Premium bass guitars

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Premium & High-End Bass Guitars

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Dingwall NG-3 Nolly 4-String Bass in Purple Metallic

Best bass guitars top long and short-scale bass options for beginners to pros

Bass players have it pretty sweet right now, with more high-quality offerings than ever before - making it the perfect time to pick up one of the best bass guitars. Whether you're seeking a thunderous five-string to bring the doom, a killer four-string you can slap around, or an understated classic, you'll be spoiled for choice.  

The abundance of epic bass guitars does make it somewhat harder, though. So just how do you choose the right one for you? Well, luckily, we've done the hard work for you. We've searched high and low for the best bass guitars out there; some will be cheap, and some will be pricey, but we've made sure to include basses for all budgets and playing styles. We've included basses from the likes of Fender, Music Man, Yamaha, and others, each offering excellent playability and great value within their price range.

We've included some expert buying advice at the end of this guide, so click the 'buying advice' tab above to go there. If you'd rather get straight to the products, keep scrolling.

We've listed the best bass guitars in price order to make it a bit easier to find the right one for your budget. Of course, our price comparison widgets will display the best prices you'll find online, too. So without further ado, let's dive in! 

Best bass guitars: Our top picks

The next generation of Fender’s American-built Precision, the Fender American Ultra Precision Bass, is frankly stunning. With an Ultra Noiseless Vintage Jazz Bass single-coil in the bridge and its split-coil counterpart in the middle, the American Ultra P-Bass is one hugely versatile instrument. The new Modern D profile feels pretty incredible, complementing a newly contoured body for a truly unforgettable playing experience.

At a lower end of the scale, Yamaha has really nailed the ability to make super-playable instruments at accessible prices - specifically the BB 5-string. The build is solid, you can get all kinds of tones out of the ever-reliable P/J pickup combo, and the six-bolt miter neck joint does a pretty good job of imitating a neck-through too.

Best bass guitars: Full round-up & reviews

1. Squier Classic Vibe '60s Jazz Bass

The best bass guitar on a budget

Price: $/£ | Body: Poplar | Neck: Maple, bolt-on | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Indian Laurel | Frets: 21, narrow tall | Pickups: 2x Fender Designed Alnico single-coil pickups (bridge, middle) | Controls: 2x volume, master tone | Hardware: 4-saddle Vintage-style with Threaded steel saddles | Left-handed: No | Finish: 3-Tone Sunburst, Daphne Blue, Black

It looks very cool

It sounds very cool

It is so much fun to play

The price is ridiculously low

A couple of niggles with the finish

Say you were blindfolded and thrown into the bass section of your local music store and asked to retrieve the first bass you found, chances are you will return with something inspired by the Jazz Bass. 

Since it was first introduced – disingenuously billed as the “two-pickup Precision” – in , the Jazz Bass has inspired countless imitators, and has consistently been tweaked and revised by Fender through the ages. There’s a reason for this; the design looks cool and it works. The Classic Vibe Jazz Bass is based on those original ‘60s models, and Fender’s entry-level brand Squier will give you a supremely comfortable ride and some uncannily vintage tones and plenty of change from bucks.

It’s a great deal. The tones are on-the-money as far as the Jazz Bass goes – thumping, in your face, but elastic and alive – and the controls that offer a wide sweep of tones.

Read the full Squier Classic Vibe '60s Jazz Bass review

2. Yamaha BB Bass Guitar

The workhorse passive 5-string that’s impossible to beat

Price: $/£ | Body: Alder | Neck: 3-play Maple/mahogany/maple, bolt-on | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Rosewood or Maple | Frets: 21, medium | Pickups: 2x (YGD V5 in P/J configuration | Controls: 2x volume, master tone | Hardware: Vintage Plus Light steel-saddled bridge | Left-handed: No | Finish: Teal Blue, Black, Tobacco Brown Sunburst

This is a great-looking bass

You’ve got some excellent P/J tones on tap

Outstanding sustain and solid on that lower fifth

Unbeatable value

You prefer an active bass

The BB nails that vintage-modern vibe, and like all great instruments it has a timeless quality, capable of holding its own in any company. Now, Yamaha does a very neat line in pro basses – the BBP35 is an exceptional top-line version of the BB that we’d recommend in a heartbeat – but this is an exceptionally priced instrument.

The BB is an absolute hoot to play, lively, dynamic, and it has a fuss-free control system where a master tone serves both pickups and you can adjust the balance via independent volume controls. There are certainly more detailed onboard EQ shaping options on a bass guitar, but few as simple or elegant.

The BB would make a superlative choice for any player looking for their first five-string. The low B string is tight. The build is exceptional throughout – this is a bolt-on but the six-bolt miter neck joint is so strong you might swear it’s a string-through. This allied to the clever degree string-through bridge helps set the BB apart.

3. Epiphone Thunderbird Vintage Pro

The ‘Bird with the long neck

Price: $/£ | Body: Mahogany wings | Neck: 7-ply mahogany/walnut through body | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20, medium small | Pickups: 2x Epiphone ProBucker Bass # Humbucker | Controls: Neck Volume, Bridge Volume, Master Tone, 3-way pickup selector | Hardware: s TB-Bass Tune-o-matic with Claw tailpiece | Left-handed: Mo | Finish: Alpine White, Tobacco Sunburst, Ebony

The iconic looks

Awesome rock tones

This is another well-put together Epiphone

It can be a little unwieldy

Not the most versatile bass in the Thunderdome

Some bassists just can’t get on with the Thunderbird. There is a lot of shape going on. Some say it can be a little imbalanced, prone to neck tilt. But if you love it, you love it; and there’s really nothing quite like it, with its dual-humbuckers providing all kinds of thumping low-end radness and the mahogany winged, neck-through body rounding it all out.

And, furthermore, it’s very cool, played by the likes of Kim Gordon, Krist Novoselic, and John Entwistle. This Epiphone reproduction of the Gibson ‘Bird ($2,) hits all the right notes, stylistically and tonally. 

There’s a pair of Epiphone ProBucker Bass # Humbuckers to bring the thunder, a good and clubby ‘60s style neck profile, and the ‘reverse’ body shape is there to be swung around. It’s probably not a slap bass (though we’d say you can play anything on anything; it’s always the chops that count), but for rock and roll, blues, punk, filling the pocket full of eighth notes with a little overdrive, there’s nothing better.

4. G&L Tribute L

The not-so-slight return of an early ‘80s favorite

Price: $/£ | Body: Swamp ash | Neck: Maple, bolt-on | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Maple or rosewood | Frets: 21, medium jumbo | Pickups: 2x G&L MFD Humbuckers | Controls: 1 x master volume, 2-band EQ, series/parallel switch, 3-way toggle preamp mode, 3-way toggle pickup switch | Hardware: Leo Fender-Designed G&L Saddle-Lock bridge | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Natural, 3-Tone Sunburst, Olympic White, Clear Orange, Redburst

Clean, understated design

Solid build

Wide range of tones

This price is crazy value

Switching takes some getting used to

As the name suggests, the Tribute L is a replica of its Leo Fender-designed namesake that debuted in What blew minds then and still does is the switching system. There’s a trio of knobs, a trio of toggle switches, and a cornucopia of tone options to be had here – toggle between active and passive modes, between neck, middle or both humbuckers, and series/parallel mode. This jemmies open the sonic possibilities even before you get to the two-band EQ.

If the switching and EQ controls seem a little esoteric at first – and you’ll have a fun time finding the sweet spot – the performance of this modestly priced four-string puts it firmly in the workhorse category. 

The hardware won’t let you down. The Saddle-Lock bridge is a Leo design, neat, sturdy, and a solid platform. The tuners are open-backed, old-school. But it’s the pickups and electronics that people will ask you about after the show. Those US-made G&L MFD humbuckers are overwound with a ceramic core and they’re powerful. And they’ve got individually adjustable pole pieces, just in case the switches and EQ didn’t present enough choice.

