Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, many great bass guitars are available today. The best bass guitars have excellent build quality and consistency. Still, with so many choices, it can be challenging to narrow down your options.
Even though bass guitars are often joked about by electric guitarists, they are essential in any band. The bass guitarist sits away from the spotlight and provides the rhythm for the song. They also make sure that all of the instruments sound good together. You might not always notice them, but you would miss them if they were gone! This article has compiled a list of the best bass guitars currently available. We have also included some buying advice so you can purchase confidently.
17 Best Bass Guitars
1. Fender Vintera ‘50s Precision Bass
The P-Bass was the first bass guitar to be successful in the commercial market. It was introduced in 1951 and is still popular today because of its versatility and great sound. This Fender Precision Bass is designed to capture the original sound of the P-Bass but with modern build quality and components.
This P-Bass sounds just like you would expect it to. It has a deep, warm sound and a strong mid-range presence. It lets it cut through any mix beautifully. It has a straightforward pickup configuration with only one volume and tone control, but the tone knob is surprisingly versatile.
This fender jazz bass has subtle touches that make it look vintage. Screw holes have been drilled where the traditional finger rest and pickup cover would have been. It makes it look old-fashioned. Fender hardware is stable and tough, so it’s a good choice for people who want a simple instrument that is also versatile.
- Brilliant bass tones
- Stunning good looks
- No lefty option
- Lots of great basses at this price
2. Sterling by Music Man StingRay4
The full-fat Music Man StingRay bass is a popular choice for bassists, but it is expensive. The Sterling by Music Man StingRay4 is much more affordable and gets close to the look and sound of the more expensive Bass.
That sound is driving and clear. The active electronics give you a lot of output that sounds good with many styles of music. You also have tone sculpting options with the onboard EQ.
This interesting bass guitar has deep cutaways on the body that give you easy access to the upper frets. It is also lightweight, so carrying it around during rehearsals won’t be a pain. The neck is also smooth and easy to play with, so you’ll want to keep returning. You won’t find a better bass guitar at this price point.
- Powerful pickups
- Playable neck
- Not best to slap
- Tuners could be better
3. Epiphone Thunderbird 60s Bass
Are you looking to make a statement at your next show? Check out the Epiphone Thunderbird 60s Bass. This Bass is not only visually stunning, but it also has a powerful sound that is perfect for rock and metal music.
Dual ProBucker #760 humbuckers provide a fat sound that lasts for a long time. You can mix the volumes of each pickup to get the perfect sound. Whether you need a warm, round tone or a more cutting treble tone, this guitar has it all.
This guitar has a neck-through design, making it easier to play the higher frets. It also feels good in your hand, even though it is fat. The hardware is very durable and can handle a lot of abuse. It also looks great, so you will want to take it on the road.
- Lovely vintage tones
- Stunning looks
- Looks could be divisive
- A little neck heavy
4. Ibanez SRMS805
Bass guitars have been around for a long time and used to look the same. But recently, they’ve changed. The Ibanez SRMS805 has a new design that is more comfortable to play with.
The Bartolini BH2 pickups are angled to help make your sound clearer. It is beneficial when you have a low B string in your mix. The pickups sound good when turned off, but they sound even better when turned on, and you have more power to work with.
The multi-scale neck design means the lower strings are longer, so the action is low. The higher strings are shorter, so they are ‘snappy.’ It is a marvel of modern bass guitar design and plays very well.
- Modern, punchy tone
- Extremely playable neck
- Too futuristic for some
- The neck takes some getting used to
5. Yamaha TRBX 305
Yamaha makes a lot of instruments, but they are especially famous for their bass guitars. The Yamaha TRBX 305 is a five-string bass guitar suitable for beginners or experienced musicians. It has a clean and clear tone with plenty of projection. The onboard EQ has five presets that have different cover styles of music.
This neck is a shallow ‘D’ profile. It’s simple to play, with a shorter scale length than you’d expect from a five-string. It is, therefore, ideal for beginners or those with a more diminutive stature.
- Super playable neck
- Great value for money
- No mid control
- Aimed at beginners
6. Hofner Ignition SE Violin Bass
The Hofner Ignition SE Violin Bass is an affordable option for bass guitar players who want an instrument that looks and sounds like the real thing. It has a distinctive look and sound, which will turn heads and make people take notice.
