Home Music & Audio Best Bass Guitars [Buying Guide] in 2019

Best Bass Guitars [Buying Guide] in 2019

by Jonathan Logtenberg
Image
Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Black, 4-String (TRBX174 BL)
Full Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Beginner Pack with Amp Case Strap Black Package
Fender Player Jazz Electric Bass Guitar - Maple Fingerboard - Tidepool
Title
Yamaha TRBX174 BL 4-String Electric Bass Guitar
Davison Guitars Full Size Electric Bass Guitar
Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar
Image
Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Black, 4-String (TRBX174 BL)
Title
Yamaha TRBX174 BL 4-String Electric Bass Guitar
Image
Full Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Beginner Pack with Amp Case Strap Black Package
Title
Davison Guitars Full Size Electric Bass Guitar
Image
Fender Player Jazz Electric Bass Guitar - Maple Fingerboard - Tidepool
Title
Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar

The bass guitar might not get the glory that regular guitars get, but they are just as important when it comes to making beautiful music. The bass line is the heartbeat of pop, rock, and jazz songs. Even if people don’t notice it consciously, they feel it in their heart. The vibrations that shake the stage and hit the audience in waves at live concerts are usually coming from a properly amped bass. Also, since most bands need a bass, but most people want to play lead guitar, you’ll find that it’s easier to find a group to play with if you know the bass. With the right bass guitar, you can open up a whole new world of musical opportunities for yourself. To get started on your musical journey you need to find the right instrument.

Today bass guitars are more affordable and varied than ever before. This is a great thing for consumers since it means the perfect bass is out there waiting for you. The downside is that it can be intimidating to try and sort through the varied selection for the first time. Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve looked through the available bass guitars and created a list of the five top models on the market. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it does cover a selection of instruments that will meet the needs of most aspiring bassists.

In the first section of this guide, you’ll find reviews of the top 5 bass guitar models on the market today. After that, we’ll look at the factors you need to consider when you look at and compare these different basses. Finally, we’ve included a section with tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of whichever bass you end up choosing. If you read through this guide carefully, you’ll have all the tools you need to make an informed purchase.

Top 5 Bass Guitars

1. Yamaha TRBX174 BL 4-String Electric Bass Guitar

FEATURES

  • Four or Five strings.
  • Available in up to 16 different colors.
  • Comes in five different styles.
  • Vintage bridge.
  • Single coil pickup.
  • Active and passive pickups.
  • Individual adjustable guitar bridge system.
  • 12.4-pound instrument weight.
  • One-year limited manufacturer warranty available.
  • Extra protection available.

PROS

  • Available in different colors and styles. No need to settle for one available color, with this instrument you get to choose the body style and color you want from the wide range of available options.
  • Perfect weight. This isn’t an instrument that is so light that it feels like a toy or so heavy that it becomes a burden to play. It’s light enough that you can play it for hours with ease. Great for musicians of all ages.
  • Switch pickups between active and passive. Play the way you want by switching the pickup to the setting of your choice.
  • Simple tuning. One difficulty most beginning music students have is tuning their instruments, but this won’t be much of a product if you buy the TRBX174. Yamaha has made an instrument that isn’t just as simple as possible to tune; it also holds its tune for as long as possible.
  • Standard warranty is available. Yamaha offers a one-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. This warranty only covers instruments that are purchased new from authorized Yamaha dealers.
  • Accident protection is available. If you want accident protection that goes beyond the standard warranty, you can choose between two affordably priced plans. These plans last for two and three-years respectively.

CONS

  • Availability varies widely. With five body styles, 16 color varieties, and two string setups there should be 160 available combinations. Unfortunately, you’ll find that most combinations are unavailable for purchase. Prepare to settle for what you can find or take a risk and buy new to get the combination you want, if you can find it.
  • Passive pickup setting is underpowered. While it’s obvious that the passive setting will be weaker than the active setting the passive option on this guitar is a little limper than expected. It works if you have no other choice, but otherwise, you should stick with active.
  • Five string model has buzzing issues. If you decide to upgrade to the five-string setup, you might experience issues with the fifth string. It’s known to buzz, be prepared.
  • Standard warranty is only available from certain locations. Yamaha offers a great warranty, but you will only be able to enjoy its benefits if you purchase it new from an authorized Yamaha retailer. Be sure to contact any seller you’re considering to see if they are authorized, because if they aren’t you will need to get purchase protection from some other source.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Yamaha is one of the most trusted names in instrument manufacturing, and the TRBX174 lives up to their reputation. It is one of the more affordable models in their TRBX line, balancing quality and affordability nicely. The TRBX174  is probably the best bass guitar in its price range, with a classic look, feel, and sound. It’s a fantastic instrument to learn on, it is easy to tune, and it can hold a tune like a champ. One great thing about this instrument is how many options it gives you. You can choose what body style you want, what color you want, and how many strings you want. The downside is that availability varies widely. Given the listed options you’d expect to have 160 combinations to choose from, but as of writing, there are 27 available. Still, that’s more options than you’ll find with most other models! If you’re looking for the best return on your investment the TRBX174 BL from Yamaha is a great choice. Because of its construction, sound, and affordability, we’re awarding it our top option pick.

