Best Bass Guitars of 2019 – Complete Review

Whether you are a guitarist, a bassist, or just eager to learn, here is the most extensive introduction to the best bass guitars just for you.

What are bass guitars good for? And why you should consider investing in one of the instruments we’ve carefully chosen for you?

Keep reading to find out which bass guitar will best suit your needs!

Comparison Chart of the Best Bass Guitars

Product

Rating

Price

Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special

Fender Deluxe Active Precission Bass Special - Pau Ferro Fingerboard - Olympic White

Best Overall

Yamaha BB734A BB-Series Bass Guitar

Yamaha BB734A BB-Series Bass Guitar, Translucent Matte Black

Runner-up

Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar

Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Mist Green, 4-String (TRBX304 MGR)

Best for the Money

Ibanez 4-String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Brown Sunburst (GSRM20BS

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Brown Sunburst (GSRM20BS)

Best Short-Scale Bass

Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT Bass

Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT Bass (5 String, Natural)

Best 5-String Bass

Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar

Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar in Black

Best Beginner Bass Guitar

Fender Kingman Acoustic Bass Guitar

Fender Kingman Acoustic Bass Guitar (V2) - Black - with Bag - Walnut Fingerboard

Best Acoustic Bass Guitar

Fender 4-String Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar

Fender 4 String Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar-Fretless-PAU Ferro Fingerboard, Black (146213506)

Best Electric Bass Guitar

Rogue LX200B Series III Electric Bass Guitar

Rogue LX200B Series III Electric Bass Guitar Metallic Blue

Best Bass Guitar Under $200

Squier By Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass V 5-String Electric Bass Guitar

Squier By Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass V 5 String Electric Bass Guitar

Best Bass Guitar Under $500

What Are The Components of a Bass Guitar?

First off, a bass guitar is comprised of the neck, the body, and the elements inside the cavity of the bass, called "the guts" or "the innards". Here is a short description of each of them:

The Neck

The neck contains the headstock (which holds the string tuners), the nut, the fingerboard with the frets (thin metal pieces which are displayed perpendicular to the string and are used for the pitch of the notes played), the strings, and the back of the neck. 

A bass guitar with its parts. (Source)

The Body

The body is made up of the following: the pickups (magnets), controls (for volume and tone), bridge (holds the ends of each of your strings), strap pin, endpin, input jack for the amplifier. Both strap pin and endpin are used for attaching the shoulder strap

Inside the Bass

Here you might find the truss rod, the electronics (wires), and optional batteries (only for active electronics). The electronics are the most important part, as this is what turns the vibration of your strings into sounds. 

What Makes These the Best of The Year?

The following section contains a list of the reviewed bass guitars, which we consider some of the best on the market. In their selection, we focused on several qualities that make them the best of the year. 

Quality

First of all, the products on our list score high on quality, despite their price ranges. They are specially picked to ensure that they deliver premium performances with clear tones, and they have high flexibility, matching your needs. All of them have robust, sturdy builds to ensure expanded product life. 

Affordability

Another quality of our products is affordability. They are chosen so they match different needs (see below). However, each bass from the below categories was picked so that the price matches its quality. All the products have been rated by buyers as the quality exceeding their prices. 

Personal Needs

Most of the products match the needs of a variety of experience levels, but some are of a professional-level. However, their playability and comfort also invite novices to try them out. They last for the long-term, are sturdy enough to match professional players’ long hours of performance, but are also affordable and easy to play for beginners. 

Review of The Best Bass Guitars

Here are our top picks for the best bass guitars. Check them out!

