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8 Best Bass Guitars for Beginners (2023)

bassguitars

Want to jump right into the list of my favorite bass guitars for beginners in 2023? Here you go!

  1. Fender Squier Affinity Precision Bass
  2. Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass
  3. Epiphone Thunderbird IV Bass
  4. ESP LTD B-10 Bass
  5. Squier by Fender Bronco Bass
  6. Yamaha TRBX174 Bass
  7. Dean Edge 09 Bass
  8. Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II Bass

Want more details to make sure you get the best bass for your needs? Keep reading.

There’s a perfect bass out there, just waiting for you.

Maybe you’re just starting out on your musical journey and want to find the perfect bass guitar to get you started, or maybe you’ve played guitar for years but have never ventured below that open E string and are thinking about giving it a try.

Either way, good on you, and you’re in the right place! 

I’ve scoured the internet and tried out a ton of different bass guitars to bring you my top picks for the 7 best bass guitars for beginners in 2023. Whether you’re a complete newbie or just looking to upgrade from your current starter bass, I’ve got you covered.

So let’s do it. Grab your favorite plectrum, tune up, and get ready to rock out (eventually – once you figure out how to press down those fat strings) with one of these awesome, beginner-friendly bass guitars.

1. Fender Squier Affinity Precision Bass Guitar

Price: $269.99

Pros

  • Affordable for beginners
  • Well-built and durable
  • Versatile sound with split single-coil pickup

Cons

  • Limited upgradability options

The Fender Squier Affinity Precision Bass is a classic beginner-friendly option for aspiring bassists. It’s got that classic Precision Bass shape and sound, with its split single-coil pickup and comfortable, contoured body. And with its affordable price tag, it’s an excellent choice for players who are just starting out and don’t want to break the bank.

I love how comfortable the neck is on this instrument. It has a smooth, satin finish and a moderate C shape, which makes it easy to play for hours on end. The short scale length also contributes to the overall playability of the bass, as it makes it easier to reach all the frets and helps to reduce hand fatigue.

The Squier Affinity Precision Bass also features a super light body, allowing you to handle and play it comfortably, even while standing up. Plus, the solid alder body gives it a balanced, punchy sound, while its split single-coil pickup delivers the good ol’ Precision Bass tone.

Overall, the Squier Affinity Precision Bass is a classic, affordable, and easy-to-play instrument. Since it checks all those essential boxes, I’ve gladly selected it as my top pick on this list. But, if it’s not your cup of tea, keep scrolling — we’ve got a lot more to unpack!

2. Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass Guitar

Price: $179.99

Pros

  • Active EQ circuit gives more control over the tone
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Suitable for smaller players or travel

Cons

  • Fewer tone options compared to full-size models

The Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass is a great option for beginner bassists who are on the shorter side or have smaller hands. It’s got a shorter scale length (22.2 inches, as opposed to the standard 34 inches), which makes it easier to play even for young hobbyists. The slim neck also gives you a more comfortable grip no matter what angle you’re holding it at.

The Ibanez GSRM20 has a noticeably snappy, punchy sound. Like the Squier Affinity Precision Bass mentioned above, this one also has a single-coil pickup, giving it a bright, defined tone that’ll cut through any mix. The bass also has a lightweight, well-balanced design, allowing you to keep playing your bass for hours without feeling tired at any point.

I’m personally a fan of the stylish and modern look of the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass — especially the sleek black finish and white pickguard. It’s got a pretty straightforward design with a tone control, a volume control, and a single pickup. It’s a great option for beginner bassists who want a no-frills but great-sounding instrument. If you’re a shopper who values practicality over cosmetic gimmicks, this instrument could be a solid choice for you!

3. Epiphone Thunderbird IV Bass Guitar

Price: $449.00

Pros

  • Classic design and aesthetic appeal
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Active electronics allow for a wide range of tonal options

Con

  • Heavyweight compared to other bass options

The Epiphone Thunderbird IV Bass is a great option for beginner bassists who want a fast-playing, tonally versatile instrument. It’s got a super-slim neck that’s easy to navigate, whereas its active pickups give it plenty of tonal options.

For me, the vintage vibe of the Epiphone Thunderbird IV Bass sets it a class apart from all the other instruments on this list in terms of aesthetics. It’s got a reverse body design, which gives it a unique, eye-catching look, but that’s not it! It also features a distinctive headstock shape that’s instantly recognizable, earning it all the style points in the world.

