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Gibson EB-13, impression and impressions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cchorney, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    So I was at Sam Ash today and saw for the first time a Gibson EB-13. This was a 2013 model, with an ash body, glued on maple neck, rosewood fretboard, Babicz bridge, and two double humbuckers with coil taps on both. Tried it on an Ampeg SVT 4 Pro (I think) going thru an Ampeg 810, all tone knobs and eq setting on noon. It definitely covered the heavy bass, 70's rock type sound. Using just the controls on the bass, I couldn't dial in too much of a brighter sound, but that might have been the amp. I definitely liked the feel of the neck - thicker and wider than my Geddy Lee, but what isn't? - and it did give good access to the upper fret ranges. The body shape has an upper horn shorter than a Fender and longer than a SG (so I'll assume neck dive is less than on an SG, I didn't try wearing it standing).

    I see that Sam Ash is selling the 2014 model, which they only have (online at least) in a cherry stain

    Guitar Center has both the 2013 and 2014 models, only $20 difference between the two.
    The 2013 is available in fireburst or ebony http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-2013-EB-Electric-Bass-Guitar-H90734-i3604847.gc
    The 2014 is available in sunburst, fireburst, vintage red (cherry), gold, or natural http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-EB-2014-Electric-Bass-Guitar-109876896-i3486820.gc

    2014 is the 120th anniversary and the 12th fret inlay says so.

    My questions:
    I'm wondering if besides color options and that 12th fret inlay, if there is any other differences between the 2013 and 2014 models?

    I've never owned a bass with a glued neck. I can't imagine it's a bad idea if Gibson is doing it, but should there be any concerns with it not being either a neck thru or bolt on?

    For those folks who have one, can you coax out more modern tones? Deep without muddy this thing can do, but can it get a more jazz bass tone? I know it probably can't get the cutting, mid-range growl sound of my Geddy Lee, but can it get close?

    Any other impressions from those who own or have played these?

    I am very tempted to go back tomorrow and maybe buy it.
  2. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    So after a night on the computer of reading (the very few existing) reviews, price shopping between Sweetwater, Zsounds, Guitar Center and Sam Ash, and checking the used market on eBay, searchtempest.com, and the Guitar Center used gear section, I went back to the store the next morning, shortly after they opened.

    My big concern was "could this bass give me access to the upper registers the way my neck thru bass does, and give me the J Bass *AND* P Bass tones I am currently getting out of 2 basses?"

    To test it out, I set up an amp and cab similar to what I gig with, and played a J Bass and P Bass to verify the rig is giving me what I am used to. Then I tried out the EB-13. While I wasn't particularly impressed with the range of the tone knob, I was greatly impressed with the range of tones I could get out of the pickups when leveraging the coil taps and the separate volume knobs for each pickup.

    I was able to get a killer vintage P Bass tone and very good J Bass tone. It's not nearly as growly as my Geddy Lee, but part of that may be explained by the Roto 66's on the Geddy. Still, I was happy with the J Bass tone. I was also able to get what I would call a more modern tone from it as well, by putting both volume knobs on full and using the coil tap on the neck pup only.

    So, its a much more flexible instrument that either a J Bass or a P Bass.

    Downside? It's got some neck dive. Not as bad as on a SG (which is unacceptably divey to me), but it's not balanced like a Fender or G&L would be. I could fix it by adding another strap button an inch or 2 higher up on the bottom of the bass, but I don't know if it's necessary. I'll try some rehearsals and gigs, and then see how I feel about it. And it needs a setup for a couple of buzzy frets. Nothing major, and the intonation was pretty good right out of the box. And the Gibson hard case - white interior, really? It looks great now, but anything other than white would hide the inevitable dirt and stains better.

    The online price for this bass is about $1050 - $1090. The store has this one marked down to $699 on clearance. The closest I saw to this price was a used one on eBay for $799.

    What I was faced with was a comfortable, versatile bass that was marked at a really good price.

    So I bought it.

    NBD, Woo!!!!