5. Schecter Stiletto Studio 6

The best mid-priced six-string on the market

Price: $/£ | Body: Mahogany with bubinga top | Neck: Multi-laminate maple and walnut, neck-thru build | Scale: 35” | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 24, extra jumbo | Pickups: 2x EMG 45 Hz humbuckers | Controls: Active 3-band EQ, blend, master volume | Hardware: Schecter Diamond Custom bridge, Grover tuners | Left-handed: No | Finish: Honey Satin, Satin See-Thru Black

Solid hardware

Excellent pickups and preamp

The value is unbeatable

Six strings are not your thing

Umm… that’s it

The Stiletto Studio 6 challenges the notion that the six-string bass can feel a little intimidating, that it’s perhaps a niche instrument, with an exclusive price tag to boot. Sure, a nut width of 54mm might bring tears to an avowed four-stringer’s eyes, but the neck’s thin C profile is shallow enough to ease you in and help adjust to all that extra fretboard territory.

What will you use it for? Well the six-string format makes possible all kinds of progressive and outré jazz-funk styles, and the EMG 45Hz humbucker pairing and comprehensive 3-band EQ let you dial in pretty much whatever you want. Scoop the mids for some effervescent slap, or boost them and the treble for some really up-front, bass-as-a-lead instrument tones.

The extra jumbo frets reward a light touch and the neck-through build, which sees the neck dissolve into the body, leaves a heel that offers zero resistance to your reaching the summit of that fretboard. The build quality is what we would expect from a South Korean Schecter, i.e. tip-top, and it ain’t light but the balance feels pretty much bang on.

6. Fender JMJ Road Worn Mustang

The most super-cool retro short-scale you can buy

Price: $/£1, | Body: Alder | Neck: Maple, bolt-on | Scale: 30” | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 19 | Pickups: Seymour Duncan Custom split-coil | Controls: Volume, tone | Hardware: 4-saddle, strings-through-body Mustang bridge | Left-handed: No | Finish: Black, Faded Daphne Blue

Hell’s bells! This is a cool bass

It has one pickup but it’s a doozy

Very playable and deceptively powerful

It’s already relic’d so no worries gigging this

Short-scale isn’t for everyone

We never had the Fender Mustang down as a do-it-all bass but it’s telling that Justin Meldal-Johnsen swears by his ’67 Mustang as his number one bass. Meldal-Johnsen is a renowned session player who has played with Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Beck – and there is not really a Venn Diagram you can draw with much overlap between those.

So what makes the Mustang so special? Well the 30” scale makes for one incredibly accessible little bass. It might feel a little short to some, but if you have recently moved onto bass from guitar this will feel incredible.

And it sounds great, too. There is just volume and tone, but there is plenty of range on that tone pot, and the custom-wound Seymour Duncan split-coil is an excellent all-rounder, putting a little teeth and hair onto the Mustang’s tone, a vintage passive voice that holds its own in a band setting. The thumb rest will come in handy too for those who do their picking up by the neck. It’s almost like having a neck pickup…

7. Ibanez SRW 5-String Bass Guitar

A state-of-the-art five-string of supreme quality

Price: $1,/£1, | Body: African mahogany core, panga panga and figured maple top | Neck: Panga panga/purpleheart 5-piece laminate | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Panga Panga | Frets: 24 | Pickups: 2x Aguilar Super Double Single-Coils | Controls: Volume, pickup pan, bass, middle, treble/passive tone control, three-way mid-frequency switch (Hz, Hz, Hz), active/passive selector switch | Hardware: Ibanez MR5S Mono-rail bridge, Gotoh machine heads, gold | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Caribbean Green, Brown Topaz Burst

The exceptional build

A lot of bass at a fair price


Slightly neck heavy

The finish is a little too fancy for some?

As you might expect from the SR Premium line, the SRW is a meticulous bass that feels stage-ready out of the box, and it is well-tooled to make full use of your stage and studio time.

First off, it is so playable, with a whip-quick neck that’s a joy to breeze along – its profile offers ample compensation for the nut width (45mm) to accommodate that fifth string. This is a smart choice for the gigging bassist and especially for those whose style is that bit more effervescent. The slap players will find a lot of funk-ready tones here, with the 3-band EQ and pickup pan offering a panoramic vista of Planet Tone.

Okay, so the SRW is a bass you’d think twice about playing down the local dive bar for it has a finish that deserves a cordon sanitaire and 24/7 security to protect against dings and theft. When the inevitable ding comes it will be painful. But just plug it in and play again; that’ll bring the smile back to your face. And the price? Well, it ain’t nothin’ but Ibanez has stacked the features high on this.

8. Fender American Ultra Precision Bass Guitar

The modernised flagship P remains the best bass guitar

Price: $1,/£2, | Body: Alder (ash on Plasma Red Burst and Aged Natural models) | Neck: Maple, bolt-on | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 21, medium jumbo | Pickups: Ultra Noiseless Vintage Jazz Bass (bridge), Ultra Noiseless Vintage Precision Bass (middle) | Controls: Master Volume, Pan Pot (Pickup Selector), Treble Boost/Cut, Midrange Boost/Cut, Bass Boost/Cut, Passive Tone, Active/Passive Mini Toggle | Hardware: 4-saddle HiMass bridge, Fender"F" Light-Weight Vintage-Paddle Keys with Tapered Shafts | Left-handed: No | Finish: Aged Natural, Mocha Burst, Arctic Pearl, Ultraburst

Versatile performance

Great neck and playability

Quality hardware

It is expensive

Some prefer the older stuff

The American Ultra Series’s approach presents a more evolutionary than revolutionary approach to modernising Fender’s top-line US-built instruments, and we think they found the sweet spot. Take this Precision Bass. It is unmistakably a P-Bass; the classic silhouette is present and correct. You’ve got a choice of an alder body or ash, retro pick-guards in three-ply mint green or 4-ply tortoiseshell.

But with a new Modern D neck profile, the ” compound radius fingerboard, HiMass bridge, lightweight tuners and a newly designed preamp, it’s an altogether more contemporary proposition. 

The American Ultra body is also more heavily contoured across the back, with a newly sculpted heel allowing a free pass to the upper frets. The Ultra Noiseless pickups are an excellent pairing also, with the punchier Vintage Jazz single-coil in the bridge position offering a nice counterpoint to the rounded warmth of that middle position split-coil.

It ain’t cheap but the smart new finishes, the player-friendly amendments (improvements?) to an all-time classic and the tones are worth it.

Read the full Fender American Ultra Precision Bass review

9. Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay Special 4 HH

Because no ‘best bass guitar’ round-up is complete without a StingRay

Price: $2,/£2, | Body: Ash | Neck: Roast maple, bolt-on | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Roast maple, ebony or Rosewood | Frets: 22, stainless steel | Pickups: 2x Neodymium humbuckers | Controls: Active 3-band EQ, master volume, 5-way pickup selector | Hardware: Vintage Music Man top loaded chrome plated, steel bridge plate with vintage nickel plated steel saddles, Custom lightweight tuners with tapered string posts | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Charging Green

It’s a serious, pro-quality bass

The StingRay is a tone machine

Lightweight, well-balanced

If you can’t justify the price tag

Since its introduction in , the Music Man StingRay has come to define the company’s bass-making. It is the most-recognisable model – well, the Bongo might be more of a head-turner, but this is the one that made it famous.

As with all of the designs that Leo Fender had a hand in, there is an understated brilliance and a sense of practicality – and it’s a bolt-on construction, too. Hey, when you get it right first time, why change? Now, the StingRay does not come cheap but that outlay goes into the fine details; the stainless steel frets, the compensated nut, the finish, the wood choice, and the pickups and electronics.

Here you can pretty much do anything. You’ve got a pair of redesigned humbuckers, an volt preamp and 3-band EQ for some of the fattest bass tones you could imagine, or some of the sharpest, or with a midrange upper-cut that could draw blood. The StingRay welcomes all styles. Its neck is on the fat side but make no mistake, this plays perfectly.

