Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 58

COLUMN The (Way) Back Beat

CREAM DREAM OR
MUD MACHINE?
The Gibson EB-3

By Peter Stuart Kohman

G

ibson's prodigious output has included
high points, triumphs, misguided failures, and many that (at the very least)
left a mark on history. The EB-3 Electric Bass
was one of the most enduring.
Over nearly 60 years, the EB-3 was idolized and despised, variously identified as the
"SG bass," confused with its more common
sibling EB-0, derided as a "mud machine," and
remembered mostly for one gig in the hands of
Jack Bruce, of Cream. Though linked with the
legend, the EB-3 is has an interesting resumé
and role in rock history.

The 1961 EB-3 as promoted by Gibson.

Gibson's fourth bass, the EB-3 represented the latest in the company's
quest to compete with Fender basses.
Though basses were not a priority
for Gibson, as the "market leader"
in electric instruments, they could
hardly ignore the fast-growing segment. Gibson president Ted McCarty
is reported to have had little interest
in the electric bass, seeing the upright
as the more-prestigious instrument.
The first Gibson Electric Bass (EB)
was introduced in 1953, specifically
envisioned by McCarty as distinctly
separate from Fender's Precision. Intended to visually suggest the upright,
it was built with a solid mahogany body
carved to resemble a violin. Its end pin
could be swapped with an extendable
pole, allowing it to be played in an
upright position (in practice, though,
it was quite awkward).
The EB introduced a number of
features that ultimately
shaped future basses
from Gibson. The
most crucial was
a 301/2"-scale mahogany neck that
made it easier for
guitarists to play,
but the less-taut
strings lacked the
resona nce provided by Fender's
34" scale. Gibson
mounted a huge singlecoil pickup at the end
of the fingerboard,
This mid-'61 EB-3
was one of the
first made,
evidenced by
the "upsidedown" finger
rest and
chromed plastic.

VINTAGE GUITAR

58

June 2018

while Fender's brighter-sounding unit sat in the middle of
the body. The result was a bass
with a deep, rubbery tone that
somewhat emulated the upright,
but lacked definition. Also, its output was
a challenge to amplifiers of the day, and
even Gibson struggled to produce one
that helped it sound good.
An elegant, if eccentric, instrument that
never really caught on, the EB plodded
through into 1958 with sales totaling only
just over 500 units.
The next bass from Kalamazoo had
even less in common with Fender. The
EB-2 was introduced alongside the ES-335
guitar, using the same semi-hollow maple
body. It kept the short-scale mahogany
neck, massive pickup, and back-facing
banjo tuners despite their having proven
a bad choice for heavy-cored bass strings.
At $285, the EB-2 was considerably more
expensive than a Precision, and in '59
Gibson added the cheaper solidbody
EB-0 (technically, the name included a
"zero" but has always been universally
pronounced like the letter "O"). This
starkly simple bass conveniently shared
the new double-cut Les Paul Junior's
slab mahogany body finished in Cherry
Red. Though often called the "Les Paul
Junior Bass" the EB-0 was not part of
the signature line.
The $195 "0" immediately became
Gibson's best-selling bass, chalking up
sales of 123 in '59 and a whopping (for
Gibson) 343 in '60. Before
it went into production, the pickup was
altered to humbucking mode, effectively
removing high-end
response. This massive double-coil has
been nicknamed
the "mudbucker"
for it s f a mou sly
powerful, deep sound
and amp-challenging
output. Even Gibson noted this; in
the early spring
of '59, a pushbutton choke
was added to
give the EB-2
a "baritone"
voicing. The
EB-0 did not
include this, and


http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 5
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 6
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 7
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 8
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 9
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 11
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 12
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 13
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 14
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 15
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 16
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 17
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 18
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 19
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 20
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 21
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 22
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 23
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 24
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 25
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 26
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 27
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 28
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 29
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 30
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 31
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 32
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 33
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 34
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 35
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 36
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 37
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 38
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 39
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 40
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 41
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 42
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 43
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 44
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 45
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 46
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 47
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 48
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 49
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 50
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 51
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 52
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 53
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 54
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 55
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 56
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 57
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 58
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 59
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 60
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 61
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 62
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 63
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 64
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 65
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 66
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 67
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 68
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 69
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 70
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 71
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 72
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 73
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 74
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 75
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 76
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 77
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 78
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 79
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 80
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 81
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 82
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 83
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 84
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 85
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 86
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 87
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 88
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 89
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 90
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 91
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 92
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 93
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 94
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 95
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 96
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 97
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 98
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 99
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 100
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 101
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 102
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 103
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 104
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 105
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 106
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 107
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 108
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 109
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 110
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 111
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 112
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 113
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 114
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 115
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 116
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 117
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 118
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 119
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 120
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 121
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 122
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 123
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 124
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 125
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 126
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 127
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 128
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 129
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 130
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 131
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 132
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 133
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 134
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 135
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 136
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 137
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 138
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 139
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 140
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 141
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 142
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 143
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 144
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 145
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 146
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - BC
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201903_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201902_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201901_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201812_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201811_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201810_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201809_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201808_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201807_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201805_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201804_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201803_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201802_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201801_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/2018priceguide_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201712_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201711_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201710_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201709_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201708_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201707_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201706_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201705_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201704_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201703_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201702_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201701_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201612_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201611_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201609_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201607_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201606_v2
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com