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Affordable Bass Guitars For Beginners

By Jeremy LaBrooy

Table of Contents

Bass Guitars That Won’t Break the Bank

If you’re looking to kickstart your bass-playing journey without breaking the bank, this guide of affordable bass guitars for beginners is for you. Finding the right bass guitar as a newcomer can be overwhelming, but fret not, as we’ve curated a list of affordable options that deliver on playability, comfort, and sound quality.

Whether you’re a young player, a budget-conscious individual, or simply looking to explore different genres, we’ve got you covered.

IN this article, we’ll discuss some brands that make solid basses for beginners, along with a step by step guide on what things to look out for.

If you want to go straight to check out the specs of some choice basses, check out: Beginner’s Picks: 5 Top Entry-Level Bass Guitars Reviewed!

From Yamaha to Squier to Ibanez, our experts have handpicked the best beginner bass guitars to set you off on the right foot. Dive in and discover the perfect instrument to inspire your musical passion!

affordable-bass-guitars-for-beginners
Photo by Stephen Niemeier

Key Takeaways:

  • Wide Range of Options: The market for beginner bass guitars offers a diverse selection with choices suited for different preferences and budgets.
  • Quality Brands: Recognizable brands like Yamaha, Squier, and Ibanez offer affordable bass guitars with excellent build quality and sound.
  • Comfortable Design: Beginner bass guitars prioritize playability with features like smooth necks, lightweight bodies, and ergonomic designs.
  • Versatile Tone: Many beginner bass guitars come with pickups and controls that offer a variety of tones, suitable for exploring different musical styles.
  • Value for Money: Entry-level bass guitars provide a balance of quality and affordability, making them a solid investment for those starting their bass-playing journey.

Types of Bass Guitars for Beginners

A beginner bassist like you has several options when it comes to choosing the right instrument to start your musical journey. Knowing the different types of bass guitars available can help you make an informed decision.

Electric Bass Guitars

Bass guitars like the Yamaha BB234 are popular among beginners for their versatility and ease of playability. They offer a wide range of tones and are suitable for various music styles.

Acoustic Bass Guitars

For a different sound experience, acoustic bass guitars can be a great choice. For instance, the Squier Sonic Bronco Bass delivers a vintage-tinged growl with a sweet high end.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bass Guitar

Even as a beginner, it’s important to consider a few key factors when choosing your first bass guitar. Knowing what to look for will help you make the best decision for your musical journey.

Budget

To start, think about your budget. You may not want to spend loads of money on your first instrument. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable options that play well and sound great.

Body Shape and Size

On the topic of body shape and size, consider what feels comfortable for you. Choosing a bass with a body shape that suits your playing style and size can enhance your overall playing experience.

As far as body shape and size, you’ll want a bass guitar that feels comfortable to hold and play. The weight and balance of the instrument can impact your performance, so be sure to try out a few different options to see what works best for you.

Neck Length and Width

There’s more to the bass guitar neck than meets the eye. The length and width of the neck can affect how easy or difficult it is to play certain chords and notes. Choosing a neck that feels comfortable and suits your hand size can make a big difference in your playing experience.

The size and shape of the neck can greatly impact your playing comfort. A thinner neck may be easier to navigate for some players, while a wider neck can provide more space for intricate finger movements. Consider trying out different neck sizes to see what feels best for you.

Number of Strings

Clearly, the number of strings on a bass guitar can vary. While beginners typically start with a 4-string bass, some may prefer the added range of a 5-string bass. This decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and the style of music you want to play.

This decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and the style of music you want to play. If you’re interested in exploring a wider range of tones, a 5-string bass may be the right choice for you. However, if you prefer a more traditional sound, a 4-string bass could be the way to go.

Electronics and Pickups

Size matters when it comes to electronics and pickups on a bass guitar. The type of pickups and electronic controls can significantly impact the sound of your instrument. Consider the tonal options you want and how the electronics can help you achieve your desired sound.

When choosing a bass guitar, consider the type of pickups and electronics that are included. Pickups can affect the tone and versatility of your instrument, so it’s important to choose ones that align with your musical preferences. Additionally, having onboard controls for adjusting tone and volume can give you more flexibility in shaping your sound.

Tips for Buying a Bass Guitar on a Budget

Not sure where to start when looking for an affordable bass guitar as a beginner? Here are some tips to help you navigate the process:

  • Research and Compare Prices
  • Consider Second-Hand Options
  • Look for Package Deals
  • Don’t Compromise on Quality

Research and Compare Prices

GuitarPrice Range
Yamaha BB234Check Amazon, Check Kogan
Ibanez Talman TMBCheck Amazon, Check Kogan

When looking for a budget bass guitar, research different brands and models to see what fits your price range. Compare prices across various retailers to find the best deal.

