Best Bass Guitars Review 2020
Choosing a guitar is a tough job in itself if you are a noob like we were before we did extensive research on how to get the best bass guitars. We can safely say, we are all-aware about a particular type that we will be discussing today, which is bass guitars. In modern music, this instrument has gained much love and attention (and longing, why would we bother otherwise, right?) due to its ability to add rhythm and melody to any music. Because the piece is so versatile, easy-to-learn and fun, it is important that to reap the utmost benefits, you choose the best bass guitar.
It doesn’t matter if you are a struggling artist, a new learner or an exceptional pro, we hope we can give you a thing or two to learn in this article of ours. Read along to know the details and basics of buying the best bass guitar.
Our Top Pick:
Top 10 Best Bass Guitars Guide-
Ibanez 4-string bass is the second from Ibanez that we have here on the list and how rightly so! Let us take you through the details.
But first, today’s focus is Starlight Blue. We do have a thing for blue guitars, so you may tend to find us levitating towards that more often. Who can deny the charm of blue guitars, right? But the good news for those aren’t fans of this color on their guitars or are much bigger fans of other colors. Ibanez lets you buy you pieces in black, brown, white, red and even purple! Get the one you like dearest.
The body of the guitar is made of mahogany/agathis, it differs actually. In the fretboard, as we have been seeing so far, we have rosewood. Players will find that there are white inlays in dotted patterns here too. The frets are medium in size. The neck of the guitar is made of maple.
With the guitar, you will have a B10 bridge, featuring both active and passive pickups and chrome hardware.
There is something unique about this guitar that we did not tell you yet. This is specially built for the petite. Yes! The guitar is the first of the compact style, present in the last today. It has a scale length of fewer than thirty inches. So, if you are someone who has smaller hands or is someone who frequently suffers from neck pains due to playing the guitar as well as back pain, this is a compact version that can help you reduce the pain that occurs from handling guitars that are too big for you. So, this will be a great purchase for you, if you are young or a petite rockstar, and this is actually the best small bass guitar compared to the ones available in the market that looks just like toy guitars.
If you ever lookup for the best bass guitars of all time, the Fender precision bass is sure to come up. The precision bass comes in five different colors, each with their unique name: Torino red, Olympic white, Sunburst brown, good-old black and the one that has our attention today, the Race red. Did you ever hear that red is the color of passion? This is exactly what you will feel if you take a hold of this guitar. As you read further, you will find, how it falls in the list of the best budget bass guitars.
In the making of the electric bass guitar, Alder has been selected as the tonewood. And as you know, this is one of the more common ones that is used these days. You get an excellent balance with this. Also, the thing with alder is that the grainy formation of alder wood, when laden under a perfect transparent finish, you get a visually tasteful treat.
Also, good news for beginners, this comes with a fretboard that is fretted. The material used in making the fretboard is rosewood. There are about 20 frets here.
Again, the piece comes with 4 strings, so we are comfortable and easy on the fingers if you a beginner.
About the hardware of the guitar, there isn’t much to brag about, but we like the arrangement. There are 4 saddles in a traditional bridge style on the guitar. You will find both J-bass and P-bass single-coil pickups with it, and a pickguard that comes in black. Though not much on the electronics, you can manipulate the control to some extent and that is saying something.
The neck of the guitar is the “modern-C” shaped, that you will find with most Fenders.
The third one from Ibanez, yes! In this Ibanez TMB100 review, you need to brace yourself a little. Here’s why.
The Talman styling, which was one of the firsts from Ibanez, has made a comeback. Now when does something be so good it makes a comeback? Possibly when what is gone is better than the ones we have now at hand, and yes, we are speaking guitars. It is a vintage piece that is a must-have in the world of bass guitars. At least a must-have from Ibanez, so to speak.
We selected the classic black to be on the list. Two classics altogether, eh? But you can also choose from colors like ivory, red, white, walnut and mint green.
