Up for sale, a 1981 Aria Pro II LB-650 in exceptional, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. This “lawsuit era” bass is an exacting recreation of Gibson’s iconic “The Ripper” L9-S, complete with Super Humbucker-style pickups and a four-way rotary switch for series, parallel, and out-of-phase pickup configurations.
Tonewoods comprise a three-piece linden body with a three-piece maple set neck and a maple fingerboard. A European variant of North American basswood, the linden body has more prominent grain and subtle flame figuring that sets it apart from its American cousin. The bass has the fundamental power associated with the Gibson-made Bill Lawrence Ripper pickups, offering the distinctive growl and grind accentuated by a set of fresh roundwound 45-100 strings. Rolling back the Tone knob to taste yields a broad, meaty thump, and the four-way rotary pickup selector offers additional tonal flexibility. This bass weighs 9lbs 8oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with easy-playing action and spot-on intonation.
The three-piece maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve at the nut with well-rounded shoulders in every register and lightly rolled fretboard edges. The profile gains notable additional heft further up the fretboard, measuring .835” deep at the 1st fret and 1.065 at the 12th. The maple fretboard has a 12” radius, pearloid dot inlay, and medium jumbo fretwire which matches Gibson’s fret dress for the era with fairly flat crowns, showing virtually no wear. This bass plays cleanly up the 34” scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1 9/16” in width. On the headstock, the stock tuners are intact and work as they should with even surface patina on the nickel-plated clover buttons.
All of the electronics work as they should, with Master Volume, Tone, and Midrange knobs. The four-way rotary pickup selector switch works as follows:
1 in phase — series
2 bridge only — single
3 in phase — parallel
4 out of phase — series
Hardware includes the original three-point bridge and bridge cover, both with clean chrome plating, and plastics comprise the one-ply pickguard and original trio of black speed knobs. The bridge can function as a string-through or a toploader. Cosmetic wear on the gloss Natural finish is limited to some dings largely concentrated on the back and body perimeter. There is also a subtle sticker tan line on the bass-side lower bout on top. The neck profile retains its notably clean and smooth gloss finish, with just a few shallow nicks along the profile length that have no impact on playability.