Felix Pappalardi Bass

Felix Pappalardi Bass

The violin shaped “Electric Bass”, as Gibsons first electric bass guitar was known, was first produced in 1953 as a response to the Fender Precision Bass. Only an average of 91 Felix Pappalardi Bass were produced each year untill 1958 when, with the launch of the hollow-body EB2 the EB was renamed the EB1, a name which has now been attributed to the whole production run of this model.

The violin shaped body was carved out of solid mahogony and fitted with a large, brown, pickup at the base of the neck, with the poles situated along the lower, bridge, end. The head was fitted with banjo-style tuners, as were all basses in the 1950’s, and the end of the body was fitted with a socket to take a screw-in telescopic end-pin which allowed the bass to be played as an upright.

Production ceased at the end of 1958, with a total 546 produced, making this an extremely rare model.

There was a nostalgia-driven resurgence of this model in the late 1960’s, leading Gibson to re-issue the model in 1970-72 when they produced 473 re-issues with a metal covered Humbucker, the then prevalent intonable bridge and conventional right-angle tuners.

The most famous player of an EB1 was Felix Pappalardi Bass, the Producer of the Cream and later the Bassist for Mountain, who played a 1970’s re-issue. Jack Bruce also played an EB1 in memory of Felix, during the Cream reunion at the Albert Hall in 2005.

The EB-1 briefly resurfaced in 1970 with a few cosmetic changes but by 1972 it was gone again! With its violin shape and endpin it was definitely aimed at bridging the gap between an upright bass and a bass guitar. The earliest versions of Felix Pappalardi Bass with a brown pickup cover had a huge single-coil unit inside that was actually mounted on its side. This gave it a cleaner and better-defined sound than the 1958 versions that were given a regular bass humbucker.

Gibson Eb 1 Violin Bass

gibson eb 1 violin bass

This Gibson Eb 1 Violin Bass very early violin-shaped “EB-1” bass guitar with painted-on f holes (in black) weighs just 8.40 lbs. and has a nice, fat nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches and a scale length of 30 1/2 inches. Solid (two inch thick) mahogany body with a width of 11 1/2 inches and two black ‘pencil’ lines around the outline on the top and bottom. One-piece mahogany neck with a wonderful medium-to-thick profile and unbound rosewood fretboard with 20 thin 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 (“4 1991”) inked-on in black on the back of the headstock of Gibson Eb 1 Violin Bass. One Alnico magnetic pickup with a brown Royalite cover and a huge output of 16.28k. Brown plastic pickguard. Two controls (one volume, one tone) on lower treble bout. Brown plastic barrel-shape half-inch “Speed” knobs. Side-mounted jack socket. Combination “wrap-over” bar bridge/tailpiece with two adjustment screws. The pots are dated “134 320” (Centralab May 1953). All hardware nickel-plated. There are a couple of very small surface ‘cuts’ on the top treble edge of the body (adjacent to the pickup), otherwise this is a spectacular and totally original example in near mint condition, by far the finest we have ever seen, complete with it’s original telescoping end-pin and the original hang-tag. Housed in the original brown four-latch hardshell case with pink plush lining (9.25).

“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 Gibson Eb 1 Violin Bass Guitars were made between 1938 and 1940, before World War ll shut down product development. 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 Gibson Eb 1 Violin BassBass 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 hole) 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 Gibson Eb 1 Violin 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.

Bruce Bass

Bruce Bass

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Jack Bruce Bass Guitar

Jack Bruce Bass Guitar

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Gibson Eb 1 Bass

gibson eb 1 bass

You’re welcome but again I caution you that the diagram I put together was by poking around the crammed wires with a pencil and pen light. I tried to trace the circuitry to the best of my ability but as I am not trained in electronics, I offer no guarantees. If the circuit fails to work get back to me and we can troubleshoot it.
As for a sound bite of the Gibson Eb 1 Bass – I currently don’t have coupler which can join my 1/4″ (6.5mm) guitar cord plug to the 1/8″ (3.5mm) computer jack. I’ll see what I can come up with sometime in the near future – record with audacity and convert to MP3 but I don’t think Blogger supports posting audio files.
I wish I could be of more help but if you read my introductory posting you’ll know that an injury has put me into a wheelchair and unfortunately those wheels remain strapped to my ass at this time. Limits what I can do.
Cheers, Yuri

The eb-1 gibson followed on the heels of the first “Les Paul” guitar, issued in 1952. It was marked by a distinctive violin-shaped body made of solid mahogany with printed f-holes and double purfling painted on. The mimicry of an acoustic double bass was carried to the extreme of including an adaptable extension pit that made it possible to stand the instrument on end. To complete the picture, the EB-1 had a one-piece mahogany neck with a 30-1/2″ scale (shorter than the Fender bass of the time), and was fitted with Kluson banjo-type tuning gears with handles extending out from the back of the headstock rather than the sides. The Gibson Eb 1 Bass was originally called simply the “Electric Bass.

There were just 65 Gibson Eb 1 Bass manufactured in 1956. This one has had a slight headstock crack repaired over 20 years ago. It has the original pickguard in the case that someone in the 1960’s painted a design on. A great playing and sounding bass that comes in the original Gibson brown hard shell case.

Serial number 614108 – Gibson Eb 1 Bass Violin bass, with large V shaped crack on top, in hardshell case. Stand up pole for bass is present. Large square covered “trap door” cutout in back. Original pickup has been removed but is present with original brown cover. There is a hand made pickup in the neck with unique tortoise shell pickup guard. Bare wire on front of bass. Together with a handwritten note reading in full, “Serial #614108 / This is one of the 1st Electric Bass Guitars / Gibson made. I was responsible for the violin / shape – and also my son Rusty L.P. Jr. / changed it from Hi to Lo Impedance. / Note – it all came about (the Electric Guitar Bass / from me playing my E string on the guitar as a / Bass using my thumb – this proved it could / replace a stand up Gibson Eb 1 Bass and Leo Fender & / Lots others picked up the idea – / Les.”