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EB-1 Bass, ’58

Natural, Serial # 82933.

Gibson introduced its first solid body bass guitar in 1953. It was named the Electric Bass, and was Gibson’s response to Fender’s Precision Bass released in late 1951.  Gibson’s bass was constructed very differently from Fender’s, with its elegant violin shaped solid mahogany body and short scale neck. The 1956 Gibson catalog reads: “With 20 frets on a scale length of 30½”, the Gibson Electric Bass has the same range as the standard bass ‘fiddle’ – and the same pitch.” “The Gibson Electric Bass has an adjustable end pin, and also a shoulder strap and thus may be played either in a standing position, or like a guitar.” It had one very large single coil pickup in the neck position which gave strong, deep bass tones.  Even though reasonably priced, the Electric Bass did not sell well and was discontinued during 1958 in favor of the semi-hollow EB-2 (1958), and the double cutaway solidbody EB-0 (1959).

 

The bass pictured has most of the typical features expected of an EB from between 1953 and 1958. These include, as stated in the 1958 Gibson catalog: “Solid mahogany, violin shaped body and carved top – mahogany neck with Gibson Adjustable Truss Rod construction. An important factor in the outstanding performance of this instrument is the Gibson-designed metal bridge, adjustable for string height and lengths.” The headstock has a pearl inlayed Gibson logo and two banjo tuners on each side. The only unusual characteristic is that this bass with a 1958 serial number has a factory stock humbucking pickup not used until 1959. The pickup was developed by Seth Lover to be used on the EB-0 and EB-2. It was the same size as the original enormous single coil, but was split into two coils. A possible explanation is that the bass was nearly finished and stamped in 1958, but for some reason, not completed until at least 1959. The Gibson Shipment totals for 1958 indicate that 45 EB-1s were shipped that year. Whether this bass is one of those or one that slipped through later without being counted is difficult to know.

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