There are several factors you need to consider when looking for the best bass guitar for beginners. The bass is a lot different than a regular electric guitar, so you have to know what you’re going to be buying.
In a Hurry? Here Are the Best Bass Guitars for Beginners
Main Difference Between bass and Regular Guitar
There are differences between bass guitar and regular guitar. The first difference is that a regular guitar features six strings. These are tuned E, A, D, G, B, and E. this would be what we would refer to as standard tuning on a regular acoustic or electric guitar.
The bass guitar has four strings as standard. These are E, A, D, and G. These are the first four strings on a regular electric guitar and we called them the bass strings. On both of them, we refer to these first four strings as bass strings. The main difference on the bass is that the strings are a lot thicker than they are on the regular electric guitar You get more of the bass response with a thicker and a lower end.
The bass helps to drive the rhythm and beat of the song. The bass along with the drums is the foundation of the actual song. You can take the regular guitar out of a lot of songs and you can still have a complete piece of music. If you take the bass out, the song usually doesn’t sound very good because it’s locking that drive and groove.
Which is Easier to Learn Bass or Guitar?
The guitar is a bit harder to learn than a bass guitar is. This is because you need to learn full chords, scales, solos, and so on. Bass guitar tabs to use single-note bass lines, and there’s not a lot of soloing in bass guitar, although it does happen from time to time. A regular guitar is technically more challenging, but the bass guitar can be just as challenging because of the rhythm aspect of this type of playing. Whether you choose to play bass or regular guitar is entirely up to you. Some players find the bass a little bit boring While others enjoy it immensely. It all depends upon your individual preferences.
What is a Good Cheap Bass Guitar?
While you might be tempted to buy a bass guitar that is extremely cheap, this is not a good idea. You want to spend a little bit of money on your bass guitar. You want an instrument that will be easy to play and comfortable. The reason for this is that the strings on a bass guitar or a lot thicker than they are on a regular instrument. You want a bass guitar that won’t cause a lot of difficulties for you when you play it. This is why you should spend a little extra and get a decent bass guitar. The cheapest bass guitar might not be the best overall option as you could struggle as a beginner.
What to Look for Before You Buy
Acoustic or Electric Bass
You will have to decide whether you want to play electric or acoustic bass for beginners bass guitar. There is a wide range of bass guitars for beginners on the market. Electric is probably going to be easier for you most players will start with an electric bass guitar. You can still try acoustic bass, but it’s not as popular as regular electric bass. You have to factor the thickness of the strings as the strings on an acoustic bass may be a little rougher on your fingers. You’ll find a wide range of electric models as well as acoustic basses to try out. I would advise beginners to go electric, but if you want an acoustic bass there are several models that are featured in this article which will help you get started.
A regular bass guitar has four strings. It’s recommended that you start out with a 4-string bass guitar. There are others that have five strings or six strings, but these are not beginner instruments. You will struggle as a beginner player if you try to play a bass that has five strings or more. You should get your foundation on a four-string instrument. You will find this to be the easiest to play. More strings will confuse you as a beginner so start with a simple 4-string bass.
Since the strings are heavier, you will need a little bit of finger strength and toughness to play this type of guitar. You may find it beneficial to start out your bass playing using a bass pick. You will need to strengthen your picking hand, and you’ll have to develop calluses, so playing with your fingers may take you a little bit longer. Playing with fingers for a pick is a personal preference. You’ll have to try it both methods and then find one that works for you. It might be a good idea to try a lighter gauge string at first with your bass guitar until your hands and fingers have strengthened.
It is important to buy a bass amplifier to go with your guitar. You cannot use a regular guitar amplifier with this type of instrument. If you try to do this, you may ruin the speaker. You need an amplifier that is dedicated to playing bass or have a setting on a regular guitar amplifier for bass. One of the common mistakes that beginners make is to try to plug their bass into any old amplifier. These will not work because the bass frequencies are a lot lower, and they can damage speakers that are not designed to take those frequencies. A bass played through an electric guitar amp may not be loud enough, or the tone may be quite poor. Always by an amp that is dedicated to your bass.
Type of pickup used on bass, the most common type of pickup used on a bass, is called a magnetic pickup. These are either single-coil or humbucker pickups. When we use a single-coil pickup on bass we call it a J- bass pickup. The pickups used on instruments that have a humbucking pickup are called a P-bass pickup. The J refers to jazz bass, and the P refers to a Precision bass. These are the two most common types of basses that way you this. Some instruments use both model pickups, and we refer to those is a hybrid bass or a PJ model.
