The Best Cheap Bass Guitars That Don’t Sacrifice Quality
Many young musicians pick the bass guitar because talented bassists make waves online. This guide is meant to help first-time buyers or their parents pick an excellent starter bass guitar that is rated well and costs less than $300.
This guide will benefit people who want budget bass guitars and are multi-instrumentalists. Bassists who wish for an easy-to-play beater instrument should look into the top-rated short-scale basses in this March 2022 Edition.
This section features the long-scale and short-scale basses that have received the highest ratings and can be purchased from major retailers in the United States. Check out the playability advice in the things to consider section if you are unsure of the scale length.
The Best Budget Bass Guitars
1. Squier Mini Precision Bass (Short Scale)
The Fender Precision bass is a type of bass that is popular and remains one of the most copied instruments today.
The Squier Mini Precision is a smaller, more affordable version of the Precision bass (or P-bass). It has the same look and feels as a regular P-bass, but it is smaller and lighter, making it more comfortable to play. This configuration is ideal for young musicians and those who want an easy-to-play bass.
The Squier Mini Precision Bass is an excellent choice for young players. It also makes a good addition for anyone who wants a comfortable bass to play around at home. Depending on the color, it has a maple neck with a laurel or maple fingerboard. And it has a satin finish applied to the neck. It makes the playing feel smoother and more relaxed. Finally, it features the iconic split-single-coil pickup, which produces the familiar P-bass-style tones that work well. In blues, R&B, pop, funk, and other musical genres.
2. Ibanez Gio GSR100EX
When it comes to non-traditional bass guitars, the Ibanez Soundgear series is hard to beat. I have seen many used on stages and events, and some of the best bassists often play them.
The GSR100EX is part of this series, and it has a contoured body and feels fast to play. It also has streamlined hardware, which makes it more affordable.
The Ibanez GSR100EX is designed for a fast-playing feel. It has a neck that has a thin profile, and the fingerboard has a flat radius. Playing is simplified as a result. Additionally, the body shape is one of a kind. It has a cutaway that makes it easy to reach the upper frets. This bass also has a basic single-humbucker configuration with volume and tone knobs. It makes it easier for beginners to focus on playing without being distracted by too many controls.
The humbucker pickup on this bass guitar provides a beefy low-end that is perfect for contemporary styles of music. The Ibanez Gio GSR100EX is a good starter bass that will appeal to modern music fans.
3. Fender Squier Bronco Bass (Short Scale)
The Fender Squier Bronco is a bass guitar with a single-coil pickup for guitars.
Although it doesn’t say this in its marketing specs, you can open up the pickguard of the Bronco to find a regular 6-pole single coil pickup.
Many people love its vintage style and trebly tone. Some have even used it as a base for modifications, including swapping out the 6-pole ceramic pickup for a rail pickup to improve tone and response.
This bass guitar is unique because it has a particular pickup configuration. It also has a different-looking body that is thinner and lighter than average. It makes it easier for beginners to play because the string feel is slacker. It also has basic hardware, such as a 2-saddle bridge and sealed die-cast tuners.
The current version of the Bronco bass has a poplar wood body instead of agathis wood like the previous version had. People who prefer trebly bass tones with less low-end will like this change. It is also a good starter or beater instrument for people who want the slacker feel of short-scale basses.
4. Ibanez TMB30 (Short Scale)
The TMB30 is an offset-body bass guitar that is lightweight and stylish. It has a cutaway so you can reach the higher frets easily. The scale length of the fingerboard is shorter than usual, which makes the instrument feel different to play and look different from other bass guitars.
The Ibanez TMB30 has two pickups: a Jazz bass style pickup in the bridge position and a split single coil Precision style pickup in the middle. It gives you more sonic options than if it only had one pickup.
This Ibanez TMB30 bass guitar has a rounder fingerboard that makes it easier to play. It also looks good. You should consider getting this bass guitar if you are a beginner or need a secondary instrument that is easy to play.
5. Yamaha TRBX174
The Yamaha TRBX174 is an excellent guitar for students. It has a classic P/J pickup configuration, and it also looks modern. It’s essential to have a good fingerboard if you want to play well, and this guitar has a long 24-fret fingerboard.
Some people think that having 24 frets is too many, but it is a standard feature for people who play modern music styles. The rosewood fretboard has a radius of 10 inches. It also has a 5-piece maple/mahogany neck. This neck is designed to be strong enough to handle heavy string sets used in alternate tunings. It also has a comfortable feel, which you would expect from a Yamaha-branded instrument.
The P/J (Precision Split Coil + Jazz Bass style pickups) configuration is popular among bassists because it allows them to change tones on their instrument quickly. This setup comes with dedicated volume knobs and a single-tone knob.
If you’re looking for a quality student bass, Yamaha is a great brand.
6. Ibanez TMB100
Most bass guitars in this price range have similar components. But Ibanez went above and beyond with the TMB-100. It’s a great-looking full-size 34″ scale bass with dual P/J configuration pickups and active 2-band EQ. “Active” EQ means that the Treble and Bass EQ knobs are powered by a 9V battery inserted via a back compartment.
