Getting the best budget bass guitar as a beginner can be a bit tricky, especially since you probably aren’t that familiar with the instrument.
That’s why, to help you out, in this buying guide we’ll review some of the best budget bass guitars for beginners and will dig deeper into the essence of the bass. That way, you’ll know what details to pay attention to the most to choose the best bass for you.
And before we begin, I just want to say that bass guitars are cool and fundamental part of music. Without a bass guitar music loses its soul and rhythm, and what’s the point of music with these two vital elements absent? Pardon me for the little rant, just had to let it go.
Now let’s dive into the best budget bass guitar reviews.
10 Best Budget Bass Guitars for Beginners
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*Note: Dimensions are Length – Width – Height (L x W x H)
10 Best Budget Bass Guitars Reviews
Dimensions: 51 x 15 x 4 inches
Item Weight: 13.02 pounds
The first budget bass guitar for beginners we’ll review is a Squier bass from the Fender affinity series. This is a standard 34-inch 4 string electric bass guitar with a slick design for easy playing and added comfort.
The body of the Squier precision electric bass guitar is made of poplar wood while the back and sides are basswood. The maple neck is slim and C-shaped which makes it suitable for beginners.
Furthermore, it also features vintage-style, open-gear tuning machines that will ensure accurate and smooth tuning. You also don’t have to worry about string stability since the 4-saddle bridge will take care of it.
When it comes to the pickup, the Squier has a PJ configuration that adds to its tonal versatility. The neck pickup is a split-coil P Bass while the bridge pickup is a single-coil J Bass.
The guitar bridge system is a hardtail and the bass also features a 3-ply pickguard that gives it an authentic look.
- PJ pickup configuration for added playing versatility
- Slim and C-shaped neck for easy and comfortable playing
- 3-Ply pickguards add authenticity
- 4 alloy steel strings with a quality saddle bridge to keep them stable
- Not ambidextrous, only for right-handed players
Dimensions: 40 x 3 x 12 inches
Item Weight: 9 pounds
Color: Transparent Red
Next in line, we have a budget bass guitar for beginners by the Japanese manufacturer Ibanez. The bass in question is the 4 string Ibanez GSR200TR.
This is a standard size electric bass guitar with a solid body made of Agathis wood. The back and sides are made of oak wood while the top has a nice alder finish.
But the best thing about it is the one-piece maple neck that gives the bass a nice and warm sound. It also features a rosewood fretboard with 22 medium frets and a pearl dot inlay.
The pickup combination is a PJ one with a P split-coil pickup at the neck and a J single-coil bridge pickup. Moreover, there’s the B10 bridge that ensures solid tuning stability and fully adjustable intonation.
The Ibanez GSR200TR comes at a reasonable price and is a superb choice as your first bass guitar due to the features it has to offer, and the ergonomic design that makes it easy to play.
- Active EQ with Phat II bass boost chrome hardware
- Fully adjustable bridge medium frets
- One-piece maple neck and Agathis body
- B10 bridge for added adjustability and tuning stability
- The construction quality of some parts isn’t the finest
Dimensions: 46 x 13 x 2 inches
Item Weight: 9.75 pounds
Color: Surf Green
Our next challenger for the best budget bass guitar for beginners title is an electric bass by Sawtooth. This is a lesser-known manufacturer based in California, US where they assemble the instruments according to the highest standards.
The Sawtooth EP series features highly versatile electric bass guitars that combine the modern and vintage style of the bass which results in a sleek design with great sound.
This particular model is characterized by its basswood body and surf green finish. The neck and fretboard are made of maple wood which gives it a warm and balanced sound when combined with the basswood body. It also has a dot inlay and 20 medium frets to give you more space when playing.
The bridge is top loaded and adjustable, so you won’t need to do through-body string mounting. And when it comes to the pickups, the Sawtooth bass guitar features P-style ceramic split pickups. The ceramic pickup guarantees clarity and articulation.
- Ambidextrous – comes in both left and right-handed configurations
- Maple neck and fretboard
- P style ceramic split pickups
- Top loaded adjustable solid-body bridge
- Some parts of the bass guitar are cheaply made
Dimensions: 8.82 pounds
Item Weight: 47.83 x 17.91 x 3.74 inches
Color: Translucent Black
The fourth budget bass guitar review is reserved for Yamaha. This is a model from the Japanese manufacturer’s TRBX bass guitar series. This series features a number of unique bass guitars with an advanced design combined with the finest craftsmanship and precise engineering.
The model we’ll be looking at is the translucent black Yamaha TRBX174EW bass guitar.
