Bands depend on the bass guitar to create the foundational tone and rhythm for any song. As long as the player is hitting the right notes, you can be sure that everybody else will follow suit, and your audience will enjoy the music more.
To achieve this as a bass player, however, you need to practice. You need to invest endless hours to get what notes to use in different contexts.
Secondly, you need a good bass guitar. For most beginners, this is where the challenge comes in because different people have contrasting opinions about buying a bass guitar. Some experts or reviewers will recommend that you start with a cheaper option. But if you consider this, it could end up being expensive if (let’s say) you buy a guitar that is not durable or of the quality you want.
And that is why it is essential that as you consider a budget, you need to know what your bass needs are. If you can answer this question, reviewing different bass guitars is not going to be a problem. Because, trust me, there are so many brands you are going to come across while you shop for the best bass guitars in the market.
So today, in this article, we are reviewing the best bass guitars you should consider checking out the next time you are out shopping.
Top 10 Best Bass Guitars 2021
1. Yamaha TRBX304 Bass Guitar
Yamaha is one of the trusted brands when it comes to manufacturing instruments. And the TRBX304 is a big one. This features a four-string bass guitar that you need to get your hands on if you would like to achieve uncompromised bass sounds during practice sessions or performances.
The Yamaha TRBX305 is one of the most appealing guitars. It comes with a solid mahogany body and a fresh sculpted 3D design. The instrument has a slim profile since it is a 34-inch neck; if you have small hands, then this would be ideal for you.
Other qualities that you are going to like include the laminated bolt-on neck, and a high mass diecast bridge.
When it comes to sound quality, this is something that Yamaha does not compromise. You can be sure that you will be at the center of attention during your next performance.
The TRBX305 features humbucking pickups that connect to the EQ active circuit. It comes with controls for bass, treble, master volume, and a knob for balancing the pickups. It also features an EQ switch with up to five pickup configurations.
Because of its excellence, you might think that this is a bass guitar for seasoned players only. But it is not. A beginner who is interested in developing a keen musical ear should start with the TRBX304. The guitar can adapt to any playing style, including jazz, solos, and any other genre.
2. Squier by Fender Affinity Series Precision Beginner Electric Bass
If you want to hone your skills in bass playing, then you need to play this guitar. The Squier bass guitar is a great addition to any band, as it comes with great qualities that you will love absolutely.
The secret to buying a great guitar is looking for one that will be comfortable to play. Squier offers this quality in plenty with its stylish body. It features vintage style tuning pegs, a maple neck with a satin finish, and a 4-saddle bridge to keep the strings on tune.
Also, it comes with two pickups. One for precision tones and the other is a jazz pick up. You can switch between the two using the controls located at the top. These switches also feature a tonal control to amplify the volume.
Though it is a low-end bass guitar, you can be sure that the sounds produced are exceptional. It has two pickups to facilitate this. Additionally, the c-shape neck ensures that the player hits the notes with utmost precision.
If you are looking for a proper bass guitar for your next gig, then the Squier is what you should buy. The guitar will fit into any setup, including performances where the bass guitar is the center instrument. It can also fit into any genre, including jazz, rock, and pop. Rhythmical and solo bass guitarists can also use this guitar to achieve their preferred sounds.
3. Epiphone EB-3 Electric Bass Guitar
The first time we heard the Epiphone EB-3 play, we knew that this was it. It comes with amazing features, and it is ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy genuine sounds for a bass guitar.
The Epiphone EB-3 comes with a great body structure that you will love. Primarily, both the neck and the body comprises of mahogany. Also, the neck also has a slim-taper “D” profile neck, which makes it easy for you to slide along the fingerboard smoothly.
Besides that, the fingerboard is authentic rosewood. It also has trapezoid inlays within the frets, which gives it a retro and professional look.
Although the Epiphone EB-3 is a budget-friendly bass guitar, it comes with features that exhibit professionalism.
It also comprises of both the humbucker and the mini humbucker pickups. Both are far away from each other to avoid any collision of frequencies during amplification. If you want to switch from one pick up to the other, you can use the pickup control knob, which has three configurations.