Warwick German Pro Series Thumb BO 5-String Bass Guitar

A pro-quality five-string bass guitar and a modern classic

Price: $2,/£1, | Body: Ovangkol | Neck: Ovangkol, bolt-on | Scale: 34” | Fingerboard: Wenge | Frets: 24, jumbo | Pickups: 2 Active MEC J-Style | Controls: Master volume, balance, 2-band EQ | Hardware: 2-piece, chrome, | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Burgundy Red, Natural Satin

Flawless build – and from a sustainable tonewood

Active MEC J-style pickups and electronics are excellent

Articulate low B string

Very playable

Still seen as the funk/metal choice by purists?

People often talk about the Warwick growl and, really, it is officially a thing and a joy to behold. There’s an upfront, pugnacious quality to the active MEC J-Style pickups that, should you turn it up loud enough, will deliver all the thunder you need for rock settings.

But the Thumb is a triumph of modern bass design that plays the percentages. Some might decry the 2-band EQ – many players want explicit control over the mids and that’s cool – but if you think of the balance control between both pickups as an auxiliary mids control you will find all the control you need. There is also a push-pull on the volume control to bypass the active electronics for another range of passive tones. Very cool.

The build is exceptional, as you’d expect from Warwick’s Teambuilt Pro Series, and the balance between the long-scale neck and compact, ergonomic body is really a kind of magic. 

Oh, and the body and neck is ovangkol – a sustainable tonewood introduced by Taylor that sounds somewhere between rosewood and koa – and the BO of the name stands for bolt-on. So yeah, there really is no need to keep your distance.

Best bass guitars: Buying advice

How to find the best bass guitar for you 

Knowing where to start when finding the best bass guitar for you can be a pretty daunting task. There are many factors to consider, especially if you’re looking for a beginner bass guitar to start your bass playing journey on. Here are some of the most important things you’ll need to decide on, before you go looking for your brand new bass guitar.

Long scale vs short scale bass guitars

You'll first need to decide whether you want a long or short scale bass guitar. The scale - or scale length - of an instrument is the distance between the bridge and the nut, and we use it to measure the total playable length of the instrument.

A long scale bass has a scale length of 34", and the long scale bass is considered to be the industry standard. As a result, you'll have more options when it comes to purchasing a bass. Those used to playing smaller instruments, or just smaller people in general, may prefer a short scale alternative, however. 

A short scale bass will usually have a scale length of 30", meaning the neck is shorter and the frets are closer together - making the instrument generally easier to play. This also means that the string tension is lower, which aids playability too - but means that the tone is generally warmer and more 'bassy'. The versatility of your short scale bass will take a hit because of this too. 

That being said, first and foremost it's really important to find a bass that feels comfortable and fun to play. Make sure it's the bass you never want to put down - as there's no point worrying about the future prospects of your bass playing if you don't like playing it in the first place!

Passive vs active bass guitars

Put simply, passive basses have no onboard preamp and so their output is generated percent by their pickups - think about a vintage-style Fender P-Bass/ Jazz Bass. 

The active bass has an onboard preamp, typically powered by a 9V or 18V battery. This preamp boosts the pickup’s signal and the bass’s EQ can be used to cut or boost frequencies. The controls on a passive bass can only attenuate the master tone and volume of the instrument, whereas on an active bass you can have a little more control over your tones with a 2- or 3-band EQ.

There are other differences, too. The onboard preamp of active basses can compress your tone slightly - great for more aggressive styles of music such as metal, or hard rock - whereas those dynamics remain up for grabs on a passive bass. 

As to which is better, there is no real right or wrong answer, although people will argue that point. Whatever sounds best to you is best, and that’s the end of it - and we'll have no arguing, thanks.

Four-string vs five-string vs six-string

For a lot of people - especially new bassists - four strings is enough. For honing your chops, and getting used to the larger size of the bass guitar, the standard four-stringed approach is what we'd suggest you go for. 

Four-string basses are happily capable of any style of music, from jazz to thrash metal - but if you'd like to branch out into the world of extended range, then five and six-string basses are definitely worth your time.

A five-string bass will afford you an extra low string. In standard tuning, this is a low B, and will allow you to explore a deeper, darker tonality. The five-string bass is still fairly mainstream and found in many styles of music, as it's capable of everything a four string can do, and then some. The downsides of the five-string are that the fretboard must be wider to accommodate the extra string, and that a 5-string set of bass strings can be pretty expensive - so if you find skinny necks super comfortable, or have smaller hands, then we'd recommend sticking with a four-stringed companion.

If five strings aren't enough, then six-string basses, in standard tuning, will provide one extra low string and one high string, in the form of a low B and high C. Compared to a four or five string bass, the available selection of six-strings is much less - and is generally focused in the high-end category. The necks are wide, and can be a little unwieldy for some, but the tonal range is hard to beat.

Best bass guitars: tonewoods

When it comes to which wood your new bass is made of, there are so many different options available to you. Bass manufacturers have been some of the early adopters of alternative tonewoods to the ash/alder/mahogany paradigm. Obviously, these standard wood types are popular for a reason, but the more exotic choices such as ovangkol, bubinga, and panga panga each offer their own frequency response and tonal characters. So it’s worth trying a few out to see what is right for you. 

So which of these basses should you buy? Well, the only person able to answer that question is you. When you pick up a bass for the first time, it will speak to you. It should make you want to play constantly, and never put it down - that’s when you know you’ve found the best bass guitar for you.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since , playing them since , and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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10 best bass guitars four-string and five-string bass guitars for every budget

The bass guitar is often an overlooked element of a band, but remove it, and you can lose the gel that holds the band together. Bridging the gap between the percussive nature of the rhythm section and the melody of the lead instruments, the bass does way more than simply hold down the low-end. If this sounds like the job for you, then you’ll want to check out this list of the best bass guitars available right now. 

It can be challenging to know where to start with so much choice out there, but don’t worry, we are here to help. We have instruments from the biggest names in bass, from Fender, Ibanez, Music Man and G&L. 

In this guide, we’ll offer up some expert insight on the best bass guitar for you, no matter the style, genre, or budget. Of course, to make this list, the basses have to be special in their own way and bring something unique to the table. We’ve even searched the internet, on your behalf, to find the best prices for each model we’ve chosen, to ensure you get a thumping good deal.

Best bass guitars: Our top picks

While we stand by each and every bass guitar on this list, it’s hard to deny the heritage the Fender Precision Bass has. After all, the first-ever electric bass radically changed the face of popular music, and the design has remained relatively unchanged for 70 years! For us, the Fender American Performer Precision is the perfect balance of the classic P-bass sound, playability and craftsmanship, while being relatively affordable for an American-made instrument.

On the other end of the scale, we have the Sterling Music Man SUB Ray5, which impressed us greatly with its overall high standards of playability and build quality.

Best bass guitars: Product guide

1. Fender American Performer Precision Bass

The bass you’ll aspire to play


Price: $1,/£1,/€1,

Made In: USA

Colour: Satin Lake Placid Blue, Arctic White, 3-tone Sunburst

Body: Alder

Neck: Maple

Scale: 34”

Neck Joint: Bolt on

Nut Width: ”

Fingerboard: Maple

Frets: 20

Pickups: Yosemite Jazz

Electronics: Greasebucket tone circuit

Controls: 2 x volume, 1 x tone

Hardware: Vintage-style steel saddles, Vintage paddle keys

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: Deluxe gigbag

Left-hand option: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Pro-level tones+Satin finish is nice+Lighter than it looks

Reasons to avoid

-A few more colour options would be welcome

Look in any guitar store and you’ll find the bass section stacked full of Fenders. You see, while it’s primarily known for its more famous Strats and Teles, Fender has actually had a near monopoly on the bass scene for decades thanks largely to its Jazz and Precision models. 

The Fender American Performer Precision Bass is the flagship of the lineup, marrying up exceptional American-built quality with the tone you’ve been dreaming about. The Greasebucket tone circuit is a nice touch, adding in a bit of extra tonal variety, while the satin finish makes it a dream to play.

