As an aspiring bass guitarist, you can easily get mixed up with the idea that you need to spend thousands of dollars to get a bass guitar that produces high sound quality. While most great bass guitars do really cost an arm and a leg, there are a few bass guitars out there that are as amazing without you having to shell out all the money from your savings account.
Whether you are in the position to drop a big cash for the high-end bass guitar or you’re just looking for your first real bass with a limited budget, this list is worth a look.
Best 4-String Bass Guitar
Ibanez is one of the few trusted brands that make great bass. For about 25 years, their Soundgear line has been one of the best choices of bass guitars for rock, jazz, and metal music. And the Ibanez SR400QM Soundgear Electric Bass is no exception. It features a mahogany body with quilted maple top. Mahogany on bass guitars is a well-known tonewood as it delivers a soft and warm tone that emphasizes the lower-range and low-mid tones. It also creates longer sustain. This particular bass guitar model offers the player flexibility and ease of playability, aside from the already amazing tone it can produce. Note, though, that this is not for the clueless, complete beginner. You should at least have a little background in playing bass guitar before you splurge on this model.
Best Electric Bass Guitar for Jazz
The Fender American Deluxe Precision Bass Guitar is yet another amazing instrument. Well, this is no wonder as it bears one of the most popular names in musical instruments: Fender. This particular model is built with an alder body — the kind of wood that creates a balanced tone with so much clarity and full sound. But that is not the only commendable construction that can be said with the Fender Deluxe Precision. It has a reinforced maple neck with that modern C-shape, a 5-bolt neck plate, Posiflex graphite neck support rods, and a contoured heel. All these make the guitar extremely easy to play. Additionally, its high-mass vintage brass bridge delivers focused and compressed bass tone, with a punch of the mid-range. And because of its vintage-style saddles and classic vibe, it is the ideal bass guitar for jazz music. This vintage sound can actually be attributed to Fender’s own N3 Noiseless pickups, which are among the best-sounding pickups ever affixed to a Telecaster or Stratocaster guitar.
Each of the pickup position type has an insulated metal core that differs in thickness and composition, which further enhances the guitar’s tone. The coils are also fine-tuned in size, shape, and wire; as a result, the magnetic responsiveness, which is essential to great tone, is well-balanced. You get all these and more from a good-looking guitar, and you’re money is indeed well spent.
Best Fretless Bass Guitar
Standard bass guitars (and even other guitars) have fretted necks, which make it easy for the player to see where each note is played on the neck. A fretless neck is, of course, the total opposite. Because you don’t have the ‘metal dividers’ to tell you where to place your fingers so you can hit the right note, playing with this type of guitar is a challenging feat and not really ideal for beginners. A player must rely on muscle memory (finger memory, that is) and on a well-trained ears. If it’s as difficult as this, why do players still want a fretless guitar? The reasons are quite simple. Fretless guitars deliver smoother and warmer sound. They also have the ability to provide glissando effects, just like the ones with stand-up acoustic bass. One of the most powerful and flat-out cool fretless bass guitars is the Music Man Stingray.
Introduced in 1976, the Stingray was the first bass guitar to feature active electronics and advancements such as a contoured body, a 6-bolt neck joint, asuperior neck truss-rod system, and rock-solid bridge. The Stingray is constructed with a select hardwood body, maple neck, Schaller BM tuners, 2-band active EQ, and a MusicMan hum-bucking pickup. And its sunburst rosewood finish looks great onstage!
Best 5-String Bass Guitar
Five-string bass guitars give a deeper range of tone because of the added lower B string. They also have a wider neck, which make them a little harder to play. However, once you get into the groove, the performance is rewarding. And one of the most liked 5-string bass guitars is the G&L Tribute L2500 Electric Bass Guitar. With this instrument, you will never run out of tone options. It does not only have five strings, but it also comes with two G&L magnetic field hum-buckers with a three-way mini-toggle pickup selector. With this help, you can change from silky grooves to snappin’ and poppin’ solos.
This guitar features a swamp ash body, which is very desirable due to its beautiful grain. Its top is constructed from premium flame maple. The neck is hard rock maple with a rosewood fret board. All these contribute to the guitar’s durability.