2. Davison Guitars Full Size Electric Bass Guitar

FEATURES

  • Four strings.
  • Solid black color.
  • Dual pickup configuration.
  • Set guitar bridge system.
  • Maple neck and fretboard.
  • Includes case, cable, and amp.
  • 21.4-pound shipping weight.
  • Extra protection available.

PROS

  • Great for anyone starting out. This is a fantastic bass for learners who want to try the bass but want to keep things simple and low cost. This isn’t a huge investment; you can buy this for kids who are interested in the bass but aren’t yet fully committed.
  • Comes in right and left-handed designs. Don’t feel like you need to settle for a model that isn’t built for you. If you are left-handed Davison Guitars has you covered. We’re linking to the left-handed model but just search for “Left Hand Full Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Beginner Pack ” and you’ll find an instrument built just for you.
  • Attractive. This is a good instrument. It comes in a dark black color that is completed with a shiny finish that looks great on stage.
  • Includes basic accessories. If you want to play an electric bass guitar properly, you need to have a guitar cable and amp. Most bass guitars don’t ship with these accessories, but this instrument does. It also has a case, which means you get three of the most important accessories you need to get started included standard in the package.
  • Accident protection is available. Protect your investment by purchasing one of the available plans. Two and three-year plans are available that cover accidents than standard warranties don’t.

CONS

  • Davison doesn’t offer a standard warranty. If you look at the listing for this product and at Davison’s website you’ll notice that they don’t advertise a manufacturer warranty. This means that buying an instrument from them can be risky, if something goes wrong you’ll have to pay for the repair out of your own pocket.
  • Lightweight strap hook. This guitar comes with hooks you can use with guitar straps, but these hooks are too flimsy. If you play it long enough, it will fail, and you’re likely to drop your instrument. If you want to protect your instrument, you should tighten the hook regularly or take it out and upgrade to a higher quality screw.
  • Cheap construction materials. This instrument is as affordable as it is because it is made with cheap plywood. It will last if it is handled with care but it isn’t built to withstand demanding performances. The body of this instrument is easy to damage and hard to repair.
  • Flimsy strings. The strings included with the bass aren’t built to last. You can’t know how long they’ll last but it won’t be for long. The best thing to do is order replacements when you purchase the bass itself so you won’t have to go for long without a full set of strings.
  • Mediocre accessories. The variety of accessories included is very nice, but their quality leaves something to be desired. You get what you pay for and these free accessories are likely to fail you sooner or later.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

This instrument from Davison Guitars is a perfect choice for anyone who wants to own a bass but isn’t ready to invest in a heavy duty instrument. It has everything you need to start playing and a price-tag that the majority of people can afford. The included accessories are a mixed bag. They’re clearly helpful because they allow you to start playing the bass without buying the accessories separately. On the other hand, the quality of the included accessories is a bit spotty; it’s clear that they were chosen because for affordability rather than durability. That goes for the overall instrument, it does its job but it isn’t highly durable or anything fancy. You get what you paid for and you get out what you put in. Still, this instrument is a budget bass that doesn’t feel like a budget product when it’s in your hands. Add in the inclusion of valuable accessories, and it should be easy to see why we picked this bass for our best buy award. If you want to get started while spending as little as possible then this is the bass that will allow you to do that without sacrificing musical quality.

3. Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar

FEATURES

  • Four strings.
  • Available in up to 5different colors.
  • Comes in three different styles.
  • Alder body.
  • Dual single-coil pickups.
  • Combination pickup configuration.
  • Set guitar bridge system.
  • Includes case, cable, and amp.
  • 15.1-pound shipping weight.
  • Two-year limited manufacturer warranty available.
  • Extra protection available.