Read the full Fender American Performer Precision Bass review

2. Sterling By Music Man SUB Ray5

A pocket-friendly StingRay with impressive tones


Price: $/£/€

Made In: China

Colour: Black Gloss

Body: Basswood

Neck: Maple

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, six-bolt attachment

Nut Width: 45mm

Fingerboard: Maple

Frets: 22

Pickups: Passive humbucker

Electronics: Active two-band EQ

Controls: Volume, bass, treble

Hardware: Chrome hardware, open elephant-ear machine heads, fixed chrome bridge

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: No

Left-hand option: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Familiar StingRay tones+Impressive build quality+Highly playable

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks the finesse of the top range models

The SUB RAY5 is an impressive instrument from top to bottom, with the build quality you associate with Music Man instruments and a booty-rattling tonal performance that belies its equally impressive price-tag. 

The level of finishing is very good and, although it lacks a little of the presentation sparkle of its big brothers at the top of the range, the player gets a whole heap of bass for their buck. 

Playability is top notch and for those venturing into the world of five-string basses for the first time, this is the perfect introduction. Available in various colours, buy with confidence and be amazed!

Read the full Sterling by Music Man Sub Ray5 review

3. Fender Mustang bass guitar

Short-scale basses have never been more enticing


Price: $/£/€

Made In: Mexico

Colour: Sonic Blue Gloss

Body: Alder

Neck: Maple

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment

Nut Width: 38mm

Fingerboard: Pau ferro

Frets: 19

Pickups: Passive split and single-coil

Electronics: Passive

Controls: Volume, tone, pickup selector switch

Hardware: Chrome hardware, open elephant-ear machine heads, standard bridge

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: No

Left-hand option: No

Reasons to buy

+Shorter scale offers great playability+Competitively priced+Solid construction

Reasons to avoid

-Softer tone due to scale length

Short-scale basses have gone through something of a renaissance recently, bringing more female players into the world of bass, as well as offering plummy old-school tones that are very much in fashion right now. 

With both split and single-coil pickups on offer, a selection of tones are available, but be aware that the shorter scale length reduces the speaking length of each string so the tone is markedly softer than you may be accustomed to with a long-scale bass. 

Playability is impressive while the choice of pau ferro as a fingerboard timber gives the bass more bounce and a harder attack. Effective for all playing styles, pick and fingerstyle players will especially love it.

Read our full Fender Mustang Bass review 

4. Yamaha TRBX bass guitar

One of the best bass guitars for those on a budget


Price: $/£/€

Made In: Indonesia

Colour: Mist Green Gloss

Body: Mahogany

Neck: Maple and mahogany

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment

Nut Width: 43mm

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Frets: 24

Pickups: M3 humbuckers

Electronics: Active two-band EQ

Controls: Volume, pickup pan, bass, treble, five-position performance EQ switch

Hardware: Black nickel hardware, Yamaha die-cast machine heads, top-loading bridge

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: No

Left-hand option: No

Reasons to buy

+Highly playable, great setup+Fine array of tonal options+Body and pickup sculpting to improve player comfort

Reasons to avoid

-Lacks mid EQ-Slightly weighty

Yamaha consistently produce high-quality basses at every price point and even at the cheaper end of the scale, their instruments are some of the best bass guitars around. 

This budget five-string bass guitar competes well with basses costing twice the price, incorporating an impressive pickup and circuit combination, solidly effective hardware and an overall setup that makes you want to play it. 

If this guitar incorporated a mid-EQ control as well, it would likely trounce many instruments priced well above it; but even so, the bass projects very well with authority and clarity. Available in assorted colours, touches like the sculpted pickup casings and the comfortable neck profile make this bass a real winner.

Read the full Yamaha TRBX review 

5. Fender Geddy Lee Signature Jazz bass

A pocket-friendly version of the Rush front-man's classic axe


Price: $1,/£/€

Made In: Indonesia

Colour: Black Gloss

Body: Alder

Neck: Maple

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment

Nut Width: 38mm

Fingerboard: Maple

Frets: 20

Pickups: Passive vintage single-coil pickups

Electronics: Passive

Controls: Volume, volume, tone

Hardware: Chrome hardware, Fender open elephant-ear machine heads, Fender High-Mass bridge

Case/gig bag included: Deluxe gigbag

Left-hand option: No

Reasons to buy

+Outstanding tonal performance, lively and bubbly+Balances well with great playability+Classic tones and a neck to die for

Reasons to avoid

-Might be too bright and twangy for some

This bass is a very lively performer all round with a grind and twang rarely heard in a bass of this calibre. Straight out of the supplied Deluxe gigbag, this bass bowls you over with its playability, fine setup and sturdy construction. 

Black block position markers retain a vintage vibe along with the black gloss and white scratchplate aesthetic. Players of all styles can make use of the features and tones on offer, but at this price, few Jazz basses play as well as this model. Prepare to be as blown away as we were.

Read the full Fender Geddy Lee Signature Jazz bass review

6. Epiphone Viola Bass

You might have seen these before…


Price: $/£/€

Made In: China

Colour: Vintage Sunburst

Body: Maple

Neck: Maple

Scale: ”

Neck Joint: Set

Nut Width: ”

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Frets: 22

Pickups: NYR Mini Humbucker

Electronics: N/A

Controls: 2 x volume, 1 x tone

Hardware: Chrome die-cast

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: No

Left-hand option: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Unique sound+Great for beginners+Iconic styling

Reasons to avoid

-Not the most versatile, tonally

Short scale bass guitars aren’t for every taste, that’s for sure, but they did happen to be big enough for perhaps the best-known band in history. Paul McCartney himself is synonymous with the Viola bass shape, although his was a German-made Hofner, but these iconic little instruments are still going strong today thanks to the Epiphone Viola. 

For under $/£/€ you get a sweet-sounding, well made bass with plenty of charm. Thanks to its shorter scale length, it’s easier for younger learners to use and the maple body and neck deliver a nice, snappy twang which compliments clean guitars well.

7. Ibanez SRHDEF Bass Workshop

An electro-acoustic from the dragon's private collection


Price: $/£/€

Made In: Indonesia

Colour: Dragon Eye Burst Flat

Body: Mahogany with spruce top

Neck: Jatoba and bubinga (five-piece laminate)

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment

Nut Width: 38mm

Fingerboard: Panga panga

Frets: 24

Pickups: AeroSilk piezo system

Electronics: Active

Controls: Volume, tone, individual piezo gain adjustment

Hardware: Black matte hardware, Ibanez machine heads, custom bridge

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: No

Left-hand option: No

Reasons to buy

+Great acoustic tones on offer+Superbly balanced, ergonomically designed+Warm but bouncy tone

Reasons to avoid

-Might feel too lightweight to some

Electro-acoustic basses can be something of a mixed bag, but with the SRH Ibanez have come up with a fresh take, utilising the standard Soundgear instrument design and producing a very useful instrument. If carrying around a large bodied electro-acoustic has put you off taking the plunge, then this bass could well be for you. 

With only volume and tone controls to contend with, the bass is very intuitive and responsive. Individual piezo gain trim pots for each string are easily adjusted should you need to boost or cut the output level of each string. Fitted with flatwounds as standard, and a glorious matte finish, this Ibanez sits comfortably amongst the best bass guitars out there.

8. G&L Tribute L

A trimmed-down workhorse with exceptional tones on offer


Price: $/£/€

Made In: Indonesia

Colour: Natural Gloss

Body: Swamp ash

Neck: Maple

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, six-bolt attachment

Nut Width: mm

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Frets: 21

Pickups: G&L MFD humbuckers

Electronics: Active two-band EQ

Controls: Volume, bass, treble, pickup selector, series/parallel selector, preamp control selector

Hardware: Chrome hardware, open elephant-ear machine heads, G&L Saddle Lock bridge

Case/gig bag included: yes

Left-hand option: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Vast array of tonal options onboard+Highly playable

Reasons to avoid

-On the heavy side-Chunky neck profile

Leo Fender's third instrument company, G&L, was where he claimed he built the finest instruments of his life. Despite this being a cheaper version of the American-made L, there is no doubting the quality on offer or the tones on display. 