You can be sure that the Epiphone EB-3 is articulate when it comes to sound. As long as the strings stay in tune, this bass guitar will thunder.
The bass guitar is perfect for all players. Most professional bands use this guitar since it offers all bass and rhythmical qualities that you need for your songs. It can fit into any performance setups and genres, including fingerstyle and fingerpicking.
4. Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Mint Green Electric Bass Guitar
Sometimes, as an instrumentalist, one of the factors that can inspire a player to learn more is a good-looking bass, and one with exceptional sound qualities. And for this kind of person, the Ibanez Talman TMB100 is something worth trying.
Ibanez is one of the brands that shine with manufacturing the best bass guitars in the market. Now, with the Talman, this guitar is appealing to the eye. It comprises of a simple structure but one that will last long.
The electric bass guitar comes with four strings, a 34-inch scale length neck and fingerboard, and a chunky maple neck. Its body also features two pickups.
Apart from the good looks, you can be sure that the bass guitar delivers excellent and uncompromised sounds.
With the P and J pickups, you will get a ton of tone variations within this instrument. For you to equalize, you will require the two-band Active EQ to help you gamble between different tone options.
Note that the bridge has a 19mm distance between each string. This facilitates a rich sound when plucking the strings.
The Ibanez Talman is a competitive instrument. In this case, the Talman offers unique sound for players of all ages and levels. You can be sure that you will be shining on your next performance when you have this instrument with you.
5. Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar
One of the most iconic bass guitars used by the different professionals is the StingRay Ray 4. The brand might not be familiar to many. But trust me; it has a rich history, and you should try this instrument regardless of your knowledge in bass guitars.
The StingRay Ray 4 bass guitar is a four-stringed instrument with unique qualities that you will not find in most guitars in its price range. Its headstock, to start with, has a 3+1 tuning peg arrangement. That means that one tuning peg is on the lower side of the headstock. And this assists the player in tuning the guitar without having to stretch so much.
Its fingerboard is maple, but the brand also provides rosewood if you prefer. The body comprises of a basswood body. On it, you will find an adjustable bridge, a low noise humbucker pickup, and an active preamp. Also, the body and the neck connect using bolts located at the rear of the body.
Apart from increasing your note vocabulary, you need also to test out different tonal variations this bass guitar offers.
By using the three controls, which sit on a chrome control plate, you can tweak them to find different bass, treble, and volume variations that you can use for different sets.
The StingRay Ray 4 does not choose. It is suitable for all players. Beginners can enjoy this guitar since it allows them to explore different tones, chord shapes, and different styles that any other four-string bass guitar can offer.
6. Ibanez GSR200 4 String Bass Guitar
If you are a beginner and you have a budget, the Ibanez GSR200 is a guitar worth trying. The bass guitar provides all the great qualities that any other high-end guitar would provide; hence, it is a worth try.
For players who love to play the guitar for long, then this is the guitar to buy. Its body facilitates this since it has a sleek and slim body, a rosewood fingerboard, and a 2+2 tuning peg arrangement. The fretboard also comes with medium frets. Players with smaller fingers can maneuver up and down the fretboard effortlessly.
When it comes to sound, this bass guitar does not compromise. It comes with a P and J pickup and a preamp with four control knobs for volume, bass, treble, and bass boosts. Bass boost adds extra bass frequencies into your groove.
Overall, the GSR200 does not fail when it comes to providing astounding sounds and tones, which is why you should buy it.
Players like a bass guitar that they can use for hours. For the Ibanez GSR2000, this is something you will love to carry to your next big gig. Its lightweight design will ensure that you can play while seated or while standing.
Besides that, players will also appreciate the strings that come with this guitar. Meaning, beginners do not have to get blisters as they practice and get used to the guitar.
7. Ibanez GSR205 5 String Bass Guitar
If you are a solo or a jazz guitarist, a five-string gives you extra room to exercise your solos and rhythmical playing styles with ease. For those looking for the best five-string guitars, then the Ibanez GSR205 is what you need.
