Fender Mahogany HHH and Univox Ripper musings

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by sluglas, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    I recently saw the Fender Mahogany Blacktop HHH and thought that is my kind of guitar but I couldn't believe it didn't have a maple fretboard Screenshot_20200125-121422~2.png
    So in my searches I came across a Univox Ripper from '76. Now that's what I am talking about! Screenshot_20200125-121611~2.png
    As I researched the Ripper I noticed some peculiar things.
    The ones that were for sale all stated it had an alder body but the guitar weighs 9 lbs, so I am thinking mahogany and looking at the very straight grain patterns on the natural finish Ripper I would believe I am correct.
    Screenshot_20200125-125535~2.png another thing that stood out to me is why the pickup rings? The pups can mounted to the pickguard. I assume it's probably only a 2 ply pickguard that perhaps couldn't hold 3 humbuckers but "NO" it has a "4 ply"pickguard and the body is routed so the pup ring screws go into wood.A bit of overkill.
    Screenshot_20200125-125939~2.png
    Screenshot_20200125-125812~2.png
    I have decided not to buy either one ,they both go for about $800. I will instead build my own version of the Ripper to my own specs.
    Mahogany body,
    Maple neck and fretboard with white pearl block inlays and large 70's headstock.
    Will keep the angled bridge Humbucker look.
    3 DiMarzio humbuckers,
    (ToneZone bridge, Air Norton middle, Air Classic neck) in double cream and chrome or gold open face pickup covers to match the look of the Ripper pickups.
    White body with white pearl 3ply pickguard,
    5 way switch(Ripper had a 3way)with a coil from each adjacent pickup for humbucking in positions 2 and 4,
    One cream volume knob (no tone knobs)
    And I bet it will still come in way under 9 lbs
    Pics to come when it's done
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
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  2. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    @sluglas

    the 3 hb format has fascinated me all the way back to the Lesters (thst may have been boat anchors, too)
    Oddly, though, I've never held/played one in real life.

    Build it, play it and share your pics.

    Peace - Deeve
     
  3. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    I have put humbuckers in my 93 MIM strat, Hot rails,JB jrs, I even put Full sized Seth Lovers in the neck and bridge with a JB Jr in the middle and it still quacked in positions 2 and 4, It's the nature of the strat.
     
  4. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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    I’ve wanted a Ripper forever...Yeah, they’re wildly over the top, but they’re well made, look cool af, and sport not two, but three of the super hot Maxon pickups that made Kurt Cobain famous. It’s just begging to be blasted through a sliver face Twin with a cheap fuzz pedal.

    Notice also the pickguard shape is slightly altered to accommodate the larger pickups and pickup rings.

    And yeah, every one I’ve ever picked up was boat anchor heavy.

    Black would be my first color choice, but the hand carved bicentennial eagle versions were totally badass...

    57C7EA6C-4219-409F-8B28-CBABA56EC5E3.jpeg
     
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  5. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    that is very cool, I never saw that one, was it a production model or a mod?
    I like how all the pickups are oriented the same direction with the screw coil toward the bridge, but i did have a 77 univox hiflier and the pups had the screw coils face opposite ways. So they did have separate Bridge and neck pups available. I suppose this heavy beast just deserved 3 bridge pups.
     
  6. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    when I was a wee lad of 15 or so in the early 70's, I used to see these Rippers in shops, new, all the time. I knew they looked like guitars that jimi and Ritchie blackmore played and that's all I knew. I assumed they must be awesomely good. I knew next to nothing about guitars. I didn't know a humbucker from a thumbpick. so I can't judge anything about them from my memories. I don't remember if I thought they were heavy or anything else.


    but I've always held a fascination for them, but now that I know guitars real well, I never see one anywhere. is the white one above for sale somewhere?
     
  7. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    this thread got me thinking about these guitars, so I went poking around. I found that many Rippers had maple bodies. the natural finish one above looks like maple to me.

    I saw a couple of sites that say the ripper came out in 1976, but I feel very sure I saw them in shops before that, no later than 75, but maybe in 74. I remember them well because I loved the way they looked.

    the other thing interesting to me is that there were supposed to be very few of them made, like less than 500 (or was it 200?) this is a bit strange to me cause I live in Kentucky and this isn't exactly a place where rare and exclusive items show up. if you want to sell your guitars, in 1975, you send them to NYC or California, not here to hillbilly heaven.
     
