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Gibson EB-3

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tufas, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. tufas


    Mar 19, 2006
    Hello Everybody... I am a great fan of Jack Bruce's music, I have a band which plays a lot of Cream songs and I was thinking of getting a Gibson EB-3 bass, and I wanted to know some expert's opinion. The bass i'm looking into is a 1969 model, it is in perfect conditions (although there was a refinish on the painting) and all parts of the instrument are original. One of the main obstacles is the price- it costs what would be equivelent to around U$2580. Is this price fair for the bass, or is it too expensive? I'm also slightly worried about the scale- is it a problem that it is short scale, or would it be fine after I got used to it?
    If I don't get this one, I might get a new Rickenbacker 4001 instead. I really wanted a EB-3, but I am very concerned on these issues (price, lastibility, etc). What do guys think about the bass??

    Thanks a lot for your time!! :help:
    Here are some pictures of the bass:
    (notice the headstock)



  2. SuperSonic!!!


    Oct 26, 2005
    Hmmm... I have never tried one, but all I have heard about this bass is bad, and that sum seems a lot for something so slated...
  3. brachal


    Jan 7, 2006
    New Orleans, La
    $2580 seems high unless it's really mint. be sure to check the back of the headstock; lots of EB3's have cracks back there, which would affect the price. A headstock crack isn't a big deal functionally if it's been repaired properly.
    I've got a '66 EB3, and it's a great guitar. Not versatile like a P-bass, but unique in its own way. I wouldn't worry about the scale - I go back and forth all the time. It's easy once you get used to it. concerning durability, the only weak point is the headstock. Like all Gibsons, the eb3 is notorious for breaking there. You really shouldn't have any problems as long as you treat it with care.
    My eb3 is, by far, the fastest, easiest playing bass I've touched. The short neck is great for that. If you set the switch to position 1 and pull the string mute, it'll sound like a stand up.
  4. rebelbass


    Feb 16, 2006
    New Jersey
    This is the kind Jack Bruce played in cream; sg body with 2 pickups? I had one in the mid 70's.moose bass tone,neck kept bending,not a great insturment,at least for the $$. The Epiphone is simular,maybe better tone! and a lot cheeper.
  5. WarwickFan


    Feb 7, 2005
    IMHO, the price is too high. Also, you said it was refinished, do you know why? Is the finish still nitro? Also, with a new finish, it may be very hard to check the headstock for repair. Go with the Ric.
  6. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I have a Gibson EB-3, (early 70s I think) without the slotted headstock and a 3 way toggle instead of the rotary switch.

    I love this bass, very easy to play, (almost seems like cheating) very fast neck, great ballsy bottomy tone. No problems getting used to the shortscale length, (I don't have huge hands) but it then takes a little getting used to going back to my 34" scale basses.

    This bass is not as solid as my Fenders and I would not use it as my main bass, and would never bring it aywhere without a backup.

    Price seems a little high to me, but then I'm a cheapskate :)
  7. 808


    Jan 24, 2006
    The price seems a bit high, but then again a similar one, although in slightly lesser condition, is currently listed on eBay Germany for 1900,- €. I have an early-70s EB-3 in walnut finish and it's a very nice bass, easy to play. I highly recommend it. Anyway, some good info on these basses can be found here.

    Other options to check out would be the Epiphone Elitist EB-3, a rather faithful reproduction of the EB-3, and the Gibson SG Reissue Bass, kind of like an updated version of the EB-3 with Thunderbird Pickups instead of the original Sidewinders. Both are available new.
  8. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    All I know is, I want one. My P-bass has too much sustain for Cream songs.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Had an EB-3L which I purchased many moons ago. Terribly neck heavy. You could coax some usable tones by backing off the large neck humbucker. Not my first choice as primary gigging instrument.

    IIRC, I paid $200 for the thing and eventually gave it to my brother who at that time lived in Exmouth, West Australia. He sold it to an Aussie so it's probably floating around somewhere.

  10. tufas


    Mar 19, 2006
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm still thinking a lot about it =)
    Also, I might have converted the price wrongly, so it might be around U$2430 and not $2580. Also it comes with that custom-made case in the picture, which should drop the cost about U$200.. Still, I don't know if it makes a difference, the price might still be too high..
    WarwickFan, the headstock seems to be in perfect conditions, and the finish is still nitro. However I do not know the reason for it being refineshed, but the original colour and tones were maintained.

