When Gibson rolled out the exciting new semi-hollowbody ES-335 in 1958, they also released the EB-2: an electric bass that shared the same shape and semi-hollow design. Although the EB-2 was never a commercially successful model, Willie Moseley of Vintage Guitar magazine once wrote that the model was "Gibson's biggest bass invention."
The combination of a short scale, semi-hollow body and "Sidewinder" humbucker pickup give the EB-2 a powerful, punchy tone. The 30.5" scale isn't quite as short as others, but it gives you all of the short-scale benefits (added resonance from lower tension, closer reach on the fingerboard, etc). Because the it is located in the neck position, the overwound Sidewinder humbucker is thick and dark. Onboard volume and tone controls help you wrangle the powerful high inductance of the pickup, and in the '60s, a "Baritone" switch was added to cut bass and deliver a brighter tone. Also in the mid-'60s, an interesting mute system was added the bridge. When you activate the mute, it deadens the sustain so you can get more of a pizzicato sound.
This 1968 Gibson EB-2 has been nicely preserved over the years. Its tone is thunderous, but thanks to the short scale/semi-hollow combo, it's not overly heavy (9 lbs 1.7 oz). There is a chip out of one side of the peghead and some black paint so it wouldn't be as obvious. Otherwise, the finish is all original, and age-appropriate finish checking adds the authentic mojo of a vintage instrument. There are two small screw holes right by each f-hole—possibly from an old finger/thumb rest? The bass-side hole is visible, but the hole on the treble side is covered up by the pickguard. Speaking of the pickguard, how cool is that old Norlin-era logo? The electronics and hardware appear to be 100% original as well, but the Baritone switch is no longer functional. It doesn't produce any noise or static, but it doesn't affect the tone when you push it.
This '68 EB-2 plays smooth and fast all the way up the neck. The short scale and slim taper makes it easy to move up the neck and play across the strings, but—as you might expect from Gibson—it has a full-feeling C-shape neck. On a strap, it feels nicely balanced and not too neck heavy. This 1968 EB-2 is a seriously cool bass, and it includes its original case, which unfortunately is missing the handle.