The Epiphone Thunderbird IV Bass has a punchy, defined sound, thanks to its active pickups. The combo of its single-coil and humbucking pickup makes it a pretty versatile instrument that can complement many different playing styles and skill levels. The bass also has a simple, straightforward control layout, with a volume control, a tone control, and a pickup selector switch. If it sounds like your type of instrument, check it out here!

4. ESP LTD B-10 Bass Guitar

Price: $199.00

Pros

  • Solid agathis body provides a warm and rich tone
  • Very high visual appeal
  • High-quality chrome hardware for improved tuning stability

Cons

  • Limited choice of color and finish

The ESP LTD B-10 bass guitar is an affordable, yet high-quality instrument that looks and sounds amazing. It features a double-cutaway body shape made from agathis wood, which is a type of tree native to Southeast Asia that is known for its durable and tonally balanced wood. The glossy black finish on its body gives it a professional, modern, and gig-ready look.

The B-10 is also equipped with a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard on top. The neck is thin and fast, making it easy to play and perfect for players who want to play fast, complex riffs and solos. The fingerboard has a comfortable radius and is dotted with white position markers, which means you’ll have no trouble finding your way around the neck.

When it comes to sound, the B-10 is outfitted with two ESP-designed passive bass pickups. Each one has a great balance of warmth and clarity, and is capable of delivering a wide range of tones that are suitable for any music style. The controls for the pickups include a volume knob and a tone knob, allowing you to perfectly fine-tune your sound output to your preferences.

The B-10 has a 34″ scale construction, and the neck is attached to the body via a set of 4 sturdy and durable bolts which provide great sustain and enhance stability.

The bridge is a traditional 4-saddle design that makes for a solid platform for the strings and lets you make easy adjustments to the intonation and action. The tuners are also high-quality and reliable, ensuring that the B-10 stays in tune no matter how hard you play in those high-energy jamming sessions.

5. Squier by Fender Bronco Bass Guitar

Price: $219.95

Pros

  • Comfortable “C” shape maple neck
  • Simple controls easy to understand
  • Viable choice for people with smaller hands or shorter fingers

Cons

  • May not be suitable for professional or heavy-use situations

The Squier by Fender Bronco Bass is by no means fancy or flashy, but it’s super easy to play and sounds way more premium than the price tag it wears. Coming from the same brand as the top pick on this list, this guitar shares many characteristics with the Affinity Precision Bass, which is certainly a good thing. But, the Bronco Bass is designed for players with much smaller reach as it’s got a short scale length (30 inches). This means even if you’re a 12-year old learning to play bass, the entire fretboard will feel well within your reach. 

The bass also has a simple, straightforward control layout, with a single volume control and a single tone control. The best part is that this ease of operation doesn’t come at the cost of the sound quality, since you get the same punchiness as you’d expect from this well-established brand name! 

Aside from size, another thing that sets the Squier Bronco Bass apart is its affordability. It’s a budget-friendly option that delivers a lot of value for the price. It’s got a solid Agathis body, which gives it a balanced, resonant tone, and the single-coil pickup delivers a bright, defined sound. Have a closer look here!

6. Yamaha TRBX174 Bass Guitar

Price: $239.99

Pros

  • Affordable price point for a Yamaha product
  • Comfortable and ergonomic body design
  • Good balance between warm and bright tones
  • Good intonation and tuning stability

Cons

  • Limited range of tone control as compared to more advanced models
  • Some users may find the pickups not strong enough.

It features a double-cutaway body shape made from alder wood, which is a type of wood known for its balanced tone and strong midrange response. The body is finished in a variety of colors, from classic black, pearl white, natural wood, to sunburst and more, so you could easily find the one that appeals to you the most.

The bolt-on maple neck on the TRBX174 is very similar to that of the LTD B-10’s, and it’s one of the guitar’s strongest suites in terms of user-friendliness and ease of playing. It’s got a smooth feel to it that becomes evident as soon as you try it out for the first time, and the white position markers make fretboard navigation seamless — even for relatively new players or folks who aren’t even used to the instrument. 

When it comes to sound, the TRBX174 has a pair of Yamaha designed pickups, a ceramic magnet humbucking pickup in the bridge and a ceramic single-coil pickup in the neck, all of which come together to produce serene sound quality, and also offers a wide range of tonal options to try out. The controls for the pickups include a volume knob, blend knob and tone knob so that your sound comes out exactly how you like it. 

