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Onboard Gain Boost for Gibson Ripper

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Colonel Monk, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Howdy All:

    I have an all-original 73 or 74 Ripper with the original electronics.

    I like the tone of at least a couple of the pickup selections, but has really low output compared to my other basses.

    For example, I brought it to practice last week with a different amp setup, and had to dime the volume to be heard and this still wasn't loud enough. 100W tube amp/preamp setup. That same amp with the Squier Pbass we keep at the studio and it was plenty loud at less than half volume.

    What I'd like to do is add some transparent gain boost to the signal so that it has the same approximate gain as my other basses....

    I've read a bit here, and the Bartolini TC 5, Redeemer, and some others come up.

    What's the difference, as one is a "signal buffer" and the other is a "gain boost"

    What other suggestions do you have?

    I'd say, that I don't necessarily want it to have ridiculously high output - I want "full-on" volume to be about the same as my other basses, so possibly a trim pot to set it and forget it....


  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Seymour Duncan "Pickup booster"
  3. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Not on-board...but clean class "A" boost...up to 26db...

    (and don't have to alter thr bass itself.)
  4. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    A buffer doesn't have any added gain. it present a high impedance input to the pickups, and has a low impedance output to drive a long cable or effects.

    A gain boost will usually also buffer the signal, but can also increase the gain.

    The Bartolini stuff sounds good.
  5. I do have a beautiful little boost pedal, catalinbread serrano picoso up to 30db...

    But it's part of my FX rig, and I know it would work in a pinch but basically I'm just looking to be able to "level" the output of the Ripper to match my other basses....

    If I use it to boost this one bass then it won't be set right for what I currently use it for....

    One thing I didn't mention, is that I have been considering getting a new pickguard for the Ripper and changing up the electronics a bit.....

    Basically, I don't want to mess up the vintage value so I figured I'd just remove the pickups and start again fresh, keeping the "odd" wiring of the ripper as is, and trying a blend or something with the pickups..

    I do want to preserve the tone of the passive sound, just need a hotter signal.

  6. Thanks for that. Yeah, that sounds like what I was thinking... So possibly you get a little boost in volume from a buffer because the pickups aren't loaded down...

    I think a gain boost is what I'm after.

    I'm thinking that playing around a bit with my boost pedal might give me an idea how much boost I need. My clean boost is up to 30db I think....

    It's worth noting, that when I has having this volume issue with the ripper, I was only using a single 10ft cable so it wasn't an issue of excessive length. I just think those pups have a weak signal....sounds good though - I was told that the ripper pickups were designed by Bill Lawrence...

  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I use a small JFET circuit in some of my basses. It's based on the Alembic Stratoblaster, but with parts changed for better bass response. It is a buffer, but also a booster. I like the increase the gain a little. You can get so much of a clean boost from it that you can drive a power amp!

    It's very small and a single 9v battery lasts for a long time.

    The Ripper's pickups are not very hot. They are also sidewinders, which have a little less output. But they sound good. I make sidewinders.

    It wasn't just the pickups, Bill designed the entire bass and all the electronics in it. He worked for Gibson at the time. He also designed the Grabber and G3 basses, as well as the L6-S, Marauder and S-1 guitars, and all those different pickups.

    The midrange choke in the Ripper and L6-S is similar to the Q filter he sells now, and his L-250 pickups are sidewinders.

    The one thing I would change on the Ripper is to rewire the rotary switch to replace the series out-of-phase setting with the neck pickup soloed.
  8. Here here. I'd like to hear the neck on it's own as well. A musical acquaintance of mine plays a nearly identical ripper and the stock electronics were modified before he bought it.. Standard pickup selector and one of the pickups (I think bridge) replaced with some seymour duncan humbucker - it really does rip!

    So the buffer you're talking about with the jfet - is there something out there you feel is close?
  9. my Turner Renaissance RB-4 is also low output compared to my Fenders so I use my Baggs ParaDI to boost the output. I run the EQ on it completely flat for that application. Normally I use the Baggs for my DB, it's really quite a useful device and only around $160.
  10. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    As long as you are going to replace the pickguard which will allow you to do pretty much anything without modifying the bass why don't you get a full preamp with EQ? There are some that are pretty transparent (Audere comes to mind) that would not change your sound when flat, but give you some boost, a pickup pan knob, and EQ if you wanted it.
  11. Well I sure wouldn't rule it out. Between the Ripper, my Guild B-302 and the Magnum 4 I just got, I guess I am looking for something a little different... P bass is my main instrument at the moment, but I need something different on stage for drop tunings and for those songs where a "different" tone is required. Prefer to do that without changing my amp settings too much....

    In general I've been pretty hands off on tone controls the past few years - now I must temper that with saying

    "no treble cut" on my basses
    Walkabout: slight bass boost, slight mid cut, flat treble
    Ampeg tubes: medium bass, boosted mids, slightly boosted treble....

    But I'd say that seems to be required to get a similar tone.

    I've never done much boosting from the bass side of things.

    I could see doing an Audere or something on either the Magnum OR the Ripper, but probably not both. And I'll have to listen to both a little critically first to make that decision.

    Really eager to hear what the Ripper sounds like with a bit of gain boost as it's not tickling the tubes in my preamp at all and that makes it sound dull. When I get the Magnum back next week I'll give it a run passive and we'll see how it's output compares to the others...excited to hear what the strange pickups in it will sound like.....

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