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Thinking of fixing my old Ripper......

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ricfunk74, Oct 19, 2016.


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  1. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    I have a '73 Gibson Ripper with no fretboard on it. It's also missing the bridge pickup. I've had it for almost 20 years. I bought it cheap because the truss rod had bent and created a large bump around the 12th fret. I removed the fretboard years ago and, unfortunately, lost it along with the bridge pickup. So, it sat like this for 20 years. I recently received a quote of $600 to fabricate and install a new ebony fretboard and a new truss rod. I would have to buy a Duncan reissue bridge pickup at $160 and put another $40 in to rewire everything. Is this bass worth putting $800 into? They seem to be selling for $1000 and up these days. I'm just not sure what to do!
     
  2. elgranluis

    elgranluis

    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    I think a new fretboard should be around 200 bucks , not 600. Can you shop around for a different quote? Maybe even a maple board. A truss rod is less than 20 from stewmac, which you could install yourself (unscrew from anchor , replace with new one). Anyway , i suggest you shop around for a better quote, and by all means bring that ripper back to life.
     
  3. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    The problem is that the fretboard has to be made from scratch and the truss rod anchor is gone. The anchor actually gave way inside the neck and the rod lifted and pushed the original fretboard up.
     
  4. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Still, six hundred bucks? Maybe for a whole new neck.
     
  5. TheMinutemen

    TheMinutemen Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    Not worth it. I'll give $250 and take it off your hands for you. :):hyper:
     
    40Hz and andruca like this.
  6. lowdownthump

    lowdownthump

    Jul 17, 2004
    Get another quote , get it fixed or sell it.
    But don't let it sit and collect dust.
    That Gibson is begging to be played.
     
    TinIndian and 40Hz like this.
  7. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Get a hold of Michael Dolan he built me a new neck for a Nonreverse Thunderbird restoration . I found him very reasonable and he does excellent work.
     
    40Hz likes this.
  8. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    Alright....I'm in. I ordered a Duncan replacement pickup and I'm restoring the Ripper. I hope it turns out good. I don't even remember what it sounded like!
     
  9. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Awesome! It is a great feeling to bring them back! 20 years is a long time to hang on to something. What is your history with the bass? If the bass has sentimental value it certainly can be worth it to you to put more money into than it is actually worth, though that threshold is up to you. Please post some pictures and keep us updated on your progress?
     
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Good man! When you see so many Rippers that were modded and hacked to the point of destruction by clueless former owners (like I have), it's refreshing to see somebody who came into possession of a broken one decide to attempt a restoration. :thumbsup:

    Is it worth it? To my mind, a most definite yes. But I'm also already on record here for my high regard and blatant boosterism when it comes to Rippers. So take anything I say about these basses with that in mind. Will it be worth it to you? Hard to say. As you pointed out, they can be had in already playable condition for around $1000 when they show up on eBay or Reverb.

    From a purely financial perspective it might be hard to justify a restoration that exceeds half the purchase price of a known playable model. That said, I'll agree with others who thought the quoted price you received was on the high side.

    You could save a good chunk of cash going with a maple fingerboard like most of them came with. I own two Rippers. Both have maple fingerboards. And they're not suffering in tone or feel for not having ebony instead.

    Unless it's going to be a fretless neck, I think ebony is a waste of money anyway. And if it is going to be fretless (and you're a fretless player) you already know that while ebony is nice to have, other fingerboard woods feel and perform just as well as ebony.

    You don't need to worry about the SD pickups. The ones I've heard sound every bit as good as the originals. And yes, they're pricey. But them's the breaks. They're a unique design and in extremely low demand. So there's no volume to help keep the price down.

    If the anchor point in the neck is damaged, it probably won't require a whole new neck. But keep in mind it might. And at that point you might want to consider if you want to continue, or just unload what you've already got. But I don't think it'll be necessary to replace the neck at this point. Bring it to a few luthiers and get their opinions and quotes before you make a final decision.

    And if you do go ahead, keep us posted. Ripper owners are like adult dogs when you bring a new puppy home. Anytime anybody finds or restores one, we get all bouncy and goofy and waggy-tailed.

    Best of luck with it, whichever way it goes. :)
     
  11. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    It's not really sentimental. I saw it hanging in a music store and was blown away by the price until I noticed the bump in the fretboard. It's a black one with an ebony board and an earlier model being a 73. I always loved the tone that Gene Simmons got from his Grabbers and Rippers in the 70's!
     
    godofthunder59 likes this.
  12. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    I decided on an ebony board. That's what it had originally. I'll keep it as close to original as I can.
     
  13. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Me to! I saw them in 75!
     
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Your checkbook, your call. No objections from me. :thumbsup:
     
    ricfunk74 likes this.
  15. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    VISA. Cash back!!
     
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Better and better! :laugh::thumbsup:
     
  17. elgranluis

    elgranluis

    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    So what is the course of action?
     
  18. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    I decided to go with the quote and get it fixed. I know the shop and it's owner well. I own two of their custom jazz basses and they are fantastic. I have no doubts that they can do the work. Regardless, you just don't know how these things will turn out. It's a big chunk of money, but I think that the bass is worthy.