Gibson Voodoo EB 5 Bass

Is there any love for Gibson basses? In my opinion Gibson basses are underrated. One of my go-to basses is a four string ES-335 bass. Put some flatwounds on it, plug it into the Ampeg B-15 and you’re time warped into the sixties. Tons of vintage low end and growly bass notes.  I love the Gibson basses and apart from an occasional thunderbird I rarely see any at a gig. 

In general, guitarists are very “conservative” people.  Many guitarists swear by the classics: Strat’s and Tele’s, LP’s and SG’s. Bass players are less prone to stick to a particular type (or brand). Spend one day at a festival and you’ll notice guitarists with Fenders and Gibsons but the bass players are different: Fender, Rickenbacker, Zon, Fodera, Dingwall, Ibanez, Warwick, Lakland, Musicman, Sadowsky,…  Hardly, if ever, you’ll see a bassist with a Gibson.  Yes, Cream had an EB bass, I know… 

Two years ago, I came across this Gibson EB-5 bass. Five because it’s a five string, what did you think? As many bass players I never had any attention for the modern Gibson basses but what caught my eye was the finish. The red satin finish of the swamp ash body, black hardware and the red inlays are stunning. No doubt about it, this was the bass version of my 2016 Les Paul Voodoo. I have a 2004 and a 2016 Les Paul Voodoo. It are LP Studio’s with superhot red and black zebra pickups.  Real eye-catchers.  This 2019 EB-5 was the Bass version of my 2016 Les Paul. 

I got a good deal on it and picked it up for around €1000 (including VAT). It is a small price for such a lot of bass!  I searched the internet and never came across another one like this. Yes, there was a similar instrument in France but it had a rosewood fingerboard, mine has a richlite board and blacked out hardware (Grover “elephant-ear” tuners and a black Babicz full contact bridge). The quality of the instrument surprised me and I was really stoked. It’s a player and a stay-er! A five string is not so comfortable for me, at first I used the low B as a thumb rest. Once used to it I could dig and appreciate the extra low end. 

Gibson EB 5 Voodoo

After some research I found out these basses were destined to end up in Japan. More than once Gibson did something special with their end-of-life products. Before sending them into oblivion they “reworked” the instruments for the Japanese market.  I have two Gibson Les Paul London Fog’s which are actually Dark Fire LP’s stripped from their robot tuners and electronics and finished in a greenish/salmon red color… Again, for the Japanese market.

The EB-5 is a great bass. Swamp ash body, maple set neck and dual humbuckers. The electronics are passive with a black knurled volume knob for each pickup. The pups are splitable (coil tap) and you can combine and dial in to your liking. The 34” scale bass has 24 (!) frets and a fretboard radius of 21”.    The wide rounded neck requires long fingers but the wide string spacing won’t disappoint slappers. 

Overall, it is the look of the bass. A red satin nitro lacquer finish called “juju”, red marker dots, chrome hardware and long sleek elegant body. A well balanced instrument.  

Let’s Rock!

Gibson ES-335 Semi-hollow body bass

It’s the bass player who makes your girlfriend dance! That is why I love the bass…  Today I went into the vaults of Château PGC and discovered this beautiful Gibson ES-335 bass guitar from 2013. Memphis made and Brussels played! 

The Gibson ES-335 is a modern (?) take on the legendary Gibson EB-2 bass that was in production from 1958 to 1972. The EB-2 was a short scale bass, the ES-335 has a full 34 inch scale which nowadays is the standard in bass guitars. Today’s 335 has a vintage and tight sound delivered by two humbucker pups. The neck pickup was moved to the middle position (aka P-bass) and another one was added to the bridge. It delivers a punchy and balanced tone. It features a 3-way toggle switch and the regular tone and volume controls for each pup. 

These instruments don’t pop up very often and I am surprised it had such a short production run. Gibson is always associated with guitars and is not the bassist’s favorite brand. I think this bass deserves more love. It is a great instrument and at a very good price point. At the time you could pick one from the shop at prices below €1,500.00. Today the sell second hand way over €2K.  A future collectable? 

Here are the specs: The ES-335 four string bass has a laminated maple body and top. Rosewood fingerboard and a maple neck. The headstock sports four open “clover” tuners and pearloid inlays. The neck and body have bindings and the guitar has a nitrocellulose lacquer finish to add some vintage mojo to the instrument. 