PROS

  • Classic Fender look. Chances are you’ve looked up to a musician who played a Fender guitar. The iconic look of this instrument allows you to feel like one of your musical heroes.
  • Available with different fingerboard materials. Choose between a maple or rosewood fingerboard. Get the look you want. The sound holds from low to high without a loss of sound quality.
  • Warm sound. This bass has power and warmth, giving it a classic sound that matches its look.
  • Comes in different colors. Fender makes this instrument in arctic white, black, brown sunburst, candy apple red, and lake placid blue. Please note that availability varies between these different color schemes.
  • Made from quality materials. Fender doesn’t cut costs when it comes to materials. This might be one of their cheaper models, but it’s clear that quality wood and metal has been used in the construction of this instrument.
  • Excellent quality control. Fender lives up to their reputation with this instrument. They’ve clearly paid close attention to every detail.
  • A quality standard warranty is available. Fender offers a two-year limited warranty that is good across the globe. The warranty covers products purchased new from an Authorized Fender/Squier Dealer.
  • Accident protection is available. If you decide to purchase this bass, you can protect your investment with a three or four-year accident protection plan. These plans cost extra, but the prices are reasonable given the protection offered and how long the plans are.

CONS

  • Warranty doesn’t cover all new models. If you don’t buy this instrument new from an Authorized Fender/Squier Dealer you won’t be eligible for Fender’s standard warranty. Make sure you contact any seller before purchasing to find out whether or not they are an authorized retailer.
  • The bridge stands out like a sore thumb. It’s not that the bridge is bad, it simply isn’t up to the standards of the rest of the instrument.
  • Neck might be high for some. This will come down to personal preferences, but some people will wish that the neck and action on this instrument were a bit higher.
  • Not a budget bass. This instrument is made to professional standards, and it is priced as such. As of writing, this is the most expensive bass on our list. This isn’t a guitar for true bargain hunters.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The name Fender is practically synonymous with the electric guitar. Their Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar is an instrument designed to provide learning bassists with an instrument they can afford. The first thing most people are likely to notice is its visual appearance. This is a beautiful guitar, with a design that harkens back to the heights of rock and roll history. Once you spend time with the instrument, you’ll see that the same level of quality extends to the construction and sound. As an added incentive to purchase Fender offers a two-year warranty, you just have to buy the instrument new from an authorized Fender dealer. Given how much this instrument costs it’s worth making sure you get some form of purchase protection with it. This is an instrument that costs more than the bargain basses on our list, but every dollar shows up in the quality of this guitar.  If you’re ready to get serious about playing the bass then this instrument is a great investment. It’s a professional-grade instrument that will take you just about anywhere you want to go musically.

4. Ibanez GSR205BWNF 5-String Electric Bass

FEATURES

  • Five strings.
  • Available in up to five different colors.
  • Maple neck.
  • Mahogany body.
  • Dynamix H neck and bridge pickups.
  • Tune-O-Matic bridge system.
  • EQ, tone, and volume controls.
  • 10.9-pound shipping weight.
  • One-year limited manufacturer warranty available.
  • Extra protection available.

PROS

  • Five strings. While most basses have four strings, this one has five. This lets it reach lower notes than other instruments can. This allows you to achieve a deep, rich sound.
  • Different colors are available. Choose between black, brown, walnut, natural grey burst, and orange. Pick an instrument that fits your personal style. 
  • White dot inlay makes learning easier. These dots give you a visual landmark you can use as you learn where to place your fingers while performing. The white dots against the dark neck make this as easy as possible, which is perfect for beginners.
  • Offers control over your sound. The controls built into the guitar allow you to modify your sound and make the music you want to make.
  • Lightweight. At around 10 pounds this is a light instrument for this size. This makes it easy to hold and play, taking the stress off your body and helping you focus on playing.
  • Includes long-lasting batteries. The included batteries can go for up to half a year without requiring a recharge.
  • One-year standard warranty available. If you purchase this bass new from an authorized Ibanez dealer, you are eligible for this warranty.
  • Accident protection is available. Choose between a three or four-year plan. Get protection that goes a step beyond the standard manufacturer warranty.

