10 Best Bass Guitars Under $1000 – Big Boys for Big Spenders

If you are looking to purchase a bass guitar that will last you for life, a bass that won’t require any critical upgrade to achieve a certain tone you imagined – a bonafide pro instrument if you will – we say that one can be acquired for a price of just under $1000.

In this league, you can rest assured that you won’t get a bad instrument, but you still have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to get more than a plain good and solid bass. To fetch a GREAT bass at this price, you will have to do a bit of digging and jot down your needs and preferences. Luckily for you, a string of top-notch items is out there, and we did our best to single them all out.

We kept the sound quality and value for money as No. 1 criteria, but also watched out for durability, quality build, reliability, and if possible – a pinch of those sexy looks. Our quest yielded plenty of items, all of which have been presented in the chart below for your viewing convenience. Additionally, we took the liberty of presenting some additional info we thought you might find useful. Read on for more.

10 Best Bass Guitars Under $1000

PRODUCT

FEATURES

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PRODUCT

FEATURES

  • Easily one of the most iconic music instruments ever made.
  • Build quality that is impressive as expected from Fender.

AR RATING 95/100

  • An amazing modern design which makes it stand out.
  • Great scaling setup that takes advantage of this bass type.
  • Cool looking design that has a sinister vibe to it.
  • Great combination of tonewood that really works well.
  • One of the most classic modern bass guitar designs.
  • An amazing natural finish which shows great craftsmanship.

AR RATING 93/100

  • Unique and interesting design makes this an exotic.
  • Great build quality all around ensures reliability.
  • One of the cheapest semi hollow bass guitars out there.
  • Great build quality that inspires confidence.

AR RATING 92/100

  • Body design that is simply on a different level.
  • Great choice of tonewood for both the body and the neck.
  • Good build quality that ensures reliability and durability.
  • Great tonewood all around makes it a proper contender.

AR RATING 91/100

  • Great looks on a bass that doesn't break the bank.
  • Impressive selection of tonewood that really adds to sound.
  • One of the most classic bass guitars on the market.
  • Tonewood and build quality that is standard for Fender.

AR RATING 98/100

Fender Precision bass guitar is probably the most popular bass design ever to grace this world. Naturally, it shares that title with its cousin, the Jazz bass. Either way, the bass is going strong to this day. Fender Road Worn '50s Precision brings you a lot of that vintage vibe in a much younger instrument. It is a time machine.

When it comes to tonewood and hardware, Fender has pretty much stuck with the original layout. Where things really become interesting is the finish. As its name says, this Precision bass comes with a worn out finish, which gives it a truly vintage vibe. Paired with a vintage Precision Bass split coil, you are getting a really authentic, incredible package.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Easily one of the most iconic music instruments ever made.
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    Build quality that is impressive as expected from  Fender.
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    Worn out finish gives it a really authentic vibe.
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    A classic tone that is hard to copy and replicate.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Only thing we don't like is the choice of colors.

AR RATING 95/100

Ibanez high end guitars are just incredible. Same goes for their bass guitars. A closer look at Ibanez SRFF805 reveals just how true that statement is. Where as most models on our list can be described as classics, this one is nothing of the sort. Everything about this ax is modern. As such, it is a true beast to behold.

Tonewood of choice came down to ash with a very attractive grayish finish. The body shape is standard Ibanez SRF, with a comfortable topology and good balance. Here's where things get interesting. This is a multi scaling bass that features Bartolini BH1 pickups at the neck and bridge position. The overall sound is something that is worth experiencing for sure.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    An amazing modern design which makes it stand out.
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    Great scaling setup that takes advantage of this bass type.
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    Sound that is truly impressive and versatile compared to most.
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    One of the most playable necks in this price range.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Not for really beginner or intermediate players friendly.

AR RATING 95/100

Epiphone's higher end bass guitars bring a world of awesome and interesting possibilities to the table. One model that perfectly describes what we mean is the Epiphone Goth Thunderbird-IV. For a bass guitar, it is very easy to tell that it is inspired by more sinister genres of metal. However, this bad boy can do just about anything you need.

What we have here is a mahogany body that sits in a beautiful black/gray finish. The build quality is truly something to behold. In terms of electronics, Epiphone went with a set of Alnico Classic Plus humbucker pickups. The entire package is really attractive, especially if you are into heavier genres, mean looking bass guitars and versatile bass tone.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Cool looking design that has a sinister vibe to it.
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    Great combination of tonewood that really works well.
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    One of the best sets of factory humbuckers.
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    Sound that is every bit as aggressive as it's versatile.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    The Thunderbird body might require some getting used to.

AR RATING 94/100

Sterling by Music Man is a brand tasked with delivering more budget friendly Music Man designs. However that doesn't mean that their basses are mere knockoffs. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT may be inspired by a full blooded Music Man model, but it is a beast of its own that deserves some respect.

For this build, Sterling went with a five string design. Overall, there is not much different compared to a standard Music Man layout. They even kept that single humbucker at the bridge. In terms of sound, this bad boy is packing some serious heat. The bass is full of power, but the kind of power that you can easily work.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the most classic modern bass guitar designs.
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    An amazing natural finish which shows great craftsmanship.
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    Great choice of electronics with plenty of power.
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    Massive sound that is pretty refined at the same time.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Sometimes you just need that second humbucker.

