Electric Bass (EB-1) Guitars

1953 Gibson Electric Bass (EB-1)

Color: Dark Mahogany, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 02264)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


A Mint Example of a First Year Gibson "Electric Bass"


1953 Gibson Electric Bass (EB-1)


This first-year violin-shaped "Electric Bass" (EB-1) guitar with painted-on f holes (in black) weighs 9.00 lbs. and features an 11 1/2 inch wide, two inch thick, solid mahogany body. One-piece mahogany neck with a nice, fat nut width of between 1 11/16 and 1 3/4  inches, a 'short' scale length of 30 1/2 inches and a huge neck profile rising gently from 0.93 inches behind the first fret, 0.95 behind the 3rd, 0.98 behind the 5th, 1.01 behind the 7th, 1.02 behind the 9th and 1.03 inches behind the 12th fret. Unbound Brazilian rosewood fretboard with 20 original medium (0.01) frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo. Black plastic truss-rod cover. Two-on-a-side Kluson banjo-style tuners with rear-facing Keystone plastic keys. Serial number "3 2731" inked-on in black on the back of the headstock. One Alnico single-coil magnetic pickup with a brown Royalite cover and a huge output of 20.20k. Brown plastic pickguard. Two controls (one volume, one tone) on lower treble bout. Brown plastic barrel-shape "Speed" knobs. Side-mounted jack socket. Combination "wrap-over" bar bridge/tailpiece. The potentiometers are stamped "615 2632 311" (ROC, March 1953). All hardware nickel-plated. A spectacular and totally original example in mint condition, complete with it's original telescoping endpin, allen key (for bridge intonation adjustment), two old picks including one 'felt' (we used to use these in the early days), and an original box of used Gibson Mona-Steel Strings (probably the original strings from 1953). Housed in the original four-latch brown hardshell case with pink plush lining (9.25). Quite simply the finest all original example that one could wish for… it plays easily, sounds great and looks wonderful…

Just 105 "Electric Bass" (EB-1) guitars were shipped in the first year of 1953 with a grand total of 546 examples being produced between 1953 and  1958.

"In the late 1930s Gibson took another foray into the low end with the Electric Bass Guitar - the name, if not the instrument itself, proving prophetic. An over-size, 4-string hollowbody guitar made of solid maple, it was equipped with an endpin for stand-up playing and had a magnetic pickup similar to the Charlie Christian-model guitar pickup. The curved fingerboard had 24 inlaid fret markers, making it the first "lined fretless." Scale length was an upright-like 42 3/4". According to Gibson historian Julius Bellson, only two Electric Bass Guitars were made between 1938 and 1940, before World War ll shut down product developement. It's interesting to speculate about what might have happened if Gibson had been able to follow this line of thought.

Gibson didn't re-enter the electric bass market until two years after after the introduction of the Fender Precision Bass. The Gibson Electric Bass of 1953, like the Electric Bass Guitar of the late '30s, was equipped with a telescoping endpin for upright playing - but this time the instrument had a small, violin-shaped solid-mahogany body (with painted-on f holes) and a scale length of only 30 1/2". The short scale was intended, apparently, to make it more appealing to guitarists, an impression that would seem to be confirmed by the inclusion of frets and a pickguard. The large single pickup had a brown plastic cover and was mounted at the end of the neck. The tuners were banjo-style, with rear-facing knobs on the back of the peghead. The Electric Bass was renamed the EB-1 in 1958, when Gibson introduced another electric bass, but discontinued within the year. Only 546 were made between 1953 and 1958. Updated with a chrome-covered humbucking pickup and some cosmetic refinements, the EB-1 made a brief comeback in 1970 but was dropped again two years later " (Jim Roberts, American Basses, p. 73).

"The pick-up on the first Gibson electric bass was rather peculiar as it had according to Walt Fuller nearly 25,000 turns !… (enough to obtain a rather devastating bass sound!) in only one "horizontal" coil. This square shaped pick-up was equipped with a brown bakelite cover, and the magnets were placed at the extremity located at the end of the fingerboard, while the adjustable poles, mounted perpendicular to the polar mass, appeared on the side of the pick-up facing the bridge… One of the most amusing aspects of this electric bass, retrospectively, concerns the adaptable extension-pin that was delivered with the instrument so that it could be played standing up like a real double-bass. Undoubtedly this was the reason why it had a "violin" shape intended, an all logic, to favor its assimilation with the instrument that it was supposed to replace. The new instrument was originally called the "Electric Bass", and it was not until 1958 that the "violin bass" took the designation EB-1 because of the introduction of "another" bass in the Gibson catalog (the EB-2 semi-solid bass). (A.R. Duchossoir. Gibson Electrics from the origins up to 1961. pp. 89-90).  

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