Best Bass Guitars For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

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It was the fall of 1977 that I started my journey with bass guitars. I was in the 7th grade and I decided to take a music class and ended up being the bass player.

Over the years I have played bass for pleasure, professionally, and in church. I have been asked countless times by parents “What is the best bass guitar to get my son or daughter?”

Now that I am publishing content designed to help people all over the world with their music needs, I felt that giving my recommendations on the best beginner basses would be a benefit to all the readers of this website.

So without further adieu’ here are my top choices for beginners starting out their musical journey with a bass guitar.

Best Bass Guitars For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

The Best Bass Guitars For Beginners

When defining “Best Bass Guitars For Beginners” obviously we are not talking about best in quality. We are talking about the best bang for the least amount of money. People buy beginner basses because they want to learn how to play the bass, or they have someone in their life that wants to learn to play, but they are not ready to commit to the amount of money it takes to really have a top-notch bass guitar.

If you want to see my recommendations on the best bass guitars, then you might want to click over to my article on the best bass guitars for church worship. It gives a pretty good list of the best basses for different genres of music styles.

Our Top 3 Bass Guitar Recommendations

TitleRatingBest ForPrice
Yamaha TRBX304 BL 4-String Electric Bass Guitar5/5Top Beginner Bass for Country and Western MusicView At Amazon
Epiphone Goth Thunderbird-IV Electric Bass Guitar4.5/5Best Beginner Bass for Rock MusicView At Amazon
Squier by Fender Affinity Jazz Beginner Bass Guitar4/5Best Beginner Bass For Jazz MusicView At Amazon
person holding brown and black bass guitar

Frequent Questions New Bass Players Ask

Staying with the idea that I have had a lot of questions asked of me in the past, I thought I would include the answers to the biggest questions that I get.

How much does a beginner bass guitar cost?

Under $200.00. You can get bass guitars cheaper. Some are even under $100.00 but they are garbage. They will be difficult to play because of the bridge height and neck shape. They will sound even worse because they have the absolute bare minimum of electronics necessary to produce sound. If you want to get a beginner bass that gives the new person a chance to fall in love with being a bassist, then you need to prepare to spend $200.00 or more.

What brand of bass guitar is best?

Warwick is considered the best bass guitar by the pros. I prefer a Rickenbacher but that is my own personal taste. The Warwick Electric Bass is a great guitar. It also has a great price.

Fender Precision is the most popular bass guitar. It has been around the longest since it was the first and it has been used by thousands of professional musicians.

Does Ibanez make good basses?

Yes. I have owned a couple of Ibanez guitars in the past and I have been surprised at the quality. Ibanez has a number of low-cost bass guitars so people assume that they must be low quality. They may not be the best, but they are not junk.

Is it easier to learn guitar or bass?

Bass guitar is easier to learn than 6-string guitar. The reason for this is because a bass guitar primarily plays 1 note at a time where a 6-string guitar plays multiple notes at a time. This means that you only place your finger on one position on the fretboard on a bass guitar and play one string whereas you place your fingers on multiple positions on the fretboard of a 6-string guitar and play multiple strings at the same time.

What bass guitar should I buy for a beginner?

I have listed many options here for good bass guitars for beginners. However, you do need to think about the person you are buying a bass guitar for. If they are young or have small hands, then you would be better off choosing a bass guitar with a short-scale neck. This neck size allows players with small hands to stretch their fingers far enough to hit the notes in a scale without having to slide their hands back and forth.

You should also consider the weight of the bass guitar. Children usually start learning to play the bass guitar in Jr. High or High School and they may not be comfortable handling the weight of a full-sized heavy bass guitar.

What is a good cheap bass guitar?

I don’t recommend basses that are too cheap. Bass guitars that are under 100 dollars are hard to play. Their strings are too high from the fretboard. The necks will sometimes warp. And the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.

I recommend that you pick a bass guitar that is 200 dollars or more. Squier by Fender produces a lot of bass guitars in this price range that is good for beginners. Also, the Ibanez GSR200 is a great beginner bass.

Is Bass the easiest instrument to learn?

I am not sure you can say that the bass guitar is the easiest instrument to learn to play. After all, how hard is it to learn to play the triangle? However, for modern music, the bass guitar is one of the simplest instruments to learn.

How do you play bass for beginners?