The unusual control panel can be a bit confusing at first. Still, once you understand how it works, you can use it to create many different sounds. If you switch to Rhythm mode, you’ll get lots of low end with that trademark violin bass thump. If you switch to Solo mode, the sound will be more mid-range heavy, with a lovely growl.
It is very lightweight thanks to its hollow body, which makes it comfortable for extended playing sessions. The short scale also improves the playability, making the fretboard feel far more comfortable for new guitarists or those with smaller dimensions.
- Playable short scale
- Iconic tones
- You don’t like the Beatles
- Strap buttons aren’t the best
7. Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazz Bass
The Squier Classic Vibe 60s Jazz Bass is a great bass guitar that offers excellent playability at a great price. This bass guitar is from Squier’s Classic Vibe series, which has delivered some great instruments, including this Jazz Bass.
The Jazz Bass is a famous guitar with a bright and trebly tone. It also has a lot of mid-range roars. It makes it sound rich and responsive. You can also choose different sounds from the two pickups because they each have its volume control.
This bass guitar is so playable because of its slim width neck. It makes it easy for your hands to explore the fretboard. The Bass feels like it is worth twice the price, and it would be an excellent choice for any bassist.
- Outstanding value for money
- Incredibly playable
- No lefty version
- Minor finishing blemishes
8. G&L Tribute L-2000
In 1965, Leo Fender had to leave his company because of illness. But once he got better, he didn’t waste any time returning to business. The G&L Tribute L-2000 bass guitar is a tribute to one of his more famous creations after he left Fender.
The L-2000 has a much higher output tone than older models. It is different than the famous J- and P-Bass sounds. This Bass is precise and thick. When you use the TriTone preamp, you can get a lot of different sounds. You can choose between series or parallel options, and there is also a two-band EQ.
The medium ‘C’ profile guitar’s Leo-designed Saddle Lock bridge allows you to lock the bridge saddles together. Side-to-side movement is reduced to help focus the overall sound and improve intonation and action. This design makes light work of various playing styles while still feeling nice and hefty in your hand.
- Legendary Leo Fender design
- Powerful USA-made pickups
- Quite weighty
- Unusual switching
9. Ibanez Talman TMB100
The Ibanez Talman TMB100 is a powerful bass guitar. Its pickups are mighty and can create a lot of sounds. You can change the sound of the guitar by using the controls.
The Talman has a versatile mixture of a split coil in the middle position and a J-Bass-type pickup in the bridge. This classic combination works beautifully with the stacked controls, which control volume and pickup balance. At the same time, the other is sculpting your EQ with Bass and treble. At the same time, the other is sculpting your EQ with Bass and treble.
The neck of this bass guitar is pretty chunky and comfortable. The body contours make it cozy to sit in, even though the neck dive can be a little problem when standing. This Bass is extraordinary for riffing in long rehearsal or recording sessions.
- Amazing value for money
- Comfortable and playable
- It might be too simple for some
- It might need a set-up
10. Yamaha BB735A
The Yamaha BB735 bass guitar offers professional quality and reliability. It has unique build features and superb electronics, making it versatile enough for almost any scenario.
The pickup configuration provides a smooth, full-bodied tone. You can use the 3-band EQ to change the bass sound to be more like vintage or modern sounds. It will help you stand out more when you are performing.
The build quality of Yamaha instruments is simply outstanding. The neck has six bolts and two that are angled at 45 degrees. It makes it very stable and able to handle aggressive playing.
- Versatile pickup configuration
- Super stable neck
- Not great for a slap
- No lefty version
11. Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special, Maple Fingerboard
The Fender Precision bass guitar has been around since the 1950s. Many people believe it is the best bass guitar ever produced. The company has had a lot of ups and downs, but they were at its best in the early 1960s. A few years later, they could have done better.
Since then, there have been good times and bad times, but it’s fair to say they never recreate that thundering bass sound of the early days. Today’s offerings are sufficient, though, in many respects, and we will look at this model.
