Friday, 5 November 2010

Kimbara, from under the bed. . . . .

This is a Kimbara Ripper Copy - the only one I have ever seen
in the flesh, so to speak

I remember having a go on a Gibson Grabber, years ago, when I
was playing mostly guitar and thinking what an ungainly beast it was.
The Grabber had a sliding pick-up, the same sort of idea that
The Rail uses.
Move the pick-up and change the tone.

The Ripper was different - it had two fixed pick-ups and a rotary switch.
I've had this for some time and gigged it last year, in drop D for a couple
of numbers we were doing at the time.
It has a good range of sounds and it surprisingly comfortable to play.
Balances nicely, just the right weight, nice neck.
The back pick-up is very slightly microphonic but not noticeable when
playing live and with the rotary in the "both pick-up" selection gives a
big, full sound, ideal for the songs we were doing.

This was described to me as "lived under the bed for years" and as
such was "almost as new"
Deal was done and I was going to be in the area, so I went to collect.
I was a bit surprised when I was shown towards a brick built
toilet/shed, at the bottom of the garden but was soon assured that it
was only in there as they were moving house.
It was summer, so no huge worries.
As the door opened into this 8 x 6 room, there was a full Trace rig,
all plugged in and ready to go, with the bass leaning against it.
WOW, it really is in good nick! Quick play and I was on my way.

Apart from seeing loads of "Kimbara" in a local music shop,
"when I were a nipper" they are not as common as some of the
other brands.
From memory, these were imported by FCN and according to the
only information I can find and from some help from a fellow enthusiast
from the fine City of Edinburgh, were probably made by Matsumoku.
The Kimbara shares a lot of features with some of the Aria range,
so it may have been made by them, in the earlier days.
This one is a neck through and is very similar in quality, to early Aria.

Would love to hear from anyone who has one of these.

Back next time with something a bit rare and a bit unusual,
which is what I really like.

Cheers. :) 

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Anonymous said...

Hi there

I just received today, an awesome copy of a Gibson Ripper. My 1990's Epiphone doesn't compare.
After looking at your site I thought it may be a Kimbara but it has a bolt on (5 piece laminate) neck and string through the back...
I would say its an 8 of 10 in terms of condition and far nicer than a 1970s blonde ripper I had.
I welcome any thoughts on this

Flat Eric said...

Hi. I did have a quick look - the hardware does seem very much like mine but I can't be sure of the make. Kimbara were distributed by FCN, in the UK and there may have been a slightly cheaper Bolt On version. Looking at your link, I guess you are in the USA, so I'm not sure what it would be branded as, if it were from the same factory.
Hope you enjoy it.
Cheers. :)

Anonymous said...


I have a kimbara guitarebass and I'm willing to sell it. Do you know how much it is worth ? (sorry for my english, I'm french).

Flat Eric said...

Sarah, Hi. All the Kimbara instruments I have played have been well made. The price would depend on which model it was and the condition.
If it was a popular copy and in good condition, someone who wanted one may pay around 300 - 350 Euros.
It all depends on how keen they are to have a Kimbara copy.

Cheers. :)

sydsnot said...

Hi Flat Eric
I have an identical Kimbara, swopped a 4X12 for it in the mid seventies. Doubt the cab is still alive but the Kimbara is still going strong.

Undulating Gary

Flat Eric said...

Gary, Hi. Think you made a wise move with the swap. Nice to hear you still have it after all this time. :)

Flat Eric said...

Can anonymous contact me on the e.mail address and I will answer your question. Cheers. :)

Anonymous said...

hi eric i found another interesting kimbara never seen the like before and i wonder if its a copy what is the original that is copying? Dont know how to post a pic of it anyway its on e-bay date 12/10/2016 under of course KIMBARA!

Anonymous said...

The. Ripper Kimbara built is not a bolt on neck I have one got to say build is top rate and that sound wow