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Squier Vintage Modified SS Jaguar Bass
Yamaha TRBX174 BL
If you are about to buy your first bass guitar, we have to say that we envy you a bit. As longtime gear maniacs, we bought so many instruments over the years, but the feeling of buying that first one – in most cases as a kid or teenager still in school – is something everyone remembers for the rest of their lives.
Beginners and first-time buyers usually know little about the instrument, and that combined with the fact that you are experiencing something new must be the reason why the whole endeavor is so darn exciting.
But stay alert, as there are many instruments out there that look nice or decent, but offer poor quality performance. Newbies don’t have trained ears to spot these weaknesses, and some manufacturers take advantage of that.
Therefore, we decided to take on the task of finding the best bass guitars for beginners and review them. We summed up out findings in a brief chart presented below. Make sure to check out the summary, and feel free to visit individual reviews for more details. Additionally, the list of extra tips, tricks and words of advice for the beginner domain is available below the chart.
Top 10 Beginner Bass Guitars To Learn On:
For the listed price, this Ibanez offers great sound, amazing looks, and great playability. Starting off with a 5-string bass gives you a stronger grasp of the instrument, and with the way music had become so much more bass-driven over the past years, we even thoroughly recommend it.
Squier Vintage Modified SS Jaguar Bass
Being distinctive is something many people and instruments these days lack, and that is exactly the thing Jaguar brings, and we love it. The sound of this puppy is pretty darn strong and punchy. There's quite a solid chance that we would single out this fella as the best option in its price bracket.
Yamaha TRBX174 BL
Overall, we are looking at a solid bass with a few top-notch sides and very few actual flaws. For the listed price, we have to say that the sound is surprisingly solid and quite versatile, leaving us with no choice but to give kudos to Yamaha boys and wholeheartedly recommend that you buy this bass.
Tips, Tricks and Guidelines On Buying a Bass Guitar For Starters
A lot of people come up with a bit of a nonsensical reply on this, something along the lines of, “Well, it’s just a beginner bass, as long as it makes a sound it’s alright.” No. With all due respect, this is not a good answer. There are so many beginner instruments out there, and the industry has grown so much since the humble beginnings that a bit of digging can go a long way in bringing you the best bass.
Actually, the beginner domain turned out to be one of the most exciting markets over the past years, which is very much understandable. There are much more players in pursuit of cheap beginner instruments that there are high-end customers, making the newbie department a rather lucrative business. Therefore, the manufacturers kept pushing for grabbing the customers by going that extra miles that there are now many cheap basses out there that produce a sound worth two or even three times more than the listed price tag.
But still, we need to stay grounded here and not expect a monster worth several thousands of dollars packed in a $200 instrument. What you should expect from a beginner bass is for it to be playable, of solid build quality, and to have the ability to make a good sound. Saying that you can’t perform live with a newbie instrument is also a bit of rubbish, as many of these instruments are not just roadworthy, but pack a sound that can cut through the mix and deliver a good show.
At the same time, finding instruments that fit the given description was pretty much our main goal here. We looked for instruments that are capable of producing a good sound, fitted certain musical genres or offered high versatility, all while retaining a fair and budget friendly price and boast strong build and durability.
How Much Should I Spend On Related Gear When Buying a Beginner Bass?
It depends on what you are after, really. But some things are a must. You’ll need an amp, that’s for sure, but then a question arises of whether you’re looking for a practice amp or for something bigger to use during live shows. If you are after a house amp, a 15 watt rocker, something along the lines of Fender Rumble or Peavey Vypyr, should do the trick, and that around $100. If you want to be gig-ready from the get-go, prepare to invest at least $300 since you’ll be needing a minimum of around 100 watts of power.
Additionally, you’ll need some other stuff. This is not optional, this is essentially a must: a tuner, a metronome, a guitar strap. While we are all for developing hearing to the point you can tune a guitar by ear, pretty much no beginner is capable of doing that from the get-go, and seeing that guitars don’t take to long to get out of tune, it is absolutely essential to get a tuner. Something similar can be said about the metronome, as it is vital for early practice hours as a key tool in developing a sense of rhythm, tempo, and dynamics.
Needless to say, you’ll also need a cable, which is at least $10. Finally, a strap is a must have since you have to practice standing up, unless you plan to perform on-stage sitting down.
When all is combined, we’re looking at around $50 or $60 for the tuner, metronome, guitar cable and strap combo, and anywhere from $100 to $500 for the amp. A minimum of $150, a reasonable maximum of $550.
What Can You Get For a Little Extra?
We’ll take a wild guess and say that the little extra means $50 to $100. For this money, you can make a variety of improvements and investments, and we typically don’t recommend putting it all into the instrument. But there are options, quite a few, and they are all valid.
For example, if you set your aim on a $150 bass, getting a $250 bass instead can make a significant sonic difference. If your extra cash is more on the $50 side, we recommend investing it into a stronger amp or a fresh pack of strings for example. New strings easily cost $20, and they make a lot of difference in the sonic attack.
What is There For You If You Want To Spend Less
The whole beginner domain pretty much falls into the realm of under $300 basses. If you are looking to save money, we can say that we found solid deals for as low as $80, but as it is always the case – the lower you go with the price, the higher the chance is to get a stinker. So what we advice is to browse through The Guitar Files and see what we have, apply a few price filter and figure it out. We don’t tend to feature crappy gear on the site, so you can take our word that all the cheap instruments around here are bonafide hidden gems.
Things To Consider
What we always point out when discussing beginner gear is that the price of the instrument isn’t the final price, spending $500 on a top bass rig is just the start. Just buying an electric bass isn’t going to cut it. This means that first and foremost you’re going to need an amp. And that amp won’t just magically connect itself to the bass, hence you’ll also need a cable. Additionally, you probably won’t know how to tune a bass right from the start, so you’ll need a tuner too. You probably won’t have a perfect sense of rhythm either, hence a metronome is also required. As previously noted, you will also need a strap.
When all of this is combined, we easily reach the listed price of $150, which often goes to $200. This means that you will need pretty much to double the bass’ price to actually get the basic package. $400 still isn’t that big a deal in our book, and is perfectly acceptable for decent musical tools, but we just wanted to stress the actual numbers you are looking at here.
New Beginner Bass vs. Used Beginner Bass
It is in our opinion that buying new guitars is the best solution here. Beginner instruments aren’t exactly top-quality build, and are much more susceptible and prone to damage. You don’t know how the previous owner treated the bass, so it is best to get the fresh stuff, at least in our book.
But if you are going to dive into second-hand goods, make sure that you have someone who knows their stuff with you, a pro musician preferably. Also, if you know the owner of the instrument and if you’re certain that the owner treated the bass properly, that decreases the risk of ending up with a lousy bass.
Famous Last Words
Overall, we did our best here to present you the crème de la crème of the beginner realms, a set of basses you cannot go wrong purchasing and a set of generally great basses. Savor the moment of purchasing your first bass, remember that excitement and desire and keep the flame burning throughout the rest of your musical journey.
If you want to expend this list, we recommend checking out our rundown of Best Bass Guitars Under $300 where you can also find a string of quality beginner gear. If you want to check out the heavy goods, how about checking out the list of Best Basses Under $1000? We hope you enjoyed the journey, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on the best deals from around the web. Rock on!