With an active two-band EQ, series/parallel pickup switching and selective preamp operation, the player has plenty of options at their disposal with which to sculpt their tone.

Substantially built and solidly constructed, this bass can address any musical style and perform admirably, while slap and pop players will enjoy the glassy high-end available. The L Tribute is a joy to play and well worth investigating.

9. Music Man StingRay Special

The perennial favourite goes from strength to strength


Price: $2,/£2,/€2,

Made In: USA

Colour: Burnt Apple Gloss

Body: Alder

Neck: Roasted maple

Scale: inch

Neck Joint: Bolt-on, five-bolt attachment

Nut Width: 42mm

Fingerboard: Roasted maple

Frets: 22

Pickups: Music Man Neodymium humbuckers

Electronics: Active three-band EQ

Controls: Volume, treble, middle, bass, five-way pickup selector

Hardware: Chrome hardware, Music Man ultralite open elephant-ear machine heads, Music Man bridge

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: Hard case

Left-hand option: No

Reasons to buy

+Recognisable tones+Multi-coil switching+Supreme build quality, built to last

Reasons to avoid

-D and G strings can sound lightweight-The Music Man tone isn't for everybody

The StingRay has gone through many changes over the years, but the launch of the Special was perhaps the most radical overhaul of the old favourite. Making use of new technology and addressing certain areas of modification, the bass has been brought bang up to date and now features lightweight machine heads, a redesigned bridge and Neodymium pickups, all of which have reduced the overall weight. 

The active circuit has been modified while the necks are now of a roasted maple construction which has contributed to the new tone. But don't panic, the famed StingRay tone is still there, it's just been brought into the here and now.

Ibanez Premium SRB

Premium by name, premium by nature


Price: $1,/£1,/€1,

Made In: Indonesia

Colour: Dark Shadow Burst Flat

Body: Mahogany body with Ash/Panga Panga top

Neck: 5-piece Panga Panga/Purpleheart

Scale: 34”

Neck Joint: Bolt on

Nut Width: ”

Fingerboard: Bound Panga Panga

Frets: 24

Pickups: 2 x Nordstrand Big Single Coils

Electronics: 3-band active EQ, 3-way mid-frequency switch

Controls: Master volume, Balancer

Hardware: MR5S bridge, Gotoh machine heads

Weight: kg

Case/gig bag included: Gig-bag

Left-hand option: No

Reasons to buy

+Stunning wood grain+Thin neck+Pickups sound great

Reasons to avoid

-Looks may prove divisive…

Some bass guitars look like pieces of elite precision engineering – or art – even to people who have no interest in bass guitars. Or precision engineering. Or art. The Ibanez Premium SRB is one such example, although it backs it up with some of the finest build quality, design, and choice of tonewoods you’ll find at this particular junction of the market. 

The use of Panga Panga, which Ibanez claims improves the clarity and attack of your playing, is an interesting one and certainly adds a dash of visual flair. But it’s the beefy Nordstrand single coil pickups which left the biggest impression, giving a breadth of tone and texture that would suit many different styles of music. 

Best bass guitars: Buying advice

When looking for a bass, it makes sense to look for the best you can afford. But with so many basses available, it’s isn’t as easy as looking for the most affordable option. So, what else should you be looking out for when hunting down the best bass guitar for you? 


Arguably most important consideration is how a particular bass feels to play. By their nature, bass guitars are large and often heavy, particularly if you’re a beginner. Over time you’ll gravitate towards a particular size and scale length that suits you and the techniques you employ. For the most part, a standard scale length bass will do, but if you are a beginner, or just have a shorter reach, then a short-scale option such as the Mustang may be better for you. It pays to try a few different styles before you settle on the right one for you. 

The body and neck shape will have a huge impact on a guitar’s overall playability, and you’ll likely have your own preferred characteristics. Consider also whether fretted or fretless necks are the way to go or, if you’re feeling adventurous, consider looking at fanned-fret models, which are superb for certain styles of music. 


Next, you need to consider the tone you want. For some, one simple, solid sound will be enough - at the end of the day, many great players have used the limited tones of the P-bass to great effect. Others seek a more versatile option, needing the ability to blend pickup tones together or even switch seamlessly between active or passive pickups. 

The choice of woods used in the guitar will also affect its tonality. Ash and alder, for example, produce a balanced tone, whereas a mahogany body will project more warmth and pronounced emphasis in the low end. Not a bad trait for a bass to have. 

How many strings do I need?

When it comes to bass strings, you’ll find the vast majority of basses come with four, and for most of us, that’s plenty. The traditional four-string option will cover most styles and genres, and for beginners just starting out, it may be the best choice. 

For those looking to achieve a specific genre’s sound, you may want to delve into the sonic potential of a five or six-string bass. A five-string bass will give you access to an extra low string - a low B in standard tuning - and the extended range of these basses is perfect for playing heavier styles of music. Of course, if five strings still aren’t enough, then you can always go down the six-string route, where you’ll not only gain the low B from the five-string but also a high C.

Basses of the year 2020 - Top 5 - Thomann

13 Most Expensive Bass Guitars In The World

The most expensive bass guitars vary from rare limited-editions to those played by some of the most famous rock stars in the world. Whether you are an avid bassist, a casual plucker, or simply appreciate the rhythmic low notes of a bass guitar, you likely understand that crafting a musical instrument is an art in its own right. Sure, you can get a decent bass guitar for a few hundred bucks, but why settle for less?

Luxury bass guitars are crafted by hand using premium materials and superior techniques. Each guitar is unique and produces a beautiful sound. They indeed are works of art.  

Have you thought of owning one of the top bass guitars but wondered just how much it&#;d cost you? We&#;ve rounded up a list of 13 of the world&#;s most expensive bass guitars so you can see just what these instruments are worth and the craftsmanship involved.

Get ready to shred! Here are the 13 most expensive bass guitars in the world:

1. Bill Wyman&#;s Fender Mustang Bass 

Price: $,

The Fender Mustang, played by Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman recently broke records for the highest price tag on a bass when sold at auction in early September The previous title was held by Sir Paul McCartney&#;s bass, which we will discuss further down the list. 

The bass sold for $,, along with an amplifier and some of Wyman&#;s other gear. It has a Competition Orange finish and was played during several Rolling Stones concerts during and The Mustang was initially designed as a student bass and featured racing stripes to appeal to younger players.

An auction sale of $, makes Bill Wyman&#;s Fender Mustang the most expensive bass guitar in the world

2. The Ritter Royal Flora Aurum Bass Guitar

expensive bass guitars, The Ritter Royal Flora Aurum price

Price: $,

Jens Ritter is a luthier known for crafting eclectic stringed instruments. His collection of custom guitars and bass guitars is something to behold, and the Royal Flora Aurum is the pinnacle. 

Made in for an unknown buyer, the Flora Aurum takes the term &#;premium materials&#; to an entirely new level. The body, shaped by hand, of course, is made of quilted maple and has a beautiful ripple pattern. 

The fingerboard inlay has a floral pattern made of karat gold. Each leaf on the pattern boasts a black diamond set in platinum. Elements like the bridge, tuner buttons, and knobs have been set by hand in massive gold, and the knobs are topped off with brilliant-cut diamonds. There are also green diamonds used for knob position marks.

Fancy enough for you yet? Just wait. The nut is made from ivory from a Siberian mammoth and is at least 10, years old. That&#;s right, part of this bass is made from an extinct animal. It doesn&#;t get much rarer than that. 

3. Paul McCartney&#;s Hofner Violin Bass

Paul McCartney's Hofner Violin Bass, most expensive bass guitars sold at auction

Price: $,

Paul McCartney&#;s Hofner Violin Bass is perhaps the most iconic bass of all time. He purchased it when Beatles&#; bassist Stu Sutcliffe unexpectedly left the band, and McCartney was forced to move from piano to bass. He bought the right-handed bass for $45 and famously turned it upside-down.