This electric bass guitar has a mahogany solid body that’s adorned by an exotic mango top with high playability. The neck of the bass is made of maple wood while the fretboard is Indian rosewood. The fretboard also features white dots inlay and 24 frets.
Furthermore, the Yamaha TRBX174EW has a PJ-style ceramic pickup configuration. It has a ceramic split single-coil pickup at the neck and a ceramic single-coil bridge pickup.
What makes this model stand out from the rest of the TRBX bass guitars, however, is the breakthrough affordable price while maintaining the distinctive Yamaha quality. It also has a matching headstock, unlike the other basses.
- Great-sounding & easy to play bass guitar for beginners
- PJ style ceramic pickup configuration
- Exotic mango top adorns the mahogany body
- Alloy strings and vintage-style bridge
- Only right-hand configuration models available
Dimensions: 51 x 4 x 15 inches
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Color: Brown Sunburst
Halfway through this guide for the best budget bass guitar for beginners, we have another Squier by Fender. Just like the first bass guitar review on the list, this one is also part of the Fender affinity series.
This Squier jazz bass is 2 pounds lighter compared to its fellow Fender compatriot although it features the same poplar wood body. However, in this case, the back and sides are also made of poplar and not basswood.
The C-shaped, bolt-on neck is made of maple and is adorned by a pleasant satin finish. While the fretboard on the other hand is made of Indian laurel – a premium fingerboard wood and the frets are medium-jumbo sized.
This jazz bass guitar also features a 4-saddle bridge to warrant you string stability, and open-gear tuning machines for accurate and smooth tuning.
The pickup configuration of this Squier electric bass guitar is single-coil (SS). This gives the instrument a vintage sound with a wide variety of tones.
- Maple wood C-shape neck with satin finish
- Fretboard made of premium Indian laurel wood
- Guaranteed string stability and accurate tuning
- Lower quality volume control knobs
Dimensions: 47 x 19.5 x 5.25 inches
Item Weight: 10 pounds
When it comes to great value for money, the Gretsch budget bass guitar for beginners might as well be the answer for you.
The back, sides, and body of the Gretsch G2220 are made of basswood which makes the bass lightweight. The basswood is embellished with a nice gloss finish.
Moreover, it features a maple neck with a gloss finish and the nut is made of synthetic bone. The fretboard, on the other hand, is made of black walnut and it features 20 medium-sized jumbo frets with pearloid dot inlay.
When it comes to pickups, the Gretsch G2220 has a mini dual-coil humbucker pickup configuration at both the bridge and neck.
This electric bass guitar also has an adjustable 4-saddle bridge to keep the strings steady, and die-cast tuners for accurate tuning and stable tone.
However, what differs the G2220 from the previous bass guitars we reviewed is the shorter scale (30″). The shorter scale makes it perfect for junior players, and adults of smaller physical stature, but it doesn’t exclude adults of bigger stature as well.
- Mini dual-coil humbucker pickups give the bass a deep and powerful sound
- Great value for money bass
- Shorter scale makes it easier to play for beginners
- No left-handed models
- Basswood is a softer type of wood, so be careful to not dent the bass
Dimensions: 40 x 3 x 12 inches
Item Weight: 9 pounds
Color: Walnut Flat
The second challenger by Ibanez on this guide for the best budget bass guitars is the GSR200BWNF model. This model is part of the Ibanez GIO series that offers affordable but quality beginner-friendly bass guitars.
The Ibanez GSR200BWNF has a standard 34-inches scale length and it weighs only 9 pounds. It also comes with the same warranty and set-up as some of the most expensive Ibanez guitars.
Furthermore, the body of this electric bass guitar alongside its back and sides is made of mahogany wood with a satin finish to embellish it. The GSR4 shaped neck is made of maple wood and it features plastic nut. While the fretboard is made of rosewood and it features 22 medium-sized frets with a white dots inlay.
If you wonder about the pickup configuration, the Ibanez GSR200BWNF has Dynamix PJ alignment. Meaning, it has a split single-coil neck pickup and single-coil bridge pickup.
It also features a Phat II EQ circuit which gives the guitar an active bass boost, and a B10 bridge for better sustain.
- Lightweight bass guitar with a slim neck for comfortable playing
- Phat II EQ circuit for active boost and B10 bridge for great sustain
- PJ pickup configuration gives the bass a nice tone
- Beginners might have trouble tuning and setting it up
Dimensions: 49 x 27 x 11.5 inches
Item Weight: 10.18 pounds
Color: Black & White
The Goplus electric bass guitar comes with a full accessories kit for beginners. Besides the bass, it includes a shoulder strap, guitar pick, amp cord, and a gig back. You can immediately start playing it.