Fender Deluxe Active Precission Bass Special - Pau Ferro Fingerboard - Olympic White

PROS

  • Sustain, tuning stability, and intonation
  • Powerful tones, high flexibility, smooth feel
  • Extremely comfortable due to C-shaped neck
  • Highly versatile includes both passive and active pickups
  • Deluxe precision bass special with rich sounds and robust construction

CONS

  • Pricey for some

What Recent Buyers Report

Fender once again delivers their traditional quality, in a new package. The guitar blends both active and passive pickups smoothly and the battery lasts for up to six hours. However, the high quality of the product is absolutely undeniable after hours of play, including its tuning stability, quality of sounds, and ease of play.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Fender guitars never cease to impress us with their high-quality instruments. This premium quality guitar packs everything you need into a bass guitar, namely, high flexibility for different music genres, rich sounds, and robust construction, but with a smooth touch. This hybrid version combines classic with modern technologies, bringing you both vintage and modern tones.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is the perfect companion for any player out there. Whether a vintage-lover or of a more modern guitarist, the Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special is indeed a special one. On-stage or in-studio, this guitar delivers premium performance. It is sturdy and robust, yet comfortable to play, making it accessible for a large category of players. Easy to use and ready to play, this guitar is worth every cent.

Bottom Line

Overall, this Fender Bass Guitar is a flawless instrument. Any bass lover would love to experience the rich and clear tones, easy playability, high versatility, and all in comfortable packaging. This guitar is best for both novices and professionals, on-stage or in the studio.

Yamaha BB734A BB-Series Bass Guitar, Translucent Matte Black

PROS

  • Clear sounds, especially the lows
  • Distinguishable equalizer and powerful, clear voice
  • Highly durable guitar, with an exquisite matte finish
  • Highly versatile, fits either studio or live performances
  • Easy to play and comfortable neck, with round fretting

CONS

  • Pricey for some
  • Highs might be too thin-sounding
  • Quality control – damaged products are sold at a discount

What Recent Buyers Report

This bass is exquisite. It fits any occasion, either recording in the studio or on-stage. It has enhanced clarity, especially with low sounds, and the quality reaches perfection. The translucent matte black finish completes this bass guitar with a fashionable touch. It is straightforward to play and very comfortable, even for long periods.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Yamaha is yet another incredible quality brand that puts together all the best technology to create a memorable instrument. The build is high-quality, strong, and durable, yet comfortable, and its quality is enhanced by the neck. Pickups are extremely powerful and the tones are clear. It delivers on quality and flexibility.

Who Will Use This Most

The Yamaha BB734A BB-Series Bass Guitar is highly versatile in sound and extremely easy to play. Therefore, it suits any bass lover. Perfect for any occasion, you can take this bass guitar with you for any event, either on-stage or in the studio.

Bottom Line

This Yamaha Bass Guitar is of excellent quality. It is comfortable and balances well on your shoulders. The clarity of the tone and voice make it a high-quality, outstanding bass guitar, and it can complete your guitar collection nicely, providing clean and punchy sounds.

Best for the Money:
Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar

Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Mist Green, 4-String (TRBX304 MGR)

PROS

  • Easy to play, clean and throaty sounds
  • Affordable, yet high-quality and flexible
  • Delivers excellent value, easy to play, simplicity
  • Pickup balance control features come with stunning designs
  • Highly versatile, has a switch to change from active to passive

CONS

  • Quality control
  • Requires setup
  • Mostly recommended for novices or intermediate-level players

What Recent Buyers Report

This affordable guitar is the best for money. It is comfortable, easy to play, and you can easily adjust it so that you reach the tones you desire. The value for money, playability, and quality of tone are the main characteristics of this model, so it is the perfect choice if you are looking for an affordable, yet excellent bass guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This instrument offers a wide range of features that are simple to use. It is perfectly balanced and it has an extremely comfortable body constructed from mahogany. The tonal foundation is optimum and is heartily completed by the EQ, which has different features, including pick, finger, flat, slap, and solo play.

Who Will Use This Most

The Yamaha 4-String Bass Guitar is perfect for bass-lovers who are either novices or intermediate players. It is affordable and the quality to price ratio is definitely what most beginners are looking for. This might be a crucial point in your bass-playing experience, delivered with high-quality clear sounds.

Bottom Line

Overall, this bass guitar is the best for money. Its affordability makes it perfect for practice and beginners. You might need to adjust the action the first time you play. However, you will find it is easy to do and the active controls allow you to shape the tones to your liking.

