Whether it’s your first time shopping for a bass guitar or you’re looking to upgrade from an existing instrument, picking the best bass guitar can be overwhelming. With hundreds of choices available and so many considerations to make before choosing the perfect companion for your passion in music, finding that ideal axe takes a bit of expertise.
Fortunately, this comprehensive buying guide will help you pick out an instrument tailored perfectly to fit any playing style or budgetary needs. From selecting pickups and body types to exploring features such as active electronics and tonewoods, we provide insight into what elements make the most sense for serious bass players of all levels.
Read on to learn what makes each type of bass stand out!
- Alder Body with gloss finish
- One player Series split-coil precision bass middle pickup
- Master volume and tone controls
- “Modern C”-Shaped neck profile
- 9. 5″-Radius Fingerboard
Different types of bass guitars
If you’re looking to find out more about the various types of bass guitar and all the options available, you’ve come to the right place. In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll explore each type of bass, including electric bass guitar, acoustic bass guitar, fretless bass guitar and others.
Discover the perfect instrument for your style and needs – from traditional to modern. Keep reading and get ready to rock out!
Electric Bass Guitar
An electric bass guitar is an incredibly versatile instrument, perfect for any musical style. Whether you lean towards jazz and smooth funk or rock and roll, an electric bass will help you get the sound you want.
With the wide range of tones it can produce, the electric bass can be used to create a variety of rhythms and melodies. Thanks to its affordability, it’s become a popular choice for beginner musicians looking to expand their acoustic instrument collection.
Plus, if you’re looking for a great way to turn up the intensity during solo performances, an electric bass will do the trick!
There are also several common types of electric bass that are great for beginners. They are great because they are versatile, sturdy and very easy to play even as a beginner.
Let’s take a look at some of these models.
The Fender Precision Bass is a classic electric bass guitar that offers unparalleled precision and performance. Since its introduction in 1957, the precision bass has been an industry standard for its precision visual design, superior tone and superior playability.
The neck of these type of basses is usually slim and comfortable to hold, allowing you to easily navigate even the most complex chords and notes with ease. Additionally, the precision bass pickups produce distinct sounds whether you want clear treble tones or deep rumbling lows. Perfect for all types of genres from rock to funk, the precision bass will never let you down.
If you’re looking for a reliable instrument with a stellar sound, the precision bass is an excellent choice!
The fender jazz bass is a versatile electric bass guitar perfect for jazz, funk, rock and many other styles of music. Its iconic design features a slim neck with a narrow fretboard that allows for effortless fast runs and precise articulation.
This is balanced by two single-coil pickups that ensure the jazz bass produces a warm and punchy tone that cuts through any mix. The jazz bass’s tone can be adjusted to match any genre you’re playing: its tone knobs let you control how much of each pickup is heard and how bright or dark you want the sound to be.
Whether you’re a jazz fan looking for a classic jazz sound or an experienced musician who simply wants an incredibly versatile instrument, the fender jazz bass delivers!
The Ibanez GSrm25bk is a great-sounding, fast and slim electric guitar with a light-weight body and dynamic P pickup. Its short scale length makes it perfect for smaller hands or younger players, while the fast Maple neck ensures easy playing.
With its classic styling and great sound, the Ibanez GSrm25bk is perfect for beginner guitarists who want a quality instrument that won’t break the bank.
The TRBX174 is a 5-string bass that delivers the smooth, warm tone of a mahogany body and the punch of an active 3-band EQ. It’s perfect for any player looking to get started on their musical journey.
The TRBX174 features a vintage-style bridge with individual brass saddles for adjustable intonation and easy string changes, so you can concentrate on playing and making music. The neck has a comfortable modern C shape, so it’s easy to play all day long.
Looking for a bass that looks as good as it sounds? Schecter’s Stilletto Stealth 4-string electric bass is perfect for you. Made from lightweight basswood, it has a rosewood fingerboard and maple neck that provide great sound and playability.
The 2-band EQ lets you dial in the perfect tone, while the pickups deliver plenty of power. Get your Schecter Stilletto Stealth today!
Acoustic Bass Guitars
An acoustic bass guitar is a great instrument for anyone looking to add additional low-end depth to their music. While an electric bass guitar gives off an amplified, punchy sound, an acoustic bass has its own unique character that can be heard clearly without any electronic boosts.
Acoustic basses are perfect for setting a strong foundation in a live or studio setting without overpowering the other instruments. It’s also ideal for fingerstyle playing, as each individual string can be discerned easily on the fretboard due to its vibrant tones.