AR RATING 93/100

Yamaha's bass guitars are truly something different. This goes for both their design but also their mission. Something like Yamaha BB734A is mean to go against classic Fender designs, which it does fairly well all things considered. These bass guitars offer some diversity in a sea of basses which sometimes look like they're all trying to do the same thing.

They went with an Alder/Maple/Alder combo for the body, and a five piece neck. Needless to say, the craftsmanship is something else. The electronics come in form of a standard P/J setup. With that said, these are active pickups, which gives them quite a bit of range and juice. Overall, one of the most interesting basses available.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Unique and interesting design makes this an exotic.
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    Great build quality all around ensures reliability.
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    Impressive selection of electronics guarantees good performance.
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    Sound which is easy to work with and very functional.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Looks may require some getting used to.

AR RATING 93/100

Semi hollow used to be the only way to go back in the day. These days, things have changed. Even though we have moved on to other designs, it is good to go vintage from time to time. The only issue is, that experience comes at a cost. Epiphone"Jack Casady" Signature Model is an exception to say the least.

This bass guitar features a laminate maple body that has been built with great care. The overall feel we got is that of a quality instrument. With that said, you won't need to be super careful with it. Thanks to its single soap bar pickup, this bad boy brings all the 'twang' you could possibly need. Overall, it's quite awesome.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the cheapest semi hollow bass guitars out there.
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    Great build quality that inspires confidence.
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    A good selection of electronics makes all the difference.
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    Great sound with plenty of range to it.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Not the easiest bass to setup.

AR RATING 92/100

Schecter's more standard bass designs are starting to fall inline with what most other brands are offering. Case in point Schecter 2840. For all intents and purposes it is nowhere near as crazy as you would expect a Schecter to be. Instead, you are getting a plain colored bass whose main function is to pack some serious heat and work.

The body on this model is pure mahogany while the neck is a three-piece mahogany and maple design that runs through the body. In terms of pickups, you have a pair of active humbuckers linked to a push pull set of controls and a 3-band EQ. As you can tell by now, this bass is the definition of a sleeper.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Body design that is simply on a different level.
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    Great choice of tonewood for both the body and the neck.
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    Two massive humbuckers which pack a lot of heat.
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    An active EQ with push/pull controls is amazing

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Not much to look at in all honesty.

AR RATING 91/100

Schecter 1200 Damien Platinum represents what most people think when they think of a modern metal bass. This applies to both the looks and the sound of this bass. With that said, it is one of the more practical axes on the market. Schecter knows how to put together an efficient platform that's capable of keeping up with modern demands.

As usual, the build quality and materials are on point. For this particular build, Schecter went with a mahogany body and a standard maple neck. The pickups are fairly agile allowing you to really find a good tone. On top of that, you also get Grover tuners which nail down key retention. They did an awesome job with this bass.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Good build quality that ensures reliability and durability.
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    Great tonewood all around makes it a proper contender.
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    Powerful but fine tuned electronics offer plenty of control.
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    Sound which is easy to work with.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Could use a setup upon arrival.

AR RATING 91/100

Finding a good five string bass isn't as easy as many thing it is. Especially when you are somewhat on a budget. Even so, there are few options out there which make things bearable. ESP LB5E NS LTD B-5E is definitely one of them. This bass guitars has it all at a price which is more than reasonable. It simply doesn't disappoint.

What we liked the most is the fact that this bass is a proper workhorse. You have a neck thru body design with a mahogany and maple being the main tonewood they've used. The pickups are passive although ESP has paired these with an active 3-band EQ. Overall, this bass features whole lot of flexibility and performance for the4 money.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    Great looks on a bass that doesn't break the bank.
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    Braided cable minimizes the risk of damage while also adding to the overall aesthetics
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    Active EQ paired with great passive pickups sounds amazing.
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    Overall tone which is very easy to work with.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    Overall tone which is very easy to work with.

AR RATING 97/100

Fender's Precision series of bass guitars have defined the way we see this instrument today. That may sound like exaggeration but it really isn't. Getting a piece of that authentic experience today is pretty easy with models such as the Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar. This is a Mexican Fender that is just impressive on every level that matters.

Although it feels like a mass produced bass compared to Fender's custom shop, these are legit workhorses. You get the same body with all of its intricacies as well as that awesome neck profile. The pickups on this particular model are pretty great, although there are arguably better precision pickups in Fender's arsenal. What matters is that it sound massive.

WHAT WE LIKE

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    One of the most classic bass guitars on the market.
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    Tonewood and build quality that is standard for Fender.
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    Great electronics which bring you that authentic Precision experience.
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    An all too familiar sound which works in any situation.

WHAT WE DON'T LIKE

  • minus
    These aren't as polished as US made models.

What To Expect In This Price Range?

Expect the best, and nothing less. By “best” we don’t of course mean a sound of a vintage $5000 instrument, but still a genuinely professional, high-quality sound with no major, or even minor flaws whatsoever.