What type of pickup you use will all depend upon what you want to play. Single coil pickups make a little bit more noise when you compare them to humbucking pickups. I recommended that the most new players start with a precision bass as it’s just going to be easier for you.
Fretted and Unfretted
New players to this type of instrument should always go with one that is fretted. You can buy on fretted bass guitars, but these are not really beginner-friendly. You will find an easier time if you go with a fretted bass, and once you get high enough skill in playing, you can try the unfretted version.
Short Scale Bass
If you are a beginner that has small hands or you are quite young, you might want to go with a short scale bass. You should be able to manage a bass that has a regular scale, but there are shorter scale versions for those that struggle with full-size instruments.
Bolt-On Neck or Through Body Neck
You will probably want to go with a bass guitar that has a bolt-on neck. The reason for this is you can change the guitar neck if something happens to it. With the through the body neck, you can’t replace the Bass neck any instrument may be ruined if something happens to the neck. For example, the neck may break. This would cost a lot of money to repair the neck. With a bolt-on neck, you would simply replace the entire neck with a new one and the repair cost would be a lot less.
Bass Wood Types
There are several different kinds of wood that are used to make bass guitars. It’s important to understand these different tonewoods prior to buying your instrument. The tone of your instrument can be influenced a great deal by the type of wood used to make it.
Wood is a medium brown color. It is soft and has a tight grain pattern. The sound it produces is quite warm the sound is emphasized in the upper mid-range and the low end. The treble frequencies aren’t as extended as they are when you use ash wood. Fender uses this wood for many of its bases as well as other manufacturers so it’s a common wood used to make this type of instrument.
Ash is light in color and it has an open grain which is quite hard. You will get a bright treble response and a deep bass response. The mid-range frequency is quite subdued when you compare it to Alder. There are many different manufacturers that use this type of wood including Ernie Ball and Fender.
Mahogany has a medium-density and hardness. It has an even and warm sound. The tight bass response is not as pronounced as it is with ash wood. Mahogany can help with the electronics of the instrument sound better. You will find it on a lot of Ibanez, Epiphone, and Gibson basses.
Fretboard and Neck
Many basses are made out of maple wood because it is very structurally sound and quite hard. You’ll get a clear and bright toe with this type of wood. It is sometimes used as a body wood as well as the fingerboard.
Rosewood is a softwood and it gives a warm sound with plenty of resonance and it is also quite mellow sounding. This wood is used on a wide range of bass fingerboards.
He is a hardwood and it is even harder than maple wood. You get bell-like highs and clarity of tone with this wood. It is often used on fretless basses because of the hardness of the wood. The steel strings of the fretless bass will dig into softer woods so this is why ebony is often used.
Common Wood Combos
Two of the most common combinations of wood types for bass guitars are a maple fretboard and an ash body or sometimes an alder body with a rosewood fingerboard. Maple and ash are bright and hard so you get a nice clear sound and the bass is nice and tight. the word provides an aggressive attack and a bright treble response in the mid-range is subdued. The type of wood that you go for will all depend upon your individual taste. This is why it’s important to experiment with different bass guitars until you find something that you really like.
What to Do with Your New Bass
Once you take your instrument home there are a few things you want to do to ensure that it plays and looks great for a long time to come.
You should do with any new bass is to change the strings. Most instruments will sit in a factory or on the store shelf for a long time. The strings are usually corroded and they have lost most of their tone. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to change the strings. You should do this once you bring it home or you can even have the shop do it for you if you don’t know-how. You’ll get a lot of nicer tone when it has fresh strings on it.
You should also have the shop intimate your bass guitar this will ensure that the instrument has proper tuning up and down the entire fretboard. You can learn how to do this later on as you advance on guitar but you should have the initial intonation set up by the guitar store as the instrumental sound better overall with proper intonation.
Your guitar requires periodic cleaning. It’s advisable that you use guitar polish and clean cloth when cleaning your instrument. Don’t use any household cleaners or anything that is abrasive since it will ruin the Finish. Guitar polish is designed to clean it effectively. You only need a few drops of this on a clean cloth to clean it. You should do this once you take the strings off and prior to putting on new ones.
Case or Stand
Make sure your guitar is always in its case or on a stand when you are not using it. This will protect it from damage. If you don’t want to use a regular guitar case, it’s advisable to use a wall hanger so you can hang it on the wall and keep it out of the way.
