A 1967 Gibson EB-3
|Manufacturer||Gibson Guitar Corporation|
|Scale||30.5" or 34" (EB-3L)|
|Body||Mahogany, rarely walnut|
|Neck||Mahogany (1961-72), maple (1973-1979), walnut (1974)|
|Pickup(s)||1 humbucker (neck), 1 mini-humbucker (bridge)|
|"Heritage Cherry". Also available in Pelham Blue, Polaris White, Ebony and Walnut/Natural on custom-order.|
Introduced in 1961, the EB-3 (based on an earlier model, the EB-0) was one of the bass guitar equivalents of the popular Gibson SG. It was produced at Gibson's plant in Kalamazoo, MI. It featured a slim SG-style body, a short 30.5" scale, and two pickups (a large humbucking pickup in the neck position and a mini-humbucker pickup in the bridge position). The electronics consisted of a four-way rotary pickup selector switch (for Series 1 basses; neck pickup with midrange notch, bridge, bridge and neck with low end rolled off neck pickup, neck pickup with choke) and volume and tone knobs for each pickup. The standard finish was cherry red (like the SG guitar models), though EB-3s were also produced in other finishes such as Polaris White, Pelham Blue, Walnut, and Ebony. By the time production ceased in 1979, a total of 14,167 instruments had been built.
The design of the EB-3 changed several times during the 1960s. In 1962, the black plastic cover on the neck pickup was replaced by a metal one. Around 1964-5, the nickel-plated hardware was replaced by chrome-plated. Around mid-1965, the wide control spacing from the early 1960s was reduced, giving all SG guitars and basses the same size and shape control cavity. Around 1966-7 the neck was replaced with a thinner one; the unadjustable bar bridge was replaced by a fully adjustable one with a nylon saddle for each string; the string guard was removed; a bridge guard was introduced and the knobs were replaced with the witch-hat design. In 1969 and 1970, the headstock was replaced with a slotted one (similar to those on most classical guitars), with tuning keys mounted at ninety degrees downwards behind the head. In 1972, the neck pickup was moved closer to the bridge, and maple with added volute instead of mahogany was used for the neck. In 1973 the 3-point bridge was used. In addition to the Gibson EB-3, a long-scale (34") model called the EB-3L was introduced in 1969 for players who preferred the longer scale of most Fender basses. The EB-3L long-scale variant was discontinued in 1972, and the EB-3 itself in 1979.
From the late 1980s until 1998, Gibson cooperated with Epiphone in Japan to produce for the Japanese market an EB-3 under the brand Orville by Gibson, named after the company's founder Orville Gibson.
Gibson currently produces a model called the SG Bass which is very similar to the EB-3, but with only a single tone control and no Varitone switch.Epiphone produces a more affordable EB-3 with a 34" scale (similar to the EB-3L), but the Varitone switch has been replaced by a simple pickup selector.