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Modifying an EB0 pickup?

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Rumblebee, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. Rumblebee

    Rumblebee Guest

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hey Watt,

    I want to get a Gibson EB0 (late 60's, hopefully), love that tone. But I was thinking about replacing or modifying the stock humbucker eventually. I was wondering--since I know very little about bass electronics--what my options are, and if it is possible to add a tone switch to the pickup (in order to run the coils in series and in parallel to broaden the tone of the EB0 sound). Any help that you can give me is appreciated. I know you put a DiMarzio on your EB3, I guess that's why I ask.

    By the bye, Flyin' the Flannel got me through some rough times in my adolescence, and Double Nickles on the Dime is one of my alltime favorites... I was in a car speeding to Detroit when we heard about the Blackout, thereby missing the Stooges show, I could have thrown myself into oncoming traffic in that moment (couldn't make it to the makeup date). Thanks for continuing to be such badass.
  2. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I, at a point of cluelessness and youth, put a switch in my '67 EBO that separates the coils. On, it is a series-wired humbucker, as stock, and off, there is only one coil in the circuit. In single-coil mode, there is that hum that the hum-bucker gets rid of. Trouble is, without changing the cap in the tone control, the tone in single-coil mode is very dark. At some settings of the tone knob, it does go a little ways toward that single-coil sound, but with the tone knob at 10 (which should be the brightest setting), it is actually darker than the original humbucker. Difficult to imagine, but true. Interesting and different sound, but not what I had intended.

    In retrospect, I wish I had left it alone.

    Those mid '60s basses are starting to go for some money. If I just had to have a Gibson shortscale, which is just the easiest-playing neck in the world, I could see messing with the electronics, but if you have to buy one in good condition, I'd leave it stock, sell it, and have the cash to buy something else...

    I haven't sold mine yet, though, have I?

    One idea, which I have not done so have no personal experience with, is to get one of the cheap Epi EBO bolt-ons, and start messing with the pups in that. Small investment compared to the old ones, and maybe you can learn on the job...

    I have played a couple in stores, and the original (which I still own and play) is downright luxurious in comparison, in finish, fretwork, etc., but the Epi is similar in overall vibe.

    Good luck.
  3. Rumblebee

    Rumblebee Guest

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hey! Thanks for the advice. I'm not really in the market for a "collector's piece" EB0... so I'm not looking to turn around and sell it for a profit. It just so happens that the EB0/EB3 sound works well with my band's material. I like the simplicity and the short scale of the EB0, and I hope to find one that's beat to **** or maybe has a few non-original parts. That said, I really appreciate hearing your experience with modifying an EB0 humbucker. The other half of my question is about replacing the pickup. Do any of the single replacement pickups (DiMarzio, for example) lend themselves to being run through a tone switch of some sort? I guess, I got the idea reading about the EB4L and the superhumbucker pickup... I dunno, thanks!
  4. My 72 EB-0 has what I believe is a coil tap wire. It's a seperate wire coming off of the the pickup and affixed on to the main lead of the pickup. It did make about as much of a difference as the baritone switch on my EB-2.
  5. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california


    I get basses to play too and not to collect (though I'm not trying to put anyone down who does) so what I do to my basses is to help them work better w/me, to make it really mine.

    dimarzio makes a direct replacement, the model one pickup (http://www.dimarzio.com/ - look under bass -> standard bass -> model one) and it's four wire so you can make the wiring of the coils either series, parallel or split.

    the problem I find w/the neck pickup on the eb basses is that it's too far up the neck and this kind of makes it woofy. I like the pickup position of the fender p-bass and so put a musicman type pickup there, a lane poor one in my red gibson and a bartolini in my blue one. I left the original neck pickup in my blue one but pulled the same in the red one. I had my original secondmen organ man pete mazich put a steel plate over the hole cuz my fingers kept going through the stickers I'd put over it!

    I like blend controls if there's two pickups instead of one - I like this much better than a selector switch or separate volume controls. this way I can change the volume quick w/out changing my blend.

    on bass, watt
  6. Rumblebee

    Rumblebee Guest

    Mar 16, 2005
    Awesome! Thanks, Watt. That really helps, and gives me a lot to think about. I'm sure I'll keep messing around with it until I find something that I dig. I appreciate the advice.