The Gibson EB, in all its ugly glory…

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  • #26749
    TDR1138
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    So, I had some gift cards at Guitar Center burning a hole in my pocket. I was originally thinking of getting another P bass, specifically thinking of a MIM Classic 50’s P in two-tone sunburst. Something about the gold anodized guards has always made me gas for one. Plus I like big necks with the vintage radius.

    Anyway, as I was getting my ducks in a row, my wife made a comment about understanding that I have a bunch of basses because they’re all different. Which got me thinking, I have an LB-100 and I have a Squier P. Do I really need a third P?

    After thumbing around on GC’s site for a couple of weeks, I ended up going with a used 2013 Gibson EB Bass – the oddly-shaped ones that look like a Ripper knocked up a Mosrite in the back of an alley. I read a bunch about them before making a decision, both favorable and unfavorable reviews, and decided to take a chance.

    Gibson-EB

    Feel free to call it ugly.

    Basic rundown on these… Made in USA, maple set neck with ash body, rough nitro finish, two humbuckers in T-bird position, VVT with “tuned coil taps” on each pickup, Babicz bridge, Grover tuners.

    I mean, I don’t have anything with an ash body, maple neck, hot dual humbuckers, high mass bridge…. Oh wait, sounds like I’m describing my L-2000s, so I’m going to use that as a basis for comparison.

    Anyway, in spite of those similarities, the EB is quite different. Tonally, the T-bird pickup spacing gives a very different sound than the L’s spacing. The L is more mid-present, whereas the EB actually has a bit of mid/high-mid scoop with a huge low end and a snappy top end. Bridge pickup solo’d is very punchy (more so, IMO, than my L-2000, though I believe it’s just a tiny bit farther from the bridge). Neck pickup is very round and a little hollow sounding. The “tuned coil taps,” from what I can tell, are Gibson’s take on the OMG mode, but really not very successful, IMO. G&L’s OMG is very clear, where the Gibson sounds muffled and muddy. Either pickup by itself with the coil tap has a fatness to it and they seem to work well individually, but together, it falls short.  Frankly, though, as versatile as they seemed to try and make this, it works best as an “everything on 10” bass.

    The neck shape is flat, both on the fretboard and the back of the neck. I do prefer the rounder necks – all of my G&Ls have 7.5” radius – but this isn’t uncomfortable.  And the smartest thing Gibson did was to put a massive volute on these to avoid the all-to-common headstock breaks.

    Setup when I got it was super high, but I expected to have some dialing in to do. Neck adjusted very easily, truss rod is very smooth, and the over-engineered Babicz bridge took some fiddling but had no issues getting the action and intonation right.  With the Babicz bridge, the spacing is wider than the traditional Gibson 3-point bridge, more in line with Fender spec.

    The combination of woods, set neck and bridge make this thing have an incredible sustain and acoustic clarity. Notes really ring out, and there are no dead spots that I have come across.

    Say what you will about the aesthetics. It’s an odd-looking bass. But it’s light and balances well. The pickguard has a couple of spots where the ends have broken off at the screw, so I will probably replace it with a new one in the long run. But it will be BWB, because Gibsons look better with black and Tort is just a Fender rash. I’m also considering some cloverleaf Hipshots to replace the Grovers, purely for looks. The nitro finish did receive some criticism for looking sloppy and unfinished, which is an obvious place where Gibson made their cuts to keep costs down. Knowing that going in, I’m fine with the finish. Similar to a Fender Highway 1, but a little rougher prep beforehand.

    All in, I’m happy with it, and it does sound and feel quite different than anything else I have.  So it does check that box…

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    #26752
    RAWNCHY_RAW_RODRIGUEZ
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    Beautiful bass and congrats on the score. I think the newer models are held to an incredibly high standard despite being completely different than the originals. I saw a sweet looking new RD that sat on the local classifieds for weeks.

    I’m still kicking myself in the pants for not buying a Victory bass when they hit rock bottom prices.

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    #26763
    metron
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    Awesome review and cool bass, congrats TDR! I don’t think it’s ugly. I like basses that are different or out of the ordinary.

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    #26767
    dedpool1052
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    Nice score, @TDR1138
    I’ve always loved the look of those basses.
    I never made the jump to buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t mind owning one.
    Hipshots would be a good call, both for aesthetics and balance.

    Sitting here like uninvited company.

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    #26768
    fcleff69
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    That’s phuc’n killer.

    The Coberator. My other car is a Rocinante.

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    #26771
    TDR1138
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    Nice score, @TDR1138

    I’ve always loved the look of those basses.

    I never made the jump to buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t mind owning one.

    Hipshots would be a good call, both for aesthetics and balance.

    They did make one in red with a black pickguard.  I know how those make your pants tight.  Honestly, that would have been my first choice, but I do like the cream and the price was right…

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    #26775
    Mktrat
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    but I do like the cream and the price was right…
    • TWSS?

     

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    #26781
    dedpool1052
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    Nice score, @TDR1138

    I’ve always loved the look of those basses.

