Limited to 100 units worldwide, and sure to be a collector’s item in any household across the land where there is a Kiss pinball machine in the lounge, this EB-0 has a compact frame but a might tone. You might even call it thunderous, depending on how you adjust your bass amp.
It has a solid mahogany body, with a double-cutaway shape. Later EB-series models would expose the entire fingerboard but here all the frets up to the 17th are made available, and that might just be enough for those heady occasions when Dr Love prescribes a bass solo (for your insomnia?), or a more cavalier bass line that marches up and down the fingerboard.
Said fingerboard has a 12” radius as per Gibson house style, and comprises Indian rosewood. Acrylic dots count out the frets to 20. The frets are low-profile.
We have seen Gibson and Simmons collaborate before, most recently with the G2 Thunderbird, a thoroughly impressive four-string – particularly for rock bassists – but this ups the ante considerably. It is also a first for the Gibson Custom Shop; it has never made a short-scale bass for wider release.
- Classic interview: KISS' Gene Simmons – “Studio bassists who play with their fingers live have no idea that we can’t hear what they’re playing”
The Gene Simmons EB-0 has a 30.5” scale, much like the others of the time. But the original EB-0s had their quirks. The pickup was an acquired taste, and as such acquired some unflattering nicknames, such as “mudbucker”. Nonetheless, it found its fans, only Simmons was not one of them.
He not only swapped out the stock pickup but relocated it closer to the bridge. The bridge itself was swapped out too, and these changes are unsurprisingly included here, with a Kluson High-Mass bridge allowing the strings to be strung through the body or top-loaded, and that pickup is a Rhythm SG pickup that’s noticeably closer to the bridge than neck.
The originals had banjo-style tuners. Here, as on Simmons’ 1959 model, there are a set of Grover Mini Bass tuners. Other upgrades for the Demon include white single-ply binding on the body’s top, a custom four-ply pickguard.
This is the sort of bass that should come with a dry ice machine and pyro but you know how health and safety edicts are today. You’ll just have to content yourself with a signed certificate of authenticity and a custom hardshell guitar case.
Other details to note are the Switchcraft output jack, and if you’re of a mind to look under the hood you’ll discover that Gibson has used CTS pots and a ceramic capacitor for the volume and tone controls.
The “Gene” signature on the truss rod cover is also non-vintage and the rock icon’s signature graces the rear of the headstock.
The Gene Simmons EB-0 is available now, finished in Ebony, and priced £7,199 / £6,499. See Gibson for more details.