Gibson EB-3 Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1965)

Gibson  EB-3 Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1965)

This item has been sold.
Item # 8071
Prices subject to change without notice.
Gibson EB-3 Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1965), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, cherry lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

This is a good player's example of a "Cream Era" Gibson EB-3 bass, very much like the one used extensively by Jack Bruce from 1966-69. These expensive double pickup EB basses were made in moderately small quantities during the mid-1960s, but most examples that surface now are the later '60s and early '70s models, which were produced in much greater numbers -- at least partially due to the popularity of Cream! Those are good instruments in their own right but have numerous differences from the "correct" ones like this!

This bass is an all-original '65 in good playing condition with some repairs -- even the lever-action mute is intact. The two humbucking pickups are controlled by a 4-way selector, giving a much wider range of tone than the much more common EB-0. Only 339 EB-3s were shipped in 1965, compared to over 2000 of the single-pickup EB-0 that year alone.

While falling out of favor in the later '70s and '80s, this easy-to-play and very distinctive-sounding bass was used by a number of (mostly English) rock bassists in the 1960s and '70s, including Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser, Pete Quaife with the Kinks, Chris White with the Zombies, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman in the early '70s, Tom Evans of Badfinger, Glenn Cornick of Jethro Tull, Trevor Bolder with the Spiders from Mars, Jim Lea of Slade, and many others. The EB-3's distinctive growl is one of the most recognizable of all electric bass tones on record.

Of course Bruce is the most famous EB-3 user, and much of the classic Cream output and his early solo work features the darkly aggressive sound of the Gibson at full throttle. His personal instrument was also made in 1965, likely just a few months before this one. The only physical difference is that Bruce's bass had the older style "wide spacing" on the tone and volume knobs, while this one has the narrower knob layout adopted in the middle of this year. This change was the result of Gibson standardizing the line beginning in 1965, and allowed use of a universal template for routing the control cavity instead of a specific one for the fairly low-production EB-3. While perhaps not to all players' taste, this EB-3 is the only bass with the exact sound and feel for "homemade Cream"!
Overall length is 40 7/8 in. (103.8 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) deep. Scale length is 30 1/2 in. (775 mm.).

This bass is in fairly clean condition cosmetically but does have some old repairs, and is priced accordingly. The neck appears to have been reset; this is a fairly clean job but there is touch-up around the joint seam, a visible old tightly sealed crack on the body center seam running down from the pocket about 1 3/4". In addition, there is an old center grain split on the back of the neck behind the nut, just under 2" long. This is again sealed up solidly, this time with no touch-ups added. The bass is very solid and playability is not compromised; the reset neck allows for much lower action settings than many old Gibson basses will permit.

The finish still shows a very rich cherry color with some checking but hardly any fade. There are small dings and chips overall, but the only finish loss is some scrapes to the edges. All hardware appears complete and original, including the handrest and lever-action mute, which has a new strip of foam. Both humbucking pickups are working correctly, but the "choke" coil acting on switch position #4 is not functioning, so it is sonically identical to position #1.

The bass still offers a full range of tones, our favorite being the two-pickup blend with the treble humbucker rolled off a bit. Overall not a collector's example, but a solid player in an early EB-3 from the "cool" era, and a heavy Cream lover's dream machine. Includes a period (but not Gibson-made) semi-HSC. Very Good + Condition.