CONS

  1. Comes with mediocre strings. The strings that are included with the instrument do their job, but they simply aren’t as durable as they can be. Consider buying extra strings along with this instrument for the best experience possible.
  2. Flimsy plastic knobs. The knobs used to control your sound are made of low-quality plastic. They are an obvious low point in an otherwise well-made instrument. Be prepared to replace.
  3. Notes on the low end lose clarity. While the fifth string opens up a lower range of music, this range isn’t perfect. You may notice notes going slightly muddy when you try and go low. With that being said, this issue also depends on the quality of amp you’re using.
  4. Tricky warranty. As with other manufacturers, Ibanez only covers instruments purchase from authorized retailers. They go beyond other retailers by asking for warranty registration. If you don’t register you new bass within ten days of purchase, you might have trouble getting work done in the future. This can be a big problem for people who tend to put off doing paperwork.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The average bass guitar has four strings, but that doesn’t mean that you need to get a four string instrument. This five-string bass allows you to stretch out your musical muscles by going lower than a four string will take you. People sometimes avoid five strings because they can suffer at the lower end but this bass handles the full range nicely. There are some issues as the very lowest range, but its performance is still exceptional. Ibanez has designed an instrument that looks good while it makes beautiful music. It also helps that it comes in four different colors, so you can get a bass that looks the way you want it to. This is a great guitar for its price, but the low price-tag does explain some of the instruments’ weak point. For example, the strings and knobs that come with the bass are cheap and easy to break. Fortunately, these parts are very easy to replace so you can upgrade your new instrument at a low cost. Overall, this bass guitar is made for people who want a dependable five string bass at a reasonable price.

5. Schecter Omen Extreme-4 Bass Guitar

FEATURES

  • Five strings.
  • Available in two colors.
  • Rosewood fretboard.
  • Mahogany body.
  • Schecter Diamond neck and bridge pickups.
  • 14.9-pound shipping weight.
  • Two-year limited manufacturer warranty available.
  • Extra protection available.

PROS

  • Well setup upon arrival. Every instrument requires a bit of setup to match the musician’s needs, but this instrument needs a lot less work than others. The people at the factory clearly know what they are doing.
  • Wide tonal range. This is a four string amp that almost feels like a five string as you play it. It can make beautiful music across a full range of tones.
  • Very clean sound. This bass can perform as required with no buzzing whatsoever. If you hate it when you get a buzz from your instrument, then you should invest in this bass and solve your problems. 
  • Excellent action. The fingerboard and the strings situated just about perfectly for most performers. You might need to adjust according to your needs, but the majority of bassists will be able to use the standard action or something close to it. No need for drastic adjustments.
  • Pick the color you want. This bass comes in both black cherry and vintage sunburst. The first is a richer, darker color while the latter is bright with a classic feel. Choose a style that matches who you are as an artist or goes along with the rest of your group.
  • Made with good wood. The mahogany and rosewood used in the manufacturing of this instrument are both superb. The bass is also surprisingly light and easy to use despite the use of mahogany.
  • Holds tune well. No need to constantly tune your instrument during practices and performances. Once you get the tuning right, it stays that way even through intense performances.
  • Eligible for two-year manufacturer warranty. Schecter Guitars offers a two-year standard warranty. Please visit their website and read the full details to fully understand the limitations and coverage.
  • Accident protection is available. Cover your instrument in case of an accident by purchasing one of the two available plans. Choose between the three or four-year plans for coverage that goes above and beyond the standard.

CONS

  • Difficult to repair. If you damage just one part you will have trouble replacing it. Schecter doesn’t sell factory parts so unless you’re covered for the parts you’ll either have to replace the entire instrument or try and use parts from a different instrument. Handle this instrument with care.
  • Needs to be purchased new from a Schecter retailer for warranty eligibility. Understand that you might be missing out on the standard warranty if you are committed to buying this bass from the cheapest
  • Warranty is void if you use the wrong string size. Make sure you use the correct string type or you might lose out on your warranty coverage. The Omen Extreme-4 uses .045 to .105 gauged strings, anything else will cost you your coverage.
  • Darker in person than in pictures. Don’t expect the instrument to look exactly like it does in the picture. The colors are darker; the black cherry definitely looks more black than cherry.
  • Thin neck isn’t for everybody. The neck of this bass was clearly made for people with smaller hands. They’ll love it, but if you have larger hands or long fingers, you might find this to be slightly uncomfortable.
  • Hardware is prone to tarnishing. You have to clean the hardware regularly to keep it clean, shiny, spotless.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you want a range comparable to a five string bass with the simplicity and ease of a four string, then the Omen Extreme-4 from Schecter is a smart pick. This instrument is an exceptional piece of work. It’s a visually stunning instrument. It’s clear that the material used, and the workmanship that went into building and finishing this were top-shelf. The sound lives up to the visuals; it has a rich sound that sounds good across a wide range of tones. This is a bass with a lot to offer. One thing to note is that this isn’t a budget instrument. It’s cheaper than some, but it’s still significantly beyond the bargain basses out there. The cost shows in the quality and durability of the instrument. It’s a worthy investment if you can afford it. This is an attractive instrument with a soulful sound.

