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Top 10 Beginner Bass Guitars
What bass guitar is best for beginners?
There is no one bass guitar that is absolutely the best for beginners, I shall here be listing a number of very good options to consider however and hopefully you'll here discover the bass guitar that's best for you, or if the bass isn't for you specifically but is being bought for someone else as a gift, then hopefully this page will help you choose the perfect bass to give someone as a present for Christmas.
Fender's Squier range is great for getting started on when it comes to learning to play the bass, as I'm about to show you here however, whilst it's a great option, it's certainly not the only option and there are plenty of other companies out there producing bass guitars that are absolutely brilliant for getting started on!
*The bass guitars in the picture on the left are actually a pair of Mark Hoppus Fender bass guitars that I own. They're more expensive than the 10 bass guitars that I've listed here, if you love Blink 182 however then these would also most definitely make an absolutely awesome beginner bass for you.*
Need an amp?
If you're buying your first bass guitar then the chances are that as well as the bass guitar itself (of which you'll find 10 great options below), you'll also need an amp.
You can play the bass without any form of amplification, it will of course sound a lot better through an amp however and will make it a lot easier to play along to your favorite songs if you can actually hear what your bass playing sounds like. Also, it's a great tool for hearing where you're improving with your playing and where you're going wrong.
Personally, I absolutely love Ampeg amps, and you can get a great beginner amp from Ampeg for under $100, which makes this an absolutely brilliant amp to start out with. Obviously you're not going to be filling arenas with the sound of the Ampeg BA108, for a beginner amp for the bedroom though then this is a great place to start!
There are of course numerous other amps that you can start out on, the Ampeg BA108 is the amp that I'd personally recommend investing in as a first bass amp, however, and you'll be able to see from the reviews on Amazon that this really is a brilliant little starter amp!
Dean Custom Zone Bass
The Dean Custom Zone bass is a bass guitar that first caught my eye on the basis of its incredible finish. Green has always been my favourite colour, and so when I saw a bass as green as this one it was always going to get a massive thumbs up from me. Not only does this bass look great though, but it also plays great (as you'll be able to see for yourself from the video below).
Dean is perhaps not a name that everyone will be familiar with, they actually make some really impressive products however, and the Custom Zone bass that they produce is definitely one of them. Not just available in fluorescent green, the bass is also available in fluorescent pink, and whatever finish you decide to buy this bass guitar in, it will certainly be a bass guitar that will catch the eye. Combine this bass guitar with DR Neon strings and it'll be even more of an eye catcher, and given that DR Neon make the strings in both pink and green, either way you'll be able to have strings that match this bass guitar's superb finish, and in my opinion it absolutely completes the look.
Not just a great bass guitar for beginners, this would actually be a superb bass for anyone; it looks great, sounds great, and the Dean Custom Zone bass would certainly be a bass guitar that any owner or collector would be proud of. This bass guitar would look brilliant in any guitar rack, superb on any stand, and for anyone looking to start playing the bass guitar, the Custom Zone bass from Dean is most definitely a very attractive option.
The Police - Message in a Bottle Bass Cover
A bass cover of The Police track 'Message in a Bottle', played on a Dean Custom Zone bass.
Squier Jaguar Bass
The short scale neck of this bass makes it the perfect option for guitarists that are also looking to take up the bass. Not only is it a great bass for guitarists to get started on, but it's also a very strong sounding bass and produces a sound that very much belies its low price tag. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a great sounding bass, and this Squier Jaguar is certainly a bass guitar that proves that.
Personally I think the bass look absolutely beautiful in silver and do in fact have a silver short scale Squier bass myself (although mine is actually a Mustang rather than a Jaguar; a more expensive option, but one that i would nonetheless also highly recommend). If the silver finish isn't for you, however, then this Squier Jaguar bass is also available in a gorgeous Cherry Apple Red finish, as well as in a brilliant black finish.
Squier is a Fender brand, and whilst it may be true in some cases that the sound just isn't quite the same as what you'd get with a Fender, with the Squier Jaguar Special you can rest assured that you're buying a bass guitar that really does sound like the real deal.
Don't believe me? Check out the video below to hear just how brilliant this bass truly sounds.
