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advice on gibson eb3

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tanuki, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    hey there

    i am thinking of buying a 70s long scale eb3, i've heard there are a few things to look out for when buying an old one of these but dont know what they are!

    can anyone tell me??

  2. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    . . . and know and like the tone you'll be getting. Lots of thump; not as much clarity.

    Look for headstock repairs. These were notorious for falling backwards and breaking off the headstock.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Most vintage Gibsons have seen a lot of use/abuse. The #1 gotcha is headstock repairs. Then check for non-original parts, most common are the neck pickup (DiMarzio made a direct replacement), bridge and tuners.
  4. Tanuki:

    Please see my profile.

    PM me if you are interested.
  5. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I can’t help you with the 34” scale per se, as I have a 30.5” ’63 model. However, if I was looking at this bass, here is what I would be mindful of.

    The earlier short scale 60’s models have VERY muddy neck pups. DiMarzio made a nice replacement, the
    Model One ( www.dimarzio.com pickups>bass> Standard> Model One ). I chose not to make the replacement as the early 60’s model would be hugely devalued as a result of the mod, instead I chose to acquire different basses to meet my tonal needs. But this is a good replacement and has come well recommended. A series/parallel switch would be a great mod for this pup. No replacement is available for the bridge pup, nor is one needed.

    I earlier had owned a ‘75 short scale, and the pups in that were much better. The Grabber and Ripper were both produced after this and had fans of their full warm tone. I tended to play mine on the bridge pup only, which had a nice bite.

    As a corollary to the headstock comment, also check the neck for adjustment and string height. Take it to a luthier if you can if you are not familiar with setup adjustments.

    Also, the heel that the neck is glued into is very shallow. Check for any damage or repairs there.

    The action on these basses is very fast, and the necks are thin. I happen to like a thin fast neck. If you are looking for a clunky P type neck, look elsewhere, this is not for you.

    Be sure you play the bass amplified. The rotary switch setting 1-4 should have 2 neck settings and 2 bridge pup settings. Play them all and check that you like the tonal array, especially at louder volume.

    The 30.5 suffered a bit of neck dive. I would expect the 34” scale to have more. I used a no slip style strap with this bass to counteract that, and never wore a shirt that had slippery material. I have seen different solutions, moving the knob to the horn, etc. I have also seen a metal appliance bolted onto the back of the neck, but this was from a reggae player who liked it almost upright.

    Also, check the expert’s forum with Mike Watt. He plays this bass professionally with certain custom mods, and may be able to give you further help.

    I love mine, and would never sell it. That tells you something, I hope.
  6. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    cheers for the advice, hopefully i will have time to go and play it tomorow, i will let you all know what its sounding and playing like..

    It Watt that got me in to the EB3, played an epiphone one the other week and it felt really good but i really want to try the original to feel the diference..
  7. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    Another thing to check, that no one has mentioned, is the neck joint. During the early 70's Gibson started setting some of their guitar and bass necks in so they were parallel to the top of the instrument instead of at a slight angle. Because of this, in combination with the Gibson Three-Point Tune-A-Matic bass bridge, with some of them it is real hard to get the strings to sit fairly low. This isn't a problem if you like your action set high, but if you like the action low, it is impossible to do. On my '71 EB3L, I had a luthier reset the neck to it so that it now has the angle that the 60's EB series bass had.
  8. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Ok, this is TB, so may as well use the gallery pic space


    Note the nifty non-adjustable bridge and the hand rest.
    Still one of favorite axes though, even at age 42.
    ( The bass, not me ...)

    But SMG is right, there are differences in the 70's and 60's
    construction. The 75 I had was stolen, so I do not have it compare to.

    But these were all made in Kalamazoo, and were well constructed instruments.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Had one, gave it to my brother who took it to Australia and sold it. Pros - none. Cons - neck heavy, muddy tone, terrible bridge design, weird neck profile. But then again, Jack Bruce played one so it can't be all bad!

  10. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    that eb3 of thors is pretty smart i reckon

    i checked out the bass today, its 70's and also the long scale version, has the super massive pickup more centrally placed than others that i have seen

    sounded awesome... it felt really good, i looked for headstock damage, one thing.. it you hold the bass upright and look at the back of the head stock am i looking for vertiical or horiziontal lines?

    the headstock appeared to be ok but it is made up or three pieces on the back isnt it? there was no sign of glue but the grain of the wood suggested this..i found the pick up selector quite stiff..

    and i discovered the neck dive!! i dint realise that it was so severe, no wonder the headstocks smash, nearly did it myself, i love the feel of the neck tho..

    how does everyone find the neck dive while playing live? do you just adjust or is it a constant pain in the arse??

    id get a thunderbird but i really want a non reversed one so i had given up on that one....
  11. tanuki

    tanuki Bass Minotaur

    Dec 13, 2004
    bristol, england
    and am i right in thinking that the original badass bridge is a direct replacement for the tune-o-matic?

    just wondering if i have the option to swap them over without damaging the bass so i can bung the old one on if i ever sell..
  12. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    The original Badass was made because of the problems with the Gibson bridges lack of adjutability, however you have to put screw holes into the body to install it.

    If you think neck dive on an EB0 or EB3 is bad, try an EB0L or EB3L or even worse, a Thunderbird. I used my Brice (Rondo Music) Thunderbird copy for about 2/3 of a night a few weeks ago, and yes, you do get used to it and start grabbing the neck even when you are not playing. You realize real soon that if you don't, the headstock is going to hit the floor.
  13. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks ;)

    Just look for dings, dents, patches, etc.

    Selector has not been used much prolly ...
    It is a pain. You have to hang on to it. It is because of the
    small size and weight of the 'SG' style body. This bass was
    developed from the SG guitar directly, with not much
    compensation for weight or neck dive issues. The body is
    rather small, and quite light. Other basses developed in this
    era had no such issues, such as the Burns Bison Bass, which
    was much larger and heavier, but geometrically better

    I disagree with the post above, 'Pro's - none'. This bass has
    very very fast action if set up right, and the neck, while not
    to the liking of many traditional P and J bassists, is quite slim
    and very comfortable for players with small hands or fingers.
    It literally plays like a guitar. But not many bassists are
    comfortable with that. You play it again, and decide if it is for
    you, ultimately only you can make the choice.
  14. I have played a few EBs (3's, 2's, 0's and 1's) that have had excessively clubby necks- meaning wide and thick (from front to back).

    Looking for damage to either the heel, neck join or headstock is just looking for a darker patch of finish that might be used to conceal a repair, hold it so light is shining on the finish, somtimes the finish will soak into a good repair, also the finish may be a bit different than the 30 year old nitro. It should be pretty easy to spot a repair on the cherry finish.

    This is a pretty typical Gibson headstock boo boo:

    As far as neck dive goes- my 30" EB-0 is worse than my Thunderbird. Then again, I have a slotted headstock with those monster tuners on it.

    Bridges- I replaced the 2 point tune-o-matic with a scavenged G&L bridge and it's perfect, but screw holes had to be drilled.

    That's a lovely instrument, but please tell me that's not you holding that bass...

  15. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Thanks. That is a close relative holding it, and you are NOT
    getting her name or phone number, as she has expensive
    taste and you are a lowly bass player, and unworthy.

    Some of the 70's necks were chunkier, you are right.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Which ones had the open headstocks?.