Passive EQs can only cut or reduce the signal. “Active” EQ can boost the signal, which can be used to emphasize certain treble and bass frequencies. It can make a lot of different sounds that can be used in many kinds of music.
Unfortunately, some thought this bass had active pickups because of the battery compartment. But only the EQ is turned on.
The controls on this guitar are designed very well. There are two knobs that each have two rotary controls wrapped around them. This way, it looks like there are only two knobs, but you can control the volume and balance of the pickups and the treble and bass levels with those knobs.
This bass guitar has a distinctly retro appearance. It resembles a cross between a Sting Ray and a Mustang. The body is also lightweight and simple to use. Check out the Ibanez TMB100 if you’re looking for an affordable bass guitar with a distinct style.
7. Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II (Short Scale)
A short-scale bass guitar with an easy-to-play size, the Gretsch G2220 II Junior Jet is perfect for young musicians learning the instrument. The neck is crafted from maple and topped by a 12″ radius rosewood fingerboard. Beginners should find it simple and flat to play on this fingerboard.
It is a favorite among guitarists who occasionally play bass because of its short-scale neck and single-cutaway “Jet” profile body. It allows them to play bass parts with minimal adjustments on stage or for home recordings.
This bass guitar has two pickups that look like mini-humbuckers. But they are single-coil pickups. It gives the guitar vintage style tones that sound good with the slacker sound of its strings. Having two pickups expands the range of sounds you can create, making it possible to get a wider variety of bass tones.
This bass is a good option for those looking to increase their tone and playing options. It also has a nice appearance, a feature of many Gretsch instruments.
The Gretsch G2220 II Junior Jet is an unconventional-looking, short-scale bass guitar. It is straightforward, with volume, tone knob, and pickup selector controls. It is an excellent option if you want a nice short-scale bass guitar to add to your collection.
8. Davison Guitars Electric Bass Guitar
The Davison Guitars starter-pack option is a great way to get started playing bass. It includes everything you need, including a guitar amplifier. The teacher-approved, best-selling student model, has a reasonable price.
This electric bass guitar is full-sized and has a solid body design. It’s lightweight and comfortable to play with, with an old Strat-like body shape. The wood has good natural resonance and comes in a choice of classic black, dark blue, wood-grain, or a beautiful sunburst design. It’s fitted with dual split-coil (P-style) pickups and has two control knobs, making it easier for a beginner to tweak.
The sound of this bass guitar is pretty good for a beginner. It has a maple neck with a truss rod and an adjustable bridge, which makes it easy to play. It also comes with a range of accessories, including a cheap travel gig bag and a basic practice amp.
9. Goplus Electric Bass Guitar Full
Another electric guitar option is this Strat-inspired model from Goplus. It is a solid-bodied guitar with dual single-coil piezoelectric pickups. The onboard dials seem durable and have a little resistance when you turn them. They don’t feel as cheap as they are.
This guitar is well-made and has stable tuning keys that keep the strings in tune. It also has a tremolo bridge and an adjustable truss. The rosewood fretboard is smooth and has good action, making it easier for a beginner’s hand. It includes a few essential items, such as a gig bag, strap, cord, and pick.
10. Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar
This guitar is smaller than average and has slimmer fret spacing. This makes it comfortable to play for people with smaller hands or statures. The maple neck also makes the guitar faster and easier to walk around.
It has a familiar Ibanez exaggerated Strat body type with a comfy angled armrest. It is carved from solid poplar; it is compact and lightweight. It is equipped with the company’s Dynamix P pickup, which helps it serve some versatile tones. It has 3-band EQ and heavier-duty knobs, which adjust incrementally. The bridge allows for good adjustment though it plays pretty well straight out of the box.
It comes in a range of 9 diverse color choices; we particularly like the conservative walnut finish and the eye-catching, outlandish metallic purple.
11. Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015
This electric bass guitar is made of solid wood and has pickups that let you choose the tone you want. It has a rosewood fingerboard with white dot inlays to help you find your way around the neck. The truss rod and bridge are adjustable, making it easy to play.
The Jack connection is on the front, below the pickups. The Tuning keys are on each side of the headstock and are accurately made. It comes in a range of trendy and retro color combinations and is expertly manufactured.
12. Yoshioe Electric Bass Guitar Full Size
The next option is a cheap electric bass. It looks like a Stratocaster, and it is well-manufactured. People seem to like it.
This guitar has a typical P-style pickup and dual dial controls to shape your sound. It has a solid basswood body, giving it a good acoustic tone and impressive sustain. It is very low-profile and easy to play with, though the neck seems slightly heavier than its lighter body. It has an adjustable bridge and truss rod; it comes with keys and a cord to plug in and is available in various styles.
13. Crescent Electric Bass Guitar Starter
This bass guitar is a good choice for a beginner. It is well-made for a less expensive model, and it has a lightweight solid basswood body that looks like a Stratocaster.
This guitar is full-size and a little larger than average. It has split single-coil pickups and a built-in preamp. This lets you control the volume and tone. You can still play this guitar well, but it has more tonal-quality options.