Squier Jaguar Bass in Action
Squier Precision Bass
Continuing down the Squier line, the Squier Precision Bass is perhaps the definitive bass guitar that people would think of when they hear the words 'beginner bass'. It has that classic Fender look that so many of us know and love, and it also comes with a price tag that makes this bass a really very attractive proposition.
If you're wanting a full scale bass and are looking to play any form of rock music then this is definitely a great bass to be looking towards as a beginner. Alternatively however, if you've got more of a jazz influence then the Squier Jazz Bass is another very good bass to consider.
As a beginner, the main difference you need to be aware of between the Squier Precision Bass and the Squier Jazz Bass is in the neck profile. The Jazz Bass has a thinner neck than the Precision Bass, so in terms of what bass neck is best for you it all really comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the thinner Jazz neck, others prefer the chunkier Precision neck, and some people don't really have a preference either way. If you're just starting out then it certainly can't do any harm to test out both and see which neck you prefer, either of these basses should certainly serve your needs as a beginner bassist however and Squier as a brand has a proven track record for introducing people to the bass guitar and electric guitar also for that matter.
Below you'll find a video which demonstrates what a great tone you're able to achieve with a Squier Precision Bass.
Squier Jazz Bass
Squier Precision Bass Video Demonstration
A very nice video demonstrating the sort of sound that the Squier Affinity Precision Bass is capable of producing.
If you like the look and style of the Fender/Squier Precision Bass, then there's every chance that you'd be very happy with an SX bass guitar. $60 less than the Squier for the base level instrument, the SX Bass truly is a fantastic product, particularly for its price, and beginners and more experienced players alike would certainly be very happy with an SX Bass.
The great thing I've read about this bass is how brilliant it is as a project bass. It'll serve you well as a beginner bass when you get started, as you look to progress and improve your bass guitar though, with the money that you save by buying this bass as opposed to say a Squier Precision Bass or a Jazz Bass, you'll therefore have extra money in your pocket for splashing out on upgrades in the future as and when you see fit. Whether that's new pickups, a new bridge, or whatever it is; the outlay is so little here that you can start thinking about things like this in the future without having to worry about your overall outlay piling up and up and up. $109 really is nothing for a bass guitar, and not only does it sound great and would provide a fantastic platform to learn bass on, but it'd also provide you with absolutely brilliant upgrade potential for the future also.
I absolutely love the sunburst finish that this bass comes in, and you also get a couple of neck options too. If the sunburst option isn't for you though then for a bit more money you can also get an SX Bass in natural finish which comes with a gorgeous black pickguard. Alternatively SX also produces several short scale bass guitars if a short scale bass is more along the lines of what you're looking for from your beginner bass. The choice is yours really, whichever bass you get though, with the SX Bass you'll have a beginner bass guitar which also has the potential to serve your bass playing needs for many years to come.
Ibanez GSR200 Bass
The Ibanez GSR200 is another absolutely fantastic bass guitar to consider as a beginner. This bass also has a rather low price point, and if you go searching on eBay (and don't mind picking the bass up second hand) then you can pick up an even bigger bargain with this one.
I don't personally own the GSR200, I do own an Ibanez SR300 however which is the next bass up in Ibanez's range and have been really very happy with what that bass is capable of, and having watched videos of the GSR200 also, I'd say that the GSR200 is equally as capable of producing an absolutely fantastic tone.
Before buying my Ibanez SR300, I was pretty much a Fender/Squier fanboy and had never really considered any other bass guitar options, since picking up my SR300 I've been very glad that I branched out however and not only does the bass come in a number of absolutely gorgeous finishes, but it also has a great sound and plays beautifully also.
Below you can find a video demonstrating the sort of high quality sound that you can expect to get out of the Ibanez GSR200.
Ibanez GSR200 in Action
A video demonstrating the fantastic sound that the Ibanez GSR200 is capable of producing. This particular video shows someone using this bass to cover a Mike Dirnt (Green Day) bass line.
Epiphone EB-0 Bass
Just like the Squier Jaguar that I have also included here, the Epiphone EB-0 is another bass guitar to feature a shorter scale neck which is particularly good for those transferring from guitar to bass, but also in truth a very good bass guitar for anyone to pick up and play regardless of your musical background/history with instruments.
