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Dating an old SG bass...


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Without pictures it's a bit tough to be certain. My guess would be a 1961-62 EB-3. The six digit serial numbers started in 1963, yours is a five digit. 1961 is the first year the EB-3 was sold. only the earliest had the black Bakelite pickup cover. You can check the pot code to fine tune it a little closer. 1376122 = 137-CTS, 61-1961 & 22-22nd week of the year. It's possible that the pots could be Centralab. The first three digits would be 134. It should have 7 digits, but if it only has 6, 4th digit would represent the year (1=61) and the last 2 would be the week it was manufactured. Gibson guitar pots are usually pretty close to the manufacturing date. Fender was known to buy up large quantities, so the pots could be a couple years older than the guitar. You likely have one of the very earliest EB-3's! Congrats!

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  • 3 years later...

I've been trying to get some information on my old Gibson EB 3 bass.  Some details: It's a walnut finish, and it's got the slotted head stock 'banjo style' tuners,  with gold Gibson logo stamped on the front. Serial number 955079 is on the back of the head stock. There is no "Made in USA" stamp.  I was told when I bought it that the bass was a 1968 or 1969.  The one distinguishing feature is the pickup switch.  This one is a simple toggle switch, rather than the black 'chicken head' selector switch that I've seen on every other model from this era ('69-'71).   It's got the two humbucker pickups- the regular size at the bridge, and the big *** 'mudbucker' at the neck position.  The pickups do not have 'Gibson' etched onto them.  Does anyone know if there's a way to track the specific date of manufacture, other than from the serial number? There are no dates anywhere inside the back circuitry, as far as I can tell.  Any and all help would be greatly appreciated! 
Thanks.
~Joe

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The slotted headstock narrows it down quite a bite. My book says it started late 1969, it didn’t last too many years. A lot of people converted an EB-0 to an EB-3 by adding the second pickup & a toggle switch. I’ve never seen one come from the factory with a toggle switch thought it could have been altered. If you can see one of the pot codes, that will help narrow it down. 1376942 (example), 137=CTS, 69=year pot manufactured & 42=week of year manufactured.

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Thanks for the reply. I spoke with the fellow I bought it from, and he says he did no modifications to it. As mentioned, the pickup switch is the only thing that appears different from all other models from this period. My best guess is that it was made in very late 1969, just before they changed over to the black 'selector switch' for the pickups.  When  you say pot codes, I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Where might I find those? Under the back plate cover?  I'll try and load an image, though the size limitation is quite small.

Gibson EB 3 pickup switch 1.jpg

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Ok, I looked up 'reading guitar potentiometers' and took the back off again.  As far as I can read, it appears to be '1377018', which would indicate a 'CTS' 1970 model, from week 18.  Still haven't seen another one like this, with the simple white toggle switch.  But thanks again Grog, for helping me out with solving this long held mystery!
 

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