Top 10 Best Bass Guitar Brands Reviews (2018) With Buying Guide
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument that is mainly played by use of the fingers or the thumb. It resembles the electric guitar both in construction and appearance but has a longer neck as well as the scale length.
Additionally, it has between four and six strings or courses. It is a transposing instrument since it is notated in the Bass clef that is at an octave higher than the actual sound to prevent excessive ledger lines.
Just like the electric guitar, it too comprises pickup and as such needs to be connected to the amplifier and the speaker to enable the sounds to be audible enough. The best bass guitar may be played by popping, plucking, thumping, tapping, or picking it using a plectrum.
40 x 3 x 12 inches
47.8 x 3.7 x 17.9 inches
2 Split Single-Coil Precision Jazz Bass pickup
52 x 4 x15 inches
Alnico Classic Plus™ Humbucker pickups
56 x 9 x 21 inches
The Basic History of the Bass Guitar
The earlier versions of the bass guitar were produced as early as the 1930s. The Seattle-based musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc was the first to develop an electric string bass which was the predecessor of the present day bass guitar.
It was later improved in 1935 with the introduction of the solid-bodied, four-stringed, fretted electric bass instrument that had a scale length of 30 1⁄2-inches (775 mm).
Later on in the 1960s, two another musicians Leo Fender and George Fullerton, jointly mass-produced the first electric bass guitars. More manufacturers (bass guitar brands) ventured into the field of bass guitar manufacturing after the surge in rock music popularity in the 1960s. These included the Teisco, Yamaha, and Guyatone.
The 1970s and the 1980s saw radical improvements in the developed and design of the bass guitars. These included the introduction of headless bass guitars in 1979, the establishment of a template for high-end bass guitars in 1971, and the introduction of the TransTrem tremolo bar in 1984, to mention but a few!
How To Choose The Best Bass Guitar
Bass guitars come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and functionalities and are hence suited for different tasks, purposes, and occasions. This means that a guitar that may be suited for a concert may not offer much relevance to a practicing session, and vice versa. It is, therefore, necessary to familiarize oneself with the various factors to consider in order arriving at a more appropriate purchasing decision.
Listed and explained below are some of the factors to consider while making a purchase:
1. Price and Financial Resource Endowment
Each user ordinarily has his financial muscle which determines the price, quality, and quantity of any given product he may eventually purchase. Moreover, these bass guitars also cost varying amounts of money and may thus limit the choice of any would-be user. A such, each user ought to factor his financial strength versus the cost of the respective bass guitar of choice to arrive at the appropriate purchasing decision.
2. Body Type
There are three main kinds of bass guitar bodies namely the solid wood body, the hollow wood body, and the acoustic-electric body respectively. The solid wood body is often made of wood and is contained in the simplest forms of the bass guitars.
The hollow wood body, on the other hand, is hollow inside, as the name suggests, and utilizes magnetic pickups to generate the needed tone. The acoustic-electric, on the other hand, share much semblance to the acoustic guitars and utilizes in the piezo pickups to generate and amplify the tunes. The right body type has to be identified and acquired to see to it that the guitar is as suitable for the purpose intended as possible.
3. Intended Use and Users
Different users have different skill levels. They may also intend to use the guitars for varied tasks and purposes such as rock concerts, orchestra, choirs, and general practices e.t.c.
It is necessary that each user ascertains his skill level to see to it that the guitar that is subsequently acquired is as relevant as possible to his level of expertise. The intended use should also be clearly delineated to ensure that the guitar bass that s so acquired does not at all become superfluous.
4. Bass Bridge
It is at the bridge that the guitar strings terminate. It is also at this spot that the vibrations are generated and subsequently transmitted to the body to create the resonance and the tones which the pickups eventually capture and subsequently amplify.
The ideal bass bridge should be one that is made of weighty materials such as brass, Nickel Silver, and polished Chrome to ensure a stable anchor. The bridge should also be flexible enough to enable seamless and hassle-free adjustments to vary the intonation and the actions appropriately.