Consider Second-Hand Options

Assuming you’re open to second-hand options, buying a used bass guitar can often save you money while still getting a quality instrument. Look for reputable sellers or online marketplaces for a good deal.

Look for Package Deals

Buying a bass guitar as part of a package deal can be a cost-effective option for beginners. Consider packages that include necessary accessories like a gig bag, tuner, and strap to save money in the long run.

Don’t Compromise on Quality

Compromising on quality may save you money upfront, but it can lead to frustration later on. It’s necessary to find a balance between affordability and quality when choosing a beginner bass guitar. Perceiving the value of a well-made instrument will ensure a more enjoyable playing experience in the long term.

Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Bass Guitar

Once again, if you’re a beginner looking to purchase an affordable bass guitar, it’s important to make informed decisions. To help you with this process, consider the following steps:

Determine Your BudgetChoose the Right Body Shape and Size

Determine Your Budget

Bass guitars come in a wide range of prices, so it’s crucial to establish your budget before starting your search. Think about how much you are willing to spend on your first instrument and remember that quality doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag.

Choose the Right Body Shape and Size

Even as a beginner, it’s crucial to select a bass guitar that feels comfortable to play.

Look for a body shape and size that suits your physique and playing style. A well-fitted bass guitar will enhance your playing experience and make learning more enjoyable. Plus, when choosing the right body shape and size, consider factors such as weight, balance, and ergonomics.

These aspects can significantly impact your playing comfort and ultimately, your progress as a bassist.

Select the Appropriate Neck Length and Width

Buying a bass guitar with a neck length and width that fits your hand size is crucial for your playing comfort.

You should be able to comfortably reach all the frets and handle the neck without straining your fingers. Consider trying out different neck sizes to find the one that suits you best.

Another key consideration is the number of strings on the bass guitar. Decide if you want a traditional four-string bass or if you’re interested in exploring the versatility of a five-string bass. Your choice will depend on the genres of music you want to play and your personal preferences. If you opt for a five-string bass, be mindful of the width of the neck.

A wider neck may be more challenging for beginners to navigate, so consider your comfort and playability when making this decision. Number of pickups and electronics can also impact the sound you create. Ensure the bass guitar you choose has the right pickups and electronics for the tones you’re looking to achieve.

Check that they are functioning correctly and suit your playing style before making a purchase. Your bass guitar’s electronics will play a significant role in shaping your sound, so it’s crucial to choose wisely.

Keep in mind, when buying a bass guitar, the most important thing is to find one that speaks to you and motivates you to keep playing and improving your skills. Happy shopping! Are cheap bass guitars worth it for a beginner?

Pros and Cons of Popular Bass Guitar Brands

BrandPros and Cons
YamahaDespite its vintage-modern design and exceptional build, the Yamaha BB234 may be pricier than other beginner bass options, but it offers a wide range of tones and a comfortable playability.
SquierWhile the Squier Sonic Bronco Bass is great for kids with its simple setup and vintage growl, it may lack versatility in tone and features compared to other beginner bass guitars.
IbanezIf you’re looking for a versatile and dynamic bass like the Ibanez Talman TMB, you’ll appreciate its comfortable playability and smooth neck, but the wider neck width may not suit all players. Ibanez Talman Bass TMB100:
JacksonFor a bass like the Jackson Spectra Bass JS3Q with a wide range of tones and stable performance, the push/pull for active or passive setup may be a bit complex for beginners to navigate.
Sterling by Music ManUnderstanding the versatile tones you can achieve with a bass like the Sterling by Music Man SUB StingRay Ray4 is important, but adjusting to the StingRay neck profile and bridge may take some time getting used to.

Yamaha

Bass: The Yamaha BB234 offers a vintage-modern body shape and design with exceptional build quality, delivering a warm and rich sound. It is a bit pricier than other beginner basses but provides a wide range of tones and comfortable playability.

Squier

Short scale beginner bass suitable for kids or use as a travel bass

Bass: The Squier Sonic Bronco Bass is ideal for kids with its simple setup and vintage growl. However, it may lack the versatility in tones and features that some beginners may be looking for in a bass guitar.

Ibanez

If you’re looking for a versatile and dynamic bass, the Ibanez Talman TMB offers comfortable playability and a smooth neck. Just be aware that the wider neck width may not suit all players, especially those with smaller hands.

Jackson

For those considering a bass like the Jackson Spectra Bass JS3Q, it’s important to note the wide range of tones it offers but also the potential complexity of the push/pull for active or passive setup, which may be overwhelming for beginners.

