Many people believe that the bass guitar is the easiest rock ‘n’ roll instrument to learn. And in one way, they are correct; it is far easier to get a simple groove out of a bass than it is to play some chords on a guitar, or a beat on a drum kit.
But, to play a bass well, takes as much dedication and skill, as needed to play either the guitar or drums.
Most average guitarists can ‘play’ bass, but very few of them can do it well. Good bass guitarists are not failed guitarists who couldn’t manage to play a guitar that has six strings; they are a different breed; they love groove and low end.
Bassists are never happier, than when they are locked in with a good drummer, and creating a foundation for guitarists and singers to rise out of. Good bass players are simply invaluable, and anyone should be proud to play such a wonderful and important instrument.
Bass guitars are straightforward, but you still need to know a few basics before choosing one. This becomes especially important if you’re just starting out on the instrument.
But no need to worry, we are here to help. We’ve gathered together the top 10 best bass guitars in this review, and we’ll tell you all about them, including their pros and cons, as well as giving you a quick buying guide to help you make your choice easier.
So, let’s get to it…
- Top 10 Best Bass Guitars On The Market 2020 Reviews
- 1 Fender Deluxe Precision Bass – Top Rated Bass Guitar under $1,000
- 2 Yamaha BB734A BB-Series Bass Guitar – Best Bass Guitar Under $800
- 3 Ibanez SRFF805 5-String Multi-Scale Bass – Best Bass Guitar Under $1,000
- 4 Yamaha TRBX304 MGR 4 String Electric Bass Guitar – Best Bass Guitar Under $500
- 5 G&L Tribute JB2 4-String Electric Bass Guitar – A More Affordable Fender-Quality Guitar
- 6 Yamaha BB234 BB-Series Bass Guitar – The Straightforward, Relatively Affordable Model Of The BB Series
- 7 Martin BCPA4 Acoustic Electric Bass – Best Bass Guitar Under $2,000
- 8 Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Electric Bass Guitar – Retro Style Value Bass Guitar
- 9 Davison Guitars Full Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Pack – Cheap Bass Guitar For The Beginner
- 10 Ibanez PCBE12MHOPN 4-String Acoustic Bass Guitar – Best Acoustic Bass Guitar
- Bass Guitar Buying Guide
Top 10 Best Bass Guitars On The Market 2020 Reviews
Active/passive electronics, split-coil pickup, 3-band equalizer (treble, mid, bass boost)
3 – Color Sunburst
Lightweight tuning machines, active preamp, 3-band equalizer, active/passive switch, and gig bag
Dark coffee Sunburst
24 multi-scale frets, 5-piece bubinga/jatoba, 2 Bartolini pickups, mono-rail V bridge
5-piece maple/mahogany neck, custom humbcuk pickups, Performance EQ switch that goes 5 ways, Active electronics,
5-piece neck, saddle-lock bridge, standard tuners
Vintage style bridge, custom v3 ceramic pickups, lightweight open gear tuners
J14 cutaway, fishman F1 analog electronics, comes with hard-shell case
2-band EQ, DXP and DXJ pickups, custom electronics, chunky neck.
30 watt amplifier, strap, guitar case, die-cast tuners
Tortoiseshell tuning machine, chrome die-cast tuner, under saddle pickup preamp, ¼ output jack, 9volt battery
1 Fender Deluxe Precision Bass – Top Rated Bass Guitar under $1,000
The Fender Deluxe Precision Bass Guitar is specially designed to cater for players that play several different music styles. It’s a great choice for the studio as well as for live performances.
It produces a powerful, flexible tone with a smooth playing feel. This rich-sounding and robust bass combines all the best features of Fender’s classic basses and creates a “hybrid” model which has the sleek, authentic Fender style but is also packed with new tones.
It features a PJ pickup configuration, giving you the best of both the Jazz and Precision worlds. That’s a split-coil Precision Bass middle pickup, with a Vintage Noiseless Jazz Bass bridge pickup, to give you the bright and focused sound you’d expect, without any of the noise.
This bass guitar is super lightweight at just around 10 pounds which makes it easy to swing around on stage for hours on end.
It might seem a bit pricey, but it’s a Fender Precision, which is regarded by most as, the King of Basses. So, the price is completely understandable, considering what your getting.
Furthermore, the sound from this bass guitar, as expected from a Fender Precision, is exceptional. The active electronics help to create an earth-shaking low end, that’s also clear and accurate.
For a superb attack and endless sustain, it comes with a Hi-Mass bridge. And, it features a three-band EQ with treble, mid and bass boost or cut, as well as, an active/passive switch.
