I play mostly rock/alt-rock and I am new to lap steels in general. This suits my desire to try new instruments and add them to the music I write and play. The EA-3 doesn't seem to be noisy but can sound a little thin using just a plain DI. I've had better luck using it with a Twin Reverb and having the Reverb cranked up. With that setup, the EA-3 gets good country tones that sound super sweet. I've also had good luck with using high end DIs or preamp like the Chandler Germanium and Summit tube preamp. Any good preamp with some color or character seems to help beef up the sound of the little pickup. The strings that came on it were a bit thin and changing them out for a thicker Morrell lap steel set worked great. This little steel should be great for studio recording or gigs if the tuners hold up! I don't think there are any other parts that could wear out and give trouble in use though.
Seems pretty well built for the money. Lap Steels in general are such simple instruments, it's seems like they would be hard to damage. I don't care about finish wear on something like this. If I like playing this enough, I might buy a fancier looking one, but for me right now, this should stand up to anything I want it to do.
Overall, I have really enjoyed playing the EA-3. It seems to stay in tune and sounds good for the money. Great beginner instrument for little money and I'm sure even an experienced player could play one of these if they were on a budget. It's no Gibson, but not a bad little lap steel.