Sound — 9
I play prog rock (a la marillion) thru prog metal (a-la Dream Theater). The HBB5000 ably handles all ranges required by my style and produces tones ranging from a full, round bottom end to a crisp grinding top end and a combination of both using the EQ pots to their full advantage. To qualify this part of the review, my rig is a Trace Elliot AH300-7 head driving a TE 4x10 cab with horn and a Peavey 1x15 cab. I currently use no effects.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall this 220 bass looks, feels and sounds like it should be double the price. It suits my prog style very nicely and complements my modern-design Fender 5 string and my Tobias 5-string very well. Before buying I considered similar looking and sounding Ibanez, Peavey and Tobias basses but the HBB5000 offered far superior value for money. I have genuinely yet to find a dislike with this bass and a stampede of wild horses (or a big lottery win) would struggle to part me from it. If you're looking for this kind of instrument consider it! There are many inferior models out there for the same, and more, money!
Reliability & Durability — 9
The standard of fit and finish, the quality of the hardware and the general feel of this bass leads me to believe that this is a bass which will pass the gigging test, although until we tour in April 06 I will not have tested this. I have replaced the factory-fit strap buttons with snap-locking ones but this is due to my personal preference, not a fault of the instrument, as I sometimes use several basses during any one gig.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
As mentioned above, the bass arrived very nicely set up with a nice low action. The pickups are set quite high. Anyone who has an aggressive finger-picking style may want to lower them to avoid physical contact between the neck puckup and the strings. Generally I can genuinely say that the fit and finish of the bass belies it's price and puts to shame some more expensive instruments. The satin finish to all timber surfaces is excellent and flaw-free on careful inspection. All hardware is mounted tightly, square and true to the axis of the instrument giving further confidence in the care taken in it's design and manufacture. I'm hard pushed to find a negative comment - if I had to criticise the HBB5000 it is that the neck is perhaps a little on the "thick" side but I've found that this does not hinder my playing in any way. 3-way EQ controls would also have been nice rather than 2-way but at the price this is hard to criticise.
Features — 9
Basic spec: 5-string bass guitar, 5 piece neck with mahagony/maple, thru body construction, rosewood fingerboard, 24 medium frets, saddle width 46mm, Scale 86cm, die-cast machine heads, active EQ, vol., balance, treble and bass controls, 2 humbuckers, satin chrome hardware, body mahagony core with BubingaBird's Eye top and back. This bass is highly reminiscent of the classic Tobias design, pronounced narrow body horns, satin natural wood finish with the five-piece neck running fully thru. The un-branded hardware is all satin finish chrome and is of good quality. The machines are solidly constructed and hold tuning. The bridge is particularly impressive, the strings are anchored thru-body threaded from the rear and the bridge pieces are individually lockable once intonation is sorted. Two un-branded h/b pickups generate the sound, are securely fitted and appear to be of good quality construction. My example arrived extremely well set-up. Action is low but fret buzz is very minimal for all strings at all fret positions. A set of three allen keys was included in the package taking care of all adjustment requirements although my example required no adjustment at all out-of-the-box.