How to Distinguish a Quality Bass Guitar from a Cheap One

Manufacturer

Instruments are only as good as the people that made them. That’s why musicians used to travel far to find luthiers who could craft the perfect instrument. Now instruments are made in factories, but you can still research the company that’s behind the design and construction of your new instrument. Brand reputation isn’t everything but it can give you a good idea about the quality of your new instrument. Reputable brands with a proven track record are more likely to deliver the sort of product you deserve than generic brands.

Condition

The cheapest instruments you’ll find are usually used. Buying used does work out for some but it is almost always a gamble. Unless you can see the instrument for yourself and give it a try you can’t really know what will arrive on your doorstep. Even reputable sellers may miss internal issues that might have been caused by negligence on the part of the previous owner. If you want to ensure that your next bass is the best that it can be then, you should probably buy new.


Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Bass Guitar

Number of strings

Bass guitars can quickly be divided into two categories, basses with four strings and basses with more. They can be divided like this because four-string guitars are so ubiquitous. Five strings are less common than four, and six string basses are positively rare. Extra strings add additional range to the bass, helping it to cover a wider tonal area. The downside adding strings is that the extra strings add an extra layer of complexity. A quick look at the bass guitars for sale will show you that four string models are the most popular option. Still, neither one is superior to offer; both have pros and cons. Overall, the four string bass is perfect for beginners while instruments with more strings are great for experienced bassists who want to explore new musical possibilities. 

Material

You should always pay attention to the material that is used to make an instrument. The material used to make your new bass will determine its durability, appearance, sound, and cost. The cheapest bass guitars are usually made of basswood. If you’re looking for wood that offers affordability without dampening tone then a bass guitar with an Agathis body is a good choice. Mahogany is a beautiful wood that excels when it hits the lower tones. On the other hand, mahogany is denser than other woods and makes for a heavier instrument. Finally, maple is another heavy wood that is especially popular with recording artists because it helps create crisp and clean tones. The type of wood chosen isn’t the only thing to consider; you also need to learn about how the manufacturer handles the wood. The best wood can lose quality quickly if it is mistreated. Look for a bass that combines that kind of wood you want with quality craftsmanship.

Passive vs. Active Circuitry

When we talk about bass guitars, we’re referring to the electric bass, and the circuitry refers to just where the electricity comes from. Passive circuitry doesn’t need outside electric input while active circuitry requires a constant flow of electricity. That flow of power usually comes from a battery stored somewhere inside the guitar. Passive circuitry is nice because it allows you to play without fear of losing power, but it also has less punch than active circuitry. With active circuitry, you get more power and control over your sound but you also have to make sure the onboard battery always has power. Some instruments have one or the other, while others have the ability to switch between passive and active. If possible you should try and get a bass with the capability to switch. That way you can enjoy the power active circuitry offers while still enjoying the ability to continue playing even if your battery fails.

Neck Setup

Pay close attention to the neck when shopping for a bass. There are subtle differences between the necks on different models that can make a big difference. The first thing to look for is frets. Most bass guitar necks come equipped with frets, the metal lines that run up the neck and help musicians hit the right notes. Some musicians prefer fretless basses. The smooth necks on these models are supposed to create a warmer sound and allow for advanced playing techniques. On the other hand, fretless basses are harder to play. You will also see dots and other marking placed on the neck to help players find the right notes. You can buy stickers to help you learn, but these permanent markings look better while they assist in the learning process.

Accessories

Many companies that sell instruments will try and sweeten their deals by packaging instruments and accessories together. These deals can be very attractive because some items that are considered accessories are essential to playing the instrument properly. For example, if you want to play an electric bass properly you’ll need an amp and a guitar cable to hook the amp to the instrument. If you can find a package that combines a great instrument and helpful accessories, then it’s definitely worth your consideration, but you need to practice some skepticism. Most of the accessories included in these packages are cheap and low quality. If you want high-quality accessories, you should try and buy them separately. Finally, you don’t want to be lured into buying a mediocre instrument just for a few extra accessories. Accessories should be a cherry on top; your main focus needs to be on the bass guitar itself.

Purchase Protection

As a consumer, you deserve some level of protection. When you pay your hard earned money for a product it should arrive in working condition. Unfortunately, if you purchase an instrument that doesn’t come with any sort of purchase protection, then you might be stuck if you receive a faulty product. Look for standard warranties and protection plans you can purchase separately. You should also try and read the details of the warranty if possible. Many standard warranties only cover instruments purchased new from retailers that are authorized by the manufacturer. Don’t just assume your new instrument will be covered, when in doubt you should contact the seller to see if the instrument comes with warranty coverage or not.