    Edit: Sorry, I meant new Rickenbacker 4003
  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Nice pics but I'd be hard pressed to drop $2500 on an EB-3 unless I was a dyed-in-the-wool Jack Bruce fan. You can pick up a really nice instrument for about half that...that is if you love in the good ol' USA.

  12. i would probably go with the Eb-3 cus theres no such thing as a New 4001:smug: haha sorry

    but a used 4001 or a new 4003 would be great and personally i think would be a better bass to get then the Eb-3, especially due to the cost of it.
  13. AHbassist


    Sep 22, 2005
    Kennesaw, GA
    I have an Epiphone Ebo, and tried the Gibson Eb3. They sound exactly the same, the Epiphone Eb3 might even have better sound than either of them, only dif. is the finish & logo.
  14. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    just go order a new one. they are like $1000 from muicians friend. they reissued them as the "SG bass"
  15. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yeah, they couldn't call them EBs anymore because we would get them confused with Ernie Ball Musicmans.

  16. seedeeare


    Mar 19, 2006
    I had a 1970 Slotted peghead EB-3 myself which i purchased in 1976 when i used to play in a power trio where the bass gave me a great sound for all the loads of Jack Bruce Stuff, and later on, Jethro Tull stuff (Glenn Cornick used EB-3 all over Jethro tull)... I regret very much that I sold it in 1999 because I needed the money...

    If, as you say, you have Cream songs in your repertoire, forget about the Rickenbacker (i'd assume you mean 4003, because there are no more new 4001 as far as i'm aware ;) )
    the EB-3 is the sound for you...It has a thomping, low, bass sound (the famous mud sound) and really fits in to a power trio playing Cream (my recomendation: Light Gauge Strings, varitone switch turned to 3, with the neck pup turned up, and the bridge pup at mid-low levels, very Jack Bruceish)... The Rickenbacker has a very nice sound too, however i'd suit it more for a 5 piece band, and a more progressive sound (Hello Chris Squire!)... Definitely an EB-3 in Cream and psychedelic rock circumstances is a much more unique sound... Also, the EB-3 will bring the Bass' sound forward, especially if you play lead bass lines such as Jack Bruce...The Rick would also bring it forward, however as I said, not when playing jack bruce material... I live in Australia, and down here there's a band called Fresh Cream, which plays only cream material...their bassist has an EB-3, and last time I saw them play, I remember he could get as close to jack bruce as anyone I have ever seen (though of course, never close enough)...

    I'll also assume you have tested the bass, and looked for the usual problems (cracks in the headstock, and pup exchanges).. The refinish in the painting is no problem..Though it should bring the price down a little, most of the Eb-3's i've seen on EBAY have original finishes that look horrible. If you plan to keep the bass for a while, and play in a band, this bass will definitely look and sound very good (especially combined with other good looking instruments, taking the example of late 1967 Cream, when Mr. Clapton had that beautiful Psychedelic SG, and Ginger Baker had that monster Double Bass Ludwig Kit, with the psychedelic drum heads). The split headstock is also very rare, as it was only produced for about 3 years (according to www.gibsonbass.com), so I believe that would also make the instrument increasingly more valuable. I remember selling mine in 1999 for about US$ 1300, and i still think it was too cheap..(there's one on ebay right now for about US$1500, looking worse than the one in your pics)

    The short scale is not a problem, once you get used to it..Some people don't like it, but I like short scale basses due to the fact that they are very easy to play fast..A good contrast to my big Double Bass..

    The price is, indeed, very expensive for US and Europe standards..A mint EB-3 should be selling at a maximum of US$2000, however I have seen them for more... Although it is a bass that will probably be worth more and more, I would try and bargain for a lower price.
    Is the bass being sold privately? It is important that you trust the seller, and that you test the bass and look at it properly. The worst thing about Ebay is that you are basically shopping looking at photos, and when it comes to vintage instruments, this is a very important step. Definitely not to be missed. Try and have a Rickenbacker avaliable to compare with the EB-3, and if you are still in doubt, why not bring a friend along to give you an outsider's opinion. Have someone go see the bass with you, and ask them what they feel about it.

