Best Beginner Bass Guitars

The Best Bass Guitars for Beginners

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How to choose the best beginner electric bass to keep the budding bassist in the groove without busting your budget

The bass guitar, the long-necked brontosaurus of stringed instruments, produces a sound that has become iconic in modern music since its rise to popularity in the 1950s. The warm, propulsive sounds that plucking, slapping, popping, tapping, or thumping these smooth-talking instruments generate anchors the rhythm of most pop music.

Bass guitars come in many different types and styles, but most have between four and six strings, the most popular being the four-string variety. For beginners their availability, price, and relatively easier learning curve makes the four-string bass the preferred choice.

If you want to drill down and learn the nuts and bolts behind the instrument before choosing an electric bass, you can check out our expert Bass Guitar Buying Guide. But in this quick-start guide, we are going to stick to the basics then dive right in and look at some great starter basses.

Economy and Playability

Aim to strike a balance between quality and economy. Price is important, but an instrument with poor sound quality and playability can frustrate you to the point of feeling discouraged. The Dean Edge 09 4-String Electric Bass Guitar, is a great choice for keeping the wannabe bassist motivated with solid sound and playability. Not only one of the most affordable basses we stock, it's also one of the most highly rated. The Edge's maple neck has a fast, sleek profile that’s easy to play. A unique Dean-design neck joint and heel along with an asymmetrical 4-bolt pattern give you unhindered movement all the way up the 22-fret neck. It may not have the frills of a higher priced bass, but it beats the pants off many other instruments in its class.

Dean Edge 09 Electric Bass Guitar

An Affordable Bass

Price may narrow your options, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. The Rogue LX200B Series III Electric Bass Guitar is an affordable choice for a first bass. It features a maple neck, rosewood fretboard, covered traditional-style split and single-coil pickups, 2 volume and 2 tone controls, and die-cast machine heads. It's well built for its bargain price, and includes a 2-year warranty.

Rogue LX200B Series 3 Electric Bass Guitar

The Short-Scale Bass Guitar

Two common characteristics among beginner bassists are that they are often young, and they are always lugging their bass from home to lessons and occasional jam session with friends. It doesn't take a logistical whiz to see what sort of issues a teen would have hauling around a 34"-scale instrument—fortunately Ibanez has a solution in the form of their GSRM20 Mikro Short-Scale Bass Guitar. Beside portability, the shorter 28.60” scale is easier to handle for folks with a shorter fingers. Don't let its size fool you though, this top-rated little guy packs a big sound. It is also available in a variety of different colors, so there are plenty of great options to pick from.

Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Electric Bass Guitar

When It's About "The Look"

If you’re looking for a heavy rock or metal-friendly starter instrument, the Dean ML Metalman 4-String Bass Guitar has your name all over it. It has a single massive Dean humbucker mounted next to the bridge to give it that trademark edgy, growly tone.

Dean ML Metalman Electric Bass Guitar

Play a Classic - Precision Bass

The Fender Precision Bass was the first mass-produced electric bass guitar, and nearly seven decades later it’s still among the most popular basses ever. You’ll find the “P-Bass” being played in just about any musical genre you can imagine. Its tight, focused low-frequency response has made it a go-to instrument in pop, rock, blues, reggae and many more musical neighborhoods. Built by Fender’s budget-friendly Squier division, the Classic Vibe ‘50s Precision Bass shares much of the playability and sound of its more costly Fender cousins. Armed with a classic single-coil pickup and massive bridge, it generates the classic, fat P-Bass tone that has propelled countless hit recordings.

Squier Classic Vibe P Bass

Learn much more with our Electric Bass Buying Guide that delves into all the details.

Still need help?

If after reading this guide you’d still like some guidance in choosing the best beginner-level bass guitar, call one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gear Heads at 877-880-5907. We will make sure you find the right instrument for your groove.


# KDV 2017-01-17 16:14
...[blocked]ot to mention (please see my other post right before this)...

SOUND: quality of sound really matters to me, too. I don't expect "great" sound. I can upgrade later, as I mentioned, if I stick with it. But I'd rather pay an extra $100 (very roughly), or even more, to get a better sounding, easy to play instrument.