Brand

Be aware of generic brands. Sometimes they sell passable products, but oftentimes generic instruments are poorly built and sold without any sort of purchase protection. If you want to find a quality bass, then you should look for a trustworthy electric bass manufacturer. An attractive looking instrument that is made by a company with a good reputation and long track record is likely to be a slam dunk. If you can find an instrument that offers all of these things then you can purchase with a high level of confidence.


Best Bass Guitar Brands

Yamaha

The Yamaha company is one of the biggest companies in Japan. They make all sorts of products, but they got their start making instruments. Torakusu Yamaha founded the company in 1887 to make pianos. Their instrument division now produces just about every type of instrument, including bass guitars. They have been able to stay relevant for 130 years because of a dedication to quality. While they have adapted with the times and modernized their manufacturing techniques, it’s still clear that their instruments are a cut above the rest. Their instruments are built and priced for intermediate learners up to professionals, but anyone can use their products. You might be able to find companies that make cheaper products, but you usually get what you pay for. Yamaha sells is quality instruments and accessories. The company also offers excellent standard warranties, though these warranties only extend to new Yamaha instruments that have been purchased from dealers with official ties to Yamaha. Don’t just assume you’ll get Yamaha’s quality assurance if you buy a product with their name on it.

Davison Guitars

This company might not be the oldest or most famous, but it is one of the most popular on the market today. This is because Davison Guitars is focused on creating a diverse range of affordable guitars. They are able to keep prices down by focusing on internet-based marketplaces. It’s rare to find a Davison guitar on sale new in stores, but that’s the way Davison likes it. Davison bass guitars aren’t particularly fancy, so if you are an advanced bassist, then you might want to look elsewhere. Davison instruments are perfect for people who want a good deal on their next bass. They get the job done without breaking the bank.

Fender

The name Fender might be the biggest name in guitar manufacturing. The words “Fender guitar” are enough to send shivers down the spines of classic rock lovers. Bassists have used Fender instruments to make every kind of music. You can hear fender bass guitars on Green Day, Elvis, Iron Maiden, and Monk Montgomery records. This diverse sample gives you an idea of what you can do with a Fender bass. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation was founded in Fullerton, California in 1946. It was started by Clarence Leonidas Fender, an electronics technician who saw the potential of electric instruments during their infancy. Fender would make some of the first mass-market electric guitars, and when his products began to reach the hands of leading musicians the company would reach new heights. The company has taken on an almost mythical character over its 70-year history, and just about every famous guitarist and bassist has owned and played a Fender guitar at some point. Today aspiring musicians buy Fender guitars for their sound, design, quality, and reputation.

Ibanez

The Ibanez company that exists today was officially founded in 1957, but its history starts even earlier. Ibanez’s predecessor company started in 1908 when a bookstore decided to start selling instruments. The name Ibanez comes from the Salvador Ibanez guitars that they began to import in 1929. Six years later they decided to move from importing instruments from Spain to making their own instruments in the style of Spanish guitars. The company has gone through a lot over its 60+ years of business, and today their experience shows in the bass guitars they produce. They produce a range of different bass guitars, including signature instruments that have been inspired by esteemed bassists from around the world. They also produce. The sound of Ibanez bass guitars can be heard in music by U2, Slipknot, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

Schecter

The full name of this company is Schecter Guitar Research, a name which points to their dedication to innovation. The company was founded in 1971, by the team of David Schecter, Herschel Blankenship and Shel Horlick. When they started out they were a repair shop that started manufacturing to replace parts they couldn’t get from other manufacturers. They started making their own instruments in 1979 and their company has grown ever since. They started out custom building instruments and they still make custom guitars to this day, though most of their customers can’t afford this service. Schecter sells dozens of mass-produced acoustic, bass, and electric guitars. The name Schecter means quality, whether you’ve got the money for a unique custom guitar or a more affordable model.


Choosing the Best Bass Guitar for Your Needs

Skill Level

How long have you been playing the bass? This is the first question you need to ask yourself because your answer can help you quickly eliminate certain models. If you are just starting out, then you should try and get an instrument that is as easy to play as possible. Beginners should start out with a four string bass that keeps things as simple as possible. You should also forget about fretless bass guitars, because they require a very advanced skill level. On the other hand, if you are an experienced musician then you should consider more complicated instruments and the opportunities they can open up for you.

