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Did I just buy a fake vintage Gibson?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PlanBfromOuterSpace, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. PlanBfromOuterSpace


    Nov 13, 2014
    I just bought what I thought was an old Gibson bass at a pawn shop. They offered it to me for a price that if it is the real deal, was a real steal. From the wear and serial number, I assumed this was a 60s or 70s eb or similar, but when I got home I found the serial number, 729798 does not show up on any of the Gibson serial number look up sites. The bass has a Bartolini bridge pickup and a big honking humbucker at the neck with a coil tap. The bridge and the tuners are non-original. The scale is approximately 34”. It needs some work but it seems like it could be an interesting bass.

    Did I just get skunked, or did I get the deal of the day?
    20170120_130042. 20170120_130113. 20170120_130132. 20170120_130437.
    MCF, matty1039, Tbone76 and 8 others like this.
  2. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    long scale would make it an eb3L if the second pickup is supposed to be there (obv the bart would be a replacement). Logo on the head and the embossing of the serial and MADE IN USA on the back of the head *seem* legitimate, but I'm no expert... I'm interested to see how this pans out for ya.
    MCF, tekhedd and PlanBfromOuterSpace like this.
  3. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Subbed, with fingers crossed in your favor
  4. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    If it's a fake, it's a really old one. Lots of wear on that bass. The items that aren't original could have easily been replaced at some point in the life of that bass.
    10cc, Tbone76, MobileHolmes and 2 others like this.
  5. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Guitar Dater Project comes up with a couple possibles on a Les Paul, but also this more generic info:

    Guitar Info
    This result is a match only if the serial number is impressed on headstock/Made In USA on headstock (Which this one is)
    Your guitar was made at the
    Kalamazoo Or Nashville Plant, USA
    in 1970, 1971 Or 1972
    Production Number: 729798
    MCF, m47ch9r4d3, Tbone76 and 9 others like this.
  6. Brio


    Mar 10, 2013
    Kansas City
    Good luck, its rad either way. How does it sound?
    MCF, blindrabbit, Low84 and 1 other person like this.
  7. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Quick update - looking at pics on the net it looks like in '71 the 3L still had its pickups spaced way apart at the neck and bridge, so this one's pickup placement coupled with the above info from Guitar Dater makes it most likely to be a 1972.
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Looks legit to me, though I'm no expert. It would be an odd bass to go to that extent to clone.
  9. JeroB666


    Dec 22, 2012
    That's one cool looking bass! Hope it's real, but if not, it seems like a perfect bass to gig with, without having to worry about dings and scratches.
    PlanBfromOuterSpace and Tbone76 like this.
  10. Plake

    Plake Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    This^^^^ and falls in line with this site I have used...
    Information on Vintage Gibson Guitar and Bass Serial Numbers
  11. PlanBfromOuterSpace


    Nov 13, 2014
    Thanks for the help y'all! For what I paid for it, it's worth it even if it is some strange and ancient copy. I picked it up over my lunch break so I haven't even had a chance to plug it in yet. It needs a bit of truss rod and set up adjustments and I'm expecting scratchy pots at best, and probably some resoldering. I'm looking forward to fooling with it over the weekend.
    LukeSlywalker, Tbone76, Duder and 3 others like this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you don't mind the question, what did you pay?
  13. PlanBfromOuterSpace


    Nov 13, 2014
    Now that it seems like it may be leigit, I feel kind of guilty about getting it for $170.
  14. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    gibson didn't start keeping track of their serial numbers till the '80s, so it not being in their database isn't amazing.

    my husband, a gibson guitar fan, tells me that according to one of his gibson books, gibson stopped making the witch hat knobs in 1968 but kept using what they had through around 1971ish.
  15. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Are you sure that it's a 34" scale instrument? I'll explain myself in a moment.

    From what I can tell, this is a genuine piece built somewhere from 1973-79, likely closer to the earlier date. It's not an EB-4L because there's no trace of the switch that it would have had. Neck is 3-piece maple and the body should be one-piece mahagony.

    My take is that it's most likely an EB-0 (L?) that had a Bartolini added at some point in the game. Pickup switch is definitely an afterthought, and the same applies for the extra two pots and the coil tap switch.

    The bridge seems to be a Hipshot, positioned strangely from what I see in the picture, but it might just be my eyes.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  16. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Sure it's legit, as far as it goes... a '72 EB-3L in walnut finish, with a 34½" scale, as seen here: 1972 Gibson EB3L Bass Guitar

    But the hardware is all changed out. The big humbucker might be a DiMarzio Model One. The rotary switch was replaced with a toggle, and a mini-switch added. The bridge is a 2-point Hipshot SuperTone.

    ED: The Bart is hard to ID, but going by apparent size it could perhaps be a 6RC. See if a model designation is scratched onto the copper plate on the underside.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  17. Plake

    Plake Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    Didnt even notice the bridge. :banghead:
    knumbskull likes this.
  18. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Looks legit to me, and I've had a few vintage Gibson guitars in my time. Any "collectable" value is pretty much gone with the parts replacements but since you got a cool vintage instrument at a great price I'd just play it and enjoy it :) Deal of the day!
  19. Tom Baker

    Tom Baker

    Feb 3, 2016
    It's been modified to the point of having no value as a vintage piece so it if sounds good, plays well and stays in tune just go with it. That headstock though...damn.
  20. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Thats a fake. The EB-3L had a 4 way rotary switch, not a selector switch. Glad you only payed what you did. Here is what they look like

    Gibson EB-3L 1974 Cherry

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