Thx again!
# Jaron 2016-10-25 20:20
I am a guitarist who loves to play bass as well but i do not own a bass. I am looking for a decent affordable bass to start out with. Any reccomendations?
# james horne 2016-10-15 12:19
I am a drummer that wants to learn how to play bass. Does any1 have any suggestions on what type 4 5 or 6 string? just something to jam with in a small room
# Brian Redden 2016-09-24 08:57
I want relearn how play
# Brian Redden 2016-09-24 08:57
I have play in 20 years and now I want get back play again I [blocked]ot most the thing I have learn come up
# Janet 2016-07-18 16:33

I'm a 50 years old newbie :)

I'm fond of Mark Sandman & Morphine.
I listen a lot of old blues, americana and Denver sound bands, and Cure and new wave standards.
I'm looking for a deep sound and a melodic style of playing.
I use to play flutes : classical and irish transverse flute, quena... A thing with strings is quite new to me :)
Would you give me your advice about buying my first bass ? What brand ? what model ?
Many thanks from France
# Devin melton 2016-06-27 02:01
# Devin melton 2016-06-27 01:59
I have a Cort I'm very impressed by the way it sounds while playing it it is a very pretty guiter.I would recommend it for beginners and medians.its not the best guiter out there but it is definitely a good guiter and you will get your money worth
# Erik 2016-03-18 00:00
I love that Squier but they want waaaaaay too much for it here. 60,000 php which is about $1200 usd, and I can literally [blocked]et about buying and having it imported, because the import and shipping fees will make it more expensive. I'll stick with the Fernando unique series, don't sound quite as good as a fender, but still does the job.
# Manisj 2015-09-06 20:12
While all of you have mentioned their choices, I too would like to add that the SUB Ray 4 is a monstrous of a bass. This bass is very good for biginners and not to mention is equally very good for experts too
# Clark 2014-10-25 21:20
Squier. No question. Bought it when I was a singer and woodwind player, not sure if I'd commit to a bass. Now I have been playing bass guitar and upright for four years, multiple styles, and use this instrument every week. I bought an expensive Fender, but sent it back because it really had no advantage over the Squier. Pairing it now with an Ampeg amp (cost three times as much as the bass itself), and have never had a complaint.
# Russell Berry 2014-10-25 12:46
I need to learn bass. Needs be compact. I need to store it safely on the truck while I drive. I need to have powerful headphones to bring the amplified sound to me without disturbing my teammate driver while I practice. I need this sooner Not later. I also need to have the BEST beginner book and CD for teaching a 62yo to play bass.
# Brooks Wilkins 2014-10-25 14:05
The Steinberger spirit bass is very portable but cost around $400. The Yamaha RBX 170 only cost around $179 is lightweight and much smaller than the standard basses. I have gigged with the yamaha it's a great instrument for the price. Amplified Headphones don't work well for bases if you have a power inverter consider a small bass amp you could also have a headphone out on it as well as an auxiliary into plug in a CD player or MP3 player to play along with. For instructional material look at the Mel Bay website they pretty much invented the teacher shelf books and CDs and also have many downloadable resources such as lessons MP3s etc.. Hope this helps you with your search good luck the base is a fun instrument to play
# Mel 2014-10-25 10:12
The saying goes, "A good instrument won't make you a better player, but a bad instrument will hold you back."

I've had good luck with Ibanez and Yamaha bargainers. I bought my daughter a Daisy Rock a few years back, and was blown away with the quality. I know the Mexi-Fenders are hit-or-miss. But for under $500, you can find a much better quality build than I could 25 years ago when I started playing.
# Brooks Wilkins 2014-10-25 14:17
I couldn't agree more about the Yamaha. I had an RBX170 about a $179 bass. For the price the best estimate I've ever saying if I ever found myself in a pension had to get my hands on a good base quick and had no cash I would get one in a second.

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