Suggestions for Hot-Rodding an Epiphone EB-3/EB-0

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Garret Wheeler, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Garret Wheeler

    Garret Wheeler

    Mar 1, 2016
    Hey everybody, it's been a while!

    So recently been playing with a new band and I want to get more LOW LOW end than my current setup is giving me. I've got a nice Jazz, Precision, and a Warwick Corvette, and they're all great but none of them are giving me the super deep tone I've been hearing in my head. I'm not looking for a bass to replace my current No.1 (my Jazz bass) but I've been gassing hard for an EB-3/EB-0 type bass. The problem is that an original Gibson EB-3 or EB-0 would be really expensive and I'd be afraid to leave it laying around at gigs. On the other hand the Epiphone EBs and current Gibson SG basses feel pretty nice but don't get the same ULTRA LOW end that the vintage Gibsons get.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about copping an Epiphone and upgrading it to get closer to those vintage EB's. I used to have a cheap Jazz-style bass that I dropped an Artec mudbucker copy in, in the neck position and it sounded pretty nice, so that's something I've been considering, but does anybody have any other suggestions?

    I'm thinking a full override with better pickups, an aftermarket Varitone switch, better hardware, and a solid setup from my luthier. Any suggestions for components?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  2. By the time you're done with the upgrades you're likely to enter the territory of not-so-well-kept original Gibsons, which would be my preferred path instead. Buy one with a headstock repair, and possibly already modded close to your desired specs. They are out there, and I've seen them change hands for not all that much money.

    The fastest path is likely to just drop a DiMarzio Model One in the mudbucker position and call it a day, lot of folks have done that with their Epis and most were pleased with the results from what I can tell by reading various posts in SG/EB club here.

    SG & EB Bass Club

    My $0.02 only...
  3. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I agree

    Potentiometer and cap upgrade

    And leave it at that

    an Aguilar obp1 would be a cool mod if you could route out the back and add a control plate
  4. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    If $ isnt a limit curtis novak humbuckers are often suggested - - Pickups and Guitars | Hand Wound Bass Pickups

    But then pickup is almost worth more than an eb0 :) and might worry about losing it more.

    Probably cheaper ways to get that tone (pedal?) unless you really love eb0 (love my epi but i am very neck picky and short scales only but just a bedroom player so dont have to worry about mix/others)
    Garret Wheeler likes this.
  5. That Old Guy

    That Old Guy

    Apr 12, 2018
    Here's my upgraded Epi eb0. Added a DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pickup with a 3 position switch, an EMG After-Burner for both pickups, swapped the bridge for a Hipshot Supertone, then painted the mudbucker cover. I paid $100 for the bass (some rich guy bought it to learn to play but never picked it up!). I've put maybe $200 into her and now have an incredibly versatile, powerful, and of course, beautiful instrument. IMG_20181115_072932.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  6. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I added a Model 1 to my EBO....still has a megaton of mud!
    That Old Guy likes this.
  7. Rib 13

    Rib 13 Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    Try looking for a 70s MIJ lawsuit bass....... I have a 1970 Sekova EB3 that I mainly use in the studio (playing it live here to test a repair)......I paid $60 bucks for it not working -- cost $0 and some solder to fix it - but they avg $250 - $400

    Wallofbasses and ajkula66 like this.
  8. An EB-3 is on my list of basses to get. Is the DiMarzio Model One a big improvement to the stock pickup?
  9. Rambazamba


    Dec 14, 2012
    Try flatwounds on one of your basses. La Bella if possible.
    That Old Guy and Garret Wheeler like this.
  10. If you're talking about an Epiphone, yes. If you're considering a Gibson, I would view Model One as a downgrade, although many would disagree.
    todd burns likes this.
  11. I’m thinking about an Epiphone.
  12. You may want to stop by SG/EB club and read some of the impressions that other members have posted after modding their Epis...

    SG & EB Bass Club
    todd burns likes this.
  13. Nebula24


    Nov 23, 2017
    Norman, OK
    Used 2001 epi eb0. Pickup was barely cheaper than what i paid but combined still way cheaper than a gibson.

    Can put in one of the new guild bisonics if dont mind widening cavity by few millimeters on each side. Pickup covers sides if chisel it like i did. :)

    Wanted pole pieces farther from neck so had to remove few mm on side away from neck too. I play over back edge of pickup and feel it gave better sound there than forcing me too play closer to neck.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  14. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    That's a nice bass. I've had my eye on the older Ibanez EB3s, as a friend of mine has one that's great. But they're hard to come by, and the prices have been creeping up of late.
  15. Garret Wheeler

    Garret Wheeler

    Mar 1, 2016
    Both my Jazz and my Precision are strung with D'addario chromes! They don't add quite as much low end as La Bellas, but they're definitely not as bright as roundwounds.
  16. That Old Guy

    That Old Guy

    Apr 12, 2018
    I waited four months for a set of short scale LaBella tapewounds. Finally cancelled the order and bought d'addario XL nylon tapewound. I love them but I still want to try LaBella's. I've heard they're superb.