Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 62

COLUMN The (Way) Back Beat

The '65 EB-3 in its
yellow-lined case.

The 1966 catalog was used until 1970... with pictures of 1964 basses!

VINTAGE GUITAR

than the EB-0's with extra laminate layers. Other than that, the body,
neck, headstock and tuners were the same; Gibson did not price-point
basses the way they did guitars by using bound fingerboards and/or fancier inlay, so both EB's had the "crown" headstock inlay and dot-marker
fingerboard. They were listed only in the standard Cherry finish, but if
you had a dollar and a dream (or in this case, an extra $300 or more)
you could order something special. While EB-3s seldom surface with
custom features, there are rare examples in black, Pelham Blue, and
with gold-plated hardware. One striking special-order EB-3 from '62 has
a white finish, chrome hardware and block fingerboard inlay (Vintage
Guitar, January '08).
The prominent front-pickup cover, inherited from earlier Gibson basses,
was molded from black Royalite plastic. To dress it up, Gibson tried the
odd expedient of chrome-plating the plastic, similarly treating the rearpickup ring. This started to wear off almost immediately and is usually
mostly gone today. A metal cover was substituted in 1962/'63, consistent
with other Gibson instruments, and the rear ring eventually left black.
Another inherited component was a lever-action mute under the bridge,
which pressed a block of hard felt against the bottom of the strings to
emulate a string-bass tone. This had been offered as an accessory for the
EB-2 in the summer of 1960, but was standard on the EB-3. It was eventually added to the EB-0, as well. Both had two "new" features directly
copied from Fender, but generally ignored; a metal "hand brace" to rest
the palm on arched over the strings in the center of the body, while for
thumb-style playing (already seldom-seen) a curved ebony block rest
was mounted to the pickguard. One oddball note: this piece was initially
installed with the outward curve facing downward, then reversed after a
few months. Was this a mistake, or did someone change their mind? The
flyer introducing the EB-3 shows the earlier style, and the very first EB-0
and 3 models can be identified by this upside-down block.
If not a huge hit, the EB-3 sold well enough to stay in the line; 123
shipped in its first half-year, 273 in '62 and 214 in '63. At the end of that
year, the Fender-inspired Thunderbird appeared and likely cut into the
EB-3's market. Still, 277 sold in '64 even though the price went up to
$350. It quickly went back down to $337.50 in mid '65, possibly related

62

June 2018


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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
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Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - BC
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