If you are looking for a Precision with traditional passive single coil pickups at both the bridge and neck, you should look away now. This version has active split coil pickups at both the neck and bridge.
The idea behind this sound is to be new. The bridge pickup is more like a Jazz bass than a Precision bass. It has a three-band active EQ that lets you boost or cut the treble, mid and bass frequencies and an active/passive toggle switch.
The body of the guitar is made from Alder wood. The neck is made from Maple, and it feels good to play. It is well-constructed and made in Mexico. The sunburst finish on the guitar is beautiful.
- Well constructed.
- Nice playing action.
- Won’t suit those wanting a more conventional Precision sound.
12. Yamaha Bb734a Bb-Series
This Yamaha bass is a new version of the classic BB line. The body is made of Maple and Alder wood. It keeps the popular basic design shape, including the body contour that makes it comfortable to hold for the proper arm rest.
There is a new neck design. It is a five-piece mahogany and maple wood affair with six bolts to make it stronger. The fingerboard is rosewood with 21 frets and some inlays.
This guitar is a little smaller than other guitars, which makes it more playable. It is well-constructed, like all Yamaha guitars, and the hardware is suitable without being too fancy. The tuners are open and lightweight, and the guitar is strung through the body with a Vintage Plus bridge. This is all basic stuff but also very efficient and reliable.
This guitar lets you have both active and passive pickups. This way, you can get different sounds from the same guitar. The guitar has two V7 pickups with a single coil at the bridge and a split coil at the neck. You can control the sound with a master volume and three-band equalizer, plus a pickup blend control to mix the two sounds. There’s also a switch to go between active and passive circuits quickly.
This bass guitar is well-built and has a variety of sounds. It also comes from a thoroughbred design that has been around for a while. It’s versatile and great for the price.
- Well constructed.
- Has a wide range of tonal options.
- Not expensive.
- Slightly small for those that might want a bigger size.
13. Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar Trbx304 Mgr
This Yamaha bass guitar is a good option for people who want a quality instrument but don’t want to spend too much money. It has a solid mahogany body that is shaped and contoured to make it comfortable and easy to play with. Yamaha put some thought into making this guitar easy and enjoyable to use.
This guitar is surprisingly well-balanced for a budget guitar. It feels comfortable whether you are standing or sitting. It only weighs thirteen pounds, so it is easy to handle. The neck comprises five-piece Maple and mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and a very stable bolt-on neck. When you stand back and consider this guitar, it just looks right. When you pick it up, it feels right as well.
The two M3 humbuckers create rich tones. The guitar can be played in either passive or active mode, but the passive option is dull and quiet. The humbuckers work better in the dynamic way to create the tones this guitar was built for.
This bass has exciting design features. One is the contour on the top of the pickups, allowing your thumb to rest comfortably while you’re playing. Another is that it isn’t all about volume – it also has a softer side using the neck pickup, which is mellow and warm.
The onboard controls on this guitar are attractive. You can control the volume and tone as usual, but there is also an active EQ with five different style options. This will change the essential tonal quality of what you are playing, but you will still have room to tweak the sound. The strings are well-spaced, so playing slap or fingerstyle techniques is more accessible.
- Nice playing action.
- Well constructed.
- The pickups are a little inefficient in passive mode.
14. G&L Tribute Jb2
This bass guitar doesn’t look very special when you first see it. But if you look closer, you can see the similarities between it and early Fender guitars. We won’t list them all for you, but we’re sure you’ll notice them yourself if you pick up the guitar.
The body is made from wood that comes from the swamp. The wood is shaped, so it feels comfortable when you put your elbow on it. You can choose a maple or rosewood neck. The neck is smooth and has 22 medium-sized frets. It also has a medium “C” profile.
Open-backed tuning keys and a saddle-lock bridge are very traditional. People have used these before. But now, let’s look at the essential parts of the guitar – the pickups.
Did they choose a new design with a split, single, or mixture of both? Active or Passive?
It’s not too tricky to figure out that they chose an original Leo design with a couple of refinements. They put in two single-coil pickups – one near the neck and one near the bridge.
This bass guitar is perfect, and it’s a great price. The controls are simple – volume to the neck, bridge, and a master tone. There are few bass guitars for this price as good as this one.
