10 Best Beginner Basses – The Perfect Way To Start A Musical Journey!

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.[/text]

Top 10 Best Bass Guitars For Beginners

PRODUCT

FEATURES

PRODUCT

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PRODUCT

FEATURES

  • Classic Fender Jazz body shape that is always in style.
  • Great selection of tonewood which inspires confidence.

AR RATING 65/100

  • Classic design which is both comfortable and functional.
  • Good build quality paired with good attention to details.
  • Decent build quality for the money.
  • Comes with an amazing amount of accessories.

AR RATING 64/100

  • A straightforward design which works and is comfortable enough.
  • Good sound quality that has plenty of power behind it.

AR RATING 63/100

  • Simple yet timeless design that works.
  • Decent build quality and attention to detail.
  • Another decent Fender inspired bass guitar that just works.
  • An impressive assortment of accessories which are great for beginners.
  • Classic Fender body shape which has proven itself countless times.
  • Simple finish that is easy to maintain but also attractive.

AR RATING 61/100

  • A great design that is attractive, comfortable and functional.
  • Decent selection of electronics which give it more width.
  • A lot of value for not a lot of money.
  • Good enough build quality all things considered.

AR RATING 57/100

  • Price that is really hard to argue against.
  • Decent build quality all things considered.

AR RATING 65/100

Those who want a Fender like experience on a budget have quite a few options these days. With that said, Squier is still the most authentic one. Squier by Fender Affinity Jazz bass is absolutely one of the best beginner models available on the market. It brings you everything we love about Fender's Jazz basses at a very attractive price.

Back in the day when Squier was just starting out, their basses weren't all that great. These days the situation is very different. Affinity Jazz features great tonewood which perfectly mimics the style and feel of the original, a great set of electronics and awesome sound. Overall it's currently one of the best bang for the buck options out there.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Classic Fender Jazz body shape that is always in style.
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    Great selection of tonewood which inspires confidence.
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    Great build quality all around with good attention to details.
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    Sound that is quite impressive considering the price.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    It doesn't always come set up from the factory.

AR RATING 65/100

Ibanez bass beginner bass guitars are well known in the community as solid performers. This reputation didn't develop over night either. Ibanez has been supplying us with awesome entry level bass guitars for decades. Because of that, it isn't that strange that Ibanez GSRM20BK GSR is among the very best models you can get right now in this particular category.

What we have here is a mahogany body paired with a maple neck. Ibanez went with a P/J style pickups setup that offers great output considering the price. Overall, the sound this bass delivers is impressive. It has enough power for driving bass sections, but also plenty of detail. This bass will keep up with you no matter what.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Classic design which is both comfortable and functional.
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    Good build quality paired with good attention to details.
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    A potent set of electronics which are versatile.
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    Great sound that works no matter the genre.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Factory strings aren't the best to say the least.

AR RATING 64/100

Beginner packs are a great way to get started for not a lot of money. One of the better packs we were able to find comes from Stedman. As you can probably tell, Stedman Beginner Series Bass Guitar Bundle has it all. The bass itself is based on Fender's famous models. As it turns out, it packs a decent punch.

The fact that you get a bass and an amp for this kind of money is impressive. Given, it is only a 15 Watt amp that is quite simple, but it still represents a great value. The pack also comes with a cable, a pick dispenser, a tuner, strap, strings and more. All things considered, it's a good value pack.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Decent build quality for the money.
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    Comes with an amazing amount of accessories.
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    Features a fairly decent beginner amp.
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    Good build quality especially for this price range.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    It will certainly require a setup out of the box.

AR RATING 64/100

Dean's bass guitars have always been interesting, especially in the entry level segment. Dean E09M Edge is one such model and it brings quite an awesome experience at a reasonable price. To say that it is a bit unusual would be an understatement. Aside from its weird body shape, it only features one pickup. Even so, it's worth checking out.

The body is made of basswood which makes it fairly light. The shape they went with is a weird take on Fender's Jazz series. Overall, it looks good, especially if you go with the cherry red color like this one. The sound is decent although it's limited in scope. That's generally the case with most single pickup entry level models.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A straightforward design which works and is comfortable enough.
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    Good sound quality that has plenty of power behind it.
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    Hardware capable of holding up under load.
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    An overall decent aesthetic that many will find attractive.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    A single pickup has its limitations for sure.

AR RATING 63/100

Here we have another awesome Fender inspired bass guitar. This time around the brand in question is Sawtooth. Although they are not nearly as popular as Fender, they do have some pretty decent entry level bass guitars. Case in point Sawtooth ST-PB-SGRP. When you are on a super strict budget, having something like this as a choice is borderline incredible.

