Sound — 8
I play in a sabbathy, zep-esque, hendrix-y, cream etc classic rock band, and the heavy thunder this produces is absolutely necessary for blowing peoples minds and moving the floor! I find it superb for giving the guitar plenty of backing as we are only a 3-piece, though I still use my Fender P-Bass in the studio, as I find it easier to play and the tone of the pickups is more natural, so we can use the studio to make it sound like the SG with much more ease. Live though, the SG rocks over the P-Bass every day of the week!
Overall Impression — 8
I love the bass and for my style of music is perfect. I have been playing bass 4 years, and in the current band for 18 months. It has seen a lot of life and is still carrying on, whilst the guitarist has been through countless guitars. If I lost it or completely broke it, I would be sure to buy another one, though I would probably check denmark street for an old 60s/70s P-Bass first, I find they also have a great sound. Though it could only be an old one, and even then I would most likely get another EB-3, especially if they hd a Vintage one!! I love it all over, but the sound is perfect in my ears. It sounds so low, and at gigs people have commented on it sounding below the kick drum! The weight is heavy which I like, as it makes me feel like I'm playing a big beast. The long neck is also very nice, and the fact that not many people play EB-3s (all have PBs/JBs/MM's/Ibanez's) makes it look quite exclusive, and gives the band a good image as an retro classic rock band. The only thing it could feature to improve it could be possibly a slightly beefier pickup at the bridge, as much as the mini HB is useful as a top end helper for the sidewinder, it can't hold out on it's own at all.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It's a very solid bass, and everything on it seems very sturdy, though I often have to tighten the strap buttons. They are also very small, I changed them for some bigger ones. Because of it's very tight fit in the case I can't use strap locks as they are too much hassle, I just carry a screwdriver about to tighten before gigs, and sometimes if we're doing a long one I tighten it halfway through. It's all rugged otherwise, and the finish is fine, it has also put up with belt buckle rash very well, only a small few scratches and small paint dents, nothing else. However, I still carry it in it's hard case to be sure.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory set up is good, though the shop gave it a checkover and small fixes to get it perfect. It's always played superbly, and the strings have last well, and I've never had to make any repairs to it, so I; ll leave this one as perfect! The pickups are good heights as recieved, and the strings included are very good quality.
Features — 9
Mine's a 2005 model, made in Japan (I believe), and features 22 frets, all very big. Frets 1-5 so big in fact that low end soloing is only available to people with big hands. The bass body is all one piece, and is surprisingly thin for the overall size of the bass, which in all angles strikes you as a big bass. Don't know off the top of my head what woods make it, and it's finished in classic SG Cherry Red (the only SG colour if you ask me). It's a very strong SG looking thing, unlike the LP bass which doesnt't really look like a LP. It's the big beefed up Gibson bass bridge, found only on EB's and LP's and the semis such as the rivioli and jack cassady. It's extremely stable and based on the Tune-O-Matic, as also found on Gibson SGs/LPs/Semis. (and others). All the electronics are passive, which is good because the sidewinder humbucker at neck sounds mighty already! You get Gibson Standard control layout of 2 volumes 2 tones, as well as a rotary pickup knob. I find this a downfall of the bass, whilst looking nice is hard to change as quickly as a flick Switch. I leave it on position 2 anyway. Pickups wise you get a Gibson Sidewinder Humbucker (massive in both size and sound) and a Gibson Mini Humbucker, which basically is totally useless if you want your SG bass to sound like an SG bass. Using only the minihumbucker sounds like using a cheap jazz bass, though combined with the sidewinder adds a scent of highs, which is necessary as the sidewinder is all bass and lo mid. Tuners are standard Gibbo tuners, and included in the box you get a bass, though a specially designed EB-3 case is available, though I prefer the "coffin case" you can buy for about 80.