This budget bass guitar has a wood solid body which gives the instrument solidity and durability for years to come. The body is complemented by the back and sides made of paulownia wood and a chrome diecast top material, while the high-gloss, diamond finish makes the bass smoother and shinier.
The Goplus bass guitar also features a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard for better wear resistance and stretchability.
Furthermore, this electric bass guitar for beginners has a 4-saddle fixed bridge that guarantees you stable strings for increased sustain and precise intonation. While with the volume knobs you can control the output volume, pickup tone, and you can also connect the output cord.
The pickup configuration is a split single-coil one that adds to the guitar’s playing versatility. You can play anything from rock and roll to blues with it.
- Made to last with a durable wooden body
- Four-saddle bridge for ensured tuning stability and precise intonation
- Rosewood fretboard and maple neck make it smooth and wear-resistant
- Doesn’t have the best pickup configuration
Dimensions: 49.13 x 16.3 x 4.72 inches
Item Weight: 13.24 pounds
The Donner DPB-510S is another cheap bass guitar for beginners that offers great value for money. It comes with a full accessories kit so you can instantly start playing it upon arrival. The full kit includes a gig bag, shoulder strap, and guitar cables.
This bass guitar has a unique design with a solid basswood body and poplar back, sides, and top. The C-shaped neck is made of Canadian maple wood while the fretboard is made of perilla. This combination gives the bass a smooth feel, added comfort, and playing versatility.
The Donner DPB-510S bass guitar also features two volume knobs and open-gear chrome tuning keys to ensure you stable and easy tuning. While the 4-saddle fixed bridge will keep the strings intact. Also, each string can be independently adjusted to your liking.
And when it comes to the pickup, the DPB-510S has a standard pickup configuration adapted for playing bass. This gives you a wide variety of tones to play with.
- Ergonomic design for comfortable and easy playing
- Quality Canadian maple wood gives the bass sturdiness and durability
- Open-gear tuning machines and 4-saddle bridge for enhanced tuning stability
- The heaviest bass guitar for beginners on our list
Dimensions: 46.2 x 12.6 x 2.75 inches
Item Weight: 6.71 pounds
Our last budget bass guitar review is reserved for the ultra-lightweight 4-string bass by Glarry. Similar to the Donner & Goplus, this one also comes in a full package that includes a shoulder strap, pick, amp cord, a portable guitar bag.
This Glarry electric bass guitar comes with a high-quality basswood body, back, and sides. The neck is also made of basswood, but the fretboard is rosewood and it has 20 frets that provide an excellent fret-hand feel while playing.
Adjusting the height and octave of the bass is no issue as well since it has a great four-saddle fixed bridge. The same goes for the tuning stability where the tuning pegs do their job fantastically.
Furthermore, the Glarry bass guitar features a standard split single-coil pickup configuration that allows you to play various music styles. It also has two volume knobs for added control over the bass guitar’s tone.
- Great tuning stability
- Four-saddle bridge allows easy adjustments
- Standard split single-coil pickup configuration ensures a playing variety
- The neck is wider and a bit rough to play
Buying Guide – Bass Guitar for Beginners
While the bass guitar is not a lead instrument, its influence and contribution to music are immeasurable. Even as second fiddle, the bass guitar possesses the power to make a song iconic and unforgettable.
When you think of ‘Under Pressure” by Queen, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Exactly, John Deacon’s bassline. Same with the bassline on Pink Floyd‘s ‘Money’, The Beatles – ‘Come Together’, Rush – ‘YYZ’, and so on, you get the point.
And as a beginner who wants to learn how to play bass guitar, you’ve made the correct choice. But let’s not dwell on it and move on to the essential things you need to know when buying a bass guitar.
What You Need to Know About Bass Guitars
Similar to other musical instruments, the bass guitar has its unique features and characteristics that separate it from the rest. It also comes in various shapes and sizes which you’ll have to bear in mind since your physical stature decides the type and proportions of the bass guitar you would be the most comfortable with.
We’ll start with the bass guitar anatomy and then will continue by going through some of the details you need to pay attention to the most as a beginner.
Bass Guitar Construction
The bass guitar features a dozen body parts, and all of them play a role in the build, sound, and tone quality of the instrument.
We can dissect the bass guitar in three main sections – body, neck, and headstock. Each section consists of multiple parts that when combined construct the bass.
The body is the largest part of the bass guitar and it influences the tone of the instrument. The reason for that hides in the different types of tonewood used to build the body, but more on that later in the guide.
Besides the material of which it was built, the bass guitar body comes in various shapes and sizes, and it features different types of finishes depending on the manufacturer.
The body section includes the pickguard, bridge, control knobs, pickup, strap button, string saddles, and output jack.
