teleguy92
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2013
20 IQ
#1
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?
FatalGear41
War Mastiff!!!
Join date: Oct 2009
130 IQ
#2
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:

"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
330 IQ
#3
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.
teleguy92
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2013
20 IQ
#4
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"?
Tostitos
caffeinated
Join date: Jan 2009
90 IQ
#6
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.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
Black Ox
Registered Abuser
Join date: Jan 2009
160 IQ
#8
Quote 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
Spaz91
RIP Terry
Join date: Mar 2008
560 IQ
#9
Quote 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.
Wood doesn't affect tone. Grow up.
FatalGear41
War Mastiff!!!
Join date: Oct 2009
130 IQ
#10
Quote by Spaz91
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!
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
bassplayer?
Ilikeinstruments
Join date: Apr 2011
10 IQ
#11
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.
Bassplayer!
1981 Gibson Grabber
Ibanez SR506
Fretless Hohner B2B
Roland 120XL Cube Bass.
glass_satellite
bass player
Join date: Feb 2013
10 IQ
#12
I dun like em. Any part of em really, don't like.
Last edited by glass_satellite at Apr 19, 2013,