Weight

Always consider how much a bass guitar weighs. The lighter an instrument is the easier it will be to use and carry around. Just a few pounds can make a big difference if you’re playing an instrument for hours at a time. This is especially true if you’re shopping for a younger musician. You don’t have to get the lightest model; lighter guitars tend to be more fragile. What you need to get is a guitar that is suited for your strength level. Practice is key and if your instrument is uncomfortable to use, then you’re going to practice less. Give yourself the best possible chance by buying a bass guitar that’s light enough for you to play comfortably.

Controls

The beauty of electric instruments is how you can modify your sound. You can buy accessories to change the sound your bass makes or you can buy an instrument with sound controls built in. Take a look at a picture of a bass, the knobs you see are there to change the sound the bass makes. The most obvious knob is the volume control knob, but there are also controls that impact EQ and tone. Extra controls allow for a more diverse range of sounds, but they also add to the complexity of the instrument. You have to decide how to balance these aspects, but in the end having more options will usually pay off in the long run.

Style

You deserve an instrument that looks as good as it sounds. Sound quality might be the most important thing to look for in an instrument but don’t feel like you should try and ignore appearances. The look of your guitar will color the way you feel about it. If you get a guitar that makes you feel cool, then you’re going to play it more often and with more confidence. You should also try and get a guitar that matches the style of music you want to play. People will judge you based on the appearance of your guitar, so think about what your bass says about you.

Seller

The final thing you need to look into before you buy an instrument is the people that are selling it to you. Unless you’re buying your new bass directly from the manufacturer, you’re going to be dealing with a middle-man, and you should make sure that they will treat you properly. Try and learn what you can by searching online and contacting the seller if you have questions. Things you should look for are the company’s reputation and their return policy. If you want an instrument covered by the manufacturer’s standard warranty than should see if the seller is an authorized seller. Many guitar manufacturer warranties don’t cover instruments purchased from unauthorized dealers.


Bass Guitar Accessories and Parts

Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier

If you’re playing an electric bass, then one of the first things you need to get is an amp. You can play an electric bass without one, but it just isn’t the same. Amps come in all shapes and sizes. We picked an amp that packs a punch while still offering portability and affordability. Think about what you want to do with your amp, the larger and louder you want to go the more powerful your amp will need to be.

Fender Performance Series Instrument Cables (1/4 Straight-to-Straight) for electric guitar, bass guitar, electric mandolin, pro audio

If you want to play your bass over an amp, you’ll need the appropriate cable to connect the two together. You want to get quality cables that are long enough to let you perform the way you want to perform. Short cables might be cheap, but you’ll have to be just a few steps from your amp at all time while performing.

D’Addario EXL160 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings, Medium, 50-105, Long Scale

The strings on your bass are going to break eventually. The cheaper the bass was, the sooner the strings are likely to break. But in the end, you can’t know for sure when that day will come. That’s why you should always keep extra strings around, especially if you perform regularly. Don’t miss a big show because you weren’t willing to a few extra strings.

ChromaCast CC-BHC Bass Guitar Hard Case

To extend the life of your instrument while keeping it looking good as new, you should keep it in a case whenever possible. Cases are also helpful when performing; you don’t want to be carrying your exposed instrument around in your hands. Please note, we are linking this case as one example. You need a case that fits your guitar, make sure you find a case that comes in the right side for your needs before you purchase it.

Sale
ChromaCast CC-BHC Bass Guitar Hard Case
ChromaCast - Electronics

Bass Guitar Tips and Tricks

Read the Manual

In this section, we will be providing you with general advice you can use to care for just about any bass guitar. Please note the word general; we can’t give you specifics for the particular model you end up choosing. While all of these tips should apply to your model the best way to learn about your instrument is by reading the documentation that was included with it. Even if you’re an experienced bassist you should still check out the manual to see if there are any particular details about your bass that are different from another instrument. Every bass is unique in its own way.

Wash Your Hands Before Playing

Your hands are constantly generating natural oils. These oils will get onto your bass when you play and cause damage. Keep your natural oils off your instrument by washing your hands before playing. You should also try and wash them again if you have a break during practices and performances, oil will just keep coming up to the surface and building up.

Replace the Strings Before They Break

Most people wait for a string to snap before they replace it, and that makes sense. After all, everyone wants to save money. But eventually the quality of your string is going to decline, and you might have issues with your sound. Also, the more you try and stretch out the lifespan of your strings the greater the chances will be that a string will snap while you’re performing. You certainly can try and milk everything you can out of each and every string, but if you’d rather be safe than sorry, it’s worth replacing them on some sort of schedule or whenever they look like they’re getting ready to give up and snap.