The GSR205 does not compromise on look as it comes with a sturdy mahogany body and a maple neck. Also, the body has a weathered black look to give it an extra aesthetic look while on stage.
Although the neck is longer than that of a four-string bass guitar, it has a slim profile to ensure that you reach the entire fingerboard with ease.
Note that the bridge is a B-15.
With this bass guitar, you are sure that you will be getting some good grooves on your next gig. It comes with a DH neck pickup, and a B-15 bridge. The preamp features four controls for the volume, bass, treble, and the bass boost.
The GSR205 is a professional guitar and fits multiple playing styles. Rock, blues, and jazz guitarists can use this guitar to fit their setting. The guitar will flawlessly adapt to any set up; thus, suitable for beginners and seasoned players.
Also, people with smaller hands should not hesitate from using this bass guitar.
8. Yamaha BB234 BB-Series Bass Guitar
The Yamaha BB234 bass guitar is part of the BB-Series. It comes with considerable additions, which makes it a suitable instrument for professionals. Playing it brings extra pleasure when it comes to sound and the appeal it brings to the stage.
Based on the manufacturer, Yamaha, the BB234 offers a combination of different suggestions from different bassists. They, therefore, improved body construction by using maple and alder together. Maple lies in the middle of the alder material to facilitate extra stiffness and strength.
The neck is a 6-bolt and made of miter; the bridge is adjustable; the headstock features four open geared tuning pegs; and the pickup features standard size V3 ceramic material.
The Yamaha BB234 is excellent at what it does. It offers bright tones, and with the active preamp, you can control its sound in terms of volume, bass, and the treble. You can also adjust the controls to explore the different variations you can get from your bass.
With this guitar, you, as a player, are sure that you will have a guitar that is easy to play and carry around. It brings to you a lightweight instrument, which means you can play it while standing or sitting without feeling tired or uncomfortable.
The guitar is ideal for both professionals and beginners. Anyone can use this guitar, and it will surely inspire you regardless of your age or knowledge.
9. Fender Player Precision Electric Bass Guitar
If you are looking for a bass guitar that is versatile, then look no further. The Fender Player Precision bass guitar will merge perfectly with every genre, from rock, jazz, blues, funk, and any other genre.
Although this bass guitar offers classical qualities to the player, this guitar comes with a modern look. It has an alder body, which facilitates for a stronger and durable body, a maple neck – which has a c-shape, slim profile, and comes with open geared tuning pegs to lift off some of its weight.
The pickups features a split-coil-precision found at the middle of the body. Its location facilitates easy capturing of all the tones, whether soft or hard chords.
In addition to its physical construction, you can be sure that the guitar produces pure bass sounds. You can try out different variations using the volume and tone control on the preamp.
Although this is a professional guitar, beginners can also use the bass guitar. The slim profile on the neck ensures that you can move along the fingerboard smoothly. And players with smaller fingers can enjoy too since it has a 9.5 inch radius.
Because of its lightweight design, you can carry it with ease, and you can play it comfortably for long hours.
10. Ibanez GSR206BWNF 6-String Electric Bass
At number ten, is this fantastic six-string bass guitar from Ibanez. The Ibanez GSR206 provides a bass player that loves to solo with extra room in terms of extra two strings and fret width.
The bass guitar comes with a mahogany body, a maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. On top of that, the neck has a slim profile, which makes it easy for you to reach all the strings effortlessly.
When you buy this guitar, the manufacturer will provide a gig bag and a stand; hence, you will save some money on purchasing these accessories.
Besides the mahogany body that offers that extra punchy sound on the bass, the pickups featured in this guitar do this too. They are DXH precision and jazz bridge pickups. You can adjust the pickups using the four control knobs, which feature a bass control, volume control, treble control, and bass boost control.
You do not need to use the bass boost, but for the sake of a performance set, you may require it, and it comes in handy.
Elite players who love to solo most of the time should use this guitar. With the slim profile, it facilitates smooth movement along the fretboard and helps to improve your speed. The bass guitar can also adapt to any playing style and genre.