If you’re looking for a great sounding, classic looking, fun to play bass, you can’t go wrong with a Fender Precision. There’s a reason they are as popular today as they were nearly 70 years ago when they were first produced. They just work in every way a bass guitar possibly could.
It’s supplied with a deluxe gig bag
2 Yamaha BB734A BB-Series Bass Guitar – Best Bass Guitar Under $800
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IT’S THE SAME GUITAR IN A DIFFERENT COLOR – ALL PICS ARE FINE
The latest baby in Yamaha’s BB product line, the Yamaha BB474A, is a hybrid of everything from their illustrious past with a bit of the future thrown in for good measure.
It features a thin neck, and even though it’s heavier than the Fender we just reviewed, it’s still lightweight for a bass.
The instrument comes with a blend of quality woods to give a rich, unique and dynamic sound. So, expect a combination of warmth with a bit of attack thanks to the alder/maple/alder body blend.
And that’s not all…
Check out the 6-bolt miter neck joint which works together with the convertible bridge to produce a rich and harmonious sustain that will knock your socks off!
We also absolutely love the electronics of this guitar. It’s both powerful and flexible. The single-coil pickup and 3-band EQ work together to deliver powerful tones. While the active/passive switch helps you switch between the sounds for further tonal variations.
Perhaps the most outstanding thing about the Yamaha BB474A is how it blends the classic with the modern so effortlessly. At the end what we get is pure magic. And who doesn’t love a good magic show?!
3 Ibanez SRFF805 5-String Multi-Scale Bass – Best Bass Guitar Under $1,000
First of all, we’ve got to say, that we absolutely love the design of this guitar. It looks stunning and it is sure to be the center of attention when you step up on any stage.
It’s very playable and comes with a wide tonal range which gives you a mix of quality and comfort. It features Bartolini pickups and custom electronics which work together to give you precise control over the quality of sound you get from this low-end monster.
Let’s talk about the multi-scale frets for a bit…
You usually find this feature with higher-end bass guitar models. And it gives a longer bass scale and a shorter treble scale.
But, what does that actually mean?
Okay, it basically means that you get a better tone, a more consistent tension, a better intonation and perfect attack going from one string to the next.
And the performance you get from this bass, by way of intonation and string tension is quite unlike any other bass you’ve ever played, unless you’ve played one of these of course?
Ibanez graces this guitar with its custom preamp as well as the Bartolini pickups. These features give the bass the detailed sound it is known for. And you can even tweak it to suit your style with exceptional precision.
4 Yamaha TRBX304 MGR 4 String Electric Bass Guitar – Best Bass Guitar Under $500
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There are few bass guitars as versatile as the Yamaha TRBX304. In the looks department, it’s a stunner. In performance, it’s superb. Altogether? It’s an outstanding bass.
It looks wonderfully sleek, and the 5-piece neck makes the guitar nicely balanced. It also makes it comfortable to hold when flying up and down the fretboard.
Plus, the headstock gives a straight string pull that makes tuning more stable and reduces any chances of unwanted overtones.
And how about the fingerboard?… It’s a smooth sail thanks to being made of rosewood.
Furthermore, the cutaway on this guitar is deep. So when you need to reach for the higher register in your solo, the access is smooth and effortless.
So, you see, the Yamaha TRBX304 doesn’t just look right, it feels right as well.
The humbucker pickups are amazing! They are custom-designed with oversized poles that help to give your sound definition and depth while also eliminating hum.
The active electronics are quite versatile and are great for all kinds of gigs. Plus Yamaha optimizes the EQ settings on this guitar to generate a number of tones instantly. You name it! Whether you want to slap, play fingerstyle, solo, or pick, you’ll get it in the blink of an eye!
And you know why we are even more confident in this particluar bass? It’s because it’s a Yamaha! And the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty doesn’t hurt at all!
5 G&L Tribute JB2 4-String Electric Bass Guitar – A More Affordable Fender-Quality Guitar
Does the general shape of this guitar remind you of anything? It would if you know a bit about Fender guitars. This bass guitar looks like a typical Fender Precision and also carries a few other features which we will discuss in detail in a bit.
And, just like many of the Fenders which it is a tribute to, the tonewood used for this guitar is Swamp ash. This gives the guitar a bright, beautiful sound that we love very much.
Alright, let’s move this party along…
This guitar comes with a saddle-lock bridge which offers two exceptional benefits. One, it gives you an amazing sustain and secondly, it improves your intonation, no matter how hard you play the bass.
The tuners are okay… not too much of fanfare here. But hey they do their job well, and that’s what matters.
The electronics here are passive, and the pickups are single-coil. Yet the output offered by this guitar is still quite amazing. And sounds very close to higher-end models, in our opinion.
