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1973 Gibson EB-3: Buy or Not Buy?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by craig_man_10, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. I saw a 1973 Gibson EB-3 at the local music store here. Its All Original and comes with an original gibson case. Its in good condition (few litle dings, but what do u expect for 33 years?) Its $1800 Canadian, but i could widdle him down to about $1650. Should I get it? Is it a good bass? I liked it, but whats your opinion?
  2. It depends if you like the bass or not

    I dont like them as they are pretty neck heavy and tend to be very muddy/boomy sounding, a very bassy bass if you will

    Im not sure on the prices tho so i cant help you there, sorry
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Just make sure you like the sound and the action. I have played one that was all original but also all muddy and lifeless, and I played one that had several upgrades (much less collectible) but was a better instrument for it. Personally I would only buy one if (a) it was all original and in excellent condition, for the collector value; or (b) it had or needed some repairs anyway, so I wouldn't feel bad about throwing some different pickups and wiring in there, and a refret.

    They sell on Ebay for $500 to $1500 US depending on condition.
  4. I thought it sounded great. It didn't sound muddy at all IMHO. Or maybe thats just my sound :S
  5. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Since you asked for opinions, I'll give you mine. The modern concpet of bass tone is radically different from that on many of the classic recordings of the 60s and 70s. A Gibson EB3 will not give you a modern hi fi, full range sound. It will, however, put some serious ass underneath any band you play with. Soundmen and and other players will smile when you play it. It's a great way to forge your own distinctive tone. If you like the way it sounds and plays, I think it's worth getting.
  6. I have a friend with a '69 EB-3 that she bought new in that year along with a Sunn S-200 and 215 Sunn cab. Her band toured military bases for 3 years before she got married. The bass and amp have tremendous vintage tone and everybody she plays with is very happy to be on stage with her. I don't know about the price. If I had the money to spend and I wanted a short scale bass, I would be willing to pay as much as $1000 to $1200 US for her bass. So if the one you are looking at is in excellent condition, if you said "Oh, wow!" when you saw it, then I would think the price he is asking is not too far out of line. If you buy it, you have to buy an old Sunn amp and 215 cab.
  7. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The price may be only a couple hundred on the high side, but what matters is if it sounds great to you. Most Gibsons EB's have a muddy tone, but there are great ones you just have to look. If it speaks to you, then.... :cool:
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    There was a time, back in the day, when I thought the EB-3 was just too cool. I've always liked Jack Bruce, and he and Felix Papalardi of Mountain were just the ultimate EB-3 players...

    I personally wouldn't own one now. The electric bass has just evolved so far in the past 30+ years, most contemporary instruments are far and away better than the EB-3 ever was.

    I might own one as a novelty or as a collector's item. But not as a player...

  9. 4001Guy


    Mar 23, 2006
    i would guess that if you are looking at this instrument you are more into the vintage vibe/sound anyway. i have heard some great bass playing done on an EB and it didn't sound the least bit muddy. thick, yes, but not muddy. the notes were quite distinct. fat as hell and blended great with the big ludwig bass drum the drummer was using. i happen to like my bass to be low, and i'm not so much into the modern bell-like bass tone.

    really it comes down to what you like, and what you play. the bass will not suit all types of music, but might be perfect for you. if it plays well and is in really great original condition then try to get it for 1600. you might find your instrument for life.
  10. Player1


    Apr 17, 2006
    I was going to get an eb3 myself, but got a 79 Kramer XL8 alluminum neck. In my opinion it sounds better then most $1000 basses new or old. This guitar has a tremendous amount of sustain and high end and is extremley easy to play. Gibsons are pretty good quaility in a mass produced sence and you know that neck through mahogany can make some good tones. A good open minded bass player should be able to play around a guitars tone range and all around playability. A good eb3 goes around a 1000 give or take a hundred over or under and so do rickenbackers, thunderbirds, and the occational vintage kramer alluminum neck. Id probably buy it though if it was easily available and i had the money.
  11. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    I have a '72 EB-3 that's been my main player for 30+ years. the tone is thick and full but not muddy, unless you cut the mids & highs and boost the lows on your amp. the neck pickup is not right up on the neck like the 60's models and that makes a big difference. the notes have definition anywhere on the neck and the sustain is practically forever. the necks on the 70's EB-3s are maple and that adds a little more clarity than a mahogany neck.

    you can also get some useable tones from the mini humbucker if you dial it in right on your amp, although switching pickups in the middle of a song usually isn't recommended (I have done that on occasion but mostly for a solo using double stops).

    the price seems a little high but if you like the way it plays and sounds, I'd say go for it.
  12. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    if the vintage/collector aspect is not too important to you but you still like the style, tone, short scale etc. you could consider an epiphone elitist eb3 (i think that's the correct name) that Musicians friend was clearing out a few weeks back for around $700 usd.
  13. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Well, actually, that would be the one thing i would highly advise against. I used to have an Epiphone endorsement and I still think their new Casinos are one of the best deals going- a totally kick ass guitar for $500, BUT their basses are nothing at all like the vintage istruments they copy. I've always loved old Epiphone Rivoli's, but the resissue model literally had no fundamental tone below the 5 fret on the e string. I'd play a low G and it would just sound like tuned air.
  14. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I can't comment on the new vs. vintage because i've never a/b'd any, but I am impressed with epiphone's basses in general--I have a woody signature I love, thought the eb-3 elitist i tried was real nice on it's own (again, I haven't compared to vintage) and though I haven't tried one, the casady signature really catches my eye/ear. I even saw/heard a kid play one of the goth/heavy metal type models (can't remember the model--kind of had sg horns on the tail of it) and it sounded great!

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