You can learn to play bass by taking lessons from a bass player at your local community college. They always have postings for bass lessons. You can also learn by taking lessons online. I recommend this course for online lessons.

When starting out as a beginner, you should just play the root note of the chord being played by the rest of the band. If they are playing the chord G then you should play the note G. As you progress and learn some bass scales, then you can add what are called riffs. These are added notes that you play when you are transitioning between chords.

How hard is it to learn the bass guitar?

Of all the instruments in modern music, the bass guitar is the easiest to learn. It will take you time and effort but you will be able to do it. I would imagine that if you have any musical talent at all, you can learn to play simple music within a couple of months and can become proficient within a year.

Why are bass guitars so expensive?

Top-of-the-line professional bass guitars are expensive. The best bass I ever owned costs over $4,000 dollars. This is because they are made out of expensive hardwoods and have state-of-the-art electronics in them. Many of them are not produced in a factory but are handmade.

Bass Guitar

 Guide To Buying A Bass Guitar

Looking for the absolute best bass guitar? How will you know when you find it? Because the best bass guitar for you may not be the same as for anyone else, I have chosen five that are considered the best ones on the market. The ultimate choice is yours to make.

When you find the right one for you, it will

  • Feel right in your hands.
  • Give you the sound and feel that you can see before you even start to play it.
  • Look as great as you can possibly imagine.

Musicians, who play all sorts of guitars, recommend that a beginner starts with a bass guitar. There are a few initial considerations that you need to address, whether you are a beginner or a Seasoned player wanting an upgrade.

Your budget

Always a first consideration is the amount that you want to spend on your bass guitar. The price range is fairly large, from $200,00 and something into the thousands. If you are a beginner, think of spending around $500.00 on your first bass guitar.

Some professionals spend even less because they prefer the look, feel and sound of a less expensive one. An example is the Fender Mustang, listed later in this guide which the Rolling Stones use.

Should you want to spend more for a supreme bass guitar, you can go into the thousands of dollars and have one that will last you a lifetime, like a Rickenbacher 4003. It just depends on how much you want, and are able, to spend.

The type of Bass Guitar that is Best for You

First of all, check out the sound and see how you like it before you decide on your preferred type. There are 3 types:

  • Electric: The most common type of bass guitar out there, it is the one most people visualize when they think of a bass guitar. It has a solid, slim body. It needs a bass amplifier and will give you lots of versatility and power. Most bass guitarists prefer the electric bass guitar.
  • Acoustic: Great if you like the low strumming, natural feel in your bass guitar, the acoustic gives a very smooth sound. It has a large hollow body with a soundhole so that air and sound escape the bass guitar itself.
  • Acoustic Electric: It’s the best of both worlds, just as the name implies. It is less common than an electric or acoustic bass guitar, but the acoustic electric bass guitar gives its own special sound that some guitarists really like.

The String Count

The most common string count for bass guitars is four. It is highly recommended that a beginner starts with four strings. A four-stringed bass guitar covers most music styles and has a neck size that is smaller and easier to play than on five and six-stringed ones. For those of you who are more experienced players, you may want to jump up to a five or six-stringed bass guitar.

Five-stringed basses give another lower B option for a deeper tonal range. The necks are wider, and they are preferred by some jazz, metal and hard rock basses. Six-stringed models add not only the extra lower B but also high C and this means the neck is wider. Solo guitarists like this because it allows for more range, versatility, and creativity.

The Bass Scale

More advanced in terms of specifics, the bass scale involves the length between the nut, between the fretboard, and headstock as well as the bridge and the strings at the end of the body. For small hands, choose a short scale bass, near 30 inches. A long-scaled neck goes up to 35 inches for players with larger hands or those who want to play

beginner bass kits

Best Beginner Bass Guitar Kits And Packages

Best Overall Package

Ibanez Jumpstart IJSR190N Bass Pack

8.5Our Score
  • 4-string Electric Bass Pack with GSR190 Bass
  • Accessories – Black Night
  • 10W Solid-state Amp

Ibanez has a good lineup of beginner bass guitars. This is a full-size model with 4 strings and is very lightweight. It comes with a practice amp and a gig bag. This would make a good bass for someone with long fingers who does not want to carry around a lot of weight.