Alright, to the sound now… We are impressed! The pickups installed in these guys are one of a kind. They offer this bass one of the most expressive sounds we’ve heard.
This might not be the most beautiful guitar in the market. But when it comes to performance, this was born to conquer!
6 Yamaha BB234 BB-Series Bass Guitar – The Straightforward, Relatively Affordable Model Of The BB Series
This is an excellent bass guitar choice for the beginner. Check out its simple, down-to-earth design with its amazing features. This is the guitar you want if you need something that’s pretty affordable and yet packs awesome value.
Generally, BB basses are usually very comfortable to the feel, and their contours are quite familiar.
Made from quality materials such as alder, the sound from this bass is balanced and versatile. But, away from the sound and back to the feel…. You’d love how this feels on your body as you play.
Plus, the fact that its neck comes with a slimmer profile is something that many modern players will greatly appreciate. No one likes a bulky guitar, at least no one in our generation.
The electronics of this guitar is pretty good and also flexible. It’s a P/J pickup combo, which means it features a pick-up in the same position as you would find on a Fender Precision and another pickup in the same position as you would find on a Fender Jazz. These produce an awesome sound that will blow your audience away!
The pickup is a single-coil which helps to focus your sound to produce a bright and well-defined tone.
And also, the tuners work smoothly and efficiently.
Altogether, this is a super awesome bass guitar with less of the sophistication of some of the other models in this review. So, it’s sweet to use and still offers an awesome output. Also, the volume/volume/tone control is pretty flexible and easy to use.
7 Martin BCPA4 Acoustic Electric Bass – Best Bass Guitar Under $2,000
For those who love the sound of an acoustic bass but need the amplified volume of an electric bass, this one’s for you. It delivers super amazing sound whether you plug it in or not.
Alright, let’s get to the technical details of this guitar…
It’s jumbo-sized, and the top, back, and sides are made of a combination of sapele and spruce.
Sapele is fast becoming the manufacturers’ choice as an alternative for mahogany. And it does a very good job in terms of producing a great tone. So, you get a bright, warm projection and a fantastic bass response. Plus, there’s this awesome treble zing you also get from this bass.
We’ll move on to the electronics now…
It’s pretty basic, to be honest. The pickup is simple, and with it, you get a built-in tuner, a volume/tone control and a phase control.
Altogether, you get an impeccable response at the lower ends and repressed feedback even when you crank it up. It’s simple, but very effective.
To summerize, the Martin BCPA4 is quite simply amazing and produces a superb natural, as well as a graet amplified sound.
8 Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Electric Bass Guitar – Retro Style Value Bass Guitar
Okay two outstanding things about this bass. First of all, it looks absolutely gorgeous with its mint green finish and its classy tortoiseshell scratchplate.
Another thing, it is super affordable, hence the reason we named it as our value bass guitar.
Alright, to the pickups…
It’s another P/J pickup combination, like the G&L we just reviewed, and it gives a huge, amazing sound with all the vibe of some of the most legendary bass guitars.
Its wide sonic range enables you to achieve all kinds of tones – from the huge, thumpy tones needed for classic and modern rock to softer R&B tones.
Its unique 2-band EQ and custom electronics give you an outstanding level of sonic versatility; if you can think of a tone in your head, this bass can probably match it.
We’ve already mentioned that this guitar looks cool. And we will say it again without missing a beat. The tuners and bridge are finished in chrome and the classic inlays give the guitar that extra touch of style.
9 Davison Guitars Full Size Electric Bass Guitar Starter Pack – Cheap Bass Guitar For The Beginner
For those who are just beginning their journey into the world of bass guitar, this is a fantastic place to start. It is super affordable and comes with everything you need to begin playing. And that’s why it’s here in our reviews, for those just starting and can’t afford a Fender or a Yamaha just yet.
For a bass that is so affordable, it’s still a quality instrument. It’s obviously not as well built or offers the same sound or features as our more expensive basses, but that’s completely understandable for the price. But, as long as you remember how little it costs, the sound it produces is awesome.
So awesome in fact, that it is one of the most commonly suggested basses by bass teachers for students who after looking for their first bass guitar and don’t want to spend a fortune.
The amp included is, however, not the best it can be and tends to intermittently pick up radio frequencies, which can be humorous but is normally just embarrassing.
Fresh out of the box, this will need a bit of setup and tuning, but generally, it plays well fresh out of the box.
The included case is okay. It could be more padded, but for this price, it’s very usable.
10 Ibanez PCBE12MHOPN 4-String Acoustic Bass Guitar – Best Acoustic Bass Guitar
We wrap up this review with this super affordable acoustic bass guitar from Ibanez. If you know your bass guitars, you know that acoustic bass guitars tend to be a little pricey. And the cheap ones, don’t normally amount to much.