The bass was stolen later in the s, but McCartney had already moved on to the new bass Hofner had given him in McCartney still plays that bass, and it is insured for $4 million. 

In , Juliens auctioned off a Hofner signed by McCartney for $,, but both the stolen Hofner and McCartney&#;s current Hofner are likely worth much more.

4. James Jamerson&#;s Fender Precision Bass

James Jamerson's Fender Precision Bass price

Price: $68,

James Jamerson was considered by many to be the best bass player of all time. He was even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in He played on many of Motown&#;s greatest hits during the s and &#;70s.

His legendary bass, a Fender Precision, sold for $68, at auction in The beautiful sunburst model has obviously been through some years of intense playing, making it all the more unique and expensive.

5. Fodera Anthony Jackson Presentation II Bass

Fodera Anthony Jackson Presentation II cost

Price: $35,

The Fodera Anthony Jackson Presentation II is truly an original. Legendary bassist Anthony Jackson is known for both his skill as a player and innovating a six-string bass, sometimes known as a contrabass guitar.

The first Presentation was created in and has since gone through many iterations. The Presentation II is considered Jackson&#;s finest work, as he spent many years making tweaks and adjustments to create a better and better instrument.

Six strings aside, there is much to the Presentation II to set it apart and above other bass guitars, namely the utterly hollow body and the &#;heel-less&#; attachment of neck to the body. The body is made out of alder wood in the hybrid design, while the topwood and back are made out of hand-carved holly.  

6. Alembic Double Neck John Judge &#;Goliath Bass&#;

Alembic Double Neck John Judge "Goliath Bass" price

Price: $30,

Why have a single bass guitar when you can have a double? The two necks can create endless musical possibilities, and this Alembic custom model is the cream of the crop. It was played by the legendary John Judge but has only been in collections since the early s.

The bass is made of mahogany, zebrawood, ebony, maple, and purpleheart. The Goliath was first intended to be a single neck bass but was later changed to a double neck. 

Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) part of the Goliath is its inlay featuring a dragon holding a naked maiden captive. The dragon&#;s eyes once lit up even. The design was inspired by Judge himself, who was a fan of ancient mythology.

7. Fender 50th anniversary Jazz Bass Custom Colors

most expensive fender bass guitar

Price: $28,+

Fender started making its Jazz Bass guitar in the early s. It was so-named because the company was hoping to appeal to jazz bassists. While the bass is a quality product as one would suspect from Fender, it&#;s not the instrument&#;s craftsmanship that makes it stand out and earns it a place on our list of expensive basses.

The Fender Jazz Bass is sought after because of its custom colors. During the s and 60s, Fender allowed customers to choose their own colors. The company used the same paints used on cars due to wide availability and its ease of use. By the end of the 60s, the company had phased out many options, making these basses rare and expensive.

The company came out with a 50th anniversary Jazz Bass in in several of the original colors. Only a few were made. Now, if you&#;re lucky enough to find one for sale, it will cost you upwards of $28,

8. Zemaitis Heart Hole Bass Guitar

Zemaitis Heart Hole Bass Guitar price

Price: $25,+

Antonio Zemaitis got his start building cabinets in Lithuania but switched to guitars in the s. He made instruments for some of the most famous British rockers and was known for his innovative style, such as his metal-fronted instruments.

The Heart Hole Bass was not the first instrument Zemaitis constructed with a heart soundhole. He first made a string guitar for Eric Clapton dubbed &#;Ivan the Terrible.&#; In the s, he shifted his focus to the acoustic bass.

The handcrafted bass is made of several types of wood, including mahogany, abalone, rosewood, and spruce. While the soundhole in the shape of a heart gives the bass its signature appearance, those who&#;ve played it say there is no difference in sound than other similarly-crafted instruments with round soundholes.

9. Gibson Thunderbird IV Bass 

gibson thunderbird iv bass cardinal red price, expensive gibson bass guitars

Price: $23,

Gibson was late to the market when it came to electric basses. It seemed they always trailed behind Fender and could never quite release a quality product, that is, until the Thunderbird models started production in the mids. 

By the time the fourth edition was released, Gibson had moved away from the sunburst model used in earlier iterations and followed Fender in creating custom colors. If you can find one of the cardinal red variety, you&#;ve struck gold. There were reportedly only 87 of these released onto the market, and only a number of them are the superior neck-through models.

Fender Precision Bass Guitar

fender p bass vintage cost

Price: $23,

Leo Fender first developed the Precision Bass, also known as the P-bass, in Fender&#;s bass was created as a solution to the problem of using an upright double bass. Musicians loved the deep undertones the double bass provided but found it cumbersome and difficult to hear over the sounds of the new electric guitars.

Fender created the Precision Bass as an electric alternative that was smaller, portable, and much louder, thus cementing the instrument&#;s place in rock and roll history.

By , you could get the P-bass in every color under the sun. If you can find one of the rarer colors, it will cost you a pretty penny, but you will have an ultimate collector&#;s item.

Travis Bean TB Prototype #0

Travis Bean TB Prototype #0 cost

Price: $15,+

Travis Bean was known as an innovator in the instrument-crafting world. His talents as both a luthier and a machinist make for some unique and incredible guitars and basses. 

Most basses had wooden necks, but not Bean&#;s. His instruments were primarily known for the aluminum that ran through the neck and body. The result? A sturdy &#; and heavy &#; bass that provided a rich and massive sound quality.

The TB is one of Bean&#;s prototypes and dates to It has an aluminum nut, making it incredibly rare, and all of Bean&#;s other creations had a brass nut.

Speaking of &#;nuts,&#; just one year later saw the release of One Flew Over the Cuckoo&#;s Nest, which would go on to make over $ million dollars! Hey, the 70s were a crazy time. 

Jens Ritter Roya Concept Bass Guitar

most expensive bass guitars in the world, jens ritter concept bass price

Price: $12,+

If one of Ritter&#;s higher-end customs is a little out of your price range, perhaps the Ritter Roya Concept will fit your budget. Don&#;t be fooled, Ritter&#;s &#;budget&#; bass is still made of high-quality materials, like flamed maple, alder, and ebony. Perhaps the most striking element is the bright blue strings. 

Rickenbacker Model L &#;Lightshow&#; Bass

Rickenbacker Model L "Lightshow" bass guitar price

Price: $12,

The Rickenbacker Model L &#;Lightshow&#; is one of the most expensive bass guitars that stands out in a crowd. The Who&#;s John Entwistle once played the model on Top of the Pops, but that&#;s not its biggest claim to fame.

No, the L is called the &#;Lightshow&#; for a reason. It&#;s a hollow-bodied bass with several colored lights inside. Different colors would light up based on the notes being played, making for a visual and aural spectacle that delighted audiences. Only a few of these were made, so you&#;d be quite lucky to get your hands on one.

Most of us who love the bass guitar can only drool over these 13 basses. Even with cash in hand, some of the most expensive bass guitars are so rare that they&#;re nearly impossible to find for sale. For the lucky few with the right amount of money, superior sound and quality craftsmanship can be bought. These expensive bass guitars can really help you enjoy the finer things in life.


Guitars premium bass


Choosing a bass guitar isn’t easy, mainly for two reasons: usually, the guitar you want isn’t necessarily in your budget and guitar manufacturers keep getting better at producing high-quality instruments at lower prices, which means that there are too many guitars to choose from!

There are so many different choices out there that when it comes time to start shopping around for a new bass guitar for yourself, it can honestly start to get a little too overwhelming.

Don’t worry, that’s where I come in!

Today, I have created a list of the top 25 best bass guitars for for you to choose from. All of these guitars have been handpicked and sorted into different categories depending upon your skill level, your personal music tastes, and your budget.

Whatever your budget may be, a great quality electric bass guitar is going to be available to you. You just have to know what to look for in a bass guitar and which guitar will suit your playing style the best.

What makes a good bass guitar?

There are a whole bunch of different things that go into making a great bass guitar, but the things that make a great bass guitar for you may be things that make a bass guitar mediocre for other musicians.

