Gibson Grabber vs. Ripper

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cecile, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. what's the difference in tone between the Gibson Grabber and Gibson Ripper?
  2. One sounds really good, and the other doesn't. :D

    Seriously, I've had two Rippers over the years (I kinda wish I still had one) and they are really decent instruments. Certainly one of the best basses Gibson ever made (along with the RD Artist which I do still own:) ).

    The Ripper is very versatile. It has two pickups with a few different switching and phasing options, but most significantly it has a passive midrange control. This feature makes the tone extremely versatile for a passive bass. It really allows you to dial out any of the added midrange that humbuckers often have. You truly can get a very traditional Fender type tone if you want, or dial back in some of the midrange if you want to cut through the mix a little more. The other great thing is the bottom end is very SMOOTH yet the Ripper has an extreme amount of clarity (which was very rare among Gibson basses).

    The Grabber was the cheaper model with only one pickup and very little in the way of controls (volume and tone, I think). The tone of the Grabber is pretty bland and muddy in comparison.
  3. Hella_Groovy


    Aug 31, 2004
    Richmond Va
    I don't know much for grabbers, except that Mike from Green Day used to play one back in the "Dookie" days, you can see it at woodstock '94 and in the Longview video.

    I actually played a Ripper at a GC a while back and :eek: !
    Best rock tone I've ever heard! Couldn't affors it at the time however... :crying: I would KILL for a Ripper! Sell my Grandmother even! Or both of them!

    But I'm now restoring my '67 EB0 to its original glory, It will soon be mine! Mwa Ha Ha!

    So, how's that for a guy who claims to be a Fender player? :p
  4. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    The Grabber will save your shoulder some wear and tear. The maple gives it a bite, but it can do classic rock. It gets gritty when you dig in. Good luck finding one without a headstock repair. Rippers get a cool variety of tones, all usable. The vibe is a little more deep. This beast weighs a ton and has the tone to prove it.

    The sliding pickup rules! Funnerest doodad ever.
  5. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Grabbers are uber punk. shoulda kept mine...
    Scijad likes this.
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    As far as I understand, Gene Simmons was the first Grabber player. I think that's the bass you can hear in Kiss Alive!
  7. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    One thing is the Grabber and anoter completely different one is a G3 (3 single coils, also named Grabber in some places). The one used by Green Day's bassist is a G3 I think. The same one Gene Simmons once used to endorse.

  8. lotta crap in this thread!

    Simmons used a Grabber. With a good amp, you can get an awesome tone from this bad boy. If you have a versaitile amp, you have a versaitile Grabber. The Grabber has the sliding soapbar style pup, which can offer a P-bass type sound close to the neck, or it's own kidna thinda thing at the bridge.
    Headstock repairs? Not seen many with one.
    Those style of headstocks are likely infamous for breaking, however, both my G's necks are solid, and have never been repaired.

    The G3 has three piezo single coils; quite versaitile compared to the G, and for me, sounds good no matter the amp, but sometimes not just perfect if you know what I'm saying. 'Dirnt used one on the first four albums, however, a Kramer and 60's P were also involved. Welcome to Paradise, Basket Case, She, Coming Clean are examples of the G3 from dookie. Everything on Insomniac (afaik) is a G3 with a guitar cab (not sure again..)

    The Rippers, here on TB have been dubbed the most versaitile, due to the pup-config switch. Rippers imo are definatly badass! Never played one though.

    As far as wood goes; in the early 70s, the Ripper and Grabber bodies were made from maple, but soon changed to alder around 75 i think.

    for some clips of my G3 and Grabber:
    Heads Down THumbs Up is my Grabber, the other tracks are the G3, both thru' a Trace 4x10 GP12 combo :smug:
  9. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    Up until 1976 Gene played a Grabber. He NEVER played a G3.... :bassist:
  10. Gord


    Jan 10, 2004
    BC, Canada
    Ed from Thrice uses a grabber, I think it's my favourite example of how much ass those things can kick. Listen to a few tracks from the artist in the ambulance, he alternates between a fender P and a grabber, both in either drop C or completally downtuned to C, with a tiny bit of distortion, oh my god, it's gorgous
  11. I understand Greg Lake was the first Ripper Player - he maybe even had some input on the design (although the original name was L9-S or something). You can hear it in "Welcome back My Friends To the Show That Never Ends..."
  12. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    Gene played both a Grabber and a Ripper. The Alive cover ispired KISS fans to grab Grabbers.