Sterling by Music Man

Understanding the versatility of tones you can achieve with a bass like the Sterling by Music Man SUB StingRay Ray4 is key. However, adapting to the StingRay neck profile and fully adjustable bridge may take some time to get used to for beginners and newcomers to the instrument.

Best Bass Guitars for Specific Genres

Best Bass Guitars for Metal

All right, metalheads! If you’re looking to unleash thunderous low-end riffs and crunchy tones, the Jackson Spectra Bass JS3Q is your best bet. This bass offers a wide range of tones with thick and warm low-end perfect for metal music. With a string-through-body HiMass bridge for stability and active/passive performance options, this bass is ready to rock your world.

Best Bass Guitars for Jazz

For the jazz enthusiasts, the Yamaha TRBX174EW is an excellent choice. This bass is perfect for honing your craft, offering two-octave fingerboard and a svelte neck for smooth playability. With rich mahogany warmth and punchy tones, you can explore a range of jazz styles on this versatile instrument.

Bass guitars for jazz typically have a warm, rich sound that complements the genre’s smooth melodies and complex harmonies. The Yamaha TRBX174EW, with its deep low end and punchy tones, is a great option for jazz players looking to explore different sonic possibilities.

Best Bass Guitars for Rock and Pop

In the matter of rock and pop, the Sterling by Music Man SUB StingRay Ray4 is a top contender. With inspiring tones ranging from funky bounces to thunderous low-end, this bass offers a versatile sound palette for various rock and pop styles. The adjustable bridge and comfortable neck profile make it a joy to play for hours on end.

Affordable Bass Guitars For Beginners Of Different Age Groups

After exploring the top affordable bass guitars for beginners in our list, you may be wondering which bass would be best suited for different age groups. For more options and recommendations, check out Top 5 cheap basses for the beginners for further guidance.

Best Bass Guitars for Kids

While looking for a bass guitar for kids, consider the Squier Sonic Bronco Bass. This bass features a single ceramic pickup and delivers a vintage-tinged growl that is easy on the hands for young players.

Best Bass Guitars for Adults

Groups. With a wide range of options available, adults may find the Sterling by Music Man SUB StingRay Ray4 to be a great choice. This bass offers inspiring tones, comfort, and quality construction suitable for adult players looking to explore various styles.

The Yamaha TRBX174EW is another excellent option for adults, providing versatility and playability for players of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to advance your skills, this bass offers a rich mahogany warmth and punchy tones to suit your playing style.

Best Bass Guitars for Seniors

The best bass guitars for seniors should prioritize comfort and playability without compromising on quality. The Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro, with its compact size and rounded thump sound, is a great choice for seniors looking to pick up the bass and enjoy playing without any discomfort.

Best Bass Guitars for Specific Features

Best Compact Bass Guitars

The best compact bass guitars are perfect for beginners, especially younger players or those looking for a more manageable instrument. The Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro, for example, is a great entry-level option with a pokey scale that lends itself to a nice rounded thump. It’s versatile enough to accommodate various playing styles, making it a fun choice for bassists of all ages.

Best 5-String Bass Guitars

Assuming you’re ready to explore the world of 5-string bass guitars, the Ibanez GSR205B is an excellent choice. With fantastic playability and a built-in EQ knob for coaxing ultra-low bass tones, this bass offers great value for beginners looking to expand their sound palette.

Specifically designed for those looking to research into lower frequencies, 5-string bass guitars like the Ibanez GSR205B provide an extra string for added depth and versatility in your playing. This allows you to experiment with a wider range of tones and styles, making it a great option for those wanting to push their musical boundaries.

Best P-Bass Style Bass Guitars

Guitars in the P-Bass style, such as the Squier Affinity Precision PJ Bass, offer a blend of classic design and modern functionality. Featuring a comfortable ‘C’-shape neck profile and a versatile PJ pickup configuration, these bass guitars provide beginners with a solid foundation for exploring different sonic possibilities. With sturdy hardware and a budget-friendly price tag, they are a great choice for those starting their bass playing journey.

Understanding the allure of P-Bass style bass guitars lies in their iconic sound and design, which have been favored by musicians for decades. The addition of a Jazz Bass pickup in the PJ configuration introduces more sonic options, allowing you to experiment with different tones and genres as you develop your playing skills.

Buying Advice for Beginners

Try Before You Buy

Advice: Your first bass guitar is an important investment, so make sure you try out different models before making a decision. Pay attention to how it feels in your hands, the weight, and the overall comfort while playing. This will help you find a bass that suits your playing style and preferences.

