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NBD: Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ATLbassist, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Here's how to ring in the new year: I had a retired Ampeg V4-B head in the closet; a guy on the local Craigslist had this lawsuit-era Ibanez SG bass and was open to trades. Having recently gotten into vintage Japanese basses and never had a twin-humbucker bass before.... GAS strikes again!

    31966257996_8ba69b3790. Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass) by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    The official designation is Ibanez 2354LB. It's a long-scale version of an EB-3. The slotted headstock was a really intriguing design detail for me.

    31855232522_7201a3dfd0. Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass) by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    According to the Guitar Dater Project, the serial number decodes as:

    Your guitar was made at the
    Terada Plant, Japan
    on May, 1977
    Production Number: 394

    The sound is just what you'd expect: Loud and wooly from the neck and surprisingly Jazz-like from the bridge. With the tone rolled off it's almost like an electric upright with more bite.

    31194198753_7683b9cbb6. Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass) by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    It's in fantastic condition for a near-40-year-old bass. Just a few nicks on the back of the headstock and a ding on the side near the back. I didn't even notice until I got home. There's a chicken-head knob missing from the selector pot, but I think that can be easily replaced. The neck was perfectly straight, too. What's also cool is that it had what I think is the original case:

    31163255914_5213effaeb. Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass) by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    On top of that, it still had the Ibanez warranty card, parts catalog, maintenance guide and oh-so-groovy sticker. If anyone's interested I can make scans.

    32003889935_3dc3f99f52. Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass) by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    31886803771_39f0f1b834. Ibanez 2354LB bass (Gibson EB-3 MIJ lawsuit bass) by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    I've started the teardown/cleanup process. First order of business will be polishing the frets and cleaning up the fretboard; the body could use a wipedown but that's about it for cleaning. The volume pot for the neck pickup shorts out a little. Visually nothing looks wrong, so I'll need to take it in for a pro to look after.

    The more pressing matter is the bridge. The action was set high, so I started lowering it. About halfway down to where I wanted it, the treble side bushing started coming out:

    31966708806_d056b85233. Ibanez SG bass - tuner bushing popping out by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    I'll need to do some research to figure the best approach to fixing. Dave's World of Fun Stuff went the epoxy route, and I just happen to have some. Any suggestions?

    The only other thing I have in mind is fresh strings (of course) and a Webbteca mod-bar to move the string windings back off the saddles. I have one on my Jack Casady bass and am quite pleased with it.

    Happy New Year!
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  2. Is it a set neck?
  3. Nope - it's a 4-bolt. The neckplate has "Made In Japan" and the serial number stamped on it.
  4. Nice find. A friend of mine's father has one of the LP's from the lawsuit era. Amazing guitar that one, and apart from your bridge issue, it seems you found a beauty too!
  5. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Congrats on fetching this rare bird...:thumbsup:

    I grew up at the times when "lawsuit" era instruments were pretty much dime-a-dozen, and haven't seen a bass like the one you've just acquired in flash, ever.

    As for the bridge...I'll throw in a completely unsolicited piece of advice: if you're intent on playing the living daylight of that bass - I know I would, but it's your baby - you may want to look into a Hipshot or Babicz replacement before "sealing the deal" with epoxy...either of these will provide superior intonation and adjustment ability compared to the stock offering.

    My $0.02 only...



    Jul 18, 2016
    Louisville Ky
    Congrats on the Vintage Ibanez SG Bass
    The inserts may have pressed out IF the screws hit bottom
    I'd remove one and see, If they are too long shortening them would be in order if it were mine.
    Epoxy on the posts may be in order if they don't fit tight in the body without it..
    It looks like you have plenty of intonation adjustment & should be good to go.
    Good Luck & Enjoy the Ibanez
  7. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    Since you own a JC, I'm a little surprised you aren't more familiar with the bridge bushings popping out. Epoxy is too much work, take the bridge off, pull the bushings out and put a few drops of super glue in the hole, I think gel works best, put the bushings back in, let it set up and put it back together.
  8. Good points, all! I thought about a replacement bridge for a second, but I'd prefer to keep this one stock (mod-bar aside). I never had an issue with the bushings coming out of my JC bass, so this is new territory for me. I don't think the post screw is bottoming out. It looked like some more thread space was left, as seen in the photo. I'll try screwing them all the way in and seeing if it's the same distance.
  9. One question (which I may make a separate thread for more eyeballs): what kind of chicken head knob should I get? Would one with a set screw be appropriate? It's neither a split shaft nor a fully solid shaft; it's more like 3/4 with one side flat:

    32049792635_df8be8a3dd. Ibanez selector pot shaft by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Also, for the loose bushing, would it be better to line the hole with epoxy, let it harden to fill the space a little and then put the bushing back in rather than epoxy it in directly? I also may try this first: the TP method!

