EB-3 review by Gibson

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (17 votes)
Gibson: EB-3
2

Sound — 10
With the four way control Switch in position 1, this bass puts out a lower sound than I've ever heard from a bass before. Switch position 1 uses just the neck pickup with a tone choke and puts out the muddiest bass sound you'll ever hear. Switch position 2 uses just the bridge pickup, Position 3 uses both pickups, and position 4 uses just the neck pickup without the tone choke used on position 1. Jack Bruce used this bass in Cream and I've always been impressed with the sound he was able to achieve out of this bass to compliment Eric Clapton's guitar work and Ginger Baker's drumming.

Overall Impression — 10
I like this bass better than a lot of other basses I've tried, including Fender P basses. The shorter neck makes playing the bass much easier to Switch between bass and guitar and the performance of the EB-3 means I don't have to give up any performance for that capability. Several of my band mates tried to buy it from me when I moved as they were losing me, but didn't want to loose the sound of my bass as well. This is my go-to instrument when called on to play bass for any occasion.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I played weekly in a bar band through my college years. I've also used it playing in various praise bands in the different churches I've attended over the last 30 years and had no major problems with it. The hardest piece to keep in working order is the 4-way Switch as it has broken wires several times over the years, easy to repair, but an annoyance. The guitar has aged well, with only a few nicks in the finish from use.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
While rehearsing for a gig in the band I was in at the time, I left my bass on top of my bass speaker. Someone else plugged into my amp and started wailing away vibrating my bass to the floor shattering the area around the controls. To say I was crushed would be an understatement. I received a recommendation where to take it to get it repaired. The repairman did a wonderful job restoring the wood, but the color was terrible, being much redder than the original mahogany it started as. I told HIM I really didn't like the finish and he asked me what I'd like since he couldn't match the original finish. I really liked the tobacco finish I'd seen on several other guitars and asked for one similar, and that's what I got. The bass is an SG style, solid mahogany set-neck construction with a gloss Tobacco Sunburst finish, Rosewood fingerboard with simple dot markings, blackface headstock with the Gibson logo and mother-of-pearl inlay. The action has always been quite good. When I had trouble with the 4-way Switch, I took it in to the local repair shop. The tech there gave it a good going over, reset the action and fixed the 4-way Switch. It now plays like it did when I first bought it.

Features — 10
I purchased this bass used from a friend in Southern California around 1975. According to the Gibson website, it was produced in 1969 at the Kalamazoo, Michigan factory. I had been playing a cheap Kay bass at the time and jumped at the chance to get a Real bass guitar. I traded an Aria copy of an ES-33 for it along with some cash, how much I really don't remember. Electronics included two pickups (one large humbucking pickup in the neck position and one mini-humbucker pickup in the bridge position). Controls consisted of a 4-way Switch and associated volume and tone knobs for each pickup. The guitar came in a Gibson hard shell factory case. Width at nut: 1 3/4" Body width: 12 15/16" Scale Length: 30.5"

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mercurymay
    hiddeninromance wrote: that's probably worth 1,000's now if its a 60's original you know?
    Sure, but who'd sell it? I smell a family heirloom. Gibson guitars always outlive their owners.
    saint_berzerker
    Not anymore. Most Gibsons under 2000.00 are junk. Gibson's Quality control have gone downhill as of late. Google it and you'll see what I'm talking about. Something is wrong with the Nashville boys. Hope they get it back though.
    51VH50
    guitarrocker54 wrote: sounds nice but i gave it a 6 cuz i dont play bass so ya.....
    so you literally know nothing about the instrument and your opinion is infact worth nothing... why even waste our time?
    born-chaos
    saint_berzerker wrote: Not anymore. Most Gibsons under 2000.00 are junk. Gibson's Quality control have gone downhill as of late. Google it and you'll see what I'm talking about. Something is wrong with the Nashville boys. Hope they get it back though.
    Dude, anything after 1990 is rubbish, 2000+ or not. I dunno about Basses though. I will however say that their robot guitars are awesome
    RickDanko
    man, ANY gibson SG bass in the past is better than that joke they're selling called "the reissue". Once upon a time i might've bought it, but i'm not gonna mod a gibson, even if i want it to play like an original 60's EB-3. The two-volume-one-tone-no-four-way-selector-switch thing pisses me off because the holes are already there so modding is useless, IT'S A GIBSON, I SHOULDN'T NEED TO MOD IT! Aside from the fact it's disscontinued, epiphone's EB-3 elitist is closer to this bass than that phony slab they're selling now. IT'S A REISSUE OF SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T EXIST! glad to get that off my chest, if clapton is god, then jack bruce is ST. Peter
    livewire76
    51VH50 wrote: guitarrocker54 wrote: sounds nice but i gave it a 6 cuz i dont play bass so ya..... so you literally know nothing about the instrument and your opinion is infact worth nothing... why even waste our time?
    Amen to that!! What a douche, rating an instrument he doesnt even play!! The mind boggles at such utter stupidity..
    AdamOnDrums
    saint_berzerker wrote: Not anymore. Most Gibsons under 2000.00 are junk. Gibson's Quality control have gone downhill as of late. Google it and you'll see what I'm talking about. Something is wrong with the Nashville boys. Hope they get it back though.
    I would disagree. One of my friends has an Gibson SG, he bought for about a $1000, it plays and handles like a dream, and sounds even better. About the bass though, I don't really think the look of an SG suits a bass that well, but still, it sounds like a pretty solid bass (:
    dandhjohn
    CryingAlone wrote: haha that has to be one of the ugliest basses I've ever seen
    You need to look at the bass I have instead of the photo that got posted with the review. I have a custom paint job on mine and it looks great!