The body material type of the guitar is poplar. The shape is front-laden while also adhering to the contour at the back, and we need not emphasize more how comfortable it is to play with such arrangements at hand. In making the fretboard, which is, yet another time, of rosewood, 20 frets have been used throughout the neck. The neck, however, is chunky, more on the wider side of the spectrum and made of maple.
The Talman bass is what we call a producer of the conventional bass sound. It has a total of 4-strings and comes with both precision and jazz pickups. In addition to that, we have 2-band EQs that can work together to increase the type of tone you are expecting from something so classic.
No matter what you say, the Talman Bass series is actually a retro brought back and it is so deserving to be brought such, owing to its sound, basics, punch and looks and what not! But is it free of all things bad? Of course not.
The Ibanez GSR205BWNF from the GIO series is a budget-friendly guitar for people who love Ibanez and want it.
This one comes in 8 different colors, namely Weathered Black, Roadster Orange (which is a metallic one), Deep Violet Metallic, Black, Brown, Natural Grey, Brown Burst, and the one that is under the spotlight today, the Walnut one. Hint: This is a personal favorite color!
The body of the Ibanez 5-string guitar is made of Mahogany. We all know how cool mahogany is in terms of a guitar body. Well, it may be cool in plenty other stuff too, but it is great with a capital G when it comes in a guitar’s built. Softer tones with a longer sustain, that is what mahogany gives you in a nutshell. And we are familiar with how well Ibanez crafts the pieces to produce some of the best bass musicals of all time.
This is again another guitar that features a rosewood fretboard. The neck of the guitar is made using Maple. Again, there are 22 frets here, which is a good number on average. You will also find white dot inlays on the fretboard. All of them are medium in size.
As a matter of concern, this is a 5-string guitar, as of course, the name suggests. The thing with 5-stringed guitars is that you will get the B-E-A-D-G format from here. This is a wonderful formation for someone who loves country music and wants to bring it out from his guitar.
The Ibanez bass guitar has a humbucker/jazz-style pickup. So you have a more tonal range to explore.
And also the bridge is B15.
What more can we say about Yamaha? It is a very popular one in the world of guitars, and more so in this review, in the world of bass guitars. This particular TRBX174 comes in nineteen different colors. Yes, nineteen! They have the basic features with two or more changes in the construction. Our eyes today are on the majestic Dark Blue Metallic version. Blue certainly has a thing when used on guitars, doesn’t it?
The tonewood of this guitar is made using Mahogany. As you know the case with Mahogany, this is what everyone in the music arena prefers. It produces the warmest sounds of all the tonewoods. The low register here is created as a part of the low resonance. You will also get a beautiful finish on the piece.
About the fretboard of the guitar, it is made using rosewood. There are medium-sized frets here, about 24, which is more than the last guitar we reviewed, so you will get better control on the tone.
This electric bass guitar comes in 4-strings, as has been the case so far. The scale length of the guitar is 34 inches, again.
With the guitar, you will have single-coil pickup configurations and a vintage-style bridge that has 4 saddles. Well, there are actually two ceramic pickups on this guitar, a split one for the neck and a jazz one for the bridge. Both of them work together to produce better sound and volume from the guitar. So you have a regular-sized, long-scale guitar. And another thing that we found on the hardware is their covered tuners.
Yet another one from Yamaha. Well, who can deny the richness and satisfaction of Yamaha guitars and buying from people/brands you know?
The piece comes in 10 different colors, but the black one looks spectacular. In the making of this beautiful piece, Yamaha has used an interesting technique, or should we say a mixture? The body of the guitar is Alder/Maple/Alder. No this does not mean alder or maple or alder. It means there have been 3 different times the two types of wood have been used to make a single, laminated piece. Sounds like fun and a whole lot of effort to us!
The maple, as shown in the formation of slashes, is the piece in the middle. This works to increase the midrange of the guitar and makes the body stronger than you would expect from guitars. This middleman (or wood, to be more accurate) acts as a bridge between the neck and the body for better transmission of vibrations and hence, produces better sound.