One edge that this bass guitar has over the others is its reliability, and that’s a reasonable assumption based on Yamaha’s brand name. Unlike most other bass instruments in this segment, this guitar stays in tune during even the longest performances since its backed by high-quality Yamaha tuning machines. You can find it here!

7. Dean Edge 09 Bass Guitar

Price: $199.00

Pros

  • Good sound projection and clarity
  • Good playability and comfortable to play
  • Great for various genres of music like rock, blues, and pop

Cons

  • Much lesser known brand name

The Dean Edge 09 Bass is a solid instrument that offers very high value for your money. It’s a versatile bass guitar that can handle a wide range of playing styles, from smooth and groovy jazz to heavy metal thunder.

One of the things I like most about the Edge 09 is its sleek and ergonomic design. The double-cutaway basswood body is lightweight and comfortable to play, even for long sessions. The bolt-on maple neck has a smooth and fast satin finish, with a 34″ scale length and a C shape that makes it easy to navigate the 21 frets of the rosewood fingerboard. The neck also features a classic dot inlay and a set of die-cast tuners that keep the guitar in tune.

The Edge 09 packs a punch in the electronics department as well. It comes loaded with a pair of powerful Dean humbucking pickups, a 3-band active EQ, and a 3-way toggle switch which means you won’t run short on tonal options. Whether you want to dial in a deep and growling low end, a punchy and defined mid-range, or a bright and articulate high end, the Edge 09 can deliver. The pickups can be quite powerful and thus, might need some adjustment with the EQ to get the tone you desire.

Another great thing about the Edge 09 is its construction. The bass guitar features die-cast chrome tuners and a Tune-o-matic style bridge that helps you keep your guitar in tune. The overall construction is solid, but it’s still on the lower end of the spectrum, so don’t expect it to be as solid as premium counterparts from brands like Yamaha. But with that said, it’s still sturdy enough for beginners or even intermediate players and should last years before posing any real issues. 

All in all the Edge 09 is an excellent option for bassists looking for a versatile and well-built instrument without breaking the bank.

8. Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II Bass Guitar

Price: $299.99

Pros

  • Durable hardware and sturdy construction
  • Classic design and beautiful aesthetics
  • Good playability and feel

Con:

  • Some players might find the short scale neck to be less comfortable

The Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II Bass is one of the most stylish bass guitars out there, and it’s a blast to play. It’s the little brother of the Jet II family, but don’t let its size fool you, it packs a punch and has a tone that’s bigger than its footprint.

The G2220’s sleek and retro design is evident from its double-cutaway basswood body with a sleek gloss finish and a sleek black pickguard. The maple neck has a bolt-on construction, with a 30″ scale length and a C shape that makes it comfortable to play and easy to navigate the 20 frets of the laurel fingerboard. The fingerboard also features cool-looking block inlays that gives the guitar a vintage feel. I love how the headstock features a Gretsch logo and Vintage styled open-back tuning machines!

In terms of electronics, the G2220 is equipped with a single Gretsch mini humbucking pickup in the bridge position, a volume control and a master tone knob. It’s not a lot of options, but the humbucker provides a warm, full-bodied tone and the lack of a tone knob makes it easy to dial in a good sound quickly. The pickup can produce a wide range of tones, from a deep and growling low end to a bright and articulate high end. 

The G2220 is also built like a tank. The hardware is top-notch and features a tune-o-matic bridge that helps keep the guitar in tune and a set of die-cast tuners that help keep the guitar in tune. The guitar is easy to play and well-balanced, which is a huge plus for bassists.

All in all, the Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet II Bass is an excellent instrument that offers a unique blend of vintage style, solid build quality and great tone. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a bass guitar that stands out from the crowd and packs a punch in a small package. Get yours here!

Final thoughts on beginner-level bass guitars

Well folks, there you have it! Whether you’re just starting out on your bass playing journey or you’re looking to upgrade to a new instrument, the options I’ve discussed here are all excellent choices that will help you achieve your musical goals.

Remember, when you’re starting out, the most important thing is to find a bass guitar that is comfortable for you to play and that you enjoy playing.

Finally, don’t let yourself get discouraged if you don’t quite sound like Jaco Pastorius or Geddy Lee right away. It takes time and practice to become a great bass player, but with the right attitude, persistence and a good bass guitar, you’ll be well on your way to grooving and rocking like a pro in no time!

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