    I never made the jump to buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t mind owning one.

    Hipshots would be a good call, both for aesthetics and balance.

    They did make one in red with a black pickguard. I know how those make your pants tight. Honestly, that would have been my first choice, but I do like the cream and the price was right…

    Oh yeah 😁
    The only thing about those, is they were the color combo for the ’14 year, which had that ridiculous 120th anniversary inlay on the 12th fret.

    Sitting here like uninvited company.

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    #26796
    TDR1138
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    Nice score, @TDR1138

    I’ve always loved the look of those basses.

    I never made the jump to buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t mind owning one.

    Hipshots would be a good call, both for aesthetics and balance.

    They did make one in red with a black pickguard. I know how those make your pants tight. Honestly, that would have been my first choice, but I do like the cream and the price was right…

    Oh yeah 😁

    The only thing about those, is they were the color combo for the ’14 year, which had that ridiculous 120th anniversary inlay on the 12th fret.

    Man you’re picky.

    Just put a strip of electrical tape over it and call it good.

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    #26798
    fourstrings
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    That’s good looking bass!

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    #26802
    dedpool1052
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    Nice score, @TDR1138

    I’ve always loved the look of those basses.

    I never made the jump to buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t mind owning one.

    Hipshots would be a good call, both for aesthetics and balance.

    They did make one in red with a black pickguard. I know how those make your pants tight. Honestly, that would have been my first choice, but I do like the cream and the price was right…

    Oh yeah 😁<noscript>😁</noscript>

    The only thing about those, is they were the color combo for the ’14 year, which had that ridiculous 120th anniversary inlay on the 12th fret.

    Man you’re picky.

    Just put a strip of electrical tape over it and call it good.

    Guilty😁
    But it’s a moot point, as they weren’t offered left handed in ’14.
    The other combo I love is black n tort, which was offered lefty.

    Sitting here like uninvited company.

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    #26809
    Spidey2112
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    Nice write-up, @tdr1138!  Hope you enjoy!

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    #26810
    Andyman001
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    Tort is just a Fender rash.

    I LOL’dat that!!

    Playing bass for 35 years, taking time out for meals, of course

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    #26842
    soulman
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    Ugly is a simple matter of opinion but yeah, it does kinda look like it’s parents were a Ripper and Mosrite.  But looks ain’t everything or no one would ever play Telecasters.

    How are you liking the Babicz Bridge?  The unconventional design takes a few minutes to get down as far as the adjustments go but once it’s locked in it stays locked in.

    I have them on my PBass and Jazz Bass and two of my Teles.  On the basses they were major difference makers.  More clarity and more punch and half the weigh of a high mass bridge.

    I’ve been curious about these models ever since I saw Gibson begin to use those bridges.  Private builders are using them but Gibson is the first major mfg to do so.  Maybe that’ll move Fender to consider it as well because IMHO they’re a huge improvement over their typical stock bridges.

    SCTMMC Mile High Procurement, Logistics, and Transport Specialist. Open Sundays Noon to 6PM.

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    #26946
    TDR1138
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    How are you liking the Babicz Bridge? The unconventional design takes a few minutes to get down as far as the adjustments go but once it’s locked in it stays locked in.

    I have them on my PBass and Jazz Bass and two of my Teles. On the basses they were major difference makers. More clarity and more punch and half the weigh of a high mass bridge.

    I’ve been curious about these models ever since I saw Gibson begin to use those bridges. Private builders are using them but Gibson is the first major mfg to do so. Maybe that’ll move Fender to consider it as well because IMHO they’re a huge improvement over their typical stock bridges.

    Well, as I mentioned above, the clarity and sustain is really good, especially acoustically.  Yes, there are other factors involved (i.e. set neck construction), but I’m sure the bridge is a big factor in that.

    The negatives to it are 1) while it’s not necessarily difficult to adjust, it’s tedious.  Essentially you have 8 lockdown screws that you need to undo and any time you mess with the string height, it slightly shifts the intonation, so that needs to be constantly reset; and 2) if you like resting your palm on the bridge for palm muting, it doesn’t work too well, because the strings exit through a deep channel.  Resting your hand on the bridge doesn’t naturally allow your hand to make contact with the strings.  Those are my only two gripes thus far.

    I know Gibson had these on a few models in recent years.  I think the 2018 T-birds and SGs had them, though they phased them out already.  Might have been a stop gap when reengineering their proprietary bridge.

    As nice as they are, I’m not sure I’d drop the coin on one if I was modding or building a bass.  Maybe if I came across a used one at a good price.  But that’s one of the ironies about this particular Gibson – what was supposed to be a budget-conscious US-made bass got fitted with a $125 bridge.  I mean, I prefer it over the Gibson 3-point, but I can’t help but think there would have been much cheaper options out there…

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    #26974
    soulman
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    How are you liking the Babicz Bridge? The unconventional design takes a few minutes to get down as far as the adjustments go but once it’s locked in it stays locked in.

    I have them on my PBass and Jazz Bass and two of my Teles. On the basses they were major difference makers. More clarity and more punch and half the weigh of a high mass bridge.