But, one of the main components that go into creating a great bass guitar is the choice of woods that are used to make the body and the neck of the guitar. On cheaper bass guitars, you’re going to find bodies comprised of basswood or alder; the more expensive the guitars are, you’ll begin to find other woods incorporated, such as maple, swamp ash, and mahogany.

While the woods used on your guitar shouldn’t be the defining point of the choice you make in your guitar, they should be one of the reasons that you do look into specific guitars.

Best Bass Guitars

How to find a good bass guitar?

Make sure that when you’re shopping around for a guitar, that you do your research for all of the benefits that a specific type of wood has to offer to you. As an example, guitars that are comprised of swamp ash produce a bright sound, whereas guitars that are comprised of mahogany will provide musicians with a warm sound.

You should also take time to research the type of wood your guitar is comprised of for your physical benefit; if you plan on traveling with your bass guitar and spending a lot of time standing on stage, you should look into a guitar that’s made from a lighter wood so it not too heavy for you to play.

At the end of the day, no matter what the woods, the electronics, the pickups, or how many strings your bass guitar has, you shouldn’t face any instrument with any prejudice. Pick your bass guitar based off of what you think sounds best, regarding instruments in your budget. You can’t go wrong with a bass guitar that you enjoy the sound of! Check out our guide on the best guitar strings and how to pick the right one for your guitar.

What’s the difference between active pickups and passive pickups?

The type of pickup that your bass guitar has will also define what type of sound your instrument produces. If you are a musician who is looking for the classic warm, vigorous sound with a dynamic range of tonal production, you’re going to want to look for a guitar that has passive pickups.

However, if you get your hands on a bass guitar that have a set of active pickups installed, you’re going to get yourself bright, clear, bell-like tones.

how to find best bass guitar

These tones will be especially prevalent if your guitar comes with built-in preamps, as the overall volume output is larger when being compared the overall volume output of a passive pickup. Active pickups are typically a favorite in the guitar community, typically because they also don’t have to interact with a lot of interferences or background noise.

When coming time to choose your bass guitar, the choice of an active or passive pickup will be a choice you’re going to have to make based on your personal preferences. As said earlier, make sure that you play around with a few different guitars before making a final decision on any one instrument.

Should I buy new or used?

Again, it’s really all up to you on whether or not you’d like to purchase a new or used bass guitar. When you purchase a new bass guitar, you’re more than likely going to have the security of a warranty from the company. On top of purchasing a new bass guitar, you’re also going to be purchasing the full set-up, so you’ll be ready to start playing as soon as you’ve completed your purchase.

Purchasing a used bass guitar, no matter what the price tag is, is going to be a bit riskier. However, this risk can be a great payoff if you end up purchasing a gem of a bass guitar and didn’t have to spend a whole lot of money on it. If you do happen to be purchasing a used bass guitar, make sure that the purchase is going through an online or physical guitar store that has a good reputation.

Getting an instrument from a flea market, yard sale, eBay, or thrift store can be a lot larger of a risk, especially if you aren’t able to test out your instrument when it’s hooked up to an amp and you won’t have the ability to make returns.

The best piece of advice that I give to all musicians who are looking to purchase a new guitar is to take some time and try out a whole variety of different guitars to find an instrument that you truly love.

While a new guitar may be a little more expensive in the beginning, if you end up purchasing a used guitar from a seller that isn’t reputable, you can be out hundreds or thousands of dollars by trying to make repairs on a mediocre guitar.

Under $1,

1. Sterling by Music Man RAYHB

The solid swamp ash body that’s paired with an oval pickguard is the most visually striking parts of this bass guitar, while also providing musicians with an incredibly wide tonal variety.

Music Man RAYHB

The ‘C’ neck on this guitar also makes this instrument easy to play for a long period of time and doesn’t cause the hand to feel too worn.

The RAY34’s sound is expressed by a single passive bridge humbucker that’s paired with a 3-band preamp.

This combo really allows this instrument to have a punchy sound.

2. Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special

If you’re not really worried about the price tag on your bass guitar, the Fender Deluxe Active P Bass Special is a premium bass guitar worth the cash.

Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special

This is one of the best bass guitars on this list and the price tag certainly does represent that.

The Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special (Full Review Here) has a classic Fender styling with a solid alder P Bass body, paired with a satin-finished modern ‘C’ shaped maple Jazz neck.

Fender installed two vintage noiseless pickups in this bass guitar, a Precision Bass pickup in the middle of the guitar and a Jazz Bass pickup located at the bridge of the guitar. 

Read our full Fender P-Bass Guitar Review.

3. Cort Jeff Berlin Series Rithimic Bass

Cort is a guitar manufacturer that’s well known for their budget instruments, but Cort does produce a handful of guitars that are on the pricier side.

The Jeff Berlin Rithimic Bass Guitar is comprised of a double-cutaway alder body with a Padouk and Spalted Maple veneer top, which is a combination that’s pretty rare to find on the market.

Cort Jeff Berlin Series Rithimic Bass

This bass guitar also has a Canadian hard maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard, and 21 frets.

The hardware on this guitar is only the highest quality, as two Bartolini Jeff Berlin Custom Soapbar pickups placed at the bridge and the neck of the guitar.

With a set of gold-plated controls, a set of Hipshot Ultralight tuners, and a Basics Full Contact FCH4 bridge, which are all of outstanding quality.

4. Schechter Stiletto Custom 4

Schechter originally becomes famous for producing guitars that were incredibly elegant but were still affordable for most musicians.

The Schechter Stiletto Custom 4 is comprised of a variety of different woods with a double cutaway mahogany body and a figured maple top, plus a walnut and maple combination multi-ply neck.

Schechter Stiletto Custom 4

There are two EMG 35 HZ pickups located at the bridge of the guitar and the neck of the guitar, with a two band EMG Active EQ.

This combo provides the guitar with a punchy low end and a smoother high end, which gives it the perfect overall sound for metal.

Under $

5. Yamaha TRBXEW

If you’ve heard of Yamaha’s TRBX bass series, The TRBXEW is on the lower end of the spectrum in this series from Yamaha.

When my eyes first landed on this guitar, I was very intrigued by the overall look of this guitar, as it is unique looking.


There is a layer of exotic mango wood on the top of this guitar, which I hadn’t yet seen in other guitars yet.

The majority of this guitar is comprised from mahogany and is paired with a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and 24 frets.

The TRBXEW bass guitar has a split precision style single coil humbucker and Jazz style single coil humbucker.

6. Yamaha TRBX

The Yamaha TRBX is a bass guitar is comprised of a solid mahogany body that’s finished a black nickel.

Yamaha TRBX

This Bass Guitar comes installed with Performance EQ active circuitry, so musicians are able to quickly and effectively personalize the tones that this bass guitar produces.

The body of this guitar is balanced very well and even has a thumb rest so you can comfortably rest your hands while either playing finger styles or slap bass.

7. Epiphone Thunderbird PRO-IV Bass

The Thunderbird bass guitar is a fan favorite from Gibson, so Epiphone went and decided to make their own version; the Epiphone Thunderbird Pro-IV bass guitar.

Epiphone Thunderbird PRO-IV Bass

The Epiphone Thunderbird ‘wings’ or ‘ears’ are comprised of solid mahogany and has a seven-piece through-body neck that’s made from a combination of maple and walnut.

From my personal experience, I found that this neck was extremely comfortable to play, as it has a Slim Taper profile, a rosewood fretboard, and 20 medium jumbo frets.

There are two battery-powered Epiphone T proactive bass humbuckers placed at both the bridge and the middle positions, which really provide the overall sound of this guitar with a lot of power.

8. Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS

The first time I ever picked up the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS, I fell in love.

I am a person with small hands and I truly felt comfortable playing this bass guitar with its inch scale length.

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass

The body of this bass guitar is comprised of agathist and comes with a bolt-on maple neck, a rosewood fretboard, and 20 frets.

Personally, I wasn’t super impressed with the pickups that are installed on this guitar and they weren’t as strong as I’d expected them to be, but they do a great job especially when considering the price tag.

