Today we are taking a look at a Vintage Gibson Electric Bass 3 (EB-3) that was sent to me for the purpose of documenting. What fun!
This iteration of Gibson bass was first introduced in 1961. However, it was not the first Gibson bass made. Its predecessors were the EB-1 (Violin Bass) released in 1953; the EB-2 (ES-335 Style) in 1958 and in 1959, the EB-0 (Double Cut Les Paul Junior style shape.)
The EB-3 is the upgraded version of the EB-0. Instead of just having a single neck humbucker pickup, they added a bridge position mini humbucker to the neck position “Mudbucker / Sidewinder” and a 4-position pickup selector switch that looks like a
These instruments are known for the muddy, boisertious tone since their neck pickup is right up against the neck. However, the EB-3 features three additional tones that make it more versatile. The pickup selections are the “Neck Pickup with Midrange Notch,” “Bridge Only,” “Bridge + Neck with Low End Rolled off Neck,” and “Neck with Choke.” To put all that technical jargon into perspective – Position 1 = the low rumble you hear from outside someone blaring the bass in their car. Position 2 = A Wild Dinosaur Destroying Everything in its Path. Position 3 = A Slightly more Tame Dinosaur. Position 4 – Just like position 1, but a little less dark/muddy (hearing the bass inside the car.)
The thing I liked the most about the EB-3 is that it felt just like a Regular Guitar. I don’t play bass that often, but I do have the need for one from time to time for recording. The body and neck dimensions and even the length of this short scale 30.5″ bass were nearly identical to a The SG that I compared it to. If you’re a guitarist looking for a ‘size-friendly’ bass for your recording rig, I would suggest picking one of these up!
The Value of EB-3 Basses can be very confusing. As with most collectible instruments, the earlier ones tend to seek higher prices and the further and further the specs change, the less collectible they become. The EB-3 came in many different iterations since its birth in 1961 until its discontinuation in 1979.
Some of the most notable spec changes start in 1962, the black plastic cover on the neck pickup was replaced by a metal one. Around 1964-5, the nickel-plated hardware was replaced by chrome. Mid-1965 sees the wide control spacing from the early 1960s version cut down to the same size as the electric guitar version. Around 1966-7 the necks started to become thinner; an unadjustable bar bridge with nylon saddles for each string came into play and the string guard was removed in favor of a bridge guard. The knobs were swapped to witch-hat design. In 1969 and 1970, the headstock design changed to a slotted version. Finally, in 1972, the neck pickup was moved closer to the bridge and a maple neck with volute replaced the old mahogany one. In 1973 a new 3-point bridge was used. There are many differences over the years in body sculpting as well as heel joints as well.
Overall, I enjoyed this bass. It didn’t really give me what I considered my favorite bass tones, but I can definitely see how this is an essential piece of Gibson history as well as for nailing that Cream bass tone! It is certainly the most comfortable bass I’ve ever played!