Been working on this off and on for years, keeping it mostly to myself, and now it's finally done!
I wanted a clone of Phil's custom modded and painted EB3:
Five and a half years ago I found a genuine 1969 EB0 on ebay. It's identical to an EB3 except they gave the EB3 an extra pickup and two or three extra knobs. (both basses share the exact body dimensions of an SG, they are tiny by bass standards!) The 1969 EB0 was the most common of the Gibson EB-series basses and this example was enough of a basket case that I didn't have to feel at all bad about modifying it to suit my needs instead of giving it a proper restoration back to its original condition. Whatever this bass's previous story is, it's lost to the world now.
Logos completely destroyed on the headstock:
That was the first order of business for me. I sent it to Cliff at Shark Inlay and he did a fantastic job! After some debate we decided to do something a little more interesting than the stock "crown" logo in the center of the headstock, and I'm glad we did. Cliff's work is stunning! http://sharkinlay.com/headstocks.htm
Then the bass was off to my dad, who did a full refinish and modified the bass to EB3 specs.
He started with the back of the headstock, filled in the tuner mounting holes since we'd be using the same Gotoh GB7 tuners that Phil had added to his:
And added a mahogany veneer and even restamped the original serial number into it! It was tough to read with how thoroughly the bass had been sanded, but a few rubbings revealed most of the digits clearly enough to indicate it's a legit 1969.
Next came grain filling and an absolutely perfect (and stunning!) cherry finish. I believe he used supplies from guitar reranch but it's been a few years and he lives in MN compared to my Boston. Might have been Stew Mac instead.http://www.reranch.com/
My mom has always been a great painter, so I knew she'd do a great job of recreating Bob Thomas's (most likely) original custom paint job. It came out even better than I expected!
It really came alive when my dad added the clearcoat and built the pickguard from scratch. (you can't buy them anywhere it seems!)
I tracked down a vintage bridge that was missing the incredibly narrow saddles, having been unable to find or build a suitable replacement. From there it needed a tailpiece, it was a horrible design when stock, nicknamed the "evertilt", since it would easily pitch forward under string tension. I had Jordan Giangreco (a fantastic keyboard player! Plays with The Breakfast and Viral Sound and Legion of Jerry and sometimes the Garcia Project and nails everything he does.) build some saddles for it and the tailpiece and it came out great! From there my friend Ben Sloan finished up the final assembly and setup, and wired it up passively. It's not quite the setup Phil had with emitter-followers added and all that custom stuff... maybe someday that can happen. For now I'm pretty happy with it as it sits.
Next to an SG for comparison. I found a slightly roomy electric guitar case for it and it fits!
I left the truss rod cover off to match Phil's bass for now although it might look nicer if I added it.
To see the pics that got cut off due to screen size, they're all hosted here: http://imgur.com/a/ndszn