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74-75' Gibson Ripper pickup identification, help needed!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by altamont, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Hi there guys,
    I just received my 74-75' ish Gibson Ripper guitar that I just bought off eBay about two weeks ago. I know I should take it apart to find out more about it but I figured that some of you guys here know a lot about vintage gear, so why not take a shot.

    Right off the bat, I've got some interrogations about the bridge pickup. It's definitely been added at a later date, not an original. On the back of the headstock there's a Dimarzio sticker with another smaller one underneath reading 79876-1. I guess that could be an identification helper for the pickup model. I'm figuring, why would you put a Dimarzio sticker on a bass if the added pup is not a Dimarzio, right? So, the only thing that the number returned on a search on the internet was for a past auction off eBay for 70's Dimarzio Distortion Humbuckers for guitars. Could that be it? I mean the bass version of that pickup? I've never seen a cream white humbucker like this one. Any ideas?

    Also, about the control switch. All of the Rippers I've seen online always had a dial switch. Did they make that kind of switch on 74-75' Rippers or was it added at a later date?
    I know the knobs aren't original, I'll try to find black ones sometimes in the future.

    Anyways, I can't wait to try this one in my jam room tomorrow night. A 15 watts amp with headphones in my small apartment just won't do it justice.


  2. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i think that it's a '76, since they often dated them by the 1st and 5th serial number in that era.
    and no, it originally had a 4 position rotary switch.
  3. the serial I'm referring to is on a sticker, I'm thinking it's linked to the bigger Dimarzio sticker right above since both are silver and black. The guitar's serial is a six digits number starting by the number 5. Everything points to 74 or 75.

  4. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    well, they had maple bodies from '73-'74, then went to alder (which is what your's looks like, but it might be maple. it's hard to tell from the pics) from '75-'76 and back to maple in '77-'79, so it's either a '75 or a '76. i personally prefer the alder ones. if it's super heavy (10 lbs or more), it's probably maple and if it's 8 1/2- 9 1/2lbs, it's alder.

    mine's a '75 (as dated by the pot date codes).

  5. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Ive seen that bass before. Dont remember when, just sometime in the past yr. I think it was in a thread about rippers though. I may be mistaken, but I think it used to belong to a forumite here. Maybe they can further enlighten.

    Btw, Id raise those dimarzio bridge pup pole peices flush with the top of pup housing or a little above. And lower the D string side so its more even with E string side or little lower then. For tone pref.

    Nice score btw.
  6. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i thought that i saw that bass before too, but i think i saw it on ebay.
  7. thanks jonhk_10 for the input. It's definitely on the lighter side, so I think it's Alder. Now it points out to being a 75' just like yours. The only thing odd is that the body shape seems a little different than yours. It looks like the horns are pointier on mine. Maybe it's just the photo...

    thanks darkstorm also. So you think it's a Dimarzio pickup? I think I'll have to bring it to the luthier I think for some fine tuning on the pickups and neck.
  8. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Thats a Dimarzio model G pickup, which are not made anymore. If you like I will buy it from you.

    They are great high pickups and should give the bass some big balls. The original pickups are OK, but kind of weak.

    I would try the bass out & see if you like the Model G. If not you might be able to find a Ripper Pickup, Seymour Duncan made a replacement one but is insanely expensive.

    If It were my bass I would consider it a nice upgrade. It decreases the value but in my opinion should make the bass better.
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    if it were mine i'd get the duncan ripper pickup for it (or possibly the Gibson RI), since IMO, ripper pickups sound awesome. the Duncan is $160 retail but i'm sure that you could get it for alot less.
  10. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Yes & sell the model G to me!

  11. ahahaha nice try! Actually I kinda like the sound of it. I'm just waiting for tonight to try it on my big rig. Can't wait!
  12. Senator


    Nov 11, 2008
    Yup, that is a 1975 alder-bodied Gibson Ripper. I restored one some time ago.

    It looks like they took off the rotary switch for a 3-position pickup selector with V/V/T knobs. That's the same set-up I have and I'm enjoying it so far. It's more practical than the original switch, IMO.

    Some interesting links:

    Link 1

    Link 2


    The Ripper was manufactured from 1973 until 1983; the peak year being 1976. Most had a maple body with laminated maple neck, however a significant number manufactured in 1975 had lighter alder bodies while retaining the maple neck. Also in 1975, an edgier, and slimmer body, with more beveling and contours around the horns of the bass was introduced. The new look was geared towards heavier music that was gaining popularity under the ending decade. The later models of 1976 and on featured a different routing in the body for the wires, and the pickups were screwed in by three posts as opposed to the old two-post variation.
  13. that Dimarzio model G pickup is definitely a keeper!
    The blend of both pickups is pretty amazing.
    @darkstorm, I raised the poles like you advised, sounds pretty great!
  14. Jazzcat


    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    I'll trade you my two pair of Ps for your OEM & Dimarzio G. :hyper: :D

  15. Nice try, bu I'll keep em'! Great looking bass thought!
  16. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I love Dimarzio Model Gs! I have them in a bunch of basses. Like a 60's Thunderbird pup on steroids.

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