Popular Choice

Fender Squier Affinity Precision Bass PJ Bundle with Rumble 15 Amplifier

8.5Our Score
  • Thin and lightweight poplar body with black pickguard
  • Slim and comfortable ÒCÓ-shaped maple neck
  • Squier split single-coil P Bass neck pickup and a single-coil J Bass bridge pickup
  • Indian laurel fingerboard
  • Bundle includes Rumble 15 Amplifier, Fender Gig Bag, Instrument Cable, Tuner, Strap, Picks, and Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD

The Squier by Fender Precision Bass is one of my favorite basses for beginners. It is a full-size bass and comes with a 15-watt Fender Rumble amp.

Best Quality

Yamaha 4 String Bass Guitar

8.5Our Score
  • A perfectly balanced, ultra-comfortable solid mahogany body provides the optimum tonal foundation
  • Solid Mahogany Body
  • Five-Piece Maple/Mahogany Neck
  • Active Electronics
  • Performance EQ switch for Slap, Pick, Flat, Finger, or Solo play
  • Player Port app offers a digital tuner and tips and tricks to get you started playing the guitar

This bass is a standard full-size bass. However, it does have a slender neck that helps people with smaller hands play it.

Note: With the Yamaha TRBX304 package, it does not come with a bass amp. You will have to purchase a bass amp separately. I recommend this one.

Best Beginner Jazz Bass

Squier by Fender Contemporary Jazz Bass

8.5Our Score
  • Dual Squier ceramic single-coil pickups with standard Jazz Bass controls
  • Slim “C”-shaped neck
  • 12”-radius fingerboard
  • Chrome hardware
  • Parchment pickguard
  • Matching painted headstock
  • Hand orientation: Right

As I stated earlier, I started out playing bass on a Fender Jazz Bass. This Squier by Fender Jazz Bass is a replica of that bass. It is just less expensive. If you think you will be playing Jazz, Big Band music, or other types of music that includes horns or orchestra instruments, then this is the bass to start out on. It is a full-size bass so it is best for larger players rather than younger smaller players.

Best Beginner Rock Bass

Ibanez SR300E Electric Bass Guitar

8.5Our Score
  • For 25 years the SR has given bass players a modern alternative
  • Embraced by bassists over the decades, the iconic series continues to excite with its smooth, fast neck, lightweight body, and perfectly matched electronics
  • The SR300E 4-string electric bass is priced like a beginner’s instrument, but it has features that make it anything but a cut-rate starter axe.

If you have a person who wants to play rock and roll, especially hard rock or metal, then this is the bass for you. It will punch through like no other bass with its humbucker pickups.

Best Beginner Country And Western Bass

Squier Affinity Precision Bass PJ

8.5Our Score
  • Single-coil Jazz Bass Pickup – Charcoal Frost Metallic
  • 4-string Electric Bass with Poplar Body
  • Standard Split-coil Precision Bass Pickup
  • Laurel Fingerboard
  • Maple Neck

Again I am listing a Squier by Fender bass. There is a reason. They make the best beginner basses in my opinion. This one, the Precision Bass, is probably the most versatile bass out there but it really shines with Country Western music because of its deep bass tones.

It is a full-size bass and rather hefty, but any adult will love playing this bass.

Best Inexpensive Bass Guitar

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Black (GSR200BK)

8.5Our Score
  • One piece maple neck
  • Rosewood fret board
  • Pearl dot inlay

Like I mentioned above, I am not going to recommend junk. As you start getting below the 200-dollar mark, you start getting junk. So my recommendation of this Ibanez 4-string bass is the cheapest I can go and still have a clear conscience about what I am recommending to you.

This bass is a short-scale bass. That means that it is 3/4 size of a normal bass. It will be great for younger students or for people that have small hands. I personally have small hands and that is why I switched to a Hofner bass when I went professional.

Wrapping Up My List Of The Best Beginner Basses

Well, there you have it. These are my recommendations for the best bass guitars for new players.

I feel extremely confident that if you choose one of these basses, you will enjoy it for a long time and start your journey in the world of bass playing well.

I started mine with a Fender Jazz Bass provided by the school. Later I purchased my own Paul McCartney Hofner Beatle Bass to start out my musical career.

It is my hope that you will find the joy of being a bassist with these bass guitars and that this list of the best bass guitars for beginners was helpful to you.

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