Best Cheap Bass Guitars of 2019 – Complete Review

Some people have prejudices on ‘cheap’ products, especially when it comes to long-term investments such as guitar. We disassemble some of the most common myths – that cheap guitars are ‘just cheap’, you get what you pay for and others. 

Here is our argument on why you should try out a cheap guitar and what benefits they bring you!

Comparison of the Best Cheap Bass Guitars

Product

Rating

Price

Ibanez GSRM20BWNF 4-String Bass Guitar

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Walnut Flat (GSRM20BWNF)

Best Overall

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass, Black with Maple Fingerboard

Runner-up

Ibanez Talman TMB100 Electric Bass Guitar

Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Mint Green Electric Bass Guitar

Best for the Money

Goplus Electric Bass Guitar

Goplus Electric Bass Guitar Full Size 4 String with Strap Guitar Bag Amp Cord (Blue Bass 4 Straps)

Best Under $100

Ibanez GSRM25BK 5-String Bass Guitar

Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar, Right, Black (GSRM25BK)

Best Cheap 5-String Bass Guitar

Ibanez GSR 4-String Bass Guitar

Ibanez GSR 4 String Bass Guitar, Left, Walnut Flat (GSR200BLWNF)

Best Left-Handed Cheap Bass Guitar

How Much is a Cheap Bass Guitar?

Our reviewed products fall in quite a short price range, from around $70-$80 to $270. Despite this, most buyers reported them as competing with other guitars under $1000. 

Can You Find a Good Bass Guitar That’s Cheap and Affordable?

Bass guitars, similarly to any other products and services, come with different features that sometimes define their price range, along with brands. In this scenario, it is possible to find a cheap guitar which is also good. When people read ‘cheap’, they usually think about cheap materials and compromising on quality. 

However, the main trade-offs between the guitars in this review and other ‘more expensive’ ones are less evident. For instance, most guitars here come in a small-scale version. Since the guitar itself is smaller than a full-size one, it is quite easy to spot the price difference, which is not about compromising on quality. Well, this is not always the case, but this is why we make your job easier and list all the great cheap bass guitars. 

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

Here are a few of the characteristics and features of our favorite cheap bass guitars.

Quality

Our favorite models, even though they are labeled as ‘cheap’, do not refer to quality losses. You might indeed see the difference between a cheap and expensive guitar; however, in some cases, these differences can be of 5% quality improvement. Well worth the price, isn’t it? Definitely a real bargain for many musicians out there. 

Playability

Another main characteristic is the playability. Some guitars have such designs that make them challenging to play. They are hard on your fingers, too heavy, abnormal shape, and others. Playability is essential. It can make your experience a real joy or, especially if you are starting, it can leave you discouraged about your hobby. 

Comfort

Comfort is yet another crucial aspect. Most professional players have full-sized expensive instruments, and yet they prefer to play a ‘cheap’ one. How so? Because of their small size and lightweight body, these models can be played for longer hours without placing strain on your body. 

Review of the Best Cheap Bass Guitars

Here is our review of the best cheap bass guitars you can find on the market:

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Walnut Flat (GSRM20BWNF)

PROS

  • Smooth feel and finish
  • Short-scale bass guitar for enhanced comfort
  • Lightweight and compact, easy to store or travel
  • High-quality and standards with competitive playability
  • Smooth bass sounds favored by perfect lower string tension

CONS

  • Original strings are round wound, quite metallic
  • Advertising pictures do not match the real color of the product
  • Advertised as walnut body, in fact, it is made of poplar – misguiding information

What Recent Buyers Report

This bass guitar comes in great shape, at a fantastic price range. It is easy to play due to its size and the comfortable shape of the neck. It is a pure pleasure to play this high-quality guitar, especially if you are a beginner or you have small hands. It sounds as good as any more expensive bass guitar. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This affordable Ibanez bass guitar is our top pick for this list doubtlessly because of its high standards in manufacturing and component quality. The product delivers the same quality as full-scale bass guitars, and the same materials are used in its construction. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This small-scale affordable bass guitar is perfect for basically anyone. Whether you are an ambitious beginner, you have small hands, a gigging musician traveling a lot, and many others. The small size of the guitar makes it the perfect companion for any bass player.

Bottom Line

Overall, this bass guitar offers you the chance of learning or practicing guitar playing in a small-sized, comfortable, and highly playable design. In the end, if you do not enjoy your play time, you will be much less likely to keep playing. Definitely worth a try!