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Brown Sunburst (GSRM20BS)

PROS

  • Highly affordable
  • Slim neck made of maple for higher playability
  • Full sound pickups and perfect for smaller hands
  • It is lightweight and compact, can be stored or transported with ease
  • Short-scale of only 28.6” packs in all the needed qualities and features of any bass

CONS

  • Quality control
  • Might need to replace strings – factory ones are round wound
  • Not suitable for players with larger hands (might be difficult due to size)

What Recent Buyers Report

The Ibanez 4-String Bass Guitar is excellent value, with the same quality and sound as other larger counterparts. The design is exquisite, especially in the sunburst finish, and it has a natural, smooth feeling while playing. The slender neck is comfortable and is mostly viewed as an excellent buy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is our favorite short-scale bass of 28.6” with a slim maple neck and a compact, lightweight body. You might think this toy-sized bass fails to deliver on quality of sounds, however, this is not the case. Though it is a small-sized bass, it delivers powerful sounds, similar to any other full-size alternative.

Who Will Use This Most

This bass guitar is a lightweight, compact instrument best for beginners, players with smaller hands, or even children. Its small size makes it perfect for the traveling musician, especially since it delivers the same performance as any other full-size instrument.

Bottom Line

Overall, this small-sized lightweight bass guitar is our top pick due to its fabulous high-quality features packed in such a tiny shell. Extremely easy to play, it saves on space, and can be the perfect choice if you find it challenging to play larger bass guitars or just want to practice with enhanced comfort.

Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT Bass (5 String, Natural)

PROS

  • Affordable price
  • Ready to play out of the box
  • Smooth finish and great design
  • Sturdy, long-lasting design made of swamp ash
  • Brings clarity and definition to your performance

CONS

  • Only active pickup, no passive
  • Feels somewhat heavy compared to other bass guitars
  • The packaging is rather sensitive; however, it comes in a gig bag which protects it from damage

What Recent Buyers Report

This 5-string guitar is the best for value and money. The sounds are amazing and it is a true competitor to other popular brands. It is ready to play out of the box and the tuning quality is outstanding, which is extremely unusual for a budget bass guitar. The bass sounds and feels fantastic, smooth, and is incredibly comfortable and easy to play.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is our favorite 5-string bass guitar due to its lightweight swamp ash body and its classic design. It delivers the well-known and much-loved bass nuances with enhanced clarity. It is highly versatile, allowing you to create any tonal combinations you could ever imagine.

Who Will Use This Most

As an affordable, yet high-quality, 5-string bass guitar, this instrument is highly versatile. It matches the needs of any bass player and is exceptionally comfortable and durable. The workmanship is flawless, which makes it a real investment for both novices and professionals.

Bottom Line

The Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT Bass Guitar is a real competitor to other brands, such as Fender and Yamaha, in terms of quality and performance. It is highly affordable, yet can be played right out of the box and the sound quality exceeds any expectations.

Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Bass Guitar in Black

PROS

  • Quality is above price range
  • Ready to play out of the box
  • Easy to play with smooth, great sound
  • Active electronics and great humbucker quality
  • Best bass guitar for beginners, highly playable and versatile

CONS

  • Quality control
  • Relatively bulky
  • String balance (A and D a bit weak)

What Recent Buyers Report

This bass guitar delivers great quality and performance. The price range does not match the high-quality of this product and it comes all set up and ready to play. The neck is fast and comfortable and it emulates more expensive brands. The humbucker also has an outstanding tone. However, quality control is relatively inconsistent.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This guitar is our top pick among beginner bass guitars. It is easy to play and comfortable and comes with a basswood body, a maple neck, and fretboard. The price range is much lower compared to other products. However, it is as good as any other, allowing you to practice with ease for many hours.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a beginner looking for the best bass guitar, look no more. This is our top pick for its playability, versatility, and high-quality sounds. It can be played right out of the box and this instrument will definitely exceed your expectations, just like it has with all other buyers.

Bottom Line

Overall, this bass guitar is perfect for beginners and is ready for long hours of practice. It is highly affordable and playable, but it features qualities which more expensive professional bass guitars have. The humbucker is strong and delivers great sounds. It is also aesthetically pleasing.

