Collector’s Corner: 1966 Gibson EB-0 Bass

Tags: 1966 Gibson Guitar Catalogue, Cream, David Knights, Fretted Americana, Gibson EB-0 Bass,

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Collector’s Corner: 1966 Gibson EB-0 Bass

1966 Gibson EB-0: Good Enough for Jack Bruce, The Jackson Five

So ’66 was a heck of a year for Gibson Bass guitars. They issued five distinct basses that would become relatively popular over the years. Though you won’t find a Gibson Ripper or Gibson Grabber in the 1966 catalog (they weren’t issued until 1973), the company’s full line of instruments included a Thunderbird model and two electric basses with SG-style bodies that would go on to become iconic in their own right—even to this day.

The first was the Gibson EB-3, which would soon be embraced by Jack Bruce of Cream and Mike Watt of the Minutemen. The other was the Gibson EB-0 bass, which was initially introduced in 1959 with a body similar to the Les Paul Junior. The instrument was characterized by its single humbucker in the neck position, which produced a low, muddy output compared to other electric bass guitars. In 1961, the body of the bass was changed to more closely resemble the Gibson SG, a design shape Gibson was currently pushing to become the solidbody electric guitar shape to replace the Les Paul.

The EB-0 had just two knobs for volume and tone and, unlike the EB-3, did not feature the four-position Varitone switch. From 1962 to 1965, the company offered the bass with a built-in passive fuzz effect for added growl and distortion the Rock ‘n’ Roll world was beginning to utilize. The 1966 EB-0 featured a thinner one-piece mahogany neck than previous incarnations of the bass. The combination bridge and tailpiece was adjustable both horizontally and vertically for tone, in addition to playability—players could adjust the bass’ action at the bridge. The 1966 EB-0 only came in a cherry finish, though Gibson would later introduce black and natural finishes within the line.

While the bass typically sported a short 30.5-inch scale, Gibson offered a long-scale version (34.5 inches) of the EB-0 in the early and mid-1970s. In 1972, several changes to the bass were made, including the introduction of a maple neck. Epiphone currently produces a version of the EB-0 similar to the 1972 incarnation—but know that they are built overseas and only resemble the originals in appearance–not playability, sound or craftsmanship.

Notable EB-0 players include: David Knights, and Jermaine Jackson of The Jackson Five. Check this video of a georgeous 1961 vintage EB-0 Bass, courtesy of Fretted Americana