A mid seventies (1977) advert featuring the Gibson Ripper and Gibson G3 bass guitars
"Sometimes it pays not to follow tradition. We didn't when we designed our new basses. We just followed the advice of every good bass player we could find. As a result we've satisfied the best - the Doobie Brothers, Chicago, Jack Bruce, the Electric Light Orchestra, Elton John's band Greg Lake and so on"
It's true the Norlin period Gibson bass guitars didn't follow Gibson bass-building tradition. Both the Ripper and G3 were long scale, with through body stringing, and made of maple or alder, with a maple neck, and often a maple fingerboard. These features were all quite different from the usually short scale and mahogany/rosewood combinations, that described most Gibson basses, and in turn they sounded quite different too. Gone was the rumble of the 1960s basses; these new 70s basses were producing the much brighter cleaner tones that suited the music of the time.
And they sold well. New electronics, designed by Bill Lawrence certainly helped, and a much cleaner light-coloured natural wood look made them about as far removed from the somewhat dated looking EB basses as was possible.