- Vintage like styling.
- Two single coil pickups generating a big sound.
- Aren’t any unless you don’t like passive basses.
15. Yamaha BB234 BB
The Yamaha BB bass guitar has been around for many years. It has had some cosmetic changes and different versions over the years, but the sound and style of the guitar remain the same. This model has its body made out of Alder. The familiar shapes on the edging are still there, ensuring it is comfortable and easy to handle. It is a little thinner than before.
The neck is Maple, and it bolts on. The scale is also 34 inches long. The design of the neck is a little slimmer than earlier BB models. This makes it easier for some people to play, which makes it ideal for beginners or people who want to improve their skills.
The pickup configuration is called a P/J setup. This means that the Precision and Jazz pickups are used. It needs to be clarified how this works out because Fender does not use Yamaha V3 pickups. We presume they are referring to the pickups being a single coil and placed in similar positions. A single coil means they are passive, so there is no messing around with 9v batteries. Three simple controls for volume and tone give you the range of sounds available.
This bass guitar has a unique sound. You can choose between a rich, warm neck pickup sound or a growling, angry bridge pickup sound. Yamaha is known for making great guitars, and this one is no exception. It plays well and sounds great, with lots of tonal varieties to choose from.
- Well-established quality in bass guitar production.
- It plays well and sounds good.
- Very attractive price.
- Might not suit players who prefer active basses.
16. Epiphone “Toby” Standard-Iv 4 String Electric Bass
Epiphone is not trying to compete with high-end guitars, but they are doing well in the mid-range and beginner areas. Gibson makes great guitars, and Epiphone is no exception. However, Epiphone has yet to be as successful when it comes to bass guitars. This is mostly because the competition is more established or more innovative.
Though not the most expensive, this bass guitar is still worth looking at. It has a great design and performs well. People will be impressed by it.
The first thing to note is the beautiful design of the guitar. It was made with Tonewood, which makes it not only look good but also easy to hold.
The maple neck is added with a rosewood fingerboard. This makes the guitar easy to move around and play. The black hardware looks nice and gives the guitar a stylish look. The bridge has four adjustable saddles.
The tuners on the headstock are black. They are not the most expensive, but they hold the tuning well. Two single coil pickups provide noise- one at the bridge and one at the neck. These pickups are both powerful and have great tonal options.
Four controls on this bass guitar let you adjust the sound. These include the volume, the sound mix, and the treble and bass levels. The sounds are clear and strong, with a lot of punch. And the single coil gives a crisp sound.
- Great design and visual look.
- Well made.
- Powerful single coil sounds.
- Some prefer active basses
17. Squier By Fender Affinity Jazz
Squier has made a new bass inspired by the classic Jazz bass. It is made under the Fender umbrella and is a good-quality bass. It is smaller than the Fender Jazz bass, which makes it a good choice for beginners.
The traditional look of the guitar is still there. The body is made from Alder and finished in a lush sunburst. A maple neck is added with a rosewood fingerboard in its traditional shape with pearl dot inlays. The hardware is okay, reasonable. It has a fixed bridge system and Jazz-style tuners at the headstock.
This guitar has two single-coil pickups. This gives it the sound of a typical Jazz guitar but with a hint of the past. There are also simple and effective controls for the neck and bridge pickup volumes and a master tone. This allows you to shape your sound however you want.
This is not a Fender, but it sounds similar. The Affinity Jazz has many different tone options. You can make it warm and soft or turn it up and make it sound mean.
This guitar is not a Fender, but it is not as expensive as a Fender. But we have noticed that the quality of these “less expensive” guitars is improving. The difference between these guitars and the “real” thing is not as big as it once was. This guitar is well made and well packaged, representing great value for the price.
- Traditional Jazz styling.
- Well made with good tone options.
- Beautiful price.
- Some will be looking for a higher spec level.
What Makes A Good Bass Guitar?
Many things make a great bass guitar, but what makes a great one for you might be different from what makes a great one for someone else.
But one of the most essential parts of a good bass guitar is the type of wood used to make the body and neck. On cheaper bass guitars, you’ll find basswood or Alder. The more expensive guitars will have different types of wood, like Maple, swamp ash, and mahogany.
