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1979 Martin EB-18

In the late 70's, C.F. Martin & Company decided to get into the electric guitar and electric bass game.  Since I was born in the same year that this bass was made, I can't really commentate on how it was perceived.  All I know is it couldn't have made that big of a splash in the market because they stopped making this bass a few years later.  Everything I've read about the EB-18 is that it looked "too plain", "didn't stand out", etc. so Martin decided to nix the electric bass and focus on acoustic instruments.

For me, I took a chance and bought this bass partly because of it's unique features.  I've always been a fan of Martin acoustic guitars, so I wanted to get my hands on a Martin bass.  The interesting headstock and bodyshape always bring out the questions and comments when I play this bass live.  The headstock is stamped with "CFM" on the front, and the back has the full "C.F. Martin & Co." logo.  The logo is also woodburned into the neckjoint.  I found this one through an online consignment store and luckily it came from a single owner, and looked like it had been in storage for the last twenty years.  Since I took a chance on buying this bass, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from it.  When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the accessories on this bass. 

It came stock with a Leo Quan Badass bridge, Schaller tuners, and a brass nut - giving this bass a very solid and big tone.  Right out of the case the neck needed zero adjustments, the frets were in great shape, and when I set it up, the intonation was almost dead on.  I guess it holds true that if you build it well and use good materials, it should hold up like that over 30 years.

One of the strongest features on this bass is the pickup.  It came with a single DiMarzio DP120 humbucking pickup, one volume knob, one tone knob, and a toggle switch.  The best part is the toggle switch.  It cuts out one of the coils in the pickup taking the tone from bright and crisp to super bassy.  For me, it's like having a Fender Jazz and a P-bass in one.  It makes for one versatile sounding bass for long gigs.  I use Ernie Ball Flatwound strings to give me that old school, Motown sound and to help prolong the neck and fret life so this bass can stay in the roatation for another thirty years!

I've seen varying reports of how many were actually produced, but it seems to fall between 800-1100 total.  Martin stopped production on the EB-18 in 1983.  If you run across this bass on eBay or find one in a pawn shop, I would definitely buy it.  It's a well-built, unique bass with a very versatile tone...and it just looks cool.


Reader Comments (2)

Hi Guys
I have had one of these EB18 One pickup, for 15 years under my bed in the hard case in good nick if intrested get in touch

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMurray Moses

I have a Martin bass I can sell

May 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterReeder

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