One of Gibson’s Earliest Bass Guitars Ever Built Hits

Gibson 1954 EB-1 Bass

The online musical marketplace Reverb has many thousands of listings, and every so often, something very special pops up. This week they found a remarkable bass that they featured as their find of the week: a 1954 Gibson EB-1. The bass is in all-original condition and is one of Gibson’s first-ever basses built.

“The EB-1 was first introduced by Gibson in 1953 as a response to Fender’s Precision Bass, which was initially unveiled just two years prior,” Reverb explains. “Since the now-ubiquitous P-Bass was the first mass-market indication that bassists would transition away from acoustic uprights, Gibson knew they had to compete with an electric instrument in ways that set them apart from their major competitor. Ultimately, they chose to maintain a similar look and feel to their acoustic forebears—fake F-holes and all (not unlike Ampeg’s AEB-1 model, which would be introduced the next decade.)”

The bass’s serial number indicates it is one of the first couple of hundreds of the model to be made. Gibson’s sales records show that only 546 of the original run of EB-1’s were sold. It was crafted in Gibson’s Kalamazoo, Michigan plant with mahogany for the body and neck and rosewood for the fingerboard. Its pickup provides the big, fat sound for which early Gibson’s are known.

“The large brown Royalite-covered pickup is actually a single coil unit; the huge coil is mounted on its side, which is why the polepieces sit at the bottom end,” the listing by Retrofret Vintage Guitars explains. “While still very powerful and deep-sounding, this pickup has more mid/high content than the 1958 and later humbucking versions.”

Another interesting feature is the telescoping end pin for it to be played upright. The body, of course, takes its cues from the upright bass. Gibson’s angle of creating electric basses modeled after double basses would end in the late ‘50s with the introduction of the EB-2 and the EB-0.

This piece of history is currently for sale on Reverb for $7,250.

Gibson 1954 EB-1 Bass Specs:


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