That brings us to the neck, which is again made of two types of woods, maple, and mahogany. In the neck, there has been Miter joint than a traditional bolted joint. And you can guess why it is done. If not, it allows for better transmission of vibrations across the strings for the guitar being well-built.
Now about the hardware of the guitar. We again have something interesting. There are a convertible bridge and saddle that you will find here. The strings are specially angled here to make 45 degrees with the bridge, instead of being placed vertically, to avoid the stress and tension of the strings. We also have exceptionally lightweight tuners and an active circuit with the guitar. There is also a battery LED at the back which will start alarming you when the power is too low so that you don’t stop singing the song halfway through on the stage.
Last but not least, this is a long-scale guitar, with the scale length being thirty-four inches.
This is the last of Fender’s precision bass that will be part of the list and the review. Released so many years ago, and still a classic favorite, can you imagine? The guitar comes in 2 different colors. But we say the Honey Blonde one has a better thing going on than the Sunburst one.
Let’s see into it.
The body style of the guitar is solid wood. The polish or finish, a better word, on this guitar has been given using nitrocellulose lacquer, which is why you may be attracted toward the glossy finish.
This is another guitar, the second on the list, that has a fretboard other than the usual rosewood. It is made of maple. There are 20 distinguished frets on the board for the ease of playing of the beginners. The inlays are black dot here, instead of the regular white dots that we have been seeing so far. The neck material of the guitar is also maple. Having a C-shaped it is super easy for you to play on this for hours without getting tired.
The scale length of the guitar is on the longer side. So that would make it about 34 inches long.
Coming to the hardware, it is a classic-style bridge that comes with 4 saddles. The hardware is made of chrome. We also have single-coil pickups with the guitar. For a better volume and so that you are able to control everything better, they provide knobs and open-gear tuners. The most spectacular piece in the hardware may be the smallest but is the most eye-catching. It is the pickguard. It has a gold-like finish to it, which gives the vintage vibe and accentuates the overall look of the guitar.
You might be startled to see another one from Fender, but not so much if you know how much of a Mogul they are in the sector of bass guitars. And if it’s a Fender precision bass, you know it is going to be darn good!
The Fender Player Series Precision bass review today will be to talk on the stunning 3-color sunburst. You can have both types of hand orientations with this one, left and right. There are also two kinds of styles available here. One of them is called Maple and the other is Pau Ferro. We discuss the Pau Ferro one here. But in case you needed to know, the Player Series has more to give you in the colors of Polar White, Sage Green Metallic, Buttercream, Sonic Red, Black, and Tidepool. So any color you want, we are cool with that!
Coming to the body of the guitar, it is an alder tonewood. You know the things with alder till now. And if you don’t, let us tell you that this is the most common one. And the main purpose of using Alder is it’s huge usability and clarity of sound, which all bass guitar players want, honestly.
The guitar comes with 4 strings, again, back to the starting ones.
On the fretboard, which is duly fretted, you will find medium-jumbo frets. There are a total of 20 frets there and it is leveled more than the surfaces you find these days. More comfort while we play, right?.
With the guitar, we have a single-coil p-bass pickup, great control and a bridge with 4 saddles. And do we need to say more about their “modern-C” shaped neck? We guess not. It is known for the contour and guitar finish that it provides at the top.
Fender says it’s Player can be played, smashed or just hung. Whichever you prefer, we suggest you play out the thing before deciding to buy.
The Music Man bass is another popular one in the world of bass guitars. The Music Man Stingray that we will talk about today, with our color of preference being black, or a natural stingray color, is the first one on the list that has an Ash body. By ash, we mean the tonewood used to make the guitar, not the color, duh. So, yes, coming back to it; if you have read the information we had presented before the reviews, you would know that Ash and Alder have similar functionality as tonewoods. Ash is fairly common, just like alder. It is usually preferred for the bright and full sounds it creates.
This also happens to be the guitar you have a different fretboard on. Deviating from the usual rosewood that we have been seeing lately in the all the guitars we have reviewed so far, this guitar can feature a maple fretboard. We had to say “can feature” instead of “features” because it actually depends on the edition you end up buying. The guitar fretboard is also available in rosewood, to nobody’s surprise.