    Now I really ought to put the Ibanez or Fender or Guild or Washburn or Aria up for sale. At least one of them, maybe all of them. Really, I don't want to let them go. But I also don't expect to need them anymore, now that I have this one. Maybe I'll wait a bit and make sure reality meets expectations.
  3. Gazonga


    Apr 17, 2014
    What do they say here? Pics or she ain't real? ;-) I'm looking into getting one of these but really I could not find any relevant difference between the 13 and 14 models other than that 120 AV logo and the pickguards now being black on the 14 models. So I actually prefer the 13 over the 14 and I've seen one at a 649€ clearance I might grab.
  4. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    I've never owned a bass with a glued neck. I can't imagine it's a bad idea if Gibson is doing it, but should there be any concerns with it not being either a neck thru or bolt on?

    set necks have been used for hundreds of years on a variety of instruments. it was the standard way of attaching a neck until Leo Fender developed the bolt on method. I have 3 Gibsons built in the 70s with set necks and none have had any issues. if the neck should need to be reset, it's not really a big deal for a competent luthier to correct. don't worry about it and enjoy your new bass.
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  6. Gazonga


    Apr 17, 2014
    +1 on that comment. Just don't think about it and you'll never even notice. It's something for people who can most certainly hear the grass grow.
  7. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Didnt even know about this bass but I like the look. too bad 1 - I cant afford it 2- they have a black one but inly with tortoise shell pickguard....

    I vote for an Epiphone affordable version....

    But seriously what is up with Gibson/epi and neck dive? Eb-3 is horrible, I hear the Jack Casady is too, then this Eb-13...... It's like a trademark now. You'd think they like it. Players don't.
  8. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    neck dive is present on many basses, not just Gibsons or Epiphones. I've played an EB-3 for close to 40 years and it's never bothered me to te extent where I felt I had to complain about it. I hold the neck at a 45 degree angle instead of horizontally regardless of which bass I'm playing. if somebody thinks that looks goofy, I can't help them. playing bass is more about the music as opposed to the look for me.
    Thwack likes this.
  9. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester Supporting Member

    The Gibson neck dive thing has taken on larger than life qualities. Just an observation.
    Thwack and aquateen like this.
  10. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
  11. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    Well 2 nights ago was my anti-NBD. I returned it due to quality control issues. See http://www.talkbass.com/threads/gibson-quality-control-issues.1068942/ for specifics. I'm disappointed. I liked the concept of "J Bbass pickups located" double humbuckers with coil taps, but apparently it's something of a rare bird. Warwick has the Corvette $$, but the pups are so close together as to offer a reduced tone palette. The Music Man Bongo sort of has it with their double humbucker models, but dual vol/coil tap controls offer more flexibility (plus, the last time I triede out a Bongo it played nice but I wasn't "wowed" by the tone). What else might be out there in the under $2,000 range? Am I being too limited in only looking at HH models?
  12. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I got an Epi EB-3 recently and I love the look but hated the neck dive. I mean is there really no way they could balance it somehow? to me an unbalanced bass tells me someone just didn't give a damn to balance it. Though that wasn't the deal breaker, you can fight it with a good strap or a weighted one, the deal breaker was that tone wise I could do nothing I liked with it (but that is obviously subjective). Gorgeous looking, great neck feel, hated everything else about it.
  13. Max Blasto

    Max Blasto

    Nov 29, 2010
    San Diego
    I'm always bewildered by people who pick up a bass not made by Fender and analyze whether to buy it based on how closely it can match the sound of a Fender.


    Just buy a new Jazz, dude.

    Me? If I'm buying a Gibson EBxx, I'm doing it because it _doesn't_ sound like a Jazz bass, or a Precision bass. That's what Fender is for.

    The other day, I bought a hamburger and sent it back because it didn't taste enough like a hot dog.
  14. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    If you're responding to my comment that "I liked the concept of "J Bbass pickups located" double humbuckers with coil taps", then you missed my point. It's the range of tones available from those types of pickups (humbuckers with coil taps), located in those locations (one near the bridge, one near the sweet spot), that give the range of tones I'm talking about - a small subset of which is a J Bass sound.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  15. Just got my EB-13 back. Had to replace the nut. Dang thing broke on the D string slot. Repair guy was surprised to see Gibson used such a cheap plastic nut.
    He replaced it with a high-quality nut. He was also impressed by the range of tones he was able to pull from it just between the single coil and humbucking options. Others may not like it, but I do.
    Will be using it at the gig this weekend
  16. Gizmot

    Gizmot Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    Nashville area
  17. atomicdog


    Jun 18, 2011
    Neck dive is overstated.
  18. bassie12


    Aug 23, 2008
    I've had a 2012 model since late 2012. I really like the tones, light weight, and feel. I haven't really put it into gigging rotation, though I plan to this summer. The hard part is leaving the nice vintage precisions home...
  19. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester Supporting Member

    That's similar to the reason I don't have one and probably won't buy one. I already have a P, a Ric, and a couple other bass guitars. Even though this is TalkBass and all, enough is enough somewhere. I suppose an EB could replace several of the ones I have, but where's the fun in that, anyway?

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