If you’re looking to explore sonic subtleties or compose heart-tugging melodies, an acoustic bass guitar could be the answer.
Acoustic Electric Bass Guitars
An electric acoustic bass guitar is a hybrid of an acoustic and electric bass. It combines elements from both instruments to create a more powerful tone that is perfect for larger performances, such as gigs or recording sessions.
This type of bass produces both the warmth and depth of an acoustic bass along with the enhanced sound projection and sound effect options of an electric bass. With added features and increased volume, this instrument is ideal for those who want to take their playing to the next level.
For optimal performance, one should still use amplifiers when playing live as they will be able to receive maximum sound output even in louder venues.
Other types of Bass Guitars: Fretless Bass Guitars and Upright Bass Guitars
Fretless Bass guitars
The fretless bass guitar is one of the more unique instruments out there. Its distinguishing feature is the absence of frets, meaning players can express more intricate nuances in their music, lending it a very distinctive sound.
It is much harder to play than a regular bass guitar because achieving even intervals between notes requires advanced techniques and a great level of skill. Intervals are also harder to determine without reference points on the neck of the instrument.
However, with practice and dedication, fretless bass can be mastered and used as an incredibly powerful tool within many genres of music.
An upright bass (also known as a double bass, contra-bass, or string bass) is a large instrument that operates as the lowest voice in a band or orchestra. Its sound is described as being deep, rich, and mellow.
The body of an upright bass is usually made from wood and is around four to five feet tall with a long maple neck and deep fingerboard. Its strings are longer and thicker than those of its close relative, the electric or acoustic bass guitars.
This makes its sound fuller and more powerful – an essential aspect when playing jazz or classical music.
Whether you are purchasing an upright bass for yourself or for another musician, choosing the right one can make all the difference in achieving a smooth and clear sound.
Buy Bass Guitar For Beginners
If you’re a beginner interested in playing the bass guitar, it can be daunting trying to find the best instrument for your needs. Fortunately, there are some simple guidelines that will help ensure you get the right bass guitar for you.
In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll go through what to look out for and consider when shopping for a bass – so if you’re ready to get started on your musical journey, let’s dive in!
What to consider when buying a bass guitar?
There are a lot of different types of bass guitars to choose from! It’s important to consider your budget, playability (is it comfortable?), sound (do you prefer thumping low-end or crystal-clear high notes?), and string number (4, 5, or 6 strings?) when shopping for a bass guitar.
Think about what kind of music you want to produce and what genre you want to focus on – every type of bass guitar has unique characteristics that suit different genres best.
Do some research and speak with friends or other musicians in your area who have experience with different types of bass guitars.
The more informed you are about the instruments available, the better decision you will be able to make when making your purchase. Good luck!
Should I choose a 4-, 5- or 6-string bass guitar?
4 String Basses
Four string bass guitars offer great playability and comfort, and are a popular choice among musicians. However, there are some drawbacks to consider when deciding whether this type of instrument is right for you.
While the four strings provide a decent amount of low end, when compared to 5 or 6 string basses there are fewer strings available to play with, reducing overall range and forcing you to choose which notes to omit while playing.
Additionally, as the four string design is more traditional than a lot of five or six-string models. You can find some very modern four string models if you know where to look though.
All in all though, the advantages of 4 string basses make for an appealing choice – the smaller neck makes it easier to learn and play, allowing more time for practice and experimentation with sound.
5 String Basses
Five string bass guitars are certainly an option that players should consider when purchasing an instrument. The added low B-string provides greater harmonic range, further allowing for more creative exploration of the instrument’s musical possibilities.
However, with the extra string comes some drawbacks; the neck width is increased on 5 string bass guitars, which can test the strength of smaller hands or those less used to playing bass.
Additionally, they often require heavier gauge strings to accommodate them being tuned lower than usual.
Therefore, although 5 string bass guitars offer a wealth of new sound and style options, it’s important for potential buyers to consider their playing ability and skill level before committing such a purchase.
6 String Basses
6 string bass guitars offer a lot of benefits – they are great for players who want a bit more range and diversity in their sound, allowing them to explore different octaves. A guitar’s sound can be made even fuller and more complex when coupled with an appropriate amp setup too.
Despite the advantages 6 string bass guitars do present some drawbacks; such as being harder to play due to their extra strings and needing the right technique for the best sound. Furthermore, these instruments may not always be suited to every genre and might not fit into every band’s needs.
Ultimately, it is up to you as the musician to decide if 6 string bass guitars are worth pursuing or if you’re better off sticking with 4 strings.
Research demos, try out different models at music stores and take your time before deciding – this way you will know whether they are right for you or not.
