Yep, I am no longer the oldest in the house! I got my hands on a L-series Fender Jazz Bass. All parts are genuine except the body got a refinish in 1966. The original owner didn’t like the sunburst and spray painted it in an electron green lacquer. Too bad, … but still an exceptional instrument!
Besides the refin it is in a good condition. I like the dark rosewood fretboard, over the years it became glossy and even like an ebony board. The first owner installed a little ‘thingy” at the back of the headstock as a replacement for the strap lock you usually can find on these old basses. I also noticed the type of capacitor used with the electronics is stamped on the back of the headstock. First time I see something like this on a vintage instrument.
It is an L-series serial number and the neck stamp reads: 7 JUNE 1964 A. The seven is code for Jazz Bass (not the day of the month) , the first number indicates what type instrument it is followed by the month and year of production. The “A” indicates it is a narrow neck (measured at the nut). “B” or “C” would be code for “Standard” or “Wide” neck.
I haven’t checked the pickups yet. Over the years the pick guard did shrink a little bit and they seem to be pretty tight around the pups. The guard is still in one piece (no chipping or cracks) and I intend to keep it that way.
I am stoked with this one. A players grade bass with a good sound and a fast playing neck. Slap it away…!
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.
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.
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!