Clean Your Bass Thoroughly Every Three Months

To keep your instrument in top condition you should clean it regularly. You should try and wipe down your bass with a soft and clean cloth as often as possible, but four times a year you should go deep and get your bass as clean as you possibly can.

Use Guitar Polish to Polish Your Bass

There are all sorts of polishing products out there made to work on a wide variety of materials. Don’t think that just because it has “polish” in the name, you can use it on your guitar. You never want to use anything too abrasive on your guitar; you don’t want to eat away the finish and ruin its look.

Don’t Apply Polish Directly on Your Bass

Guitar polish is like toothpaste; you wouldn’t squeeze toothpaste right out of the tube and onto your teeth. Similarly, you shouldn’t pour guitar polish directly onto your guitar. You should apply it to a clean microfiber cloth and use the cloth to apply the polish to the body of the guitar, carefully avoiding the fretboard. The frets should be cleaned with some polish and a clean toothbrush, to help you get in between the strings.

Use Lemon Oil to Clean Most Fretboards

It’s very important that you use lemon oil, don’t use linseed or any other type of oil just because it looks or sounds similar. Also, don’t use lemon juice or any other liquid with lemon in the name, it needs to be lemon oil for the sake of your instrument. Let the lemon oil soak the fret for around ten minutes before you remove it. Make sure you remove any lemon oil that gets anywhere besides the fretboard. You should also work on the body while cleaning the neck. In the long run, it will save you time and energy while helping you to achieve the best clean possible.

Don’t Use Lemon Oil on Lacquered Fretboards

While most bass guitars have fretboards that get along just fine with lemon oil, there are exceptions. The material is slightly acidic and will damage a lacquer finish. This is why you don’t want to let it get on the body of the instrument or apply it to lacquered fretboards. Check to see if your fretboard does or does not have a lacquer finish before even purchasing lemon oil.

Clean the Tremolo with WD40

The tremolo is an essential part of the bass, but it rarely gets the attention it deserves. You don’t want grime and filth to build up and damage your tremolo. Remove the saddles, disassemble the system, dip some cotton in WD40, and use it to scrub down every nook and cranny. There are a lot of areas where filth can hide so be thorough and use a thin cotton swab to get deep down in there. If you want to really get deep down, you can use a toothbrush.

Clean Your Carrying Case

All too many people work hard to keep their guitar as clean as can be before storing it in a bag that they never clean. Whatever is in your case can and probably will end up on your guitar. Dust, dirt, and lint are the most common offenders. A clean bag will help you keep your guitar clean.

Don’t Leave in Unattended Cars

Treat your guitar like a cute animal, never leave it alone in a car when the temperature is hot or cold. When if it just feels a little warm outside the metal of the car will act like an oven and bake your instrument if you leave it alone for long enough. When the temperatures go up or down, you should keep your bass indoors whenever possible.

Know Your Limitations

There are plenty of things you can do to maintain your bass guitar, but there are also going to be things that you should leave to the professionals. For example, if the body of your instrument cracks then you should take it to a professional if you want repairs. Think carefully about whether or not your actions might make things worse, that’s the last thing you want to do. Just about any instrument that has survived a serious length of time has done so with professional assistance, so don’t be afraid to seek it out.


Conclusion

We now come to the end of our guide. You might already know exactly what you want to buy, but don’t fret if you’re still having trouble deciding. Even when the choices are narrowed down to just five options things can still be difficult. That’s why the best thing for you to do is try and eliminate options that don’t have what you’re looking for. Now is the time to ask this question, what do you absolutely need in your new bass? Once you know the answer to that question, you can toss out instruments that don’t have what you’re looking for and focus on the ones that do. If you’re having trouble answering this question, then scroll back up and read the section titled “Choosing the Best Bass Guitar for Your Needs.”

It’s worth remembering that there’s no one bass that is right for everyone. You need an instrument that meets your unique needs. With that being said, there are three options that stood out. If you’re hunting for a bargain, then the Full-Size Electric Bass Guitar from Davison Guitars is a great choice. If you’ve got money to invest in a serious instrument, then the Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar is the way to go. Finally, if you want a well-rounded instrument, then the TRBX174 BL 4-String Electric Bass Guitar Yamaha has what you’re looking for. So are you focused on affordability, quality, or balance? You can only find the right instrument once you know exactly what it is you are looking for.

We hope that you enjoyed this article. If you found it to be helpful, then consider checking out one of our many other guides. We’re working hard to help shoppers around the world get the most for their hard earned money. If you can’t find the guide you need right now, then please check back later. We are continually uploading new guides to help everyone we can. Thanks for reading and enjoy the musical journey ahead of you.

Sources:

You may also like