Read Reviews and Watch Videos

Buying: Your best bet is to do some research before making a purchase. Read reviews from other beginners and watch videos online to see and hear the bass guitars in action. For instance, you can find demo videos on YouTube that showcase the sound and features of different models, helping you make an informed choice.

Consider Taking Lessons

On your bass-playing journey, it’s a good idea to consider taking lessons from a qualified instructor. Regular lessons can help you learn proper technique, music theory, and improve your skills faster. It’s a great way to stay motivated and get personalized feedback on your progress.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Lessons: Understanding that buying your first bass can be overwhelming, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Whether it’s about different bass guitar brands, features, or recommendations, seeking advice from experienced musicians, store staff, or online communities can provide valuable insights and help you make the right choice.

How We Test Bass Guitars

Playability and Comfort

For beginners, the playability and comfort of a bass guitar are crucial. A smooth neck and comfortable body design can make a world of difference in your learning journey. The Ibanez Talman TMB, with its comfortable short-scale 30” neck and ergonomic body, offers a dreamy playing experience for newcomers.

Tone and Sound Quality

On your quest for the perfect beginner bass, pay close attention to the tone and sound quality. The Yamaha BB234 stands out with its warm low-end and versatile pickup configuration, offering a wide range of tones to explore. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, or funk, this bass has got you covered.

Tone: The Yamaha BB234’s custom V3 single-coil and split-coil pickups deliver a rich and dynamic sound, perfect for experimenting with different genres and styles.

Build Quality and Durability

Clearly, a beginner bass guitar should be built to last, with durability being a key factor in your decision. For instance, the Sterling by Music Man SUB StingRay Ray4 boasts a sturdy construction and adjustable bridge, ensuring long-lasting quality even as you progress in your musical journey.

Value for Money

Clearly, the value for money aspect is important when selecting your first bass guitar. Quality doesn’t have to break the bank. The Squier Affinity Precision PJ Bass offers a versatile PJ pickup configuration at an affordable price, giving you great bang for your buck as you begin your musical exploration.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Bass Guitar

Not Trying Before You Buy

While browsing online for the Best Cheap Electric Bass Guitar for Sale can be convenient, it’s important to try out different models in person before making a purchase. Each bass guitar has a unique feel and sound, so it’s crucial to find one that suits your playing style and comfort.

Not Researching Enough

One common mistake is not researching enough about different bass guitar brands, features, and reviews before buying. Doing thorough research can help you make an informed decision and choose a bass guitar that meets your specific needs and preferences.

Not Considering Your Budget

Some people overlook their budget when buying a bass guitar and end up overspending. It’s crucial to set a budget range beforehand and stick to it. There are plenty of affordable beginner bass guitars like the ones recommended in the article, so you don’t have to break the bank to get started on your bass-playing journey.

Not Checking the Warranty and Support

Little attention is often paid to checking the warranty and customer support offered with the bass guitar purchase. It’s crucial to ensure that the instrument comes with a warranty in case of any manufacturing defects and that the manufacturer provides good customer support for any queries or issues you may have. Taking these factors into account can save you time and hassle in the long run.

To wrap up

So, if you’re a beginner looking for an affordable bass guitar to kickstart your musical journey, the options available today are truly impressive. Whether you’re seeking a versatile instrument like the Yamaha BB234 or something specifically designed for kids like the Squier Sonic Bronco Bass, there is a beginner bass out there for everyone. With the right choice, you can find a bass that not only fits your budget but also inspires you to pick it up and play again and again. Happy bass playing!

FAQ

Q: What should beginners look for in a budget-friendly bass guitar?

A: Beginners should look for a bass guitar that offers smooth playability, a comfortable design, and a decent tone. Additionally, a budget-friendly option with good build quality and reliable hardware is important.

Q: Are there specific bass guitars recommended for kids?

A: Yes, there are bass guitars specifically designed for kids, such as the Squier Sonic Bronco Bass, which features a simple setup and ergonomic design suitable for young players.

Q: Which bass guitar is ideal for metal music enthusiasts?

A: The Jackson Spectra Bass JS3Q is a great choice for metal enthusiasts because of its wide range of tones, thick low-end, and the ability to switch between active and passive performance.

Q: What features make a bass guitar suitable for jazz music?

A: Bass guitars like the Yamaha TRBX174EW are ideal for jazz due to their rich mahogany warmth, two-octave fingerboard for versatility, and the ability to produce punchy, articulate tones.

Q: Is there a recommended compact bass guitar for beginners?

A: The Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro is a recommended compact option for beginners, offering a pokey scale for a rounded thump and versatility in accommodating various playing styles.

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