Gibson EB-3

Gibson EB-3
Gibson eb3 67.jpg
A 1967 Gibson EB-3
ManufacturerGibson Guitar Corporation
Body typeSolid
Neck jointSet
Scale30.5" or 34" (EB-3L)
BodyMahogany, rarely walnut
NeckMahogany (1961-72), maple (1973-1979), walnut (1974)
FretboardBrazilian rosewood
Pickup(s)1 humbucker (neck), 1 mini-humbucker (bridge)
Colors available
"Heritage Cherry". Also available in Pelham Blue, Polaris White, Ebony and Walnut/Natural on custom-order.

The Gibson EB-3 is an electric bass guitar model produced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.

Origins and history

The Gibson EB-3 is a bass guitar introduced in 1961 and discontinued in 1979. It was produced at Gibson's plant in Kalamazoo, MI.[1] It features 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 include 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.[2]

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 1964-65, 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 1966-67 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. From 1969 until 1971, the headstock was replaced with a slotted one (similar to those on most classical guitars), with tuning keys extending at ninety degrees behind the stock. In 1972, the neck pickup was moved closer to the bridge, and maple with added volute instead of mahogany was used for the neck. From 1972, a 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[3] for players who preferred the longer scale of most Fender basses.[4] The EB-3L long-scale variant was discontinued in 1972,[5][6] and the EB-3 itself in 1979.[4]

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 bass guitar called the SG Standard which appears similar to the EB-3, but with a single master tone control and no Varitone switch. In addition, the SG's neck pickup is a regular TB+ humbucker which has a more trebly tone than the EB-3's heavily wound "mudbucker"[7]

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.[4][8] This version, along with the Epiphone EB-0, was discontinued in early 2020, when the whole Epiphone lineup was reinvented.

Jack Bruce with an EB3 Bass in concert

Notable EB-3 players

Epiphone EB-3 in Short Scale 30.5" and dot inlay albeit in limited quantities


  1. ^ "Gibson EB3 bass". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Gibson EB-3". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  3. ^ "1969 EB-3 specs" - "EB-3L available with 34.5" scale" in: "Vintage Guitars Info's Gibson Electric Bass Model Descriptions". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Drozdowski, Ted (12 May 2010). "The Cream of Jack Bruce: The EB-3 Legend's Essential CDs". Gibson Guitar Corporation. Archived from the original on 12 September 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  5. ^ "1969 EB-3 specs" - "EB-3L available with 34.5" scale" ... "available until 1972" in: "Vintage Guitars Info's Gibson Electric Bass Model Descriptions". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  6. ^ Moseley, Willie G. (2007). "Gibson EB-4L: Right Ideas, Wrong Era". Vintage Guitar. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  7. ^ "SG Bass". Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Epiphone EB-3".
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Hall, Russell (February 3, 2017). "10 Champions of the Gibson EB Bass". Gibson. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  10. ^ Villano, Freddy (July 9, 2014). "Jack Bruce Roars Back on 'Silver Rails'". Bass Player. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  11. ^ Johnson, Kevin (May 31, 2012). "Stories Behind the Songs: Bob Daisley". No Treble. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  12. ^ "Kings of Leon - Jared Followill Bass Rig Gear and Equipment". Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  13. ^ Liebman, Jon (June 16, 2014). "Rik Fox". For Bass Players Only. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  14. ^ 3, 2023}}
  15. ^ "Dave Davies Remembers Kinks Bassist Pete Quaife". Bassplayer. 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  16. ^ Fox, Brian (April 1, 2013). "Econo 101: Mike Watt's School of Punk Rock". Bass Player. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Watt, Mike. "watt's thudstaffs". Hoot page. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  18. ^ Drozdowski, Ted (June 25, 2015). "60 Years Of Lowdown Sound: Gibson's EB Basses". Gibson. Retrieved October 6, 2019.