Best Bass Guitar for Beginners Reviews
1. Costzon Full Size Electric 4 String Bass – Best Beginner Bass Kit
You will save yourself some money if you buy a full bass kit. these usually come with a guitar, case, and some accessories. One product you might want to go with is the Costzon Full Size Electric 4 String Bass kit.
It features a solid Paulownia wood 4-string electric bass. It comes with humbucking pickups and it has a comfortable neck which is easy to play. It has a tone knob, volume control, and an input jack on the front . It comes with diecast machine heads and there is a string guide on a headstock to ensure even tuning. You get a convenient gig bag to help protect your guitar. Other accessories include a shoulder strap, pick, amplifier cord, and adjustment Allen wrenches. this is the perfect bass kit for beginners to get started.
- Comes with gig bag
- Humbucking pickups
- No amplifier in the kit
- Could use a few more accessories
2. Squier by Fender Precision Bass – Best Beginner Pro – Style Precision Bass
Fender Makes high-quality instruments including bass guitars. Regular Fender guitars can be quite expensive for beginners. This company makes an excellent beginner lineup called the Squire Series. One product that would make an excellent choice would be the Fender Squier Precision Bass from this lineup if you’re looking for a professional type of bass guitar.
It gives you both a precision sound and a jazz bass sound. It has a single coil J bass pickup and a single-coil P Bass neck pickup. You’ll be able to get a wide range of tones out of this bass. The bridge a four-saddle style bridge and vintage machine heads which enhances the tuning. The neck is finished in satin, smooth, and comfortable for you to play. The guitar is protected by a 3-ply pickguard. To help you get started with learning guitar you get a trial of Fender Play. This allows you to learn how to play bass online. You will learn riffs, songs, and other things about bass guitar through this online lesson library. This would make an excellent first instrument.
- Easy to play
- Looks great
- The tone isn’t as good as a real Fender
3. Fender Player Jazz Electric Bass Guitar – Top Quality Jazz Bass Guitar
You may be new to playing bass guitar, but you have a little bit of money to spend. In that case, you may want to spend a little bit more on your investment and go with the Fender Player Jazz Bass. This is an exceptional choice that has plenty to offer you.
A lot of beginner instruments leave you frustrated as a new player because they don’t sound that great. This guitar is made out of ashwood which improves the tone. The fender Player has a punchy and clear sound so all your baselines are clear in the mix. You’ll get plenty of great tones out of the standard single-coil pickups. You get a 4-saddle vintage bridge that provides great intonation and makes it easy to adjust. The neck is a modern C shape so it’s comfortable for your fingers. The neck is made with solid wood and you get a rosewood fretboard. It comes with 20 medium jumbo frets so you’ll be able to play all of your favorite songs with little effort.
- High-quality bass guitar
- easy to play
- Costs more
- You need to buy a case
4. Sawtooth ST-PB-TRP EP Series – Best Budget-Friendly Bass
For those looking for a beginner bass guitar that doesn’t cost a lot of money, the Sawtooth ST-PB-TRP EP Series is an excellent choice for today’s player.
You get a solid neck that is easy on your fingers and the body is made out of basswood. The guitar features 20 frets so you can play all of your favorite songs. You get one tone control and one volume knob as well as P-style humbucking pickups. The top-loaded adjustable bridge helps stabilize the string tuning. It comes with black hardware and classic open-gear tuners. Any beginner on a limited budget is going to love the sound you get out of this one.
- Low cost
- Easy to play
- Some users had quality control issues
- Doesn’t sound as good as more expensive basses
5. Hofner IGNITION SB Electric Violin Bass Guitar – Top Artist Inspired Bass
For beginners, you need the inspiration to keep playing. You get that with the Hofner IGNITIONSB which is a bass modeled after the one used by Beatles Paul McCartney.
It features a semi-hollow body with a flamed maple back and sides. which gives you excellent acoustic resonance. The neck is comfortable and easy to play. You get a lot of volume and nice tones out of this bass guitar as it has Hoffner humbucking pickups. You get a volume knob as well as a tone control for the pickups. This is the ultimate artist inspired guitar for anyone that is getting started with bass guitar.
- Iconic look
- Sounds great
- The unique look may not be for everyone
- Costs a little more than some basses
6. Ibanez GSR 4 String – Top Hard Rock Bass
For those looking for a hard rock bass guitar, Ibanez has several excellent products in their lineup. The Ibanez GSR 4 String has many options are going to love.
It features two deep cutaways so it’s easy to hit all of the upper frets on the guitar. It’s easy to play guitar with a solid wood neck and a body made out of mahogany. It has a smooth-playing rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets. It has to precision bass pickups as well as one in jazz bass pickup so it’s suitable for many styles of guitar. Ther is an active EQ with PHAT-II boost which improves the tone. You also get a tone control and a volume knob to round out the electronics.
