The bass guitar: Hands down the coolest instrument in the world. Whether you pluck the bass for jazz, rock, blues, or any other style, we’re here to offer some buying tips when it comes to affordable bass guitars. Also, if you’re in the market for an acoustic guitar or electric, be sure to check out our other top ten articles here:
–Top Ten Electric Guitars Under $500
–<The Ten Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500
Of course, we’ve all learned recently that it’s all about the bass, so without further adieu, here’s ten ground-shaking bass guitars for under $500:
1. Squier Jaguar Bass V Special
For excellent bass tone and versatility at an affordable price, look no further. The Squier Jaguar Bass V Special dons good looks, vintage style, and great sound through the the combination of a solid body and dual pickups both at the bridge and the middle for optimal range and tone. And with the addition of the low B string, you’ll be able to crank out killer low notes. Grab this bass guitar for around $250.
2. Epiphone EB-3
Recognize this bass? That’s because it’s a recreation of the original SG bass played by greats such as John Entwistle of The Who, and Bill Wyman on The Rolling Stones. One of the most distinctive bass guitars in the rock world, the Epiphone EB-3 stands as a nod to the past while staying current with modern designs such as a new, long scale neck. With a mahogany body and neck and bridge pickups, the EB-3 completely delivers on tone and feel. For $300, you can be part of Epiphone history!
3. ESP F-104
Oh man. This bass has it all: thunderous sound, a fast neck, chrome hardware, and an insane cut body made from agathis. The ESP SB-4 pickups with active HQ make for a super versatile bass that can really deliver on the crushing lows. A major perk of this guitar is the feel: This bass is lightweight and solid, making for fast, well-balanced playability. Whether you play metal, rock, or any other style, this bass can handle it. Pick up the ESP F-104 for just around $370.
4. Squier Classic Vibe Precision ’50s Bass Guitar
In the market for an affordable bass that plays as smooth as butter? Well here we are: The Squier Classic Vibe. This guitar, with it’s 1950s look, sports all the modern amenities a bassist needs, such as the HiMass 4 saddle bridge, making it a super fun and easy bass guitar to set up and play. With a warm, earthy tone -due to the wider string spacing and larger neck- this guitar delivers that classic 50s feel. And for around $480, you can’t beat the price.
5. Schecter Guitar Research Stiletto Extreme-4 T
his bass guitar has what it takes to deliver heavy, hard-hitting sound while also being a comfortable bass to rock out on. This Stiletto model features a cutaway mahogany body with a maple top and a maple neck. And, with two Schecter bass Humbucker pickups and an active EQ, you’re able to stay in control of your sound. Grab this beautiful black cherry bass for just around $400.
6. Yamaha TRBX305
Check out this beaut. This solid mahogany body finished in black nickel makes for a bass that’s super easy on the eyes. And with Performance EQ active circuitry, you’re able to switch quickly between pre-built and jam-ready tones, and you can fine-tune those tones to your exact liking. This bass guitar is light-weight, has a perfectly balanced body, and has a thumb rest making for super comfortable playability for either slap or finger styles. This bass goes for around $400.
7. Ibanez SR400QM
With a wide range of tones, and hailing from the SR family, this Ibanez is a killer bass guitar at a super reasonable price. The body is made from a lightweight mahogany, making play more comfortable and perhaps easier for the beginning bass player. And the quilted maple top makes for a beautiful looking bass guitar. Induct yourself into the Ibanez SR family for around $450.
8. Fender Modern Player Dimension Bass
For all you 14th century bass players, move aside. This bass is specifically for the modern player. Alright, besides the not-so-cool name for this series of guitars by Fender, this bass really delivers on some modern bass technologies. There’s a special five-position rotary pickup that allows you to really get creative with tone from the three-coil pickup. You can choose from options such as front coil alone, front and middle together, and so on. You can find this bass for just under $500.
9. Washburn Taurus T24
Let’s just all take a minute to enjoy the beauty of this bass guitar. Take in the neck-thru design, the fine tonewoods such as the mahogany body, the maple/mahogany neck, and the rosewood fingerboard, and check out that satin finish. Yup, this is a beautiful bass. And besides looking awesome, this Washburn’s think neck makes for fast playing, and the Custom JJ pickups yield a wide variety of tones from low lows to punchy trebles. This good-looking bass guitar goes for just under $500.
10. Epiphone Thunderbird
When it comes to bang for your buck, this is the bass to consider. This iconic bass really packs a punch through its two Gibson TB Plus humbucking pickups and neck-thru design. The result is killer bass growl without all of the noise. And each of the premium pickups has its own volume and tone control, so you can really hone into the sound needed to truly rock. With a tapered neck, this bass is super playable, has ridiculous sound, and can be found for just around $499.
So there you have it, ten bass guitars under $500. If you’re on the hunt and are looking for solid reviews on guitars or basses, we recommend checking out musiciansfriend.com or sweetwater.com. Both sites offer customer reviews and rating, giving you some real good tips and info. Of course, it’s always best to check out instruments in your local music shop so you can really find what’s best for you. Alright, now it’s your turn. What basses did we forget to mention? What are your favorites for under $500? Let us know!
By John Lombard