Squier by Fender Bronco Bass, Black with Maple Fingerboard

PROS

  • Easy to tune.
  • Full and rich sounds.
  • Single-coil pickup and die-cast tuners.
  • Great small-sized bass guitar with vintage looks.
  • Solid agathis body, with maple neck and fretboard.

CONS

  • Poor quality control.
  • Sensitive transport packaging.
  • Might need adjustment and set up.

What Recent Buyers Report

This bass guitar is massively exceeding buyers’ expectations. It has great action, the maple fretboard is comfortable, and it has a beautiful glossy finish. It is an amazingly high-quality starter bass guitar, perfect for anyone who wants to learn for an affordable price, yet outstanding quality and performance. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Our best alternative is a Fender classic. This one comes with an agathis body and a beautiful glossy finish, all enhanced by the C-shaped maple neck and maple fingerboard. Additionally, it embodies a specially designed single-coil pickup in this small-scale bass guitar. 

Who Will Use This Most

This bass guitar might seem beginner-zone since its affordability. In fact, with proper tuning and set up, it can be as useful as any guitar. You can learn how to play on this guitar, due to its high comfort and playability. But the sound quality outmatches the price range, making it one top choice for many musicians around the world. 

Bottom Line

It is difficult to criticize this model, considering its outstanding performance. The price range is amazingly low for the quality and the feel of this instrument. Easy to play, lightweight and compact, yet the sounds it delivers are magnificent. This guitar should be on your must-have list!

Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Mint Green Electric Bass Guitar

PROS

  • Can be played right out of the box.
  • Great quality components, including strings.
  • Professional qualities in an affordable price range.
  • Solid instrument, yet comfortable and easy to play.
  • Lovely retro style, available in a mint green version with a satin finish.

CONS

  • Poor quality control.
  • Packaging is too soft (might get damaged through transportation).

What Recent Buyers Report

Apart from amazing looks and sounds, another thing that is extremely impressive about this bass guitar is its versatility. The range of tones you can get out of this instrument is purely sublime. The nice satin finish is a great addition, and the neck is wide enough, but also comfortable. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Yet another Ibanez model offering the best choice for the money. This electric bass guitar stands out from the crowd due to its high-quality build, the wide variety of tonal choices, and its retro look. This guitar offers the full package in both looks and sound quality. The rich, vintage sounds are enhanced by the neck pickup and the DXK bridge pickup. 

Who Will Use This Most 

The versatility of this guitar, paired with great set up, can make it the best choice for any musician out there, experienced or not. It allows you to enjoy performing and its feel even though you have just started or you have been already playing for many years. This affordable bass guitar packs in all the features of a high-end, professional one. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this bass guitar is a great choice, packing in professional qualities in a compact, lightweight, and extremely versatile instrument. Good quality components, such as strings, pickups, and hardware, make it a great play even out of the box; however, it can reach incredibly high standards with some tweaking. 

Goplus Electric Bass Guitar Full Size 4 String with Strap Guitar Bag Amp Cord (Blue Bass 4 Straps)

PROS

  • Smooth tones perfect for blues and rock.
  • Extremely affordable, yet excellent quality.
  • Easy to carry around, comes with a travel bag.
  • Warm and bright sounds from the wood body and other components.
  • Ready to play out of the box, comes with bag, shoulder strap, pick and amp cord.

CONS

  • Might need to adjust neck angle.
  • Fretboard is a laminate (no playability issues, however).
  • Might have to adjust the truss rod nut to eliminate fret buzz (out of the box).

What Recent Buyers Report

This bass guitar is perfectly balanced, featherweight, and it has no neck dive. The accessories included with the bass also have acceptable quality, and it is a great start for any beginner. This product is an excellent value, well capable of delivering strong, rich tones. It is a pleasure to play. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This Goplus bass guitar brings stability and consistency in quality, all in a fashionable design ready to impress even the pickiest audience. The wood body offers stability and a solid feel, reliability, and comfort. It is shiny and polished, while sound qualities are smooth, great for blues, rock, and many others. The bright, natural sounds of the bass are perfectly complemented by the warm sounds of the wood body. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This bass guitar comes with all accessories needed to play straight away. It might take a few minutes to adjust it to your needs, however, there is nothing you cannot achieve in 5-10 minutes. It is perfect for any blues lover, willing to dive into the world of music. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this bass guitar is extremely capable of competing with much more expensive options on the market. It is a ‘real deal’, as it includes anything you need, from a bag to straps and picks. It looks impressive, feels solid, and it has enhanced playability, making your first experience a true joy. 

