Converting an EB-3 to a headless and how much will it change the tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rangotouille, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    I wan't to make my EB-3 headless.

    How will that change the tone of the guitar and how much will it change?

    More basically: How much does making a bass guitar headless change the tone?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
    DrDAV14, jamro217 and Rock Salad like this.
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Won't know until you do it, then it's too late. It will certainly change any dead spots, possibly add some. Also keep in mind the truss rod extends into the headstock.
  3. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    Thanks for responding, it's most appreciated.

    The truss rod on mine doesn't extend as far as into the head, it sits a little way down in the neck so there'd be no obstruction.

    As for deadspots, I don't know a lot about them. Do you know how to find them and/or identify where they are etc.?

    Edit: Just googled deadspots.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  4. Top of the neck where it enters the headstock is the most vulnerable point on vast majority of Gibson guitars as well as on any designs related to them..

    I wouldn't be one bit surprised if the neck started splitting once the headstock gets chopped off. Not to mention that I'd be concerned about the stability of the neck joint - which is the real Achilles' heel of this particular design - once you complete the conversion.

    My $0.02: don't do it. There are many fine headless basses around, and not all of them are prohibitively expensive.
  5. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    Thanks for responding, it's most appreciated.

    I was aware that Gibson's are infamous for breaking at the top of the neck if dropped, because of the angle of the neck and the tension they're under etc.

    I thought removing the head, and so removing the various forces pulling on it, would actually help matters.

    You really think it'd split the neck? Why do you think that would happen?
  6. I can't say with absolute certainty that it would, but that portion of the neck is hollowed out to begin with. Had you ever seen a Gibby with a busted headstock before it got repaired you'd understand what I'm talking about. A nice amount of wood was removed during production in order to accommodate the truss rod placement to begin with.

    But hey, it's your bass. I've done stuff in my younger years that some folks on this forum would crucify me for...:D

    Good luck.
    jamro217 likes this.
  7. Rock Salad

    Rock Salad

    Jun 30, 2018
    Tulsa, Ok. USA
    Gonna have to respectfully disagree with ajkulla66, the headstock breaks i have seen are along the grain and caused by the leverage of the angled headstock across the grain.
    I think it would be stronger. But i really am guessing too.
    I really like your idea and would love to see it if you do it. It sure would be a commitment.
    EBs rule.
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  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Taking weight off the headstock (what a headless does) will shift the dead spot on your G string up a few frets. That may (or may not) make it less of an issue. In addition, the headless basses I've played often gain a dead spot low on the A string (sometimes the open A string). I find dead spots in that area very annoying.
  9. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    you could probably get away from possible neck splits by epoxying the exposed tip but yoinking that headstock is like cutting off the cutaway horns, it's part of that bass' identity. don't do it! then again, if you promise to update us post honeymoon, especially if it all goes South on you, then I'll say go for it cos we need to know the end results for... let's just say future reference.
    bobyoung53 and Novarocker like this.
  10. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    Yes, definitely a commitment but I can totally live without the headstock. It's the one thing about he EB-3 I can live without. I don't really like the design of the Gibson headstock and I kind of really like the idea of a headless guitar; just not really into the modern designs of most headless basses.

    Yeah, that would be a bit of a bad place to have a deadspot. Better off that they're much further towards the body.

    The epoxy sounds like it might be a good idea.

    I love the horns and there's no way I'm going to convert it to a headless if I have to interfere at all with the outline of the body, but the head I can live without, especially if it's going to help with the balance.

    As for the bass's identity, the upgrade is more about the identity of the owner, the blend of old and new, and the balance of style and function.

    But yeah, whatever happens, I'm going to update the forum, for future reference or whatever.
    Rock Salad likes this.
  11. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    Headless basses have shorter lengths of string beyond the nut, which i expect will improve tone a little because the string is less 'stretchy' and more solidly anchored.
  12. Well, it will probably cure the dreaded neck dive. Probably cause a bunch of other problems, though.....and kiss your resale value goodbye. Why don't you just sell it to someone who appreciates it and buy a headless?
  13. If it's a Gibson 65-6-7 EB-3 I say you're committing a felony by cutting it up. If it's an Epiphone do what you want...but I wouldn't.
  14. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    You'd have to find/buy/design some sort of end plate, to cap the end of the neck and anchor the strings. Then you'll need to find/buy/design some sort of bridge with tuners which will fix into the body.

    When you've spent double the value of the bass on those bits you'll have halved the value of the bass and who knows what it will sound like when you're done. Of all the mods I've heard of, this is not the best!!!
  15. Rangotouille


    Apr 22, 2019
    Hope so re. the neck dive; if it solves that problem I'll be over the moon.

    Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate it; I love the body shape, that's why I'm spending so much time and potentially going to spend a lot of money converting it.

    I don't really want a modern headless bass; I just don't like the styling on them.

    It's an Epiphone. If it had collector's item value I wouldn't chop it up.

    It's a bass guitar, whether it's got a head on it or not, It's not like making it headless is going to make it sound like a trumpet or a banjo...

    ...lets keep some perspective here, it's an Epiphone and yes, there's a risk involved but it's manageable and I'm going to get it done professionally, with proper parts and I'm not planning on ever selling it.

    And yeah, the conversion might totally kill the value for someone in the market for a standard Epiphone, but if I wanted to sell it (which I'm just never going to do) I'd hold out for a buyer who'd appreciate it for what it is, and who'd appreciate it enough to pay a reasonable price for it.
  16. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Do you want to go headless because of neck dive, an issue which can be easily solved for $15 or so?
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  17. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I think your idea is awesome. I hope I get to see it on here someday.
  18. Personally, I'm curious on what type of the bridge you end up with.
  19. CatchaCuda


    Feb 3, 2018
    Transfer, PA
    I have no helpful advice about tone or dead spots. But...
    I believe it's $165 shipped for Nova's headless system. The man behind the product is here at TB (@Passini). (@Jisch) over in Luthier's Corner seems to really like them.
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