It is a 4-stringed guitar, but those who prefer a little more adventure on the strings, Music Man has 5-stringed pieces too.
Coming back to the neck, it is made of maple and tightly bolted so you will have difficulty smashing it out. That explains the great durability. Considering the hardware side of the guitar, there is an active preamp for the bridge. And did you know that the Music Mann Stingray has a unique rounded bridge, unlike the ones provided by other guitars? Now you know. The pickup configuration that you will have to deal with if you purchase the guitar is humbucker.
From what we hear about the tones, it can be adjusted by the EQs to give you what your fingers want to play.
The ESP LTD bass guitar comes in a very known color, with a unique twist to it, which is a “see-through” black satin color. You can obviously picture a black satin hoping that you have seen one, now lighten the shade to an ashy finish, and there you go! And mind you, this is not a regular black, satin-like finish. It has wavy patterns on it, that will give you an idea of the guitar being a little wet by water and the stains remaining. Very unique, isn’t it? The pattern is also grainy information.
In making the guitar, spalted maple has been used. And you know the thing with maple tonewoods, they produce bright, loving sounds, and are dense themselves. If you frequently need to visit recording studios or enjoys a wide dulcet range of tones, this is a great option.
It is available in both fretted and fretless options. But since we are discussing the best bass guitar for beginners, we want you to go fretted instead of fretless.
Coming to the strings again, we have all the three different types of strings. But we would prefer that you select the 4-string version since it is the easiest (and safest) to play with.
With the guitar, you will also get an active 3-band EQ and a passive ESP. The hardware of the guitar is made of black nickel.
The neck is bolted on the guitar body. So, you are safe with the setting there too. And lastly, the scale length, as we see is 34 inches. So it is a long-length guitar and would be best for people with longer hands than the petite ones. This is a regular scale size, the ones that you usually find.
The fingerboard of the piece is made using roasted Jatoba. We like it!
Different parts of a bass guitar:
A bass guitar naturally has different parts, the basics of which are the ones we will mention shortly. If you are purchasing a bass guitar for the first time, and you hear the shopkeeper asking you which type of fretboard you prefer; or if you like maple over alder, we want you to know at least what he is talking about.
So the basic parts of a guitar are:
(starting from the topmost part of the guitar):
Headstock: this is the widest part of the topmost section of the neck, where all the strings come to an end, winding up within the tuning keys.
Tuning keys: the peg or keys can work out the tension of the strings to bring a modification on the pitch.
Neck: this part contains the headstock and fretboard and everything else that comes in between these two.
Frets: this is what is contained in the fretboard, also called the fingerboard. The board is laterally arched, with the arches being called the radius of a circle that could be an imaginary part of the guitar. The fretboard contains some narrow metal strips which we call the frets. These determine which note plays at which point along the length of the neck.
Strings: of course you know these.
Pickup: This small device takes in the vibration of the strings and converts it to an electronic signal. You can have more than 2 pickups on your guitar. The one closer to the strings have a low-end sound and the one closer to the bridge gives you a duller, high-end sound.
Bridge: this is where the strings come to an end, in the lower region of the guitar body. The heavier the bridge, the better the resonance and transfer of vibratory waves occurs across the body.
Body: solid-body bass is what everybody buys: the most common bass guitar body type. They are made of some type of wood. Laminated bodies are cheaper, but then there is plastic-body, which is probably the cheapest. There is also hollow-body which has an acoustic feel and semi-hollow body, where hollows are on the sides, then the center of the guitar.
There are other different parts, but these are the must-know ones.
Tonewoods of a bass guitar:
You can have different types of wood for your bass guitar. Some of them include:
A relatively cheaper one, Agathis. This is used to make the best bass guitar for beginners or entry-level students. It has a low-mid tonal range and a rich sound.
