Top 5 Best Bass Guitars for You – 2018 Edition
Whether you have some extra cash to spend and you want to upgrade your grooving gear, or you are looking for the good bass to start playing with, we are here to help you find the best bass guitar for your needs.
With all the different choices out there it is quite difficult to find the most suiting bass. To help you decide we tried out some of the best models and reviewed them, so you don’t have to waste too much time in search for the bass guitar to buy.
The Best Bass Guitars
**You'll find detailed comparison below, but you can also check the prices or read Amazon Customer Reviews by click the links above.
Know your budget
Before buying a bass guitar, you must decide how much money you want to spend. For example, if you are the beginner and you are not sure how talented you are and how persistent you will be, there are many affordable basses for beginners. These are usually made with the lower quality of electronics and hardware, but they can serve you well during the early stages of learning.
On the other hand, if you are a bit more experienced player or more dedicated, you probably want to invest more money and get the better quality bass guitar. More expensive bass usually have better hardware and electronics, and it’s made of better tonewood. It will feel and sound much better, and it will last much longer.
What is the good bass?
Well, that question is a bit difficult since there are quite a few types of bass guitars. Something that is good for one bass player doesn’t necessarily have to be good for someone else. One of the most important things to consider is most certainly the wood from which the bass is made. Cheaper versions usually have bodies made of alder or basswood and a bit more expensive ones will be made of swamp ash, maple or mahogany.
Of course, you should always research a bit about the tones that each wood has to offer. For example, if you choose the mahogany you will have punchier and warmer tone, and the swamp ash gives you brightness. You also need to consider the purpose of your bass. If you are going to carry your bass for the rehearsals and gigs, you’ll probably want something lighter like basswood, rather than heavy maple.
Pickups are also quite important. There is a vast amount of pickups on the market; humbuckers and single-coil, passive and active design. Single-coil pickups are the most classic pickups for bass guitars. They are quite simple, made with one magnet and one coil and they produce a very bright tone.
When it comes to humbuckers, their sound is fatter, even a bit muddy sometimes, if you crank up the volume. The humbuckers will also cancel the interference and background noise.
When deciding what pickups to use, just go with the sound you want and you can’t go wrong.
Passive or active electronics?
Preamp circuitry can be passive or active. The preamp is there to boost the output of your pickups and to give you some control over the tone.
Passive systems do not require a power source to operate, and they usually don’t so many controls. On most of the passive basses there are only volume and tone knob, and if they have two pickups, there is also a blend control.
The passive bass is quite simple to operate, and it doesn’t depend on the battery. The sound of the passive bass is low-fi, and many bass players prefer this to hi-fi sound that active basses have.
Active bass guitars require power and the power usually comes from an onboard battery. The active preamp system has stronger output. Also, you have much more control over the tone. You usually have EQ controls, switches that can reshape your EQ profile instantly, and even the coil tap switches that can change the humbucker into single-coil by turning off one set of coils.
How many strings?
This mostly depends on your playing style, your skill, and your budget. If you are looking for best beginner bass guitar, it’s best to keep the things simple and play on the 4-string bass. Even most of the very skillful bass players play on 4-string basses.
If you are a more advanced player and you want more notes to play your grooves, then you can consider adding one or two strings. Just remember that more strings mean wider neck and more finger stretching.
Finally, try as many different bass guitars as you can. It does take some time, but in the end, it’s totally worth it because you will have the perfect bass in your hands.
Best Bass Guitars Review
2. Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass
Squier is the company that Fender owns, and they make the cheaper versions of the classic Fender guitars, including the Jazz Bass.
Now, since they are making the cheaper instruments, their target are the beginners and people looking for best cheap bass guitar.
Although the most of the Squier instruments are the starter instruments, the Vintage Modified line is something that even the veterans would like under their fingers.
The rice is still lower than Fender Jazz Bass, for example, but this Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass has an amazing value for the price.
There are five Jazz basses in this line, and this one is the most basic model. It’s made with a basswood body, and it features the rosewood fingerboard with 20 medium-jumbo frets. This combination gives it a nice warm and woody sound.
It looks very cool, and it comes in Olympic White and 3-color Sunburst with Tortoiseshell pickguard and chrome hardware. When it comes to electronic, the bass features standard two volume controls for each pickup and one tone control.Two single-coil J-bass pickups designed by Fender are providing superb traditional jazz bass sound.
- An amazing value for the price. You will get one perfect bass for the low price.
- Nice warm and woody traditional jazz bass sound.
- Excellent pickups designed by fender.
- Everything looks awesome on this bass
- Comes with a great setup straight out of the box.
- Feels awesome under the fingers, and it’s very easy to play.