If you want to buy a guitar and some accessories, buying them together is a good idea. This will give you extra value and is ideal as a gift or for beginners. Some of the accessories that come with the guitar are a gig bag, strap, picks, spare strings, and an all-important free tuner. The fingerboard on the guitar is smooth and in good condition. It has a fixed bridge and an adjustable truss rod, and the tuning keys seem strong and hold the tension well.
Things to Consider When Buying a Cheap Bass Guitar
Body Shape, Finish, and Weight
Bass guitars are usually quite heavy, so it is important to be aware of this before you buy one. It is also important to choose a comfortable guitar based on its size and shape.
But it’s not just about being comfortable. A bass guitar that looks appealing to the eyes can make a difference between practicing because you have to and practicing because you want to. So it is essential to get the look you or your child prefers – right at the start. If you’re unsure which style to choose, it’s best to purchase a bass that resembles that of your favorite bassists.
How well a bass guitar plays depends on a lot of things. One of these is the length of the scale. The space between the nut and the bridge is the scale length of a guitar. The most common scale length for bass guitars is 34 inches because it strikes a good balance between string tension and tone. Other bass guitars can have a scale length as short as 30 inches or less, which reduces string tension and makes the guitar easier to play.
When choosing a guitar, the fingerboard radius is a significant specification. It is the curvature or flatness of the fingerboard. Most of them look flat, but if you look closer, you will see that they curve outwards. The higher the radius, the flatter the fingerboard. Ibanez is well-known for its 12-string guitars “One of the flattest fingerboard radius options available. Traditional bases have a smaller radius, resulting in more curves. 12 is slimmer. “Fingerboards with and up are ideal for beginners and younger players.
The nut width is the distance between the strings. Smaller hands can more easily reach each string, the narrower it is. The contour of the neck’s back is known as the neck profile. It is simpler to play the instrument, the thinner and flatter it is. However, some individuals prefer thicker necks for better grip. Reaching the higher frets is made simpler by a bass guitar’s good cutaway at the neck joint.
String action is how high the strings are above the fretboard. The height of the string can be different for each instrument. For beginners, you want low action, but not so low that it causes buzzing sounds when you play.
Some buyers find that new bass guitars make a “fret buzz.”Although it cannot be enjoyable, it can be corrected by increasing the action (adjusting the strings so they are higher off the fretboard). Some people prefer slightly raised action because it gives them better control of each note and makes the guitar sound better.
Pickups are critical components of electric instruments. They are responsible for the majority of the noise. Single-coil pickups produce a clear, detailed sound that replicates classic bass tones. Split-Single Coil pickups are often called “P” style pickups because they were first used in Fender’s Precision bass.
There are two popular pickups: the “J” and humbucking styles. The “J” style is short for Jazz bass pickups with two magnetic poles assigned per string. Humbuckers are frequently used in contemporary rock and metal and produce a warmer, fatter sound. Choose the pickup setup that your favorite bassists use if you lack experience or a specific preference.
The majority of basses in this price range have passive electronics and pickups. They don’t need a battery and have limited tone-shaping options. Active pickup and electronic bass instruments allow more tone shaping but require a 9V battery to function correctly.
Bass Amps, Cables, and Other Gear
If you want to use your bass guitar, you will need a cable and an amp. Bass guitars need a special line to work called a 1/4″ cable. You can also buy other gear to make your bass sound better. It includes pedals, preamps, PA systems, audio interfaces, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bass Guitars Cheap
The price of a bass guitar is determined by its brand, material, construction quality, origin country, and model. Entry-level models cost between $200 and $500. More expensive models can cost up to $15,000. Some good entry-level brands are Yamaha, Squire, Epiphone, and Ibanez.
A bass guitar can vary greatly, from under $150 to $1,500. When choosing a bass guitar, you must consider your budget and what you are willing to spend. Many excellent starter bass guitars are affordable and still offer high-quality sound.
The bass is a different instrument than the electric guitar. It has a different knowledge base and skill set that you need to learn. Playing the bass might be a good option if you can’t play the guitar. This myth is connected to the one above it.
A beginner can purchase a bass that is of good quality for between $200 and $350. It is often enough to buy a starting set, including everything you need to play the bass.
A full-size 34″ long scale bass guitar will be good for most people who are 5’5″ to 6’6″ tall. A 36″ extra-long scale bass guitar will be better for taller people. The 30″ short-scale bass guitar may be better for adults and teenagers under 5’5″ soaring. And a (3/4 size) 28.5″ scale bass guitar will be good for kids or small kids.
There is a significant price disparity between bass guitars. Prices for entry-level models range anywhere from $200 to $500. Mid-level models cost between $500 and $1500. The price of high-end models can reach up to or even exceed $15,000.
This guitar features three single-coil alnico pickups designed by Fender. The five-way blade switch allows you to select from a variety of tones. The “C”-shaped maple neck delivers outstanding Strat performance. It has a standard scale length of 25.5 inches and a 21-fret fingerboard with a 9.5-inch radius.
The Fender Jazz Bass is Leo Fender’s second model of the electric bass. It differs from the Precision Bass because it has a brighter and richer tone that does not emphasize the fundamental frequency as much.