Bass Tonewoods explained
Tonewoods are unique woods that, when used to construct an electric bass guitar, can drastically shape the sounds that are produced. Each type of tonewood offers different tones – ranging from bright to warm, mellow to punchy – and all form a sonic fingerprint that makes every type of electric bass an instrument with its own distinct personality.
The body and neck of the guitar are usually the two areas where you’ll find tonewoods: Different woods can be used in each area to create different sounds. Both parts of the guitar work together in harmony, with the body adding resonance and definition while the neck wood adds warmth and naturally compresses the audio signal.
When paired correctly, tonewoods provide a beautiful yet powerful sound no other material can replicate!
Ash & Alder
When it comes to crafting an instrument’s sound, one crucial factor is the type of wood used – and this is especially true for electric bass guitar building. Two popular options are ash and alder, both offer unique sonic characteristics.
Generally speaking, ash produces a rounder tone with good sustain, whilst alder has more of an aggressive character.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what type of sound you prefer and which wood complements your playing style – but with some experimentation and patience it will become increasingly clear which wood gives you the sound you’re looking for!
Maple is one of the most popular tonewoods used on bass guitars, and it’s no wonder why. It’s extremely versatile, making it perfect for a range of genres and playing styles. When you use maple as your bass guitar tonewood, you get both volume and brightness to your sound.
This makes it great for those that need their notes to cut through the mix in a band setting or for when you want some clarity to beautifully showcase each individual note you play. No matter what style of music you prefer, maple will provide an amazing sound and great tone every time!
If you’re looking for a bass guitar that has good sustain with a punchy growl, then mahogany may be the right choice for your tonewood. This type of wood is known to create instruments with great sound and resonance, producing striking lows, mids and highs.
It has great bite in the treble end of its tone as well as nice fat punchy lows. A mahogany bass will definitely provide plenty of depth and thickness when playing out live or recording in the studio.
With each string ringing out clearly, you’re sure to get a wide range of sounds no matter what style you are playing. If you want an instrument that can give powerful punches throughout your performances, a mahogany bass guitar is definitely worth considering.
Walnut is a great choice for bassists looking for a bright and balanced tonal palette. It produces a surprisingly bright top end, while giving it sufficient tonal range with a present midrange.
This makes it a great choice for those wanting to cut through with clarity in the mix, while having the necessary muscularity mid-range when taking the lead. Its unique balance of brightness and warmth allows it to cover both funk, rock, and jazz tones easily; making it one of the most versatile woods available for bass players who want more than one tone at their disposal.
Rosewood is a great choice of material for bass guitars – it has a very rich sound overall and particularly emphasizes the low end, giving you deep bass tones. Rosewood has a wide tonal range, making it suitable for many styles of music and allowing you to have plenty of control when adjusting the sound your instrument is producing.
High-end manufacturers are increasingly turning back to rosewood as a tonewood material, making clearer-sounding instruments with improved resonance.
Whether your style requires substantial low-end punch or more subtle depth, rosewood can provide the perfect foundation for your bass sound.
The anatomy of a bass guitar
An electric bass guitar is a great way to add low-end thump to any musical ensemble. Electric bass guitars have four strings tuned an octave lower than a regular guitar, and come with either one or two pickups.
The pickup closest to the middle of the neck is often controlled with individual tone and volume controls.
At the base of the neck you’ll find frets, like those on any other guitar. On most electric bass guitars, they correspond to notes on one scale – usually EADG – running up behind them at the end of the neck there’s often another set of knobs controlling the tone and volume of each pickup, allowing you to adjust your sound as you play.
The bridge transferring vibration between these pickups allows for techniques such as dead notes, slides and vibrato. With all these features and more, an electric bass guitar provides hours of creative sound exploration!
Which Bass Guitar Is Right For You? Let Find Your Fender Help
As a musician looking for the perfect companion to your sound, the Fender website’s “Find Your Fender” feature can help you find exactly what you need.
From beginner sets to professional-grade instruments and amplifiers, this intuitive search system can point you in the right direction by narrowing down specific choices based on the type of music you create.
Whether you’re an aspiring rock star or a casual enthusiast, “Find Your Fender” has something for everyone and provides simple advice along the way that will have your instrument of choice delivered to your door in no time.
What size bass guitar should I buy?
If you’re looking for a bass guitar, there are many different sizes available, so it is important to find one that fits your needs. Whether you need a full-sized 34-inch scale model or something much smaller with a short scale design, there is an instrument out there to suit your needs.