But somehow, Ibanez has managed to produce a really beautiful yet affordable acoustic bass guitar.
With its mahogany body, this acoustic guitar produces a really warm sound. And the setup out of the box is also very good.
As for the volume, it’s moderate when not plugged in. So, acoustically, this produces enough volume to enjoy practicing at home. Amplified, it will go as loud as the amp allows it to, so no worries there.
The finishing of the frets isn’t perfect, but that is slightly understandable considering the price. As with all instruments, this will need a good set-up and the luthier will sort any fret problems out for you and make the bass play and sound as good as it can.
A good set-up from a professional is always worth the extra expense regardless of how much you pay for your bass.
But altogether, here’s a guitar that has managed to solve the fatal flaw of most less expensive acoustic bass guitars. It gives a good volume with a well defined and focused sound. Well done, Ibanez!
Also Read: Best 12 String Guitars To Buy
Bass Guitar Buying Guide
Alright, so we will make this guide strictly for beginners for lack of space. As for advanced players, you’re big boys, so should be able to sort yourselves out by now.
So, let’s check out the most important factors to look out for when looking for a bass guitar.
Number Of Strings
Electric bass guitars typically come with any number of strings between 4 and 6. And the very fact that you’re wondering what number of strings is best means that you probably need a 4 string bass guitar.
THE PICTURE BELOW IS OF A SIX STRING GUITAR NOT A SIX STRING BASS AND NEEDS REPLACING – Look Up ‘SIX STRING BASS’ for the right pic.
Only about 5% of bass guitar players, of any level, regularly use anything more than a 4 string bass. So, the question is a no-brainer. Unless your playing extremely heavy music which requires a low B, then you should be using a 4 string bass guitar.
But, since we are on the subject, we might as well find out why someone would want a 5 or 6 string bass. So, let’s get to it…
- 5 String Bass Guitars: Are for bassists that play really heavy music and need to hit some really low bass ranges. The additional Low B string provides this low-end rumble.
- 6 String Bass Guitars: 6 string basses are perfect for progressive music and jazz, especially for bassists who want to play solos. This is because they come with the low B string, the same as a 5 string bass, as well as, an additional high C string.
Now, most players don’t bother with anything more than 4 strings unless a particular song needs more strings or they play specific music styles or have a unique playing style.
Additional strings also mean that the bass needs a wider neck, which makes it more difficult to play, especially for beginners.
There are three common scale lengths when it comes to bass guitars – short, long, and extra long.
The most common of these scale lengths is the long scale which is about 34 inches.
Short Scale: They are best for small or beginner players since they are a lot easier and lighter to handle. They are usually around 30 inches long. They are also commonly used by female bassists.
Extra long scale: You’ll usually find this on 5 string or 6 string bass guitars. Such guitars need the extra length to accommodate the additional low B string. Extra long scales are usually around 35 inches long.
Fretted or Fretless
The frets on a bass guitar are short strips of metal wire which indicate where on the guitar you place your fingers to produce certain notes.
But, a fretless guitar doesn’t have these wires, and the neck is completely smooth. This is the same as on a double bass. You then need to place your fingers in the exact same spot as the fret would be to produce the exact note you want, anywhere else, and the note will be out of tune.
The advantage of a fretted bass is that every note you play will be exact, while the advantage of a fretless is that you can slide between the notes easier, plus if your playing jazz or fusion not quite being on the note can add a little tension when needed. Fretless basses also allow greater control over vibrato.
But fretless is definitely the domain of the advanced player. To attempt to learn on one would be like learning to drive in a Ferrari.
Moving on from that…
Now, even though you might not necessarily need to know this as a beginner, we will throw it in as a bonus…
Just like guitars and other fretted instruments, the wood used to build the instrument impacts on the tone you get. Wood also affect the resonance and playability of your bass guitar.
THIS PICTURE IS OF A GUITAR – REPLACE WITH A PICTURE OF AN ACOUSTIC BASS
Here are some of the common tonewoods used to make bass guitars and their qualities.
This is the most common wood used in the manufacture of bass guitars. It offers great balance, a versatile sound, and good clarity.
When alder is not available, ash is another common option. It produces a brighter sound than alder.
Maple is quite dense and gives a rather long sustain and a bright sound.
Also a dense wood, mahogany gives a long sustain, but a relatively warmer sound.
You find basswood on cheaper bass guitars. The sound produced is usually softer and the sustain much shorter.
Just like basswood, Agathis is commonly used for making cheaper bass guitars.
There were two strong contenders for the number one spot on today’s review. But we picked one over the other for no reason other than its affordability.
So, our winning bass guitar is the…