L-9S Ripper review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.4 (5 votes)
Gibson: L-9S Ripper

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: friend

Sound — 7
I play everything, I'm in a variety covery band so we play motown, blues, funk, reggae, rock, metal, folk, country, hip-hop, r&b, latin, jazz... You name it! This bass seems well suited for funk, motown and reggae for sure, but it holds its own in rock or metal if you let it growl. It's not the most versatile bass in the world (it's 40 years old, give it a break!), but what it does, it does VERY well! It the 4-way switch lets it go from mellow and warm, to snappy with a mean growl... It has that signature Ripper tone, VERY nice! It's not the high-end, active basses you see everywhere today, but the Ripper certainly turns heads when you tear up a wicked bass line on stage.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall this is my go-to bass when I need a 4-string. I also play a lot with my Music Man Stringray 5 HH, so for having a solid active-5 bass and using the Ripper as a solid passive-4 has never failed me as a winning combination! If somehow this bass broke, I would find a way to fix it, or if impossible, I would find another one immediately. This bass has got to be my favorite bass of them all.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This bass has been with me for nearly 5 years now, and lasted a tour in Afghanistan, if you try to tell me it can't hold up to life on the road: give up now. This is a solid bass, very tough (I hate to admit I have dropped it about 5, 000 times since I got it, but it hardly shows a ding).

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I am not nearly as old as this bass... So I can't speak for original setup, but because of 3-point bridge, this bass can easily handle any setup you want. I have used many drop tunings and various string gauges without ever having any problem with feel or intonation. I admit, it's not a bass I like to play too close on the bridge with, but you can't win em all.

Features — 9
I own a 1975 Gibson Ripper in Ebony finish. The 74's and 75's are unique in that they were an in between phase that would connect the old, round and slab Rippers of the early 70's to the sharp, contoured Rippers of the late 70's to early 80's. I love the look of this bass, it's one of those basses you HAVE to keep on display because it just looks SO GOOD. It has a great feel to the neck, a good round shape without being bulky. The humbucking electronics setup is one of my favorites and still to this day a very unique array: master volume, mid boost/cut, treble roll-off, and a 4-way chicken switch offering: series in-phase, bridge, parallel, and series out-phase configurations. The now-traditional Gibson 3-point bridge made its debut the same year for the Ripper, and offers one of the most customizable bridge-styles for setup. I gotta say, especially since Gibson and Fender's rumble for guitar manufacturer king put both of them in the pits financially, and it is widely accepted that instruments from the mid 70's to late 80's from either brand were... Less quality... The Gibson Ripper really shines and is a highly sought-after model with many amazing features most basses today STILL don't have (but wish they did)!

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If you saw a ripper with a pricetag like that, I'd buy it in a heartbeat without trying. God, I love those looks.
    Your friend doesn't know how much these are worth! But then again if you bought it 10 years ago he might not have been aware of ebay.