Gibson Violin bass
Gibson have been producing bass guitars since 1953, starting with the violin-shaped EB bass. this was very much in the ethos of Gibson at the time. Their view was that guitars should be large jazz boxes, and the bass should be upright and acoustic; solid body instruments were for Fender, not Gibson. The fact that they made a solid-body bass at all in this climate is surprising, but Fender solid body sales were sufficiently high to make Gibson take notice. So the Gibson bass was shaped, and finished like an upright, and with an extendable pole at the bass so it could even be played upright.
Vintage Gibson bass guitars
Unlike Fender, who produced just a few bass models, but continuously over 50 years (Fender Precision, Fender Jazz bass), Gibson was continually creating new bass models, most with relatively short lifespans. As a result, there is significant variation across the range of basses Gibson created, in looks, build, electronics, and ultimately sound. There are long scale and short scale basses. Models with set-necks, bolt-on necks, and through-body necks. There are mahogany, maple and alder bodies. There are humbuckers and single coil pickups. So it is hard to generalise, although some might argue that the darker sound of humbucking pickups in a mahogany body and neck with rosewood fingerboard is the signature sound of a Gibson bass.
Three Gibson bass guitars from the Norlin period: 1978 Gibson Ripper, 1978 Gibson G-3, 1977 Gibson Grabber. Despite looking broadly similar, the construction and components of these three Gibson basses are quite different, and each has it's own distinctive tones. These maple/alder basses sold well in the mid to late seventies.
Classic guitars such as the 1960s Gibson Thunderbird, Gibson EB3 and Les Paul bass have been re-issued continuously; newer updated versions, the Thunderbird IV, the SG reissue bass and the Les Paul Standard bass have proved very popular making up the vast majority of Gibson's bass output.