Best Bass Guitars Buying Guide
Different bass guitar experts have varied opinions for players who want to buy a bass guitar. First, some will recommend this particular guitar over another and others will offer biased opinions.
And that’s where most beginners become confused because they aren’t able to choose what’s best for their music needs.
If you are jumping into the world of bass, you need to be a bit knowledgeable. That is why we are going to give you an unbiased buying guide on selecting the best bass guitars for you.
Realize what kind of musician you are
The worst thing any musician can face is lacking identity. Before you even start window-shopping, you should know what you require to achieve with your first bass guitar. Look at your music needs, what genre you like, and which pro player you want to benchmark.
You may think that there’s no essence in this, but check this. If you are a player that loves solo bass guitars, then saving to buy a six-string guitar should be your ultimate goal. Also, if you are a gigging musician, then you need something aesthetic to rock the stage with.
What’s your budget?
The second thing you need to consider is your budget. Don’t let anyone tell you that buying a cheap guitar is what you should do if you are a beginner. It could turn out expensive, especially if you want to really put in some effort into becoming an elite player.
Note this. Manufacturers typically categorize bass guitar prices depending on the player’s level, which means that the most premium guitars cost quite a buck.
Try saving up, if you don’t have enough money, to buy a reliable bass guitar that will last you a while, and one that you’ll use even after you advance.
Sensitivity on the pickups
Electric bass guitars need pickups to project the sound to the amplifier. Most bass guitars come with humbucker or the single-coil pickups. Again, they further cluster into the precision or Jazzmaster pickup arrangement. You can even find a bass guitar with both precision and Jazzmaster pickups.
There also are varied opinions on which pickups you should select. However, it depends on the style of music you want to engage in.
You will also hear musicians talking about active and passive pickups. If you want mellow sound, then the passive pickups should do. These include bass guitars with a volume and tone controls.
Active pickups are the next category of pickups. These offer brighter and more precise tonal quality than the passive pickups. Hence, you have more tonal shaping options.
Consider the size of the guitar
When it comes to this, you need to consider several qualities. If you are a gigging musician, other than the sound, find out how light the guitar is.
Also, check out the scale length. Children may appreciate it if you buy them a guitar with a short scale length to accommodate their tiny hands. Larger options typically have a scale length of 34 inches.
Typically, most bass guitars with more than four strings come with a multi-scale length to maintain the intonation.
Inspect other features on the guitar such as the neck profile, the stability of the tuning pegs, the bridge structure, and the string gauge.
Aesthetics also matter
The way a guitar looks might be so vital for any gigging musician. It might not be so important for a beginner, but these factors start to creep in when you advance.
So, for the appeal, think about the materials used to make the body. Check the fretboard quality, too. Rosewood is one of the best wood materials, but also maple is excellent for that comfortable feel.
Note also, if you are a beginner, do not go for a fretless option. Such bass guitars look good but are ideal for pros only. People have complete knowledge of their fretboard
If the guitar has accessories that come with it, ensure that the gig bag and the strap are durable and reliable.
Last but Not Least
Take time to shop. Remember, even if the guitar has terrific reviews online; don’t buy it if you do not like how it sounds or feels. The decision is up to you. The kind of bass guitar that you take home can determine whether you’ll grow or be stagnant in your musical journey.
Note that each bass guitar comes with its benefits, and is suitable for different player needs. Therefore, when picking the best one, you should put your musical needs before anything else. Consider the type of genre you want to play, your budget, the body construction of the bass guitar, and the number of strings it should have.
Remember, each bass guitar is different from the other. Even though two instruments might have similar characteristics, it does not mean that both of them may sound similar – unless of course, they come from the same brand, or one is the upgrade of the other.
In our article, we have highlighted the ten best bass guitars in our opinion. But our top pick remains to be the Yamaha TRBX304 Bass Guitar. The guitar is perfect for any player, whether beginner or expert. You can also be sure that you will be using this guitar for a very long time since its construction makes it stand out among many other brands out there.