Best Cheap 5-String Bass Guitar: 
Ibanez GSRM25BK 5-String Bass Guitar

Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar, Right, Black (GSRM25BK)

PROS

  • Deep sounds with great low B.
  • High versatility due to two pickups.
  • Easy to play and extremely comfortable.
  • Well balanced weight and easy to set up.
  • Lightweight and compact, yet durable and sturdy built.

CONS

  • Nut height might need to be lowered.
  • Needs action adjustment (it is a bit high out of the box).
  • Components might need to be replaced for professional players.

What Recent Buyers Report

This Ibanez bass guitar with 5 strings holds its own! It scores high on playability, sound quality, and consistency. It is a sturdy, long-lasting bass guitar that allows you to reach those growly sounds you are looking for. Extremely lightweight, it is well balanced and will enable you to play hours at a time, enjoying every moment of it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Similar to other Ibanez picks, this guitar might resemble a small-sized guitar looking somewhat similar to a toy. Nonetheless, once you touch it, you will be thrown aback by the sturdy and solid construction, smooth feel, and great action. It is nothing short of any other full-sized bass guitar. 

Who Will Use This Most 

If you are a beginner, this is definitely an excellent choice for you due to its affordability and exceptional quality sounds. Even gigging musicians or professional ones choose this model due to its high-quality performance. Especially if you are looking for a micro bass guitar that allows you to play for many hours without fatigue. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this Ibanez guitar will definitely surprise you with its qualities. You might need to slightly adjust it from the box, similar to other ‘budget’ options; however, the action is up to the highest standards. If you are looking for a 5-string guitar, this is the one for you!

Best Left Handed Cheap Bass Guitar:
Ibanez GSR 4-String Bass Guitar

Ibanez GSR 4 String Bass Guitar, Left, Walnut Flat (GSR200BLWNF)

PROS

  • Easy to play.
  • Smooth, fashionable design.
  • Thinner neck for enhanced comfort.
  • Lightweight body and compact size.
  • Highly versatile matches a wide range of play styles and tunes.

CONS

  • Needs set-up.
  • Poor quality control.
  • Action needs adjustment.

What Recent Buyers Report

This instrument feels smooth, yet solid, and it plays unexpectedly well. The finish is beautiful, while the neck is relatively thinner than other models, which makes it easier to play and more comfortable. It is highly versatile and a great starter for any musician. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This bass guitar is our top pick for left-handed players due to its consistent quality and sturdy, long-lasting design. It has a smooth, fast neck for enhanced playability and comfort and a lightweight body. The electronics don’t fall short either, as they can accommodate any tunes you might want to play. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This guitar is especially for the left-handed players out there. It embeds most of the features in our other models, such as great finish, fantastic sound quality, and lightweight body. The neck is significantly thinner, so it is a great and easy to play bass guitar for beginners. 

Bottom Line

Overall, Ibanez GSR 4-String Bass Guitar is our top pick for left-handed bass guitar players. It delivers high on sound quality and performance; the design is fashionable, and it is easy to play. It may need minor adjustment as you go; however, it is still pretty playable out of the box. 

Cautious Considerations to Keep In Mind

Our top products for best cheap bass guitars are great options for budget restraints, or if you are a beginner and you do not want to spend more. These products, however, as great as they are, might also need adjustment when you first try them out. However, this is nothing out of the ordinary as many of the more expensive alternatives still need professional set up. If you are concerned about this, you can ask a professional player to give you a hand with setting up. 

Another heads-up with a ‘budget’ bass guitar, is that most players might want to change some of the included accessories, such as strings, swapping them for better quality ones. Once again, this is often an issue with expensive models, as stock versions sometimes fail to deliver on quality control or you want better accessories. 

Just because your cheaper bass guitar might have some fret buzz does not mean that it is a bad product. Keep in mind that you need to set up and adjust it; not only to standards but as you learn how to play, you will also want to personalize your instrument to match your play style. 

Conclusion

Overall, our review of the best cheap bass guitars introduced you to some models which you should try out. Although we nominated them as ‘cheap’, this strictly refers to price range, and not to their quality. Most advanced players even choose some of these models because they are much more comfortable and playable than full-size instruments.