  8. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    The white one was for sale at the Chicago Music Exchange. I thought it was very nice that they dismantled it for the pics. Helped immensely for my research.
    I believe it sold but there are always some on Reverb.
    I considered buying one or the new Fender HHH but assembling my own will give me more control to fit it to my own personal preferences.
     
  9. stormsedge

    stormsedge Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I am attracted to the Blacktop HHH as well, and have been negotiating over one since Friday. To be honest, I'm not sure it isn't largely a duplication of the SG I already have, but I guess I'll find out if I didn't blow the deal by holding too hard a line. Cheers!

    Edit: Lost the deal...back in the hunt. Got it down to $745 with free shipping---I know, I know, don't say it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  10. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Indeed, check out this guitar.

    All the specs would tell you that it shouldn't sound like a strat and yet it DOES!
     
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  11. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    I have begun building my Univox Ripper Custom tribute guitar. It will have some aspects of the Ripper with some aspects of the Fender Blacktop Mahogany HHH as well as some of my personal preferences.
    I purchased a Mahogany body which I grain filled, primed and painted a Pearl Mist. I wanted a slightly off-white but not vintage cream.
    I purchased a maple neck with Maple fret board with white pearl block inlays, white binding and large 70's style headstock and a Univox waterslide decal for the headstock.
    A custom white pearl pickguard with 3 humbuckers ,angled bridge pickup of course. One volume knob cause I have never used a tone knob in my life. A 5-way switch unlike the Ripper's 3-way switch. A Fender standard tremolo bridge and will probably get fender classic tuners as well.
    instead of the Univox pups I intend to use Dimarzio double cream humbuckers with open face covers -Tone Zone bridge - Air Norton middle - Air Classic neck ,mostly due to the mahogany body. I will also not use the redundant pickup rings that are on the Ripper.
    though the pic came out blurry I also have a custom neckplate , I've still quite a bit of work ahead of me but the guitar when completed will be the first
    "Univox Ripper Custom"

    IMG_20200206_170449610.jpg IMG_20200210_191601949.jpg
    neck.jpg 99g Univox Guitar Decal Waterslide-500x500.jpg
    IMG_20200210_191803072.jpg IMG_20200210_191636173.jpg neckplateU.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020 at 6:14 AM
  12. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    wow - where did you get that neckplate? I want one!
     
  13. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    The neck plate was made by Jay at Lazrartstore dot com. I designed the plate based on the old Univox plate and I had to do some detective work to track down the font that was used in an old Univox Ripper ad from the 70's[
     

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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    It's worthwhile trying out an HHH model. I found there was little variation of the middle pickup vs the other two by the time they are all crammed in there. It satisfied my curiosity.

    Any time I've since thought about doing something like that again it's been completely different pickups, like P90 middle (pushed closer to the bridge pickup), Tele bridge pickup, and Strat neck pickup. Or the Robbie Robertson layout of an SSS Strat with the middle pickup tight against the bridge pickup with a push/pull series option for essentially an HS Strat with a 5-way switch controlling all three bobbins.

    So overall ... I'd suggest more of a swimming pool route wide enough for P90s and Jazzmaster pickups and easy ways to make custom pickguards.

    .
     
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  15. sluglas

    sluglas TDPRI Member

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    I know there may not be much difference using the middle pickup compared to the others but I rarely ever use the middle pickup by itself. It's usefulness is in blending with the other pups.
    The pickups will be wired for position 2 with 1 coil of the bridge and 1 coil of the middle. Position 4 will be 1 coil of the middle and 1 coil of the neck pup. I am leaning towards the coils wired in series though I will see when I get there. i am aware that the body needed routing to a swimming pool rout.
    I am not rushing this build so I will install the neck and bridge and set it up and do whatever fret work I need to get playing to my own preferences before I even start with the electronics.
    I really want to build this as a keeper
     
  16. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I were to build or buy a three pickup guitar with HBs I think I would go for the classic shredder guitar as seen in Ibanez models--
    splittable HBs in neck and bridge, and single coil in the middle position. By splitting the HBs you can get all the Strat sounds, but you also get all
    the LP sounds by ignoring the middle pickup. As long as the HBs are reasonably hot then they sound good in single coil mode, too....

    I have had 3 HB guitars before and for me there was zero value in having a HB (at least in humbucker mode) in the middle.

    upload_2020-2-11_12-0-46.png
     
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