With basses in this price range, you are essentially entering the pro league. And while you can score some killer deals close to $500, this price domain is usually an indicator that things have become serious.

We can name quite a few musicians who bought a n instrument from this realm and essentially stuck to it for a few decades. And this brings us to a major point – be careful what you choose, be very careful! While buying a good beginner bass or intermediate instrument that you don’t quite like in terms of sound is more of a minor inconvenience, buying a bass with a poor sound in your book at this range can be a bit devastating. For many folks these instruments mark a major investment and not something that can be bought every day, taking the seriousness to a new level.

So what WE expect of you is to be patient and thoroughly look through every option, unless $1000 sounds like a measly sum for some impulsive shopping. Take your time, look around, and you just might find yourself a musical partner for life.

The instrument you buy here should match pretty much everything you’ve imagined your ideal tone to be. Sure, if those expectations are way up high, you might need a few extra thousand to spend on a killer amp, but in general, don’t make any cuts in terms of sonic quality.

How Much Should You Spend On Related Gear?

Seeing that we are in the pro realm, we are guessing that you will want pro gear to accompany your bass. If you’ve reached the big boy league, you probably know the ole rule of thumb saying that you’ll spend as much money on your gear as you’ve spent on the instrument itself. The rule applies to very price range we’ve discussed, including this one.

Sure, you have the option on buying a cheap practice amp for house use and jamming on it at home, but if you’re making an investment like this, there’s a very good chance that you have live gigs and that you are accustomed to performing at least to an extent. There’s also a very good chance that you know that a good instrument is only half of the battle in acquiring a good tone, with the second half being a killer amp.

But let’s cut to the chase here! You’ll need at least $600, or preferably $800 to get a killer amp. Apart from that, you’ll need a new pack of strings, which is another $30. It’s also good to take the instrument to a pro for a proper set up, which is around $50. We’re guessing that you already have stuff like a strap, a tuner and a metronome, but in case you don’t or want to get new ones, that’s $50. In total, we believe you’re looking at a minimum of $700 and a maximum of $1000 for all the other goods.

What Can You Get for A Little Extra

By a little extra in this domain, we’ll guess that you’re talking about $200 -$300. We can divide this one into two categories – investing a little extra into gear and investing a little extra into the instrument itself.

If you are to invest this money into the bass, one of the options is to extend the range of an instrument that piqued your attention and get a five- or six-string version, if available of course. This way, you can extend the sonic reach and possibilities of your favorite, but still retain the original sound you’re after.

As for the gear, we recommend putting all that bonus into an amp. $300 is a big difference for amplifiers and can mean a lot. It can mark a difference between an average and a killer amp, and putting all the money on one factor is hardly a mistake in our book.

What If You Want To Spend Less

If you want to spend less money, we wholeheartedly recommend diving into the realm of Basses Under $500. In this price range, you can still buy top quality basses – although they are kinda few and far in between, they are out there.

If you don’t dive too low and stick to around $500 basses, we guarantee that you can you might be able to find some that are pretty close to the bunch listed here. Of course, you can’t find a perfect match for anyone’s taste, but a portion of you folks will be pretty pleased with some of the underdog choices we have.

What we’d like to point out is that you should NOT make budget cuts on amplifiers. You need that power and you don’t want to mess up your entire sonic attack by getting a low-power amp that can’t cover your needs during live shows.

Other Things to Consider

To sum up the tips section, we’d like to draw your attention towards two big factors:

  1. Patience and thorough examination: As noted, chances are that you’ll be stuck with the bass you buy in this price range for quite a while, so you better be sure that you brought the right decision. By this point you should have a developed sense of the type of sound you like, so don’t allow your friends, bandmates or god forbid music store workers to shape your taste. Take your time, look around, read reviews, test things out if possible, and make that purchase with 100 percent certainty.
  2. Gear costs as much as the instrument: If you think that you’ll get to the pro stage with just a good bass, you’re wrong. If you want to lock in a sound of your own, you can’t rely on other people’s amps anymore. You’ll need your own amp for gigs, something you’ll experiment on and get accustomed to. Only then will you truly craft that signature tone we all yearn for.

New Bass Or Used Bass?

At this price range, anything goes really. We are never that much for buying used instruments because you never know what you really get and there are no guarantees and warranties, but we also can’t deny that you can score a good deal on the second-hand market. If you are diving into used instruments, make sure to do your research at home and prepare to thoroughly inspect the instrument. Remember, that guy is looking to sell something, not to tell you what’s wrong with the bass. If you can bring along someone you consider a pro, by all means do it, as two heads are better than one.

Conclusion

Thus, in a nutshell, it is our humble opinion that the instruments listed here are worthy contestants for the flattering title of the best bass guitar under $1000. They all pack a heck of a punch for the listed price and they all have a killer value for money. Now we think it’s just a matter of you jotting down your personal needs and preferences and finding that perfect model that suits you the best. If you want to keep your eyes opened to best deals and latest discounts in the world of guitars, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter, we promise to send you nothing but the juicy goods. Feel free to browse around, that perfect bass is bound to be around here somewhere.

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