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1981 Ripper characteristics: Large headstock with silkscreened gold logo including the "i" dot connected to the "G" and open "o", serial number stamp on back of headstock, "MADE IN U.S.A." stamped into headstock back between the tuners, Schaller BM tuners with Gibson logo engraved on gear plate, two screw plastic truss rod cover including the model name, volute, glued in 20 fret neck with pearled dot fret markers, black/white/black/white/black pickguard including input jack, two black humbucker pickups, chrome bridge cover, 3 pole bridge, 4 position chicken head tone selector switch, three black speed knobs including numbers, string through body grommets, contoured Gibson name hard case with red interior.

Gibson continued the eight digit serial number headstock dating scheme in 1981. Ex: YDDDYPPP- The first and fifth letter indicate year of production. The second, third and fourth letters indicate the day of production within the year. The sixth, seventh and eighth letters indicate the manufacturing plant: 001 to 499 shows production rank at the Kalamazoo factory and 500 to 999 shows production rank at the Nashville factory.