The type of wood used on your guitar is essential, but it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when choosing a guitar. Other factors, such as the design and features, should also be considered.
How to find a good bass guitar?
When you are shopping for a guitar, it is essential to do your research on the different types of wood. Each type of wood will offer various benefits for the musician. For example, guitars made out of swamp ash will have a bright sound, while guitars made out of mahogany will have a warm sound.
You should also research the type of wood your guitar is made of so you can be healthy. If you plan on traveling with your bass guitar and standing on stage for a long time, you should get a lighter guitar, so it is manageable for you to play.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what type of bass guitar you choose. You should pick the one you think sounds best, regardless of the price. You can’t go wrong with a bass guitar that you enjoy playing!
What’s the difference between active pickups and passive pickups?
The type of pickup your bass guitar has will also define the sound it makes. If you want a classic, warm sound with a dynamic range of tonal production, you’ll want a guitar with passive pickups.
However, if you get your hands on a bass guitar with a set of active pickups installed, you will get bright, clear tones. These tones will be evident if your guitar comes with built-in preamps, as the overall volume output is louder compared to a passive pickup’s overall volume output. Active pickups are typically a favorite in the guitar community because they also don’t have to interact with many interferences or background noise.
You must choose between an active or passive pickup when choosing your bass guitar. This choice depends on your personal preferences. It would help if you tried out a few guitars before deciding on any instrument.
Should I buy new or used?
It all comes down to what you want. If you want a new bass guitar, you’ll have a warranty. You’ll also get the guitar set up to start playing it immediately. If you choose a used bass guitar, it might not have a warranty, but it will be cheaper.
No matter how much you spend on a used bass guitar, it is always a risk. But if you are lucky, you can find a great bass guitar at a low price. Ensure the store is reputable before buying a used bass guitar online or in person.
Although you might be able to find a cheaper instrument at a flea market, yard sale, eBay, or thrift store, it is riskier because you most likely won’t be able to test it out before purchasing. This could cause issues if the equipment doesn’t work well with your amp or is not the right fit. Plus, in many cases, these types of stores do not accept returns.
It can be more expensive to buy a new guitar, but if you buy a used guitar from someone who is not reputable, you might have to spend a lot of money on repairs.
Long scale vs. Short scale bass guitars
When choosing a bass guitar, you’ll need to decide if you want a long or short-scale guitar. The scale length is the distance between the bridge and the nut. This is used to measure how long the instrument can be played.
A long-scale bass is a type of bass that has a scale length of 34″. It is the industry standard, so you will have more options when purchasing one. People who are used to playing smaller instruments, or just smaller people in general, may prefer a short-scale alternative.
A short-scale bass usually has a scale length of 30″. This means that the neck is shorter, and the frets are closer together. This makes it easier to play. The string tension is lower, which also makes it easier to play. However, this also means the tone will be warmer and more ‘bassy.’ The versatility of your short-scale bass will not be as good as with a regular-scale bass.
First and foremost, make sure you find a bass that feels comfortable and fun to play. This is the most important thing because if you don’t enjoy playing your bass, you won’t want to practice or play in public.
Four-string vs five-string vs six-string
For most people – especially beginners – four strings are plenty. This will give you enough time to practice and get used to the size of the bass guitar. We suggest that you start with four strings.
Four-string basses can play any style of music, from jazz to thrash metal. But if you want to try playing music in a higher range, five or six-string basses are a good option.
A five-string bass has an extra low string that is a low B. This string will allow you to explore a deeper, darker tonality. The five-string bass can be found in many styles of music and is capable of everything a four-stringed bass can do. The downside of the five-string bass is that the fretboard must be wider to accommodate the extra string, and a 5-string set of strings can be expensive.
A six-string bass is a good option if you want more strings. It has one low string and one high string, which gives you a more comprehensive range of sounds. However, there are fewer six-string basses than four or five, so they can be harder to find. The necks are also more comprehensive, making them harder for some people to use. But the tonal range is excellent.
What bass sound are you looking for?
