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Mac’s 67 Gibson EBO “Restomod”

Repair work is a tricky business and getting good at it should never be done with a customer’s property. Further, and to that end, restorations and modifications should always be done with apprehension as some guitars will increase in value if left alone or go down in value if altered. After years of no repair work it has become obvious that doing some repairs was something that we needed to start doing again. I have never liked doing repair stuff because it is usually the same boring crap over and over again… that sounds like a job and not a lot of fun, so, I didn’t do it except in very rare instances and only for friends who begged me and were willing to let projects sit for a long time. Because I was forced to get a business license for the how-to video’s (yes, we have to pay taxes on any and all the money we make doing those) it seemed like a good idea to add musical instrument repair to the description of work being done here in the shop. Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to fill my days with a bunch of string changes for beer money. I plan on turning away all the lame stuff and focusing on the jobs that I think will be challenging and fun. Of course, if friends continue to beg me and are willing to let projects sit for a long time all the better. The first project I decided to undertake was for my good friend Mac. You have seen him in videos before and he is one of my most aggressive cheer leaders. He plays Texas Toast basses almost exclusively and plays out over 100 shows a year. Anyway, he has a 69 Gibson EBO bass that he has owned for many, many years. As of 2019 these basses have been selling for under 1000 so they aren’t, exactly, Holy Grail instruments. To make matters worse Mac’s bass was modified back in the 70’s to make it sound a little more like a Fender. Now… those of you without sin can cast the first stone but remember that there was a time when what is now considered vintage was just considered old. I have seen it quite a bit and am guilty of even doing it a few times. This bass had lots of standard 1970’s era “upgrades”. At some point the original Gibson bridge was replaced with a Leo Quan Bad Ass and the original pickup was replaced with a DiMarzio unit. Another DiMarzio P-Bass pickup was added along with lots of new controls including micro-switches a-la BC Rich. Fortunately, the case wasn’t lined with thick orange shag carpeting. By the time I first saw the bass it was loaded with cracks in the finish and the wood. The paint was flaking off the headstock and the Gibson Logo was more of an “ibson”. It would need some serious work just to make it structurally stable and even more to make it look right again. Mac and I talked about what the best course of action for this poor bass was, notice I didn’t say easiest, cheapest or most sensible options. The hardest part of our plan was convincing Chris that it was a good idea. The rest would be lots of fun (for me at least) and be a great way to dive back into the world of guitar repair. We lifted the term retomod from the automotive industry and since their description fits so well in this application here is a link to some guys, I bet I would like to hang out and drink beers with… We decided that this Gibson EBO needed to be brought back to life. Not because of its pedigree but because of its history. Mac told me that this bass is the one that he has owned the longest and has a lot of sentimental value. I’m a sucker for stories like that and really dig the idea of de-turding old guitars that have gone through the kitchen table modification process. Our big plan In the first video I’ll show you what it looked like when I got it and before I start to work on it. I disassemble and store all the parts for future sale. They may or may not be worth much, but we will not be using them again.