    I’ve been curious about these models ever since I saw Gibson begin to use those bridges. Private builders are using them but Gibson is the first major mfg to do so. Maybe that’ll move Fender to consider it as well because IMHO they’re a huge improvement over their typical stock bridges.

    Well, as I mentioned above, the clarity and sustain is really good, especially acoustically. Yes, there are other factors involved (i.e. set neck construction), but I’m sure the bridge is a big factor in that.

    The negatives to it are 1) while it’s not necessarily difficult to adjust, it’s tedious. Essentially you have 8 lockdown screws that you need to undo and any time you mess with the string height, it slightly shifts the intonation, so that needs to be constantly reset; and 2) if you like resting your palm on the bridge for palm muting, it doesn’t work too well, because the strings exit through a deep channel. Resting your hand on the bridge doesn’t naturally allow your hand to make contact with the strings. Those are my only two gripes thus far.

    I know Gibson had these on a few models in recent years. I think the 2018 T-birds and SGs had them, though they phased them out already. Might have been a stop gap when reengineering their proprietary bridge.

    As nice as they are, I’m not sure I’d drop the coin on one if I was modding or building a bass. Maybe if I came across a used one at a good price. But that’s one of the ironies about this particular Gibson – what was supposed to be a budget-conscious US-made bass got fitted with a $125 bridge. I mean, I prefer it over the Gibson 3-point, but I can’t help but think there would have been much cheaper options out there…

    I getcha’ on that.  I picked up all of mine off Ebay for far less than retail but it took me 2-3 years to do it.

    The chrome one I got for around $90 and the black one for the PBass for around $85 but months later.

    The two for the Teles came as a 2:1 deal for around $60 because one needed parts which Jeff Babicz supplied me with gratis.  Unbelievable score here.

    I don’t palm mute on bass very frequently so that’s not as much of an issue but I do on guitar all the time.  It’s tougher on a bass since you have to rest your hand in front of the saddles whereas on guitar the strings sit higher on the cams so you can rest your hand on the saddles like you would any other style bridge.

    But the tedious part I don’t get because once it’s all adjusted and locked down there shouldn’t be any need to re-adjust anything unless you’re restringing with a drastically different gauge strings.  I restring the Teles all the time and never have to reset the saddle heights.  If the action is a bit high or low I just tweak the truss rod.

    Same with my G&L.  In fact it took me more time to do a setup with the Saddle Lock than with the Babicz.  It’s a little different process than other bridges or at least that’s what I found with mine but I do favor both over stock Fender type bridges unless I need a vintage 3 saddle on a Tele for the “twang factor”.  LOL

     

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    #27002
    TDR1138
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    But the tedious part I don’t get because once it’s all adjusted and locked down there shouldn’t be any need to re-adjust anything unless you’re restringing with a drastically different gauge strings. I restring the Teles all the time and never have to reset the saddle heights. If the action is a bit high or low I just tweak the truss rod.

    I’m still in the “fine tuning” phase with this bass, so making a lot of small adjustments here and there to the truss rod (I think this came from the Midwest to SoCal) and subsequently bridge.  Just finding a little buzz here or there that I’m working out.  I guess I just feel like I’m loosening 8 set screws every time I go to make an adjustment.  I’m sure once it’s all dialed in there won’t be any issues.  Definitely have no questions about its stability or reliability.

    Back to the bass… I did have to put more foam under the pickups because they didn’t feel like they were firmly supported at the height I found to have the optimal tone.  The lower they got, the thinner they sounded, and raising them up didn’t feel like it had the most resistance when I put my thumb on them, so a little more foam did the trick.

    Next step is figuring out a short-term solution to the pickguard breaks.  If you look at the pic I posted above, the guard is cracked at the screw at the base of the neck, E string side, and right at the tip behind the output jack.  Both cracked where the screw is drilled through the guard, so the screw is only half on the guard currently.  There is enough wood to relocate each screw back away from the edge, so I’ll probably do that and just try to round the break areas so it looks somewhat clean.  If/when I do get a new guard, the new holes would be covered up anyway.  More concerned with the screw near the jack, for obvious reasons, but I’ll hit both at the same time.

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    #27003
    Spidey2112
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    Why don’t you two get a room?

    Wait a sec…

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    #27018
    soulman
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    Why don’t you two get a room?

    Wait a sec…

    Why?  I already have a room.  In fact I have 6 rooms in my place.

    I’m sure TDR has rooms too but if he needs another I could lend him one of mine if we can figure how to ship it to Cali.

    Gonna be pretty pricey though.  Too big for an if it fits it ships flat rate box.

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    #27024
    TDR1138
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    Why? I already have a room. In fact I have 6 rooms in my place.

    I’m sure TDR has rooms too but if he needs another I could lend him one of mine if we can figure how to ship it to Cali.

    Gonna be pretty pricey though. Too big for an if it fits it ships flat rate box.

    I gave up a lot of rooms when I moved from CO to CA, so I appreciate the offer.

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