The ES-335 is a great player, the center-block body is well balanced and the action is perfect. The 3-point bridge is easy to adjust and can be set to your preference in a jiffy. 

It is big, it is cool and it sounds like thunder. I can’t wait to get some flatwound strings on it and “jazz-up” the weekend!  

Cheers, ‘till next time…

Fender Classic Player Rascal Bass

In 2013 Jason Smith from the Fender Custom Shop created an oddball!  A bass guitar with everything from somewhere else. The headstock of a Fender Coronado, the bridge from a Guild, Pickups from a Danelectro… combined with an offset Bass VI body. The Fender Rascal is the “Frankenstein” among bass guitars.

This weird bird was a huge success at the music trade shows and Fender decided to put it in production as part of the Mexican “Classic Player” series. It is a four string short scale bass with lipstick pickups. A bass with guitar pickups? Yes, and the sonic range is awesome!  Besides the “normal” five position switch you can expand your tonal range with another two  by pulling the volume knob.

I like these oddballs, they look cool, play great and sound fantastic! For the demo I plugged this one into a vintage (1969) Marshall SLP and a 4×12 Marshall cab. To my ears it sounded great. It has a very old skool sound, almost like an upright bass. As Antoine says at the end of the demo: “it is not a slapper bass”, … but for anything else it will do the job and make you look cool!

Wham Bam! I am … Boracho! (Fender CS)

Every now and then we do a “warehouse” find at Château PGC!  Ladies and gents… I present you the Fender Cabronita Boracho Bass! Bought it in 2012, used it in 2013 and somehow it got lost in my ever growing stash of gear. Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, you know… it is not a very social disease!IMG_7928.jpg

This baby triggered my old Trace Elliot bass stack and made my trousers flap on stage. The old bellbottom flares got ripped by the lows of the Boracho.

The Trace is my favorite bass amp. It was once used in the backline of Wham and it shows many marks and scars of traveling the world, throwing around in stadiums and sliding of stage ramps. However the beer bottle marks are put there by me and not George Michael!IMG_1081.jpeg

If the amp is the voice then this bass guitar must be “the balls”: The Fender Cabronita Boracho. “Boracho” is Spanish slang for “drunk man”, in my case a very appropriate name.

The Boracho comes from the Fender Custom Shop and is a truly great high-quality instrument. Only a limited number of these basses were produced and it is very unique in esthetics and sounding.  The black nitro finish is relic’d to perfection and looks very authentic. The chunky one-piece quartersawn maple neck with 20 medium jumbo frets has a custom U-profile and black dot inlays, a 7.25” fingerboard radius and the cool headstock shape of a vintage Precision/Tele bass.

IMG_7930.jpgThis instrument sounds incredible, has great intonation and sings out rich harmonics. The Boracho has a lightweight reverse Jazzmaster body and one TV Jones Thunderblade pickup with a volume and a tone control. I am a huge fan of TV Jones pups and this Thunderblade is LOUD! Overwound coils for slightly more “growl” than a P-bass. The pickup is right in the sweet spot, the guys from the Fender Custom Shop got it bang on.

The unbelievably light and reversed Jazzmaster  body made this instrument a bit top-heavy. A fat neck and a recessed upper body gave it the feel the bass was out of balance. I moved the upper strap button to the neck pocket and there… problem solved!

IMG_7929.jpgI put this bass up for adoption! Anyone looking for a cool bass guitar? With this one you will be likely the only one on the block with one of these. Very limited and crafted at the Fender Custom Shop.  It has an “as new” condition. This bass comes with the original oversized hardshell case, case candy, certificate, tags, CS strap and cable and straplocks.  The bass has been taken immaculate care of and is in excellent condition.  Anyone interested can contact me via email or messenger.

Neck: Custom “U” Shape
No. of Frets: 20 Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
Position Inlays: Black Dot
Fingerboard Radius: 7.25″ (18.41 cm)
Neck Material: 1 Piece Quartersawn Maple
Neck Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Width at Nut: 1.5″ (38.1 mm)
Scale Length: 34″ (86.36 cm)
Pickup: TV Jones Thunderblade pickup