The EB0 bass was Gibsons top selling bass of the 1960s and 1970s. Manufactured from 1959 until 1979, it remains one of Gibsons most recognizable instruments using the Les Paul Special 'SG bass' guitar shape. The first Gibson SG guitars were produced at the same time. In total over 22000 EB0 basses were manufactured! The EB0 got its name from the Gibson EB series (Electric Bass), and was a short scale bass that proved very popular in the mid to late sixties. Long scale (EB0L) and fuzz (EB0F) versions also exist. The bass shown above is a 1969 EBO with a solid Mahogany neck and body, finished in Cherry (by far the most popular colour) which has faded to its present shade.
The EB0 has a single humbucker which has a very low mellow tone. A 'thumper' rather than a 'twanger' great for sixties styled music, reggae and rock, but not a bass for slapping! More about Gibson bass pickups. This sound comes from the mahogany bodies and set necks (seventies models had maple necks), short scale (30½ inch) and the aforementioned humbucker. The bass to the left is a 1972 EBO with a much weightier body, and the maple neck - this time finished in walnut; only available on seventies models.
This instrument did undergo several major changes (in fact the original 1959 model was a different body shape), using different woods, hardware and finishes. Notice how the sixties model has the pickup right up against the end of the neck; again adding to the bassy tone. One of the most sought after versions is the split headstock EB0 only available in 1970 and 1971.
Variations include the EB-0F (1962-65) with built in passive fuzztone, and EB-0L long scale (34.5") version (1970-77). Neither was particularly popular compared to the basic model with respect sales figures. An Epiphone model Epiphone Newport EBS was available from 1961-69, which looked quite different but was identical in terms of woods, construction, hardware, electrics and indeed price tag
Older EBOs suffered from fractures at the headstock/neck join and at the control cavity. This is largely due to the brittle nature of Mahogany, the thin Gibson neck weakened further by the truss rod adjustment cavity and the Gibson headstock angle that could not withstand falling backwards.
The EB0 sold very well, but did not get as much 'big-name' usage as its sister models the EB2 and EB3, although famous users include David Knights of Procol Harum, Glenn Cornick of Jethro Tull, and Jermaine Jackson of the Jackson Five.
Today, Gibsons subsidiary, Epiphone still produce an EB0 model, which is very similar to the original 60s and 70s models, combining features of both.
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