Epiphone EB-0 Bass

Finally! I've been a-hankerin' for one of these for ages! But I've been kinda holding out for a good used one, one that's made from a solid piece of Mahogany. Not Agathis plywood..Mahogany. And I kinda wanted a Mahogany neck...but you can't have it all & eat it, too, I guess.
The one I got has a solid Mahogany body with the transparent cherry-red finish over it. It's not even one of the recently-built ones that have what's probably less then pretty Mahogany bodies with a nicer-looking Mahogany veneer on both sides. This one is Solid Mahogany. Two pieces, joined right down the middle, but solid nonetheless. It has a Maple neck, though, also finished in Cherry Red. This is a very well-crafed instrument for the new price of $200. The new ones I've looked at aren't this good, even the new Korean ones. There's a difference between the ones they sell with a 'gig rig' including amp, gig bag, etc., and the 'standalone' ones. The former, made in China, generally all have laminated Agathis (or something) bodies, and aren't anywhere near as good as the Korean ones sold separately.
I got this thing sans pickguard. The guy said it didn't have on on it when he bought it from someone else. The screws were there, however. Not a biggie. I found a good frontal photo of an Epi EB-0 online and saved it. Then I brought it into AutoCAD and scaled it up using the dimension between the two farthest-apart screw holes. I then traced it out using what's called a 'spline curve', printed it out on cardstock, and cut it out for use as a template. Worked like a hose.
This bass had a pickup issue that turned into a dead pickup as I messed with it...so I'm looking for a replacement for the pickup. Meanwhile I had a mini-humbucker lying around for the last 25 years or so, of the type used at the bridge position of a Gibson EB-3 bass. So I mounted it into the stock pickup cover using closed-cell neoprene foam to hold it in place as a temporary fix. Also works like a hose! I'm not sure if it gives the same tone as the original. I like to believe it's a little less muddy than the original 'MudBucker' that comes in this bass. At any rate, it sounds pretty darned good. Loads of big ol' fat bottom! I'm thinking to save up my nickels and buy a Di Marzio 'Model One' that replaces the stock mudbucker directly. Maybe...one day. I'll also be experimenting with one of those dual-rail 'Strat-size' pickups. I've made a black plexiglas plate (to replace the stock pickup cover), which has a cutout for a single-coil-size pickup. The venerable Fender Musicmaster bass uses a six-pole guitar single-coil pickup, ditto for the Squier Bronco bass, and that works just fine...so why not?
OK, so, about the rest of the instrument. Getting the action and neck relief set so that I didn't get buzzing on the E string was a bit of a pain. I finally figured it out, though. This bass needs a little bit of neck relief to work right. I also discovered that it likes really big strings, typical of shortscale basses, to give a good tension. What I ended up with is a set of roundwounds, .050-.105. It had flatwounds on it when I got it, and I tried boiling those out real good and putting them back on. Let me just say that I HATE FLATWOUNDS! They have no sustain, no harmonics, nothing but a fundamental-tone THUD. And they feel like baby snakes to my fingers. I just don't like them...period.
Anyway, I can roll off the tone knob and get rid of the higher overtones of the roundwounds if I want, and keep all the sustain. Thus I can apply some OD, roll off the treble, and get that classic Jack Bruce/Felix Pappalardi/early James Gang tone just right. Leaving the tone control open, I get some ring out of the strings, but given the pickup location and the short scale, it's not like a Precision Bass. I generally play it with the tone on about 3 to 5...so it doesn't sound completely thuddy, but not too bright, either. Real bright tone just doesn't work on this thing.
This bass doesn't fit right in with just any style of music. It has its niche, though, especially in a Classic Rock vein. Gutbucket Blues? You betcha! Anywhere you want huge bottom, there it is. You can't 'pop & slap' on it because of where the pickup sits right up against the neck heel...but that's not a real possibility on most shortscales anyway; it just doesn't sound the same as on a longscale. Using a pick produces a good, punchy attack, but takes away just a little of the low-end grunt. Get them fingers up just to the bridgeward side of the pickup like ol' Jack Bruce, and flail away; that's where it sounds its best. Deep, fat, roaring, rumbling, THICK tone.
So can y'all tell I'm happy to finally have gotten my stubby little fingers on one of these? Maybe I wouldn't have quite been so happy with one of the laminated-bodied Chinese ones, but this one will be with me FROM NOW ON! Nothing is better-looking than that SG shape; in my opinion the most beautiful electric guitar shape ever created. And that SG shape can only look correct in the Cherry Red finish. As I said, I've wanted one of these for a long time. Dave's grinnin' ear-to-ear now!
I finally got a pickup for this thing that WORKS! (See my reviews of the Artec EBC4-CR 'mudbucker', then of the DiMarzio DP120 Model One pickups in this blog)
I was so bitterly disappointed with the Artec and its incredibly loud HUM (even though it's supposedly a humbucker). Then I got my hands on the DiMarzio, and now I'm in EB-0 Heaven. Go read the review! If you have an Epiphone EB-0 bass, you want one of these! Even if you have a current-model Gibson EB-0/EB-3, you want one. I've read that the Gibsons' pickups nowadays are nothing like they were of yore.