Ash/Alder is a great option if you want your guitar to look stunning. The grains of the wood provide a visual appeal to the guitar under a nice finish. It is great for overtones and produces balanced tones.
If you want the warmest sounds, mahogany is your boss. It is known for the fuller sound it produces and is the general tonewood type that is preferred.
Basswood is what expert bassists select, as it is able to provide beautiful, flat music and for harder techniques in playing.
Maple is the love of the music industry as players wear by it. The tone is very clear and pleasant.
Necks of a bass guitar:
The common neck type that you will see in bass guitars, is the one joined with the body of the guitar by a bolt. This the best type, according to us. Then there is a set neck, which is joint in a manner that can be readjusted. Lastly, we have a neck that goes all through the body, which you will find in the best high-end bass guitars.
Fretboards of a bass guitar:
You can have a fretboard with the usual metal strips that lets you know where the note is and which tone you will expect; or you can have a fretless board, which experts prefer. It doesn’t have the half-step segmentation and you have to rely on muscle memory to play the tone you want.
Scale-length of a bass guitar:
The scale length is the length between the nut (in the joining section of the fretboard and the headstock) to the bridge. 30 inch or lesser length is for the petite, shorter people or those with a smaller hand. The ideal one is long-scale, which is 34 inches. If you are super tall, we have over 35 inches of scale length.
Which strings suit you best?
You can choose a 4-string guitar, a 5-string one or a 6-string one. Needless to say, the 4-string ones have the least wide neck and are the easiest to play, if you are just starting with bass guitars. But there are some styles that prefer the 5-string, so it is totally your need that will define your type.
Should you go for Active or Passive Preamp?
The passive ones require no power at all. So your music isn’t out of the show if you forgot to bring batteries along. They give you a warm, full tone; with lesser control. But this is great if you like fat sounds. And is super easy to use. Again, active preamps give you percussive sounds, with a better output if you want brighter sounds. And as you would expect, this gives you more control with the addition of batteries. So you can do a quick jump from traditional to dramatic here.
Should you go for Precision bass or Jazz bass?
One of the best bass guitar brands that you will come across, and one that we will include in our top 10 reviews, is Fender’s. What Leo Fender started over a span of 50 years ago, is much loved in modern times and their 2 categories, Fender Precision and Fender Jazz is a cherry on top of the bass guitar industry. The differences that these two common types of the guitar have are in their construction, and hence their outputs.
The Jazz Bass has a curvy tail, balancing the mass of the guitar in the front region with the end. So lesser pressure on your right hand if you play with that. The Precision Bass has a forward-raked design and a shapely top, just like the classics.
You can find both of them in Ash or Alder. But Precision was originally Ash, so if that is your preference, go for Precision.
The P-bass has a classic Rock n Roll vibe; the J-bass can give you more R and B, Reggae, Jazz and Funky music styles.
The J-bass has a better tapering towards the neck than the P-bass, making it easier to work your fingers on.
You may want to read this article, the best electric guitar for beginners. Happy Reading!
Tips to buy the best bass guitars:
Here are some tips to help you select the best bass guitars. You do not need to follow the guidelines for word, but you can take help from them to find the best bass guitar:
If you have the money, buy the maximum amount you can spend without being pressurized. It will be a worthy investment.
Choose a fretboard that has the frets, if you are a beginner. The fretless boards are super advanced. If you are thinking that you are ready for a challenge, even then, don’t buy a fretless board. Because it will be such a waste if you can’t work with it later. If any of your friends or acquaintances have a fretless board, try practicing with that before you are fully sure that you can play a fretless bass guitar.
If you are tall but have exceptionally small hands, or are short in general, go for short scales.
However tempting it might sound, do not purchase a 6-string guitar. Buy 4 to play it safe.
Invest in the looks of the guitar. It will encourage you to play better if you think you look even better holding your guitar.
So, there was a round of whatever you needed to know to purchase the best bass guitars. We hope you learned a thing or two, even if you are an advanced learner. But whatever your heart wants; what your abilities allow because the magic is in your hands more than it is in the very best bass guitars.