The sound of the instrument is also very important. Basses with single-coil pickups usually have a lower output than humbuckers. There is no absolute rule for what pickups should be used for certain types of music, but it is something to think about. If you are looking for a traditional or classic sound, look at a bass that hasn’t changed too much over the years – like the Fender Precision or Jazz bass.
Players who want to play a lot of different types of music might want to get versatile bass. Some basses have different pickup configurations, which means you can get a lot of different tones from the same instrument. Other players who want the basic bass sounds might be fine with a bass with only one pickup and a simple control layout.
Weight and Comfort
The best bass for you should be comfortable. A short-scale bass might be better if you have a smaller handspan. If you are new to playing the bass, you might find a short-scale bass more familiar. How the bass’s body sits on you is also worth a thought, or will you be standing up with it for long periods?
If you are concerned about how a bass feels when you play it, you might choose a lightweight bass. The neck profile can also affect how the bass feels in your hands. You might want a slimmer neck if you prefer to avoid extensive stretches.
Can I use a normal amp with my bass?
Now that you have one of the best bass guitars, you need an amplifier to play it on. Most guitar amps are not designed to handle the low frequencies produced by bass guitars, so you could end up damaging your amp by using it with a bass. That’s why getting an amplifier specifically designed for bass guitars is a good idea.
Choosing The Best Bass Guitar
When selecting a bass guitar, there are numerous factors to consider. It would help if you thought about how it sounds and feels when you play it. Before making a choice, It’s always wise to try a few different ones, but if that’s not possible, don’t worry. All of the bass guitars in this article are great for both beginner and experienced players.
You’ll often encounter active versus passive electronics when dealing with bass guitars. Passive electronics work using the voltage supplied by your pickups, so you must plug it in and get started. Active electronics usually have a preamp built into the guitar, so it needs an additional power source.
It depends on your preferences regarding vintage basses vs. active electronics. Vintage basses have passive electronics, which means the sound is less output but a warmer tone. Active electronics are often described as sterile because of the higher output and available tone-shaping options.
Active electronics give a modern sound, while passive electronics offer a vintage sound. However, some bass guitars have active and passive electronics so you can get both sounds on one instrument.
Bass guitars come with four, five, and six strings. The four and five-string bass guitars are more common. The five-string Bass has an extra low string which is great for people who want to explore different sounds or play styles that require a lower tone. Remember that the five-string bass guitar might be heavier than other bass guitars.
Five-string bass guitars have longer necks and bigger bodies, so they are heavier than four-string bass guitars. A beginner should start with a four-string bass guitar until they feel more comfortable playing it.
Scale length is the unit that expresses the separation between the nut and the bridge. It is critical to the instrument’s performance. The longer the scale length, the thicker the string. Because there must be enough room for the string, five-string bass guitars typically have a more extended scale than four-string bass guitars.
The short-scale bass guitar might occasionally be heard. People like these guitars because they have a great recording tone and are easy to play. The shorter scale length makes these guitars sound very punchy, which is why they are popular in recording studios.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Bass Guitar
What Is the Most Popular Bass Guitar in the World?
The Fender Vintera ’50s Precision Bass guitar is among the best and most popular. It has a full, fat, and punchy sound that is perfect for many different styles of music. This Vintage version also looks great, making it the ideal choice for any musician.
Is an Expensive Bass Guitar Worth It?
More expensive basses usually have better construction, wood, hardware, finish, and electronics. They will sound better, and you can hold the note for longer. However, if you give a good player a cheap bass and a lousy player an expensive one, you will see that the instrument’s price doesn’t matter as much.
How Much Does a Good Bass Guitar Cost?
Bass guitars can have a wide range of prices. The price of a bass guitar can depend on the brand, the material, the construction quality, where it was made, and the model. Entry-level models are usually $200 to $500. Mid-level models are generally between $500 and $1500. High-end models can cost up to $15000 or more.
What Makes a Great Bass Guitar?
It is essential to have a strong connection between the neck and the body. It helps with stability and getting sound from the strings to your ears. The Fender Player Jazz Bass has a classic bolt-on neck construction.
Are Single-Coil Pickups Good?
Single-coil pickups are famous for the precise tone they produce. They have sensors that aren’t enclosed, so they pick up the vibration of your guitar strings and create sharp, distinct notes.