deep bit of buckle scarring on the back, but hey, who can see the back of the bass when you're playing it!

The quality of the paint job is still obvious thirty years after manufacture!

The overall condition of this Ripper is really very good, just a few knocks and bangs show how well it's been used, and of course loved!

The neck is dead straight, I was chatting to someone in the know and they told me the truss rods on these rippers is stupidly strong!

The three point adjustable bridge, unlike more bridges you can move this one backwards and forwards!

The new Seymour Duncan Custom Shop replacement pickup, which looks identical to the original of course

There's very little, or no damage around the bottom edge of this guitar

Gibson Machine Heads

I took this photo to try and emphasis the buckle rash on the back of this vintage guitar

So here's a close up of the scarring, although it's pretty shallow

Glued neck for better sustain

L-9 S MADE IN USA 00158218

The surprisingly bright red fur lined Gibson hardcase I'm including in this auction, it's in good condition too!

There's a shallow scar just below the Gibson logo on the headstock, no idea how someone managed to do that!

Original controls, unlike a lot of Rippers there's no 'scratch ring' around the chicken head selector.?

No chickens were harmed in the manufacture of this bass, although I guess a few may have been eaten by Gibson employees...

Remarkably there's no damage at all around the bottom strap button

Ah bless, it's all tucked up in bed!

This scar on the scratchplate is about where a thumbrest would have been fitted, so it's my guess someone figured out how much of a pain in the bum they are and pulled it off!

This original Gibson instruction sheet shows just how flexible this bass is.

Click here to find out more about Gibson Ripper Basses on Wikipedia...

Click here to view what Gibson had to say about this bass in the 1975 catalogue...

Click here to see, a source of some of the information here (thanks!)...


  • I will not ship guitars outside the UK, it's just too much of a pain in the bum!

  • I have described this guitar as accurately as possible, the plethora of photos is intended to fill any gaps in my description, however, you should still treat this auction as 'sold as seen'.

  • All guitars are non-returnable, there's nothing wrong with them (unless specified) but I can't take guitars back if you change your mind or decide you don't want it for some other reason

  • If you have a feedback rating below ten, or are a new ebayer then please contact me before bidding

  • I will not close auctions before the end date so don't bother asking

  • I prefer payment by PayPal or bank transfer, pay by cheque if you must, but you'll have to wait around twiddling your thumbs while it clears, I use postal banking so this can be anything up to two weeks!

  • If you live near Ipswich (Suffolk) then you are welcome to come and have a look at the guitar, but don't expect to take it away before the auction ends

  • If you live within 100 miles of me (see above!) I will deliver the guitar personally for £50

  • Check out my feedback, you'll see that most of it is from selling stuff. I only mention this because it's a lot harder to get good feedback when selling something than when buying it

  • I am a music nut, I have been playing in bands since the early days of puberty, guitars are more than nice lumps of wood to me, so I like to think they all go to good homes!

I listed this guitar on on 9th September 2007

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