The bass itself is pretty basic. We have a basswood body paired with a maple neck, maple fretboard and a decent set of hardware. The pickups come in form of precision style split pickups. Even though trying to figure out who makes these is pointless, they do sound pretty good all things considered. Overall this bass will get you started.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Simple yet timeless design that works.
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    Decent build quality and attention to detail.
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    A fairly fast maple neck increases playability and comfort.
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    Good sound coming from a set of precision style pickups.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Doing a proper setup is almost always necessary on these.

AR RATING 62/100

While we are on the subject of affordable starter Jazz type basses, we have to mention the Crescent Electric Bass Guitar Starter Kit. As you can tell by the name alone, this is a starter kit that includes a whole lot of goodies for not a lot of money. Those two things are on top of every budget buyer's list.

The guitar is a decent Fender Precision bass copy made of basswood and featuring relatively good hardware and electronics. The sound is pretty versatile all things considered, although the bass has its limitations. With that said, it is a perfect starter platform. The accessories include a compact amplifier, cables, a bag, a strap, some picks and a clip on tuner.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Another decent Fender inspired bass guitar that just works.
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    An impressive assortment of accessories which are great for beginners.
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    Decent sound coming from a precision style pickup setup.
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    Overall satisfactory build quality considering the price.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    This is strictly a beginner model.

AR RATING 62/100

Davison Guitars is a brand that is often seen in the entry level segment of the market, and for a good reason. Over the years they've positioned themselves as an authority of sorts for when you need a cheap but reasonably decent instrument. Davison Guitars BASS235 BK GCP can certainly be described as such. It is a great beginner bass.

When it comes to build quality, this ax meets and exceeds all expectations. Sure, Davison Guitars went with the simplest possible format, but it works. In terms of sound, you're getting a viable set of precision pickups which do a decent job at delivering a versatile sound. What matters the most is that this bass is very playable and comfortable.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Classic Fender body shape which has proven itself countless times.
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    Simple finish that is easy to maintain but also attractive.
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    Great sound coming from a set of decent pickups.
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    Decent enough hardware all things considered.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    The bass arrives out of tune almost always.

AR RATING 61/100

Going for the most affordable bass on the market leaves with a monotony of Fender replicas from no name manufacturers. The fact that models such as the Maxam Bass Guitar exist is a miracle of its own. This bass mixes decent performance, hardware and finish with good aesthetics. It is proof that affordable doesn't have to be bland and boring.

When it comes to build quality and electronics, this thing's good. As good as it can be at this price, for sure. They went with a P/J pickup configuration, making it one of the more capable models in this price range. Overall, the sound is quite decent and offers a good amount of width to those just starting out.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A great design that is attractive, comfortable and functional.
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    Decent selection of electronics which give it more width.
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    Sound that has plenty of finesse to it.
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    Solid hardware that keeps will keep up with you.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Factory strings are pretty bad on this one.

AR RATING 60/100

Goplus is one of those brands that make everything and anything under the sun. Bass guitars definitely fit somewhere in there. What you have here is one of the absolute cheapest bass guitar kits on the market. We are looking at a Goplus Electric Bass Guitar which is a replica of Fender's classic model. This is an extremely affordable package.

So what kind of quality can you expect from such a deal? Decent enough, surprisingly. The guitar itself is no better or worse than any other no name Fender replica on the market. On top of that, it arrives with a gig bag, a strap, some cables, picks and tools. At this price you can't really ask for much more.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    A lot of value for not a lot of money.
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    Good enough build quality all things considered.
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    Plenty of good accessories to get started.
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    Not bad aesthetically with a blue sunburst finish.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    This an absolute beginner guitar and not much more.

AR RATING 57/100

Last but not least, we have another Fender inspired value pack for you. This time around it is the Polar Aurora Bass Guitar with its assortment of accessories. Both the brand and the bass are pretty no name. This is one of those deals where you have to take a leap of faith. With that said, the results are satisfying.

If you have realistic expectations, Polar Aurora will be a great beginner bass for you. It features decent build quality all around as well as a decent set of accessories. While none of this is nowhere near what pros use, it is perfectly suitable for beginners. the sound this bass offers is actually up there with more expensive beginner basses.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Price that is really hard to argue against.
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    Decent build quality all things considered.
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    A sound that matches that of more expensive beginner models.
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    Good set of accessories make this a value pack.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Expect to grow out of this bass within a year or two.

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!

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