- Squier is known to have some quality control issues, and this bass is not excluded.
3. Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray 5 StingRay Bass, 5-String
Now, this is the first 5-string bass on our list. The Ray5 is basically the Music Man StingRay 5 bass’s cousin. It features the rock-solid hardware, low-noise humbuckers, and active electronics.
When it comes to the look, it is quite recognizable and respected look that we all love.
The body is made of the solid hardwood, and it’s pretty light and airy and full of tone. The neck is slim, very easy to play, and it’s made of maple. This neck with medium-jumbo frets makes this bass comfortable to play with both small and large hands.
The tone can be shaped any way you like it with the onboard active 2-band preamp powered by the 9V battery. It gives you the ability to control the volume, treble, and bass and offers an amazing variety of tones
The humbuckers give a high output and are made for maximum clarity and perfect reproduction of the natural tone of the bass. With these pickups and active electronic, you can have any tone you want, from aggressive to mild. Additionally, the pickups can be adjusted perfectly to the string angle by using the 3-screw adjustment system.
The neck has an incredible satin finish that’s ultra-smooth, making the neck extremely comfortable. Also, the neck adjustment was never easier. There is no need for any tools, and you can adjust the neck without removing it or the strings thanks to the thumbwheel at the end of the fingerboard.
- Active electronics and two humbuckers allow you to shape the tone any way you want.
- The ultra-smooth satin finish on the back of the neck for ultimate comfort.The ultra-smooth satin finish on the back of the neck for ultimate comfort.
- Thumbwheel for neck adjustment.
- Output jack on the top of the body.
- The bass is not too heavy.
- Very affordable bass guitar; basically the cheap version of Music Man StingRay 5.
- Soft body wood.
- Comes with low-quality strings.
4. ESP LTD B55 – Black 5 String Bass
The B55 is not just some affordable 5-string bass. This bass guitar is made of the same materials as some of the very expensive guitars, and it also has the same features.
It comes with high-quality LTD tuners and an LTD DB5 bridge. You have the option to choose between the jazz-style single coil bridge pickup and the split single coil pickup.
That in combination with the active tone boost gives you a wide variety of tones. You can adjust the tone on this bass from aggressive heavy metal to smooth jazz sound.
The agathis body is very light, and the bass itself is much lighter than the most of the 5-string basses. The neck is made of maple with rosewood fingerboard, and it has 24 extra jumbo frets. It’s a quite thin u-shape neck, and it’s extremely comfortable to play.
The high-quality hardware on this bass is all black, and the bass looks amazingly cool. Overall, this bass is a monster that can deliver any sound you want. Whether you need to play a death metal gig or a wedding, with this bass guitar you are covered.
- The jazz-style single coil bridge pickup and the split single coil pickup in combination with active tone boost for a wide variety of tones.
- Amazingly cool looking finish with black hardware.
- Much lighter than the most of the 5-string basses.
- Very versatile bass guitar suitable for any genre.
- Very thin u-shape maple neck.
- Low B tends to slip.
5. Ibanez GSR200BWNF 4-String Bass Guitar
This is a very nicely balanced bass that you can get for a quite friendly price. It is very versatile and can match almost any genre.
The body is made of basswood making it very solid and, the comfortable one-piece maple neck with rosewood fingerboard has a 22 medium frets on it.
You can choose between the split-coil and the single coil pickup and combine those two when searching for your tone. The tone can be shaped any way you want thanks to the active EQ with PHAT-II bass boost.
Nice glossy finish in combination with the chrome hardware is giving this bass a quite elegant look. The finish is solid and so is the entire bass, similarly to some Cort bass guitar models. It can take a lot of beating, and it will endure it for a long time.
The neck is nice and thin, which is pretty much characteristic for all Ibanez bass guitars, and it makes it quite easy to play even with smaller hands.
Overall, this small bass guitar has a great value for the price, and I would recommend it to anyone from beginners to experienced players.
- Thin neck for comfortable playing.
- Very beautiful guitar.
- Wide variety of tones thanks to the combination of pickups and active EQ with PHAT-II bass boost
- More than affordable price.
- Very durable and can take a lot of beating.
- Low action tends to cause the fret buzz.
In the end, all of the listed instruments are great and worthy of consideration for the title of best bass guitar, but the bass that I found most valuable is most definitely the Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Ray 5. It’s such an amazing bass guitar.
It’s so versatile and no matter what kind of tone you choose, it sounds fantastic. It’s a 5-string bass with active electronics, it’s not too heavy, and you can use it to play any genre you like. Not only that, but it’s also very affordable. What more could you possibly want from a bass guitar?
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