- Deep cutaway for access to higher frets
- Combo P and J pickup system
- No case included
- Some guitars may need fretwork
7. Yamaha 4 String Bass Guitar – Top Quality Percussion Pro Bass
For many bass guitar beginners, it can be difficult to get a decent tone and you end up struggling a lot trying to play. For new players that want to sound great right away, try the Yamaha 4 String TRBX304 MGR that has a lot of outstanding features that make it easy for beginners to sound good right away.
This guitar sounds amazing because it has a solid mahogany body which gives you an excellent foundation to produce high-quality tones. The neck is made with both mahogany and maple wood which further enhances the tone. You get active electronics with this bass guitar and two humbucker pickups. The part that stands out on it is it has a performance EQ switch. This allows you to get tones for pick playing, slap bass, flat bass, fingerstyle, or solo bass guitar. This allows beginners to dial in whatever sound they want and sound great. You won’t have to be frustrated with your bass tone anymore because this guitar will sound amazing right out of the box.
- Get great tones right away
- Good sounding pickups
- May confuse some beginners
- Some buyers had quality issues
8. Sterling by Music Man – Best Easy Playing Bass
New players want a guitar that is not going to give them a whole lot of difficulty. They want something that is going to be easy to play. Ernie Ball Music Man makes excellent bass guitars and they have several that are perfect for beginners. One such choice you might want to consider is the Stirling StingRay Bass.
This product is affordable and built to high-quality. It’s perfect for the first time player for someone that’s been playing for a long time. It’s made with hard wood which gives it excellent resonance. It has an active electronic system and the truss rod is adjustable. There is a single humbucking pickup which sounds great. This pickup is noise-free and there is an active preamp on the bass. It has individual volume as well as low and high boost controls. This system helps improve the tone of as you’re playing. The tuning pegs are also arranged differently with 3 on one side and another one on the other side. This three in one tuning arrangement makes it easy to tune up your bass and helps keep the tuning accurate.
- EQ system with treble, hi, and low boost
- Unique tuning peg arrangement
- Lots of colors
- Some buyers had quality issues
- EQ system may confuse some
9. Fender Geddy Lee Signature Jazz Bass – Best Artist Signature Bass
As a new bass player, you probably have favorite players that inspire you to keep playing. There are many different artist series guitars on the market which are just like the guitars of artists you love. One that you might want to consider if you like the band Rush is the Fender Geddy Lee Signature Jazz Bass. This has everything you need to inspire you as a new player.
This jazz style bass has an excellent tone has it comes complete with two vintage-style jazz pickups. The tone is further enhanced by a badass base to bridge. It has a fast neck which is narrower than other basses so it’s comfortable to play. It’s made out of alder wood and the neck is solid wood, so it’s built to last. It has black rectangular position markers so you will always know where your fingers are. If you’ve always wanted to sound like Geddy Lee, this is an excellent base to pick up. You also get a deluxe gig bag when you order so your investment will be protected.
- Professional look
- Excellent tone
- A bit more expensive than other basses
- Could use a hardshell case and not a gig bag
10. Best Choice Products Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar – Top Acoustic Beginner Bass
Those that are beginning bass guitar don’t always have to go with electric bass. You can also get excellent acoustic basses. If you’re just starting out you might want to try the Best Choice Products Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar.
It features a deep cutaway so it’s easy to access all of the higher frets. You can plug it in because it comes with a 4 band equalizer and an input jack for your guitar chord. You’ll get an excellent sound out of it. You can play it unplugged or you can plug it in since it is an acoustic-electric. The 4-band equalizer has middle, bass, treble, and presents controls so you can dial in the tones that you want. It’s an excellent choice whether you are a beginner or have been playing for a while. It has a glossy finish and comes complete with chrome diecast tuners.
- Low cost
- Nice EQ system
- The strings are a bit harder to play than electric bass
- You need to buy a case
11. Fender Kingman – Top Quality Pro-Style Acoustic Bass
Fender makes high-quality electric guitars and amplifiers. They also make a wide range of acoustic instruments including acoustic basses. One product you might want to consider is the Fender Kingman. Here is what it offers you.