There is a split single coil precision bass pickup in the middle of the guitar and a single coil Jazz bass pickup that’s located at the bridge of the guitar.

9. Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass V

The Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz V Bass Guitar features a double cutaway that’s comprised of solid alder, with a bolt-on ‘C’ neck that’s made from maple, paired with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets.

Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass V

This guitar does come with two Jazz Bass V single coil pickups, one placed at the bridge, and the other placed at the middle of the guitar.

My biggest complaint about this guitar was that the overall appearance of the hardware wasn’t the most stunning I’ve ever seen before, but it does get the job done.

Squier Classic Vibe Precision 50s Bass Guitar

The Squier Classic Vibe Precision 50s Bass Guitar is a bass guitar that’s well-known for being super smooth to play.

This bass guitar was built with the s-vintage bass guitar look in mind, but still has all of the modern accessories that a modern bass guitar players needs to successfully play the bass guitar.

Squier Classic Vibe Precision 50s Bass Guitar

Classic Vibe Precision 50s Bass Guitar has a DiMass four saddle bridge, which makes setting up your guitar super easy to do and playing your guitar even more fun.

This instrument has a warmed earthy-tone that’ caused by the larger neck of this guitar. There is also a wider string spacing on this instrument, which really adds to the overall classic 50s look and feel.

Epiphone EB-3

The Epiphone EB03 is one of the more popular bass guitars among beginners.

Epiphone EB-3

The Epiphone EB-3 pays attention to vintage bass guitars, but looks much more modern with a long scale neck.

This instrument is comprised of a mahogany body, mahogany neck, Sidewinder humbucker pickup located at the neck, and an NYT Bass mini-humbucker pickup located at the bridge of the guitar.

Washburn Taurus T24

The Washburn Taurus T24 has a neck-through design and is comprised of fine tonewoods, such as a mahogany body, a maple and mahogany combo neck, and a rosewood fingerboard.

Washburn Taurus T24

As for the neck of the guitar, the Washburn has a neck that is thin and makes for a fast playing neck.

The Custom JJ pickups allow the musician to achieve from a variety of different tones, from throaty lows to punchy trebles.

Fender Modern Player Dimension Bass

This bass guitar was specifically designed for the modern musician in mind, as Fender really provided modern-day musicians with modern bass technologies.

Fender Modern Player Dimension Bass

The Modern Player Dimension Bass has a five-position rotary pickup that allows musicians to really experiment with their tone from the three-coil pickup, by choosing from the front oil, the front and the middle coil, etc.

Squier Jaguar Bass V Special

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that produces a real, authentic bass guitar sound, all with an affordable price tag.

Squier Jaguar Bass V Special

The Squier Jaguar Bass V Special is cosmetically appealing, has a great vintage style, and a high-quality sound that’s produced through the Fender single coil Jazz Bass V dual pickups that are placed at the middle and the bridge of the guitar.

Schechter Guitar Research Stiletto Extreme 4-T

The Schechter Guitar Research Stiletto Extreme 4-T is comprised of a cutaway mahogany body with a maple neck and a maple top.

There are two Schechter bass Humbucker pickups and an active EQ installed on this guitar, which really allows musicians to stay in complete and utter control of the sound that they’re producing.


When I first began playing the ESP F bass guitar, I was honestly really impressed with this instrument and almost in a state of awe.


The F has a fast neck, a real deep, thunder-like sound, and chrome hardware.

The ESP has SB-4 pickups with an active HQ that really make this bass guitar incredibly versatile.

As someone who has a smaller stature, I really enjoyed playing this bass guitar because it was very lightweight, but solid feeling.

Ibanez SRQM

Ibanez produces some great bass guitars, especially from the SR family. The Ibanez SRQM is an absolutely amazing bass guitar and is offered at an incredibly reasonable price.

The body is comprised from a lightweight mahogany with a quilted maple top, which is great to for any beginning bass guitar player to start learning on.

There are two pickups installed in the SRQM, one CAP EXF-N2 passive pickup located on the neck and one cap EXF-N2 passive pickup located behind the bridge, with an Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band EQ.

Squier Stop Dreaming Start Playing Bass

If you’re an absolute to the music world and don’t know all that you’re going to need to start playing bass guitar, the Squier Stop Dreaming Start Playing Bass Guitar Pack is a convenient pack.

Squier Stop Dreaming Start Playing Bass

The Squier Affinity J Bass is a great entry-level instrument that provides musicians with the classic Fender style at an incredibly affordable price tag.

This kit comes with a Rumble 15 amplifier, a gig bag, a cable, a strap, a tuner, and an instructional DVD.

Under $

Dean Custom Zone Bass

The Dean Custom Zone Bass is a fun guitar to look at because it comes in three unique colors: Fluorescent Pink, Fluorescent Yellow, and Nuclear Green.

While the bright colors do make this guitar fun, there are few more surprises that this budget instrument has to throw at you.

Dean Custom Zone Bass

The Dean Custom Zone Bass has a double-cutaway basswood body, a bolt-on ‘C’ maple neck, a painted maple fretboard, and 20 frets.

There is only one pickup that comes with this guitar, a stock precision style bass pickup located at the middle position of the guitar; this instrument sounds surprisingly well for a guitar that costs under $, is comfortable to play, and fits a variety of music styles.

Ibanez GSR

If you’re a beginning musician, you probably can’t find a good reason to justify spending a whole lot of money on a bass guitar, especially if you’re someone who is going to be just a casual musician or you are a musician.

The Ibanez GSR guitar is comprised of agathist, which is a lightweight wood and is paired with a one-piece maple neck.

Ibanez GSR

Ibanez got a whole lot of versatility with the sound of this instrument, as they used a Dynamix P split coil located at the neck of the guitar and a Dynamix single coil J pickup that’s located at the bridge of the guitar, paired with an active EQ with PHAT-II Bass boost.

This is the cheapest guitar that we have listed here on the list, but you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell that from looks or performance of this guitar!

Ibanez AEB5E

The Ibanez AEB5E is an acoustic-electric bass guitar that makes a great ’s bass guitar.

This guitar is comprised of an agathist body, a spruce top, mahogany back, mahogany sides, and a rosewood bridge.

Ibanez AEB5E

This acoustic-electric bass guitar produces an aggressive low-end sound, even when unplugged and not amplified. The agathist wood used to create the body really produces a warm sound with this bass guitar.

The Ibanez AEB5E also comes with an Ibanez piezo pickup, an Ibanez AEQT preamp with a two-band EQ, and onboard tuners that allow musicians to easily tune their guitar with a more natural sounding amplification.

Rogue LXB

The Rogue LXB is also one of the other best bass guitars for beginners on the list.

The Rogue bass gives musicians a traditional bass guitar look, with a black basswood dual cutaway body.

Rogue LXB

The LXB also comes with two single coil pickups’ one J-style humbucker pickup at the bridge and a P style split coil pickup at the bridge of the guitar.

When playing this guitar, I found that this instrument really responded well to slapping rather than fingerpicking.

Read More:How to find the Best Electric Guitar


There are a whole bunch of different options for you to consider when it comes to buying a new bass guitar, whether it’s your very first bass guitar purchase or your th!

There are a lot of bass guitars to choose from in the world, so make sure that you take your time and test out all of the guitars you’re interested in purchasing! Good luck on searching for your dream bass guitar.

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Danny Trent

Danny grew up playing anything that looked like a guitar. Since some kids just don&#;t know how to grow up, he continues to write about guitars because you can do that these days.

The Top 10 Bass Guitars of ALL Time

Having undressed, I joined Tanka and Vasya and we looked expectantly at the opposite group. Eh was not: If the youngsters are not shy, then. Why should I. the second guy took off his shorts, and behind them his panties. The girls undressed in silence, but soon joined our company.

Now discussing:

It's too early. We'll get out of the bathroom, I'll wipe your body a little and put it on the bed. I'll tie my hands to the headboard. then I will blindfold your eyes. Let your imagination and body tell you what your eyes cannot see.

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