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Epiphone B4

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jim Ingraham, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Jim Ingraham

    Jim Ingraham Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2002
    Ive had this bass for about 20 yrs. I recently came across this forum and was wondering if anyone knows anything about this bass. I did a search and came up with very little and nothing about B4's thanks
  2. Celarier


    Sep 5, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Epiphone DB,

    I bought a 50's Epiphone bass this year and got some positive response from a few on TB who knew something about the make. I would refer you to the Newbies section of the DB forum and look under REALBASS. There is a list of various makes and models of all kinds of basses including one on the Epiphone - for I had the same question before buying one. Perhaps this may be of some help.

    BUT I must say thank you so much for your inquiry, because I never new the model number of the bass I have. When your post read B-4, I immediately went to my DB to see the number '4' imprinted below the bridge and on the brass. Now that I have the model number (the serial number is etched - sloppily though) into the brass siding of the tuning contraption (sorry I don't know the name). It reads 6988. I don't know what it means or if it is any help.
    The Bass sounds spankingly darn good to me - the most important factor. I have never played any other DB so I have no comparison to speak regarding sound. I think, though, the low E on the one I have does not punch quite like the other strings. This could be just the ancient spiros that were on it when I bought it. Or maybee some other thing. Please let me know if you find anything about Epiphone DB's. I sure would be interested in the history. Don't bother goiong to the Epiphone Website though.

    Just glad to know the model is B-4 - just to know - ya know.

    Thanks, Karl Celarier
  3. Jim Ingraham

    Jim Ingraham Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2002
    Karl thanks for replying. I recall reading your original post back when i first searched here info. Glad yuo like your bass. I know i love mine.:D . I also recall a post about serial numbers stamped on the wood under the scroll but ive scoured my bass and cant find numbers anywhere including the tuner mounting plates where you have found yours.
    I never fully appreciated my Epiphone until last year when i took it in to a luthier to see about lowering the action. He pointed out to me that the finger board was delaminating from the neck and would have to be removed and reglued and then planed down and trued. While he was at it i had him restring it and generally tune it up and when i got it back it was like getting a whole new instruement !!! ;) any rate nice to know there at least one other fellow B4er out there!!
  4. Celarier


    Sep 5, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Glad to hear your B-4 is sounding good. I did a little more internet fact finding and all I could come up with is the following. Perhaps you have already seen this:

    From: "david (d.) o'heare"
    Date: Fri, 8 Sep 1995 09:24:00 -0400
    Subject: re: Gibson upright basses

    Mark Wilson asked about a Gibson URB. Yep, they exist, it isn't a figment of
    your imagination. Gibson took over Epiphone in 1954 (?), and put their names
    on the URBs made after. The following is distilled from "Gruhn's Guide to
    Vintage Guitars" by George Gruhn and Walter Carter, published by GPI BOOKS
    Miller Freeman, Inc. ISBN:0-97930-195-3. Any typos, etc., are my
    responsibility. Gruhn and Carter count 600 or so Gibson/Epiphone basses. They
    don't indicate the number of pre-Gibson Epi basses


    All Epiphone basses have laminated bodies, are 3/4 size, with a 42" scale.
    They were intorduced in 1940, B-1, B-2, B-3 discontinued by 1954, B-4 and
    B-5 continued in Gibson line, 1958.

    B-4 - fine grain spruce top, bound top and back, light golden brown or
    blond finish, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard & tailpiece.

    B-3 - select spruce top, Cremona brown sunburst, Braz. fb&tp

    B-2 - spruce top, light cherry red sunburst, Braz. fb&tp

    B-1 - dark cherry red sunburst, ebonized fb&tp

    B-5 Artists model - introduced by Feb 1941, fine grain spruce top, bound
    top and back, light golden brown or blond finish.

    After the Gibson takeover, the B-5 had a Van Eps adjustable bridge,
    gold-plated parts, natural or shaded finish. The B-4 was similar, with
    brass parts. Gibson added the BV student model in 1958, and discontinued
    the basses in 1965."

    The discription does not sound like what I have. But then again I see that my b-4 has been refinnished. Maybe it orginally was blond or the like. But I doubt it. I also am suspect of the 600 number they talked about. My serial number does not seem to indicate 'only 600 made'. BUT given the sloppily inscripted 'serial number' - maybe the number was etched into it by a reseller for inventory/insurance reasons and is not the 'real serial number'. This would make sense since your has no serial on it - Epiphone would not have put serials on some of their b-4's and not on others. Who knows. What do I know I am just a beginner?

    Thanks, Karl Celarier
  5. Warren Yates

    Warren Yates

    Oct 15, 2009
    I have an Epiphone B4 serial number 11 77. Do you know what year it might have been made?
    Thank's, Warren
  6. At some point, resident Epi expert MollyKay will see these posts and reply. She keeps a database of Epiphones and will be happy to share what she knows.
  7. MollyKay


    Sep 10, 2006
    Southern PA
    Bass Hobby'ist
    Somebody rang…:)

    Pin pointing the exact date of manufacturing for an Epiphone upright bass is still difficult but my database is beginning to narrow it down. At this point in time I would say #1177, the serial number should be under the scroll head and that would indicate to me a date of 1948-1949. If you would like to read about the history of the Epiphone bass visit my website (the link is below) and look under “Epiphone History”. That is the most comprehensive information I have collect so far. Also please give me the exact details of your bass and I will catalog it along with my ever growing database of Epiphone upright basses.

    Hope you find the history helpful and interesting.

    Thanks Wineaux…I have not been checking the TB board everyday as I used to. Work has picked up and my days are getting pretty full…which is a welcome event. :eyebrow:
  8. Warren Yates

    Warren Yates

    Oct 15, 2009
    I would be happy to with pictures.
    Thanks, Warren
  9. rusag2


    Oct 22, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I just purchased what appears to be an Epiphone B4. Some previous owner has painted the entire body of the bass in some sort of flat black paint.

    The badge on the tailpiece has a "4" stamped in it (no "B", just a "4"). It appears to have real purfling, because through the black paint I can see the edges. There is no "loop" in the purfling near the neck.

    I have looked for the serial number under the tuners and at the end of the fingerboard and stamped on the bottom near the tailpiece. I have not found it. However, under the base, on the body, is thick black paint, so I'm hoping that as I remove the black paint, I'll see the number.

    The tuners are unadorned, with no decorative marks, nor any letters of any kind.

    The base has a two-piece neck in very good condition and appears to have no issues at all, other than the paint. It sounds lovely and plays very very well.

    I'll post pictures in the near future.
  10. Sent here from my post of Nov, 29, great information and I will post a picture and some history when I get it home. Now for some posts on what people are playing on the B 4.