Gibson EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar (1964)

Gibson  EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar  (1964)
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Item # 12011
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Gibson EB-0 Model Electric Bass Guitar (1964), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 203907, cherry lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

This deep cherry SG-style bass dates to 1964, about three years after the model had adopted the new slimmed sculpted body in place of the older slab style introduced in 1959. Before 1965 these EB-model Gibson basses were built in the hundreds, not thousands as would be the case later in the decade (production just topped 1,000 for the first time in 1964 with 1133 shipped). This was a record total for a Gibson bass but only a fraction of what Fender sold at the time. The list price in 1964 was $xxx, plus case.

This is essentially the simpler 4-string version of the SG model guitars. It has the same cherry-finished elaborately sculpted body with the squared-off neck pocket. Due to the tenon set deeper into the body the basses generally do not suffer the same neck heel issues as their 6-string cousins. The bass has all nickel-plated hardware as is typical for 1964. The bass is complete except the metal handrest/cover is missing, this one never had a mute assembly fitted. Amazingly enough though, this bass still has the original Gibson Sonomatic flatwound strings, easily identifiable by the orange silking by the ballends.

The round-backed neck is fairly chunky, noticeably wider at the nut than post-1965 models and very comfortable. The headstock has slightly more pronounced curves than later models, fitted with the large Kluson bass tuners Gibson adopted in late 1960 in place of the elegant but problematic banjo style used previously. The headstock is inlaid with the Gibson logo and crown motif on the face.

While the EB-0 is not one of the more coveted or collected Gibson instruments it is an important part of their history, the first really popular electric bass from Kalamazoo and a dark-horse classic to connoisseurs of pure low end. The single large "Mudbucker" pickup puts out an enormous swath of deep bass, and not much else! It also easily overdrives many amps, sliding into distorted Cream/Mountain territory. This early example is a fun and very comfortable instrument to play, as long as you don't expect much treble in the sound.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 13 1/4 in. (33.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 30 in. (762 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This bass has been played over the last 60 years but not abused, and remains original with no repairs or modifications. The cherry finish retains a nice rich, dark hue, checked only slightly with the most fade on the back of the neck. There are dings, dents and scrapes scattered around, with one noticeably deep scrape down to the wood on the upper side. The back has a couple of belt buckle spots into but not heavily through the finish.

The instrument retains all the original hardware except the handrest which is gone. The pickguard has shrunken up over the decades and has a split at the lower front tip with the piece glued back in place, a split at the lower rear corner and a small piece missing on the upper front corner. The frets show very little wear and the fingerboard is quite clean. It has been strung with the original Gibson flatwound strings through its entire existence, and they are still on!

This is one of the most comfortable basses we have played; fairly light, supple and effortless to handle. The original strings are quite low tension and super easy to play. How does it sound? Like a big, seething tide of low-end darkness, "All the bass all the time" as Geddy Lee put in in his excellent recent book on bass lore. This is a good players example of this classic early '60s Gibson bass, housed in an alligator-grained period rectangular jobber case that is an inexact but functional fit. Overall Very Good + Condition.