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Old 04-05-2013, 12:52 AM   #1
teleguy92
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Gibson Grabber

One bass that has always fascinated me was the Gibson Grabber. What makes the grabber so special is the sliding pickup. Personally, I think the idea of a sliding pickup was a fantastic idea, and I wonder why it never really caught on? Was it poorly constructed? Did it sound like shit? I've played Gibson Rippers but never the grabber, so I wouldn't know. Any thoughts on why it never caught on? Are there other guitars or basses with sliding pickups?
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:12 AM   #2
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The Gibson Grabber - and its brother the Ripper - never caught on for a number of reasons. First, they came out at a time when "Electric Bass" was a synonym for Fender and Rickenbacker. Second, Gibson has never been known for basses. Most of their basses are little more than scaled-up versions of their guitars. The Grabber and the Ripper were not, but at the time of their introduction, they were decidedly un-Gibson instruments. They had bolt-on maple necks, maple fretboards, and they were very heavy basses. The Gibson aficionados did not like the non-traditional (for Gibson) features. Bassists did not like playing a four-hour gig with a battleship anchor strapped around their necks. And bassists at that time were solidly Fender or Rickenbacker fans; save for those few fortunate souls who could afford an Alembic (the typical Alembic went for about US$3,000.00 in the late 1970s).

The sliding pickup was viewed as a gimmick by most bassists. The Grabber and Ripper pickups were not much to write home about (too much like Gibson's "mudbucker") and moving the pickup's position did not offer much variety of tone. Interestingly, Alembic tried a sliding pickup arrangement on the first basses they built (Jack Casaday had one) and it was no more successful for them then it was for Gibson.

Gibson has reintroduced the Grabber within the last few years (or was it the Ripper?), but at an exorbitant price. They come up for sale every now and then, though they are usually offered as "vintage Gibsons" and command a premium price.

The Grabber:



The Ripper:

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Old 04-05-2013, 02:14 AM   #3
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There are also issues with wiring with the movable pickups. I've read enough complaints of wire pinching and fraying to think that this is not an unusual issue as these basses age.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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Would you play a sliding pickup if the issue of wire pinching and such were resolved? Would a beneficial or successful version still be considered a "gimmick"?
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:56 AM   #5
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I think it would still be a gimmick. The amount of tones you can get out of a well designed preamp and pickup combination these days is ridiculous and more than likely less costly than a refined moveable pickup design.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:45 AM   #6
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There actually is a bass with a more successful sliding pickup system, the little known Westone "The Rail" or "Rail Bass".



The pickup "module" with all the electronics could slide along the rails. Cool bass, but still gimmicky and not wholly effective.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:16 PM   #7
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That bass is the 'Peter Parker strutting down the street in Spiderman 3 scene' of the basd world. Just as you completely forget about it's existence, someone comes along just at that moment to remind you.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deliriumbassist
That bass is the 'Peter Parker strutting down the street in Spiderman 3 scene' of the basd world. Just as you completely forget about it's existence, someone comes along just at that moment to remind you.

It's weird that this bass got mentioned because I just discovered it via youtube today
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deliriumbassist
That bass is the 'Peter Parker strutting down the street in Spiderman 3 scene' of the basd world. Just as you completely forget about it's existence, someone comes along just at that moment to remind you.

That seen was ****ing awesome. You have to look at the faces of the passers-by.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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That seen was ****ing awesome. You have to look at the faces of the passers-by.


Don't do it! If you look too closely at that lousy film, you'll go blind!
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DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:00 PM   #11
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I have an '81 Grabber with the maple board and the inside is PRISTINE!!!! The electronics work the same as the day they came out of the factory. Very small bridge plate as well. I opened her up a few weeks ago (front routed body cavity) and there was some dust and fuzz inside but otherwise perfect. I would say that the tone is between a P-Bass and a Ric.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:13 PM   #12
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I dun like em. Any part of em really, don't like.

Last edited by glass_satellite : 04-19-2013 at 06:14 PM.
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