Generally speaking, shorter scale models tend to be suitable for those who prefer the more rounded sound and more comfortable playing style – as they typically have thinner strings – while longer scales are usually preferred by those seeking more powerful tones and greater tuning precision.
Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference and what will work best for the style of music you wish to play.
Short scale bass guitar
Short scale bass guitars have many advantages, including the fact that they are often easier for children and players with small hands, as well as being lighter and more portable. Another big plus is that short scale basses often provide a warmer sound since their strings produce less tension.
On the downside, shorter scale lengths can negatively affect intonation because of lower tension on the strings. Additionally, some players may not find it easy to play chords up the neck of a short scale bass simply because there is less fingerboard space.
However, if you’re looking for something portable or your hands are smaller, then it may be worth considering a short scale bass guitar.
Long scale bass guitar
Long scale bass guitars are custom-made instruments that can deliver amazing tonality and clarity. On the positive side, they give you more distance between the frets, making them incredibly comfortable to play – especially for taller folks or those with larger hands.
They also offer a deeper, richer tone which can make your sound stand out from the average short-scale bass. However, longer scale length may make twanging notes and slapping harder than usual, plus there’s the minor (but essential) difference in string tension that requires some getting used to.
Ultimately, whether or not to go long scale is up to your individual playing style and preferences – but it’s definitely worth considering if you want an instrument to separate yourself from the pack!
Is a bass guitar good for beginners?
The bass is a great instrument for beginners. You can learn songs quickly, there are fewer bass players so it’s easy to join a band and instruments like a short scale bass guitar are very easy for beginners to play.
What are good electric basses?
The jazz bass and precision bass guitars are both excellent. Both can be bought in 4 string and 5 string models too.
What’s the difference between bass and electric bass?
Playing a string instrument can be one of the most rewarding activities, but it’s best to have the correct instrument for your style. An upright bass, or double bass, is a large instrument, usually around 4 feet tall. It usually has four strings which are tuned to E-A-D-G. The body and neck are made of wood and it is played using either a bow or plucking with the fingers.
On the other hand, an electric bass guitar typically has four strings that are tuned to E-A-D-G, just like an upright bass. The body of an electric bass guitar is made of either wood or even synthetic materials and it’s played by plucking with the fingers. To get sound from this type of instrument requires an amplifier as well as some effects pedals such as distortion or chorus pedals depending on the desired sound.
Ultimately, both bass instruments bring unique styles of play but can complement each other wonderfully for any musical performance!
Is electric bass easy?
Like any instrument, the bass is as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. Yes, it can be very easy to learn your first song, some basic technique and some scales. It can even be relatively easy to join a band and start doing gigs.
However, if your passion for the bass turns into a serious hobby and you decide to take a degree at music school then it can be very hard work!
Is electric bass the same as bass guitar?
Yes, the electric bass and bass guitar are the same.
What is a good brand of electric bass guitar?
Good brands of basses include Fender American which make precision basses and the famous jazz bass. They also make some great short scale bass guitar options such as the mustang bass.
You could also look at brands like Ibanez, Yamaha, Squier, Sire and Schecter.
What is the difference between an acoustic bass and an electric bass?
When it comes to bass guitars, there are two main styles – acoustic and electric. An acoustic bass guitar has a round hollow body like an acoustic guitar with steel or nylon strings and is usually amplified by being run through a speaker cabinet.
An electric bass guitar, on the other hand, has thinner strings, a solid design and requires an amplifier(not necessarily separate as some models have built-in ones)to work. It gives you more versatility when you play by allowing you to change sounds and manipulate tone. Aside from the difference in sound quality, electric basses also provide faster response time compared to their acoustic counterparts.
If you’re looking for deep low end tones with tons of sustain, then an electric bass may be the perfect choice for your needs – but if you want something with a subdued more organic feel then an acoustic bass may be just what you need.
So if you’re considering a new bass guitar it’s important to take into consideration both types before making a decision!
What bass should a beginner buy?
It’s best to go with tried and tested models and brands such as the Fender jazz bass, precision bass, or the four strings models made by Ibanez, Yamaha or Schecter.
What is the best electric bass brand?
Many would say Fender. Fender have made two of the most iconic basses of all time in the precision and jazz bass and they also make great custom instruments too!
How much should you pay for a bass?
Everyone’s budget is different according to what they want but a beginner should expect to spend between $150-$300 to get a good beginner bass.
What is the best electric bass guitar brand?
It’s a matter of personal opinion. Many will say Fender but then some will say the 5 string models from brands like Yamaha, Ibanez or Schecter are better.
The best thing to do is to try some models out and decide for yourself.
What’s better bass or electric guitar?
Bass guitars rule. End of!