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History of Gibson Bass Guitars and Best Prices On eBay and Amazon

Updated on February 17, 2013

Gibson Bass Guitars

Gibson has never really enjoyed the same success in Bass guitars as Fender none the less Gibson basses have a loyal following. The EB1 first appeared in 1956. It looked more like a violin than a modern bass and appeared very similar to the classic hofner bass models popular in the 60's. The EB2, a semi-solid body bass was introduced in 1958 and featured rounded Les Paul like contours. This was probably due to influence of the ES335 which was introduced at the same timeframe. Gibson's introduced the EB0 in 1959. The EB3 appeared in 1961 and was a deluxe version of the EB0 with an extra bridge pickup which gave it a much brighter sound.

McCarty's adoration of the bass violin is expressed throughout the EB-1. Its shape is contoured much like a violin. The wood has a dark-grain finish with painted f-holes to imply that it's hollow like a bass viol. And the end pin conceals a telescopic extension that reaches to the floor, allowing the bass to be held upright.

Gibson followed the EB-1 with other models later in the 1950's; however, a pattern emerged in the Gibson bass line models that continues to this day. Instead of designing their bass guitars from the ground up, Gibson created a bass that closely resembled an already successful guitar. The EB-2, launched in 1958, closely resembled the ES-335 guitar with its semi-hollow, double cutaway body. And in 1959, The EB-0 copied the contours of a Les Paul Junior. For both new models, Gibson reused the same pickup, electronics and 30-inch neck from the EB-1.

Over the years, Gibson released a series of basses, most of which experienced small production runs that spanned less than five years. Many of the basses mimicked the body and style of its electric guitar counterpart, such as the Melody Maker (1968-1970), the Explorer (1984-1987), the RD (1977-1992) and the Flying V (1981-1982). The LPB Les Paul is one notable exception to the rule; first launched in 1992, it has sold steadily since its release.

Gibson Thunderbird
Gibson Thunderbird

Gibson Thunderbird

The Gibson Thunderbird was introduced in 1963. At the time, Fender had been the leader in the electric bass market since their introduction of the Precision Bass twelve years earlier.

The Thunderbird was designed by U.S. auto designer Raymond H. Dietrich (Chrysler, Lincoln, Checker) along with the Firebird guitar, which it resembles in design, construction, and name.

The Thunderbird bass, like the Rickenbacker 4000 series, and like the Firebird guitar it was designed concurrently with, had neck-through construction, where the neck wood went through the entire length of the body, with the rest of the body being glued into place.

While previous Gibson bass guitars had a short scale of 30½", the Thunderbird had a 34" scale equal to that of the 34" scale of Fender's bass guitars.

There were originally two Thunderbird models, the Thunderbird II (one pickup) and Thunderbird IV (two pickups)

Let me know what style and or model of Gibson Bass Guitars interests you and I will feature more info and modules about them.

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