    If you actually buy the bass, i would provide a case for it right away. Gibson basses have a tendency to crack their headstocks, and a good hardcase would definitely prevent that. Also, take care of the chrome parts, and knobs, as they seem to be in very good conditions. Rust devalues an instrument! The same goes for the painting.

    The EB-3 is by far the best of Gibson Basses that i've ever played (and I've owned 2 T-birds, an explorer and 3 Grabbers, as well as an EB-3, which i've kept the longest), and will definitely suit the sound of a band playing Cream songs, and especially a fan of Jack Bruce's (he only let his go in 1975, having purchased it in 1966...I believe it is now for sale)..

    But Remember, the EB-3 is a very unique bass...Some players feel that it is not versatile enough, and let me say you will definitely not be able to play funk lines with it..For that, a Fender bass is much better.. be sure that you will use it for what it was made for: Hard, Drivin' ROCK

    Other than that, i'm sure you will make a wise decision...(just try and bargain for a lower price!!!)
  17. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Just picked up a 1966 EBO.
    Big, fat neck.
    Dark cherry finish.
    Major mojo.
    Nails the Jack Bruce sound, just add fuzz.
    Very cool played with a pick.
  18. seedeeare


    Mar 19, 2006
    My brother is a guitarrist, and he has an Epi EB-O back in America, so he can record some bass tracks easily (another advantage of the short scale) at his home studio, and I played it, thinking it would remember me of my old EB-3...Definitely not the same...the new epi's don't feel the same (actaully are quite heavy compared to a vintage gibson, and have slight neck dive) and definitely don't sound the same...I still prefer the EB-3 over the epi, anytime... which brings me on to the next quote....

    I haven't had the opportunity to test the new SG Reissue bass, however I heard the new pups are the ones found on the T-Bird, instead of the old sidewinders in the first EB-3's....they probably sound different today...but the biggest problem with the new one is the fact that the 4 way switch is gone...That was definitely one of the best features of the original EB-3's....Position 1 on that switch made the bass sound so low, it was incredible...that sound definitely should be missed by owners of the old one, who buy the new one...

    I've read that the Case pictured will be included in the price...Although it will maintain the price at what it is, it is a very nice little bonus...definitely i'd take this bass over any other one which would make you have a case made...

    The only issue is the price....Do you live in the USA?? This just doesn't seem a price i'd see for an EB-3 in america...maybe europe, but still....
  19. tufas


    Mar 19, 2006
    Seedeeare (cool nick!), thanks for that post, it was really helpful.. I am now tending more towards the EB-3, even though its pretty expensive. Also, I live in , so that is one of the reasons it is so expensive for American and European standards, since I have simply converted the price to dollars. As a comparison, a Fender Jazz Bass here would cost what would be equivilent to
  20. seedeeare


    Mar 19, 2006
    I'm glad to be of any help! And thanks for the compliment on the nick...it's actually the name of my band, believe it or not...

    Well, the fact that you live in brazil explains quite a lot... It helps to know the price of a J-Bass is almost doubled over there, since this gives a good idea of inflation on prices and all..(and also makes me want to go up there to sell some of my basses ;) )

    Well if prices go up that much, then the price you mentionned on your EB-3, plus a Hardcase, is definitely more understandable...

    Going back to the Rick, let me ask you this: Are there Rickenbacker 4003's for sale up there? How much does one cost (a new one)? Try and compare the prices of both instruments, and this will give you an idea on how the EB-3 should be valued (also check how much a rickenbacker costs in the US, new, just so you know if the price rise is as big as the Jazz Bass).. if there are Vintage Ricks for sale, compare their prices as well, since the EB-3 is a vintage bass...They should (sensibly) be about 500US more than the EB-3, however since I do not know of the vintage instrument market where you live, i cannot really say for sure that this kind of price rise is correct...But surely it is close enough..

    The EB-3 pictured in the site you posted is definitely one of the best I have ever seen for sale (And I'm shopping for one almost immediately after I sold my old one....regret kills....)...If the price seems to make sense to you, i'd say buy it before someone else does...

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