1958 Gibson EB-2, Sunburst

By Gibson

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Superb, early Gibson EB-2 from 1958 with a pleasantly figured top and evocative, late 50’s Sunburst help give ‘Elsie’ an elegantly statuesque appearance. One of only 90 examples shipped in this introductory year for the EB-2 the bass is in fantastic condition and comes with its original Tan case.

Announced in February 1958 the EB-2 was Gibson’s second commercial electric bass. Designed by Ted McCarty Gibson and engineer Larry Allers to be the companion model to Gibson’s newly launched ES thinline guitar range. Instruments shipped in the second half of 1958 with the EB-2 listed in the catalog at $267.50 in a Sunburst finish or $282.50 in Natural with the Faultless plush lined case an additional $49.50. On release the bass featured a 16” wide 1 3/4 “ deep double cutaway body with arched top and back of Curly Maple, matching Maple rims and pearloid binding. A 30 ½” scale Honduran mahogany neck with Rosewood fingerboard, pearl dot inlays and Gibson Adjustable truss rod. It was fitted with conveniently located Volume and Tone controls and a powerful single coil Alnico pickup with individually adjustable pole pieces and black Royalite cover. Other appointments included white buttoned Klusons Sealfast Banjo tuners, a wide bevel 3-ply pickguard, gold bonnet knobs and adjustable bridge. 1959 saw an evolution to the model with the addition of a single Seth Lover designed EB humbucker and 'baritone' function, accessed via a tone switch mounted above the volume and tone controls. Overall construction remained the same with laminate maple top, back and rims and solid maple block running the length of the body, allowing a fixed combination bridge/tailpiece. Aside from the tuners changing from Klusons Sealfast Banjo tuners to open gear Klusons 538 in 1960 the EB-2 remained much the same until 1961 when Gibson halted production of the EB-2 until it was revived in the later 60’s.

This stunning bass has at some point in its life been affectionately named ‘Elsie’ in US mailbox style lettering. Being from the first year of release it is equipped with the single coil Alnico pickup with black Royalite cover and no baritone circuit giving the bass a unique tone amongst other EB-2s. The pickup measures 17.6 k. The pickup has additional tape wraps to the factory tape but otherwise appears correct. The bass feels great in the hand, the neck is the typical medium round profile Gibson employed during this period measuring 23.11mm at the 1st an 25.71mm at the 12th fret. The nut width is 43.21mm. Cosmetically the instrument looks stunning with a subtle flame in the maple top that really shifts and glows when it catches the light, an unusual feature to this bass as EB-2s generally had plain tops. Strung with a set of flatwounds the bass plays great with a comfortable action, it balances well in the lap or of a strap and weighs in at 8.2 lbs.

The EB-2 comes with its original Tan and Pink No.538 Faultless hard case.