It features a New Porter body shape which is exclusive to Fender. It’s comfortable to play so this is why it’s the ideal choice for a beginner. You can plug it in as it comes with a preamp and pickup system. The preamp features treble, middle, and bass controls. You also get a tuner that is ready to go whenever you want to play. The top is solid spruce wood with mahogany back and sides. The neck is a slim taper C profile shape. This makes it easy on your fingers. You get to Walnut bridge and fingerboard. The headstock is done in the traditional Fender style. There are four diecast machine heads which helped stabilize the tuning.
- Easy to hold guitar
- Preamp and pickup
- It may need some initial setup
- No hardshell case
12. Ovation Mod TX Collection 4-String – Top Unique Acoustic
If you’re looking for a unique product that has everything you need to get started, I will look at the Ovation Mod TX Collection 4-String. It features a deluxe solid spruce top and it’s stabilized inside with scalloped bracing. You will have a stable guitar which will last you a long time.
There is an enhanced cutaway system so it’s easy to access all of the top frets without any difficulty whatsoever. It also features the unique Ovation soundhole so you get a great tone. There are many different ports on the soundhole so the sound resonates well. It comes with a pickup system and a preamp so it’s ready to plug into your amplifier. The tuning is further stabilized with diecast sealed machine heads. If you want to stand out as a beginner, this is one guitar you want to pick up.
- Unique design
- Great EQ system
- Some may not like the shape
- EQ may confuse beginners
13. Ibanez Performance PFT2-NT Mini Dreadnought – Top Dreadnaught Style
If you want the big sound of a dreadnought style acoustic, you can get that with the Ibanez Performance PFT2-NT Mini Dreadnought.
This guitar is a mini dreadnought style. It’s not quite as large as a regular acoustic dreadnought but still sounds great. The top wood is made out of spruce. The back and sides are made with mahogany wood. Inside there is X bracing so it stabilizes the instrument and helps to improve the tone. It comes complete with two strap buttons so it’s ready for your guitar strap. If you want a big sound out of your guitar, this is one you want to buy.
- Big Bass Tone
- Familiar acoustic style body
- No Case
- No pickup system
14. Ibanez Artcore AFB200 Hollowbody – Top Acoustic-Electric
An acoustic bass can be great, but they often don’t ship with pickups. what you want to use is an acoustic-electric. One excellent choice is the Ibanez Artcore AFB200 Hollowbody.
This is a traditional acoustic electric hollow-body. It features F-holes on the outside and two humbucking pickups for great sound. The top is made with solid wood. It has a mahogany neck to further enhance the tone. The fretboard is made with Laurelwood so it plays nice and smooth. There is a tone control, volume knob, and a pickup selector switch to round out the electronics. It’s easy to raise and lower the strings as it has an adjustable bridge. If you want the best of both worlds, this is a product you want to own.
- Greta pickups
- Adjustable bridge
- You need to buy a case
- A bit expensive
15. Dean EABC Cutaway – Top Acoustic Bass with Cutaway
As a beginner, you want the ability to hit all the Frets on the instrument without any frustration. A lot of bass guitars make it difficult to hit the higher frets. One instrument that makes it easy is the Dean EABC Cutaway Acoustic-Electric.
It features a spruce top with a mahogany body for excellent tone. It has a deep cutaway so you can hit all the higher frets. The fretboard is made with rosewood so it’s comfortable for your fingers. You get a preamp electronic system so you can plug it into an amplifier. There is a built-in tuner so your base will always be in tune. The tuning machines are diecast chrome and they further enhance the tuning of the guitar.
- Deep cutaway for easy playing
- Preamp system
- You need to buy a case
- You have to add the second strap button
You have various options when it comes to bass guitars. Whether you get a regular electric or an acoustic is up to you. I would recommend that you go with a basic 4-string electric as they are easier to learn on than acoustics are. Once you get the basics down, you can try a full acoustic if you prefer.
On the electric side, I recommend the Squier by Fender Precision Bass. This is the best all-around basic bass. Squier is the lower-cost brand of Fender, but the instruments are still made to a high-quality. This is the perfect instrument for any beginner to start out on. You can also step up and try the Fender Player Jazz Will cost you more money, but it’s still an excellent beginner instrument and you can play it for several years after so it has some resale value. If you don’t have a lot of cash go for the Sawtooth ST-PB-TRP EP Series as this won’t cost you much. On the acoustic side, the Fender Kingman is a good choice because it’s a high-quality guitar. If you want more of a traditional dreadnought Style try the Ibanez Performance PFT2-NT Mini Dreadnought.
All of these instruments would make excellent choices for anyone that wants to learn how to play bass guitar. Take your time when choosing an instrument and you’ll find something that meets your needs.