Best Acoustic Bass Guitar:
Fender Kingman Acoustic Bass Guitar

Fender Kingman Acoustic Bass Guitar (V2) - Black - with Bag - Walnut Fingerboard

PROS

  • Highly comfortable
  • Easy reach to the fingerboard
  • Thinnest neck, enhancing playability
  • High-quality, small-scale acoustic bass guitar
  • Effortless to play, great EQ, and perfect intonation

CONS

  • Knobs on EQ a bit small
  • Suitable for smaller hands
  • Some players might prefer larger models

What Recent Buyers Report

This Fender guitar is perfect for acoustic shows. It comes with a thin neck, which enhances the quality of your experience while playing it, along with being comfortable and extremely smooth. The intonation is flawless. Although the knobs on the EQ might seem small for some players, it is notable that no adjustment was needed right out of the box.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The best acoustic guitar blends in deep, full acoustic sounds and comfortable play. It is a short-scale instrument with a gorgeous black finish and a smooth-playing mahogany neck. It has enhanced playability due to the convenient cutaway which allows easier access to the fingerboard.

Who Will Use This Most

This is our top pick for acoustic guitars. A Fender classic, it never stops delivering high-quality performances to acoustic bass guitar players. The good tones are enhanced by the gorgeous looks, while it allows you to play comfortably for many hours, both on stage, in the studio, or just practicing.

Bottom Line

Fender Kingman Acoustic Bass Guitar proves itself as one of the best acoustic bass guitars out there. It is comfortable and slim, while tones are exquisite and perfect for playing right out of the box. If you are looking for quality, playability, and comfort, this is the one for you.

Fender 4 String Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar-Fretless-PAU Ferro Fingerboard, Black (146213506)

PROS

  • Excellent value for money
  • Rich, fretless feel and tones
  • Best for all bassists, of every level
  • Elegant, vintage-style design and affordable
  • Best electric bass guitar combining classic sounds with modern upgrades

CONS

  • Customer service
  • A vintage design might not be enjoyed by everyone
  • Might seem heavy compared to other small-scale bass guitars

What Recent Buyers Report

This electric bass guitar reaches all expectations in terms of tone, comfort, craftsmanship, and design. Little to no adjustments were needed right out of the box. It is a good choice and it delivers on quality and performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is our top choice for the best electric bass guitar on the market. It is remarkable due to its professional-level qualities, such as the two single-coil jazz bass pickups, which deliver articulate and clear tones. The C-shaped neck enhances comfort, while the vintage design is a tribute to classical bass guitars.

Who Will Use This Most

Any bassist would literally love this model. It is a vintage-looking electric bass guitar that incorporates all the modern technology, offering you a rich fretless feel and tones. If you appreciate great style and are performance-minded, this is the electric bass guitar for you!

Bottom Line

Overall, Fender 4-String Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar is our top pick for any jazz bass player out there, at any level. This time-honored design ensures excellent comfort and playability, encased in a high-quality, durable build.

Rogue LX200B Series III Electric Bass Guitar Metallic Blue

PROS

  • High-mass adjustable saddle bridge
  • Extended neck for a user-friendly design
  • Highly comfortable, reasonable build and weight
  • Best for budget players looking for consistent quality and all the needed features
  • Comes with numerous features, including two volume and two tone controls, split and single-coil pickups

CONS

  • Needs tuning
  • No owners manual.
  • String action does not go extremely low

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the best budget guitars available, the Rogue LX200B Series III Electric Bass Guitar is an excellent choice for anyone looking to practice. It is a good, high-quality, long-lasting bass guitar, which is relatively lightweight. The design is a real stand-out from the crowd. In the light, the color is bright blue, which turns blue-purple at an angle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This budget bass guitar comes with, surprisingly, a wide variety of features, such as a high-mass adjustable saddle bridge, basswood dual cutaway body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. Great for the price, this bass guitar is still high-quality and the quality control is consistent.

Who Will Use This Most

This instrument comes within a great price range, so it is ideal for beginners or anyone who wants to practice bass guitar while on a budget. It is easy to play due to the guitar’s design and it features a maple neck and a user-friendly rosewood fretboard.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Rogue LX200B Series III Electric Bass Guitar Metallic Blue is the perfect choice for any bass lover on a budget. It comes with complete features, just like other professional bass guitars. Additionally, the blue design sparkles differently in the light, making you feel a true star during your performance.

