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A quick review of the Gibson Grabber II

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by abngourmet, May 5, 2010.


  1. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    Just got my Grabber II today. Got it off ebay, paid under a grand.

    Initial impressions: Well, it looks the part. Has the sliding pickup (a T-Bird Plus, but more on that in a minute). V shaped headstock, rosewood fingerboard, set neck, etc. Has the lousy three point Gibson bridge (when will they ever learn?), one tone and volume. Screwed together well, though I'm wondering why they went with a satin finish for the body. Case is very nice, plush, put together well.

    Weight: Very acceptable. Fairly light. It's also comfortable sitting or standing ergonomically.

    Playability: I'm still tweaking the action (waiting for some truss rod wrenches from Stew-Mac; Geez, Gibson, for what you're asking for these things, is a $10 truss rod wrench too much to ask?), but it plays fairly well. Action is a bit high for me right now (see truss rod remark), but I"m confident I'll get it to where I want it. It's nice to have a set neck - a bit easier to access the upper frets I think. Also gives it a nice resonance when played unplugged.

    Tone: Here's where it gets good. The T-Bird Plus pickup (sliding, that is) doesn't suck! It actually has some high end to it! I can actually get some gutsy gritty tones from it. All the way forward, it's P-Bass-ish. All the way back, it still has that P growl, but with some top end. Thank God they got this right. T-Bird Plus pickups aren't my favorites, and I'm glad they did something different here.

    Bang for Buck: I'm glad I got this used. A new one, IMHO is way overpriced. It's not that it's a bad bass - it's not. It's just not worth what they're asking, regardless of whether it's a limited edition or not. I don't see this becoming collectible, but I could be wrong. I bought it mostly because I always wanted one, but wanted some improvements. Gibson made a bunch I would have wanted, and that's a good thing. But not $2K worth of improvements. If they got the price point down around a grand or less, this thing would sell pretty well. $2K? I don't think so.

    Overall: I think it's a keeper for me. It plays well, I didn't pay too much for it, and it brings out the inner Gene Simmons in me (man, if that isn't a loaded statement, I don't know what is). :bassist:

    I'll post pics when I get a chance.

    Alan
     
  2. azfryguy

    azfryguy

    Feb 2, 2010
    Queen Creek AZ
    pics please I need some
     
  3. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    The pickups in your bass are TB pickups in LP covers from the Les Paul basses.

    The tone you are reacting to is the woods with the combination of the pickups. T birds are all mahogany and are a more "blurry" warm growly mid tone. With a maple neck or alder/maple body, you get a more treble biting tone.

    I have heard nothing but great things about them, from those who played or own them.
     
  4. hdracer

    hdracer

    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    You didn't get a combo TR wrench/screwdriver with it? It should be in the case , mine was with my SG
     
  5. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    Nope.
     
  6. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    Hadn't thought of that, thanks. Makes sense now.
     
  7. hdracer

    hdracer

    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
  8. Asomodai

    Asomodai

    Jan 21, 2006
    London UK
    I understand that the pup on the grabber II is not the same as on the original grabbers. How much different are they? IE would i get the growly as hell tone with the new grabber that the old grabber had bags of?
     
  9. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Here

    http://bassoutpost.com/index.php?topic=3632.45

     
  10. Congrats and thanks for the review! As a former owner of a 1970s Grabber, I was surprised that these were reissued. Mine was never that great, although it sounds like the new ones are an improvement. Still, the rest of your collection must put it to shame!
     
  11. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    Actually, I think the Grabber II fits well in my collection. It's one of the basses I wanted as a kid and couldn't afford. I will say the originals weren't as good as the reissue here - lots of improvements made if you ask me. The pickups were the big thing - they just didn't sound good to my ear. And the set neck - let's just say Gibson got that one right (for a change!).:bassist:
     
  12. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    One thing - I recently sold an '87 Thunderbird, as I'd picked up a '76 Bicentennial (a bit beat, but plays and sounds great, no breaks at all). One of the reasons I wanted the Bicentennial is that it had more high end to it. Before I sold the '87, I confirmed this by A/B'ing them side by side. Both were pretty much mahogany, and the '87 just didn't have high end (which I like). The '76, with the original alnico pickups, blew it out of the water tonally for me - you have that deep T-Bird tone, but at the same time there's still some high end/growl/edge to it. Since both are neckthroughs (and most of the tone/sustain will come from things aligned/installed along the length of the neck), I had to conclude that the pickups made the difference, for me at least.

    There's no doubt that the Grabber II, as you say, has the tone it does due to its construction. In the case of the T-Birds I've owned, however, the pickups played a major role in tone. This is why I don't like the T-Bird Plus pickups all that much on the newer T-Birds. I'd be interested to hear a perspective on this from those who've installed vintage pickups in a newer T-Bird, or perhaps Lull T-Bass owners.
     
  13. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah, the one T-bird I played that I *loved* was a Bi-Centennial.... great bass. Alas...
     
  14. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    USA
    The one I've got is beat up - finish checking, nicks, dings, etc. But it is also black. The rarest finish from what I understand. And yeah, I loved the ones I played way back when. That's why I picked this one up.
     
  15. Interesting. When I went shopping for my first bass, the Gibson Ripper was the one I wanted but couldn't afford. The Grabber was the next best thing at the time. I think I paid $250 for it (new). I couldn't afford a case so I carried it around in a gig bag. The bag was too short and the bass's head stuck out the end of it, so I put a ski toque over the head and secured it with a bunji cord or something. What a hoser! :D Later on I was able to scrape the $$ together to get a proper hard case.
     

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