If you love Gibson guitars/bass guitars then the Epiphone EB-0 is definitely a definitely a great bass guitar to consider. Just as with a Squier you get that classic Fender look on a budget, with Epiphone you get the Gibson form factor at a fraction of the price. Not only does the EB-0 have the form factor of a classic Gibson bass, however, but it also plays like an absolute dream too.
If you'd prefer a 34" scale bass to a short scale then Epiphone also produce an EB-3 bass; buying new, however, this will set you back a further $100 more than the EB-0 will. There is of course the option of checking eBay for a good deal, and on eBay if you're lucky you may just be able to discover a full 34" scale Epiphone bass guitar at an absolute bargain price.
Check out the video below in order to check out the EB-0 in action and hear what a truly brilliant bas guitar it really is.
BC Rich Warlock Bass
For those that love their metal, the BC Rich Warlock may just be the perfect bass model to start out with. It has a very metal appearance about it, and it plays well too.
This Warlock bass is far from your standard looking starter bass, and for some this may well be a massive selling point. If you're a big fan of metal then you may well be looking for a bass guitar that reflects your passion for the music, and the BC Rich Warlock bass is certainly a bass guitar very capable of doing that. Alternatively, even if you're not a big fan of metal, you may still be looking for a bass guitar that breaks the mould of what a starter bass should look like, and this jagged edged bass may just fit the bill for you.
The black finish of this bass looks absolutely beautiful, there's something really very appealing about the BC Rich Warlock, and whilst I've never been a huge fan of metal, I have always found metal guitars appealing (the first guitar I ever bought in fact was a Flying V!)
If you're worried that this bass may be a little restrictive, don't be! Whilst BC Rich may perhaps be marketed more towards the metal guitarist, BC Rich guitars are capable of producing a wide variety of tones and the BC Rich Warlock bass guitar would be perfect for playing all kinds of basslines. In case you don't believe me I've included a video below demonstrating that the BC Rich Warlock bass is indeed a really very versatile instrument.
BC Rich Warlock Used in Blues Performance
ESP LTD B-50/B-50FM
The ESP LTD B-50 is another great bass guitar for beginners; the price is good, the sound is great, and if you start playing on one of these then you'll definitely be very happy with your purchase.
The ESP LTD B-50 is available in black as both a right-handed and left-handed model, and also in a flame maple finish in Red Sunburst, Blue Sunburst, and Dark Brown Sunburst. If black bass guitars are your thing then the ESP LTD B-50 certainly looks very smart, to my eye the ESP LTD B-50FM looks absolutely incredible however and I'd be extremely proud to own this bass guitar in any of its 3 finishes.
I don't personally own any ESP bass guitars, I know a number of people that have nothing but good things to say about ESP as a brand however, and from the reviews that I've read and the videos that I've seen of the ESP LTD B-50 in action, this really is an extremely high quality bass that is not only worth its price, but also sounds like it's worth a lot more!
Hoobastank - The Reason Bass Cover
A video of the ESP LTD B-50 in action for a cover of Hoobastank's 'The Reason'.
Peavey Millennium 4
Another extremely high quality bass to start out on is the Peavey Millennium 4. The Peavey Millennium 4 comes in a number of finishes including Metallic Purple, Metallic Red, Sunburst, and TransBlack, and with a number of other finishes to choose from as well, you can guarantee that this bass will be available in the perfect finish for you. Looks aren't everything though, right? Well, no, but when you're just starting out it certainly helps to have a bass that you want to pick up and start playing, and in such a great variety of options this bass should surely be one with a finish that will appeal to all.
How does the bass sound though? The answer to that would have to be 'absolutely brilliant'! The bass features two straight single coil pickups, and you can really can get an absolutely beautiful tone out of this bass. Whatever style of music you're looking to play, the Peavey Millennium 4 is another bass that you'll no doubt be very happy with, and if you do decide that this is the beginner bass for you then I'm sure you won't regret that decision once you get your hands on it for the first time!
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit Bass Cover
A cover of the Nirvana track 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', performed on a Peavey Millennium 4 bass. This should give you some sort of idea about what sort of tone this bass is capable of achieving. This short funky jam should also demonstrate to you just how beautiful this bass can truly sound.