Squier By Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass V 5 String Electric Bass Guitar

PROS

  • High playable, great visuals
  • Best deal for fretless bass players
  • Extremely comfortable, no fret buzz
  • Sturdy build with maple neck and body
  • Electronics are adequate out of the factory, little to no adjustment needed

CONS

  • Painted position markers
  • Tuners could be better quality
  • Heavy, due to maple neck and body

What Recent Buyers Report

The Squier By Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass V is a high-quality electric guitar with a sturdy, solid build. The wide neck allows you to work with the strings in a very comfortable way, as you benefit from more space. Additionally, this bass guitar is made from a maple body and neck, which makes it considerably heavy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Being the best guitar under $500, this traditional Fender electric bass guitar has a rich look and superior sound. The soft maple body and the maple neck work together for a smooth feel and touch. Performance and value are noticeable from the first touch and look.

Who Will Use This Most

This electric guitar offers spectacular value to any bassist. It is highly playable and the design is gorgeous, making it perfect for both novices and professionals. All the factory components are of good quality, so no adjustments are necessary. Great to give a try!

Bottom Line

Overall, this is a bass guitar suitable for any occasion. It is inexpensive, yet high-quality, and is consistent in time. The design is visually pleasing, it is easy to play, highly versatile, and an excellent investment.

What is a Bass Guitar Best Known For?

We have all heard of a bass guitar, but what is it known for? Here are some:

The Backbone of Any Band

The bassists are the backbone of any rock band. This means, especially in jazz and blues, the bassist has the job of holding up all the other instruments. 

Supply the Essence of a Guitar Riff

In hard rock and metal, the bassists are well known for supplying the sound which puts the audience in ecstasy. That is known as supporting the guitar riff. 

Harmony and Rhythm

Overall, basses support the music line through harmony and rhythm. The harmonic foundation comes for playing several notes at the same time, while the bass also provides the rhythmic foundation by providing a steady pulse. 

Types of Bass Guitars

There is quite a large variety of bass guitars. Here is a brief description of the most common ones:

Electric/Acoustic Bass Guitar

These guitars are solid and need to be connected to a bass amplifier. Additionally, you could also choose an acoustic bass guitar, which has a hollow body and does not require an amp. 

Active/Passive Pickups

Another type is active, passive, or both. The passive pickups are common in old models of bass guitars and they are characterized by warm, round, full, punchy, and dynamic tones. On the other hand, passive basses are less complex and give less control over the notes. They only come with the possibility of cutting down the bass and treble frequency, however, they deliver bright, snappy, and clear sounds. 

Full Size/Small Scale

Some professionals might prefer full-size bass guitars with a wide variety of features and high customization. On the other hand, beginners or even professionals might prefer small-scale basses. Nowadays, advances in technology permit manufacturers to pack in a lot of variety in small-scale basses.  

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Bass Guitar

There are numerous benefits of investing in a high-quality bass guitar. Here are the most important ones:

Best Performance

A high-quality bass guitar will have no fret buzz. It comes already set up and is highly durable. Intonation is perfect and the sound quality is much clearer. All these contribute to high-quality performance. 

Long-Term Investment

A high-quality bass guitar might be more expensive than a low-quality one. However, it is a long-term investment. Wouldn’t you rather stretch your budget a bit and purchase a bass guitar which will last for years, rather than a low-quality one that stays out of tune or requires repairs every couple of months?

Enjoyable and Comfortable Performance

A high-quality bass guitar comes with all features to enhance your performance: easy to play, comfortable body and neck shape, and robust build, most of them in lightweight bodies. This is especially important if you are a professional player with extended playtimes or even a beginner. Uncomfortable play will cause you to shorten your playtimes more and more, reducing the pleasure you take in your hobby. 

Conclusion

Overall, bass guitars come in a wide variety of features and with different characteristics. We hope this article helped you decide whether you want to buy a new bass guitar or made you realize you should definitely give it a try for the first time. Whichever it is, you might want to take a closer look at our recommended products – they’re worth it!