The neck of a bass guitar can be mainly found in three styles – U, V, and C shape. Each of these neck shapes has its pros and cons. Some guitars have thinner necks which are easier to play for beginners, while others have a thicker neck that’s more suitable for adults with larger hands and experienced players.
The neck section includes the nut, fretboard, frets, and fret markers.
The headstock is located at the top of the guitar and it serves to tighten or loosen the strings to tune the bass. You can do so by using the tuning pegs located on the machine head. Most bass guitars have either four tuning pegs on one side or two pegs on each.
Bass Guitar Size
The size of a bass guitar depends on multiple factors, the key ones being the type of bass and who is it aimed for. By the latter, I mean whether the bass is intended for adults or kids.
What you want to look for when buying a bass guitar is the scale length. The scale length tells us the distance between the bridge and the nut i.e. the part of the guitar you interact the most with.
The most common scale length for a bass guitar is 34″. However, bass guitars can range between 30″ and 36-inches in size.
- Short Scale Length Bass Guitar – 30″ to 32″
- Medium Scale Length Bass Guitar – 32″ to 34″
- Long Scale Length Bass Guitar – 34″ to 36″
- Very Long Scale Length Bass Guitar – 36″ and above
Acoustic vs Electric Bass Guitar
Bass guitars can be separated into two main categories – acoustic and electric.
Electric bass guitars are the more popular type and are widely used in the music industry. They are also easier to play, offer better control over the guitar’s sound, are more versatile and louder. However, electric bass guitars are more expensive and require accessories to extract their full potential.
Acoustic bass guitars are similar to the normal acoustic guitar and feature a hollow body. They are cheaper and don’t require electricity or an amplifier to play them. However, acoustic bass guitars produce weaker sound and feature a thicker neck which makes them harder to play.
Bass Guitar – Number of Strings
Unlike the acoustic and electric guitars who normally feature six strings, the number of strings on a bass guitar ranges from four to six strings depending on the type and its purpose.
- 4 Strings Bass Guitar – The most common and best bass guitars for beginners
- 5 Strings Bass Guitar – Common but for more advanced players
- 6 Strings Bass Guitar – Challenging to play, only for the most experienced
Bass Guitar Tonewoods
The material of which the bass guitar was built can tell us a lot about the instrument’s characteristics, build, and sound quality.
Why? Because not every wood is the same. Different types of wood produce a different sound, have a higher or lower density which leads to some bass guitars weighing more/less, and it even affects the longevity of the instrument.
However, as a beginner, you don’t have to worry about the different bass guitar tonewoods. The bass guitars reviewed on this guide are of similar quality and all you need to do is to choose the right one for you. The difference is more noticeable among more advanced bass guitars.
Most budget bass guitars for beginners you’ll encounter will feature these tonewoods:
Bass Guitar Pickups
Apart from the body of the bass, the other part that plays a major role in defining the guitar’s tone is the pickup.
The pickups are located below the strings and can be easily recognized due to their rectangular shape with magnetic metal circles on top. Depending on their location on the body, pickups produce a different sound. For example, the pickup located near the bridge and the pickup near the neck don’t produce the same sound.
Based on their operating mechanism, we differ two types of bass guitar pickups – active or passive. Active pickups are powered by a battery and offer better control over the tone. But batteries don’t last forever, so make sure you always have spares in hand.
With passive pickups, however, you don’t have to worry about batteries, but they do use larger magnets and pick up more interference.
Both passive and active pickups on a bass guitar in most cases are either single-coil or double coil (humbucker), but you can often see split-coil pickups as well.
Bass Guitar Accessories
To experience the bass guitar in its full glory, you will need a few accessories to extract its potential.
- Spare Strings
While it’s not a vital part of the bass guitar playing experience, you also need a gig bag to protect the bass when not using it, or during transportation.
Last but not least is, of course, the budget. We all can dream about that beautiful $2,000 bass guitar, but at the end of the day, we also have to be realistic.
Setting your budget straight before buying a bass guitar is a must. With a set budget, you’ll know which guitars to filter and to only look for the ones within your range, without further distractions.
And thankfully, you can find excellent budget bass guitars under $300 for beginners that will serve as a great stepping stone. As we can see from the bass guitar reviews, there are dozens of quality cheap bass guitars for beginners.
As we can see, buying a bass guitar isn’t that complicated. However, as a beginner there are some things you need to know beforehand, so you won’t feel lost when looking at the product’s description and characteristics.
That’s why in this guide for the best budget bass guitar we made sure to include all of the essential details you need to know about the bass.
Hopefully, the information provided in this guide and the bass guitar reviews helped you out to pick the right one for you.
Read Next: Best Electric Guitars for Beginners