GIBSON EB0 BASS
The EB0 is a true design classic. From its launch in 1959 to its demise 20 years later, it remained gibsons most popular bass, making up almost a third of all solidbody bass sales
The EB-0 was first produced in early 1959, being shown at the Summer music trade fairs of that year priced at $180. It was announced to dealers in advance in the May/June issue of Gibson Gazette; Thrilling new EB-0 electric bass. The EB-0 basses produced from this time, and up until 1961, all had the doublecutaway Les Paul Junior body style. From 1961 the better known SG body style was used, and proved considerably more popular.
But the vast majority of EB-0 guitars were shipped in the 1960s - the peak year with 3018 is 1969 (see a typical '69 EBO here), when Cream style blues rock was at its height (Jack Bruce, the bass player with Cream is famous for his EB3 bass playing). Interestingly enough very few major artists seemed to have used the EB0; the EB3 had a greater tonal range, and money is not an issue for 'rock stars', but it was popular with the garage, blues, soul and church bands of the 1960s and 70s. Users include David Knights of Procol Harum, and Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson Five. The price difference between the two was not massive; in 1970 the EB0 was $350 compared to $410 for the EB3.
The difference between the EBO and the EB3 was the extra pickup (and associated electronics) in the bridge position on the EB3. Both used the same materials, mahogany bodies and necks (maple necked from 72) with rosewood (and occasionally ebony) fingerboards. During much of the production run, the EB0 had a 3-ply pickguard (b-w-b) whilst the EB3s had 5-ply (b-w-b-w-b).
Production of all Gibson EB-0 bass guitars was at the main Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Short scale, mahogany throughout and the unique Gibson EB humbucker made for a quick playing bass with a heavy heavy sound. Obviously popular with the burgeoning rock movement of the late sixties, but also a true design classic that still looks as fresh as it did in '61.
Sixties EBOs (sixties Gibsons in general) were prone to breaks in the headstock, around the body-neck join and also around the input jack. The back slanting headstock is unfortunate; if a guitar falls backwards, it's headstock generally hits the ground first. Mahogany can be brittle too, and such a fall can easily crack or even break the guitar. The short scale was also seen as a weakness by some, and so a long scale version was also available from 1970.
The EB0 is reknowned for its deep sound. Melting butter. Or mud. Depending on your point of view. Very popular in the 1960s, but by the turn of the decade, tastes had changed. To brighten the sound (and maybe to strengthen the instrument) Gibson introduced long scale (34.5") models which did not sell overly well, and from 1972 laminated maple necks. It was to no avail, though, as by 1974 other Gibson basses such as the Ripper (and in 1975 the Grabber) had appeared and sales of SG style basses plummeted.
- 1964 EB0 (round wound strings, treble and vol pots positioned at 9/10, recorded directly into my sound card, with no pre-amp)
- 1970 EB0 Wow, what a tone!
EB-0 with a band
There were two variations of the EB-0 available, if only briefly. The EB-0F was available between 1962-65, though only 250 were shipped. The f stood for Fuzz, as this bass had built in passive fuzz circuitry. Gibson also recognized demand for a long scale bass so over 1000 long scale (34 1/2 ") EB-0L basses were made between 1970-77.