    On the Gibsonbass site, there's a Grabber neck that's broken listed on the UK'Bay. I'm just going on what I've seen and heard from my vintage guys. My Grabber is still solid and I'm trying to get the neck back to nice. It's gigging days are over. I have had it for only two years now, but I looked over a decade for an all original one, and this one has some mojo.
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I had a Grabber around 74. One of the worst sounding and playing basses of all time. I can't imagine what I was thinking when I bought it. I offed it and went back to P basses in a hurry. The most god awful neck of all time. It actually made my std P neck feel slinky ... You guy's must have bigger hands than mine ...

    I did get to play with an RD Artist though. Never took the plunge on it but that was a beautiful instrument!
  14. Me too.

    There was a beautiful all black RD Artist in the Sam Ash Hempstead store in 1979 or so that I played 3 or 4 times that year, yet never bought. I still regret it to this day. :( What tones you could get out of it!

    I owned a G-3 for about 2 years; it was a very different sounding bass. I think the fact that the pups had blade magnets might have had something to do with it. Also, you couldn't solo any of the pickups, it was:

    1.) Neck + middle
    2). Bridge + middle
    3.) All three

    I sold that to get my Ovation Magnum, then sold that to get my Ibanez Musician.

    A friend of a friend had a Ripper - very nice bass. It could get close to a Jazz tone, close to a P-bass tone and the other tones it had were both useable.

    Never played a Grabber.

  15. ive got my G3 moddded, for an on/off switch for the middle pup, which makes it a LOT more versaitile, I had meanto to put this in my original post...

    you can really get a clanky P sound from the solo neck pup. Mmm. Kinda Rick'ish sound with the bridge & neck pups on.

    Mm... :)
  16. stumax


    Feb 25, 2011
    I own a 1977 G3 and its an amazing bass, amazing in different ways then a P but amazing none the less. It has a rick vibe but with a little more mid range bite. It isn't a very warm sounding bass with the maple on maple on maple on maple build. You don't play a G3 to sink in the mix though. Its the most aggressive sounding bass that I have. The only downfall if any is that it doesn't have a ton of low end in the high register, but then again thats part of the charm. The other slight drag is that the G3 is HEAVY!!!!

    I was over at my friends studio and he has a mid 70's ripper and it is a completely different beast. Its lot darker and more woody sounding over all. It's a unique bass you can get some real mid-rangy tones out of it and some scooped out thumpy sounds too. I would say its a little more tonally diverse then the G3 even though the G3 has 3 pups. The G3 is kind of a one trick pony, it does slight variations of bright and aggressive. The ripper can get some bright but it can get some other interesting sounds the G3 can't. I noticed also that the ripper's pups were far more microphonic, maybe that contributes to the difference in the way it thumps. The ripper I suspect had an alder body seeing that it was lighter then my G3, it also had an ebony fingerboard which may have made it more mellow. That being said I doubt a maple ripper would be as bright as a G3.

    I can't say much about the sliding pup grabber because I've only played one once and didn't have it there to AB. From what I have heard tho its like a little more aggressive P and has a ton of mid range.

    Which is better? I personally want one of each. They compliment each other well sorta like a P and J. :smug:
  17. stumax


    Feb 25, 2011
    Yo microbass, how exactly did you do that mod?
  18. carlitoswhey


    Apr 3, 2009
    He probably took it to a luth
  19. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    New York USA
    One rips, one grabs. :)
    bolophonic likes this.