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1950's Gibson EB-1 bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by darkhorse9, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. darkhorse9


    Mar 28, 2010
    This is the first time I've seen one of these up close and actually played one. A local music store had this in house. He was asking $5400 for it. A bit pricey for my tastes, but sweet none the less.

    I love that it still had the adjustable stand so it could be used as an upright. Newbies like me don't often get a chance to see vintage like this. There were no cracks in the neck. It was in perfect shape.

    The guy said there were only a hundred or so of these made. Anyone know more about these?


  2. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I own one of these years ago.
    The first run was from 1953-1958.
    There was about 600 made in that time period.
    Gibson reissued the EB-1 in 1968-1972. (Due to Felix Papallardi)
    The 1953-1958 models, were one of the nicest sounding basses, I've ever played.
    The are very expencive, due to limited number made.
    I've seen them in the $5500.00-$6500.00 range.
  3. I loooooove that version of the pickup. Warmest, richest tone I've ever heard without a trace of mud. Can anyone confirm my recollection that the pickups with brown bakelite covers were wound on a ceramic magnet, rather than the Alnico magnets Gibson used later?
  4. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Personally I thought both incarnations of the EB-1 were bad sounding (even for Gibson), heavy basses that were awkward to play. There's a reason they were discontinued.
  5. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Rare as heck. Cool as a "historical piece", but not a huge amount of usefulness for most players.

    Nice screen name BTW.
  6. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    The EB as it was cataloged back in the '50s was the first bass I ever played. My dad bought it new in 1954. I played it for most of the '60s and now my son plays it. $5K is about the going price these days. There was a pristine '55 EB in Nashville last summer tagged at $8,500. It sold in one day. I think the big reason they never were a big hit is the fact that they are a '30 scale.
    The bass that Jack Bruce plays has been completely gone over. He has new tuners, rewound pickup, a Hipshot bridge, huge frets and better electronics. With light gauge roundwounds, he gets the bass to sound great. He also eqs out the lows and highs.
    Felix's bass is at the R&R Hall of Fame. It is a stock '68 with early Rotosounds.
  7. Sloppy use of language on my part; apologies. I also seem to remember the early ones were single-coil jobs. Input from someone whop actually knows what they're talking about would be appreciated. :bag:
  8. markseb1


    Jul 11, 2007
    I have this pickup in my Epiphone EB-1. The magnets are Alcino and are clamped to a thick steel core. The bobbin and windings surround the core. The adjustable pole pieces (#5 screws) thread into the core on the opposite side of the bobbin from the magnets. Total weight of the pickup is over 13 oz. It is single coil and has about 25,000 turns of 43 gauge wire. I have reverse engineered this pickup in hopes of making copies. They will fit in the stock Epi (and I assume Gibson) bass humbucker route, but new pole piece holes must be drilled in the stock cover. I have a custom aluminum cover for mine on the way. The sound is wonderful, but a little muddy, but nothing like the Gibson humbuckers, which can have that "farty" sound. Don't ask how much I paid for my pickup...
  9. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Cool. A real bit of bass history.

    Not my favorite style bass, but I would love to own one.
  10. markseb1


    Jul 11, 2007
    As for this basse's usefulness, Jack Bruce used one of these in the Cream Reunion shows and in other recordings/shows as well. The electronics were pretty much stock Gibson but the hardware has been updated. I thought the sound was amazing, which is why I built my Epi EB-1
  11. That's what I was reaching for, thanks.
  12. This sounds about right. ;)

    The Gibson EB1 is Gibson's least appreciated, most misunderstood gem. :smug:

    I love 'em.! :)

    A real man's man sort of bass! ;) It's what I play after a hard day's night with the old Rickenbacker. It has a way of putting everything into perspective if you know what I mean.

    Boom Boom Boomity BOOM!! :eek:

    So go ahead and take the plunge and buy it. You'll be one of the select.
  13. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Believe it or not, I've gigged with an original one. Despite the pickup it was actually quite usable - more so than the 60's EB0's I've tried. Those pickups seemed to get muddier later on.

  14. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    My current project EB-1 (posted this elsewhere; sorry for the repeat).

    I got this on ebay a few years ago; it's been hacked and modded, most notably a poorly installed mudbucker, but it's good 50's wood and the neck is great. My plan is to replace the mudbucker with a Darkstar.

    Btw, I was never a big fan of the banjo tuners on these; and anyway, the replacement tuners on this one are so much more "Felix" :)



  15. faivy


    Nov 23, 2004
    Can anybody who has played both the original and the reiisue comment on the similarities and differences please?
  16. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    The bass from the late '60s was a pretty faithful reproduction minus the stick, it also has a harder finish applied
    There might be a little more volume in the newewr bass
  17. sweetcharlie454


    Apr 16, 2010
    It's a nice looking bass but personally can't stand the short-scale neck.
  18. neili360


    May 31, 2010
    Eugene, Oregon
    darkhorse9: Cool to see a good shot of the endpin setup. I have a '54 model that was missing that part and the pick guard. Other mods done too, but all in all a cool bass in pretty good shape.
    Guiseppe likes this.
  19. stevetat


    Nov 11, 2005
    New England
  20. I had the fortune of playing a '53 EB1 last year. It was the first Gibson bass I ever drooled over and I loved the banjo tuners. The pickup was very full and powerful sounding with quite a bit of definition... very unlike the EB-Os mudbucker.

    Felix Pappalardi was a smart man.[​IMG]

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