    In the meantime, neck is off and cleaned up. A little before-and-after fret polishing...

    32032331995_6ab149ec9b. Ibanez fret polishing by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    ...and oiling the neck.

    31223299043_4d636ab3f3. Ibanez bass neck linseed oil by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  10. Just a quick update on the Ibanez EB-3. I tried gluing the loose bridge bushing back in with epoxy, but it popped out again once I had the strings under tension. So, I took it to my usual setup guy to see if he had some ideas. Turns out he had an extra Gibson bushing, which is slightly larger and whose shaft is fluted all the way down the outside barrel (the stock bushing is only fluted halfway down. He tapped it into place, tuned it back up... and problem solved!

    Since then, I put on a set of GHS Pressurewounds, a WebbTeca mod-bar and a set of GHS Pressurewound strings as this one feels like a growler. It's actually sounding close to a Rickenbacker but not as clangy. I also found a chicken head knob at the local Ace Hardware that's pretty close to stock:

    31730776620_6d6faa1a7e. Replacement chicken head knob from Ace Hardware by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Now, I was thinking to keep this one mostly stock. But dialing in the right action is tricky; the A and D saddles seem very high. When I set the 3-point bridge to get these at 5/64 at the 17th fret, the E and G strings buzz like crazy. The inside saddles look a lot taller than the outside ones in profile:

    32655488055_6788606475. Ibanez EB-3 bridge saddle heights by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    Gibson experts: Does this look normal? Even though I just got the mod-bar for the stock bridge, I'm thinking of a Hipshot replacement so I can control individual saddle hights.
  11. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    I wouldn't call it normal, but that's me. Hipshot of Babicz would be the way to go in order to address the height of individual strings. There's no guarantee that the problem will go away completely, though, but the action will become more palatable, most likely.

    Good luck.
  12. It looks like the A saddle is high compared to my JC. Is it normal? It depends on the radius of the fingerboard. You want the saddle heights to have the same radius - or close at least.
    You could file the slots down on the A & D saddles. Just make sure the slots are angled to the string leaves at the highest point.
  13. I don't have a radius gauge, but I can tell that the fretboard is much flatter than the radius provided by the bridge. I checked against my JC bass and the saddles aren't as high there (and I've never felt its setup was an issue). Hmmm... I'll live with it awhile and see. It's not really impacting my playing a great deal so far (just at home - haven't taken it to practice yet) but it's just annoying that I can't control the saddle height the way I'd like.
  14. I haven't updated this in awhile because of other projects (Tokai Hard Puncher, Peavey Foundation). So - updates! I eventually got frustrated with the lack of adjustability, so I added the Hipshot bridge. It was a perfect fit and provided exactly the height adjustments I needed. I miss the stock look and being able to put on the bridge cover, but the increase in usability is worth it.

    36586623566_26d6f1fb57. Ibanez 2354LB bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr

    I'm still getting used to the tones as they are so far from the Fender ones I'm used to. One oddity: the bridge pickup. It's very honky with a ton of midrange that doesn't sound great. When I max the volume of both pickups, it actually sucks some of the bass out. It may have some sort of issue. It amplifies tapping on the body and the pickup itself; it will also feed back at higher volumes or when I use distortion. Any thoughts on what might be doing this? I don't want to miss out on what this bass can do. Also, any ideas on what these screws do?

    36236820360_7939e7a202. Ibanez 2354LB bass by thaddeusthompson, on Flickr
  15. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    I'd start with measuring the output of the bridge pickup. It also seems to me that the bass could use rewiring altogether.

    As for the screws, which ones are you referring to? Pole pieces?
  16. When I took it to my tech, he said it was measureing just fine. It also looks like the original wiring; it really is amazing how un-messed-with this bass is. Maybe this is how it's supposed to sound?

    Is that what they are? I haven't had a bass with adjustable pole pieces, so I'm not sure what they do. School me!
  17. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Without hearing it, I can't comment on whether it sounds the way it should. Also, a figure representing your tech's "just fine" statement would be easier to wrap one's head around. You might just need some shielding but it's impossible for me to make that judgment from a distance. There should be no feedback or loss of bass spectrum though.

    Theoretically, you should be able to fine tune the balance between the strings using them. How well it works on that particular bass/pickup, I have no idea.

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