5. Bass Body Construction and Design
Given the fact that the various components of the guitar’s body play a crucial role in determining the quality of the tones produced as well as the overall lifespan of the guitar itself, it is imperative that a would-be buyer familiarizes himself with these too.
- Neck – It is the narrow protrusion that is found at the extreme end of the bass guitar. It comprises the fret board, headstock, and the truss rods that attach to the body of the guitar.
- Headstock – This is the wider portion of the bass guitar that is found at the top of the neck. It is where the strings terminate at the tuning pegs. These tuning pegs are the ones that adjust the tensions of the respective strings and thus altering the pitch thereof.
- Fretboard – Also called the fingerboard, it is basically a small thin piece of wood. Frets, that are basically small pieces of narrow metals, are embedded onto these boards. It is these frets that determine the specific keys that may be played at any given time.
- Truss Rod – The truss rod protects and prevents the necks of the bass guitars from twisting or bending unnecessarily. They are thicker than the guitar strings and generate lots of tension at the necks of the guitar.
- Bass Scale Length – This is the distance between the nut and the bridge of the guitar. As a general the longer the scale length, the higher the number of frets that may be attached to the guitar, and vice versa.
Differences Between Passive And Active Pickups
For a start, a pickup is simply a transducer or a device that converts mechanical vibrations into an electrical signal and the other way round.
In guitars, the pickup captures the mechanical vibrations that are produced whenever the strings are plucked and convert those vibrations into electrical signals that are subsequently amplified to produce the necessary musical sounds.
There are two main kinds of pickups, namely, the active and the passive pickups. They are vastly different. Those differences are highlighted and discussed below:
Source of Power
Active pickups may operate without a battery and are such, energy efficient. The passive pickups, on the other hand, require batteries or any other electrical source of energy to generate the needed power. They are thus more expensive to operate in the long run.
The signals that are generated by the active pickups are less prone to outside interference and are also very quiet. Those that are generated by the passive pickups, on the other hand, are vulnerable to such interferences by virtue of being relayed by the physical cables.
With active pickups, it is possible to vary the output and the equalizer of the pickup by altering the parameters of the preamp. This is not possible though with the passive pickups. Consequently, the active pickups are more effective in their roles of enhancing the quality of the guitar sounds.
Top 10 Bass Guitar Reviews:
1. Ibanez GSR200 Electric Bass Guitar Reviews:
For a start, the Ibanez GSR200 4-String Bass is a very hot little bass guitar that features a nice balance and feel but which is available at a very friendly price. It generally embodies a simplistic appearance and is as such suitable for beginners and those who are intent on sharpening their guitar playing skills. Explained below are some of the top benefits of the guitar as a whole:
On the whole, the guitar weighs only 9 pounds (4 kg). It is thus very light to carry around and deploy to the desired location of use. Those who are constantly on the go as do those who lack plenty of muscle power may, therefore, find it a relevant companion.
Easy to Use
It is very simple and convenient to engage the various parts and components of this guitar. This is possible due to the fact that the guitar lacks several sophisticated components that require too much skill. As such, this is the guitar of choice for beginners and those who may be intent on sharpening their playing skills.
Simple & Catchy
As has already been hinted out, the guitar lacks the various sophisticated features that are present in other models. As such, it is generally easier to master and comprehend. Users of all the various skill levels will, therefore, find it very convenient and easy to use.
It is also designed in a way to appeal to the eyes of those who behold it. It has curved contours and a glossy black finish appearance. Both of these confer added aesthetics to the rooms wherein they are stored or kept.
2.Yamaha TRBX305 PWT 5-String Electric Bass Guitar Review:
Power and optimal output are two key traits of the ideal bass guitar. They are the ones that determine the efficacy of the bass guitar in discharging their core roles. As such, any guitar that has the potential to exude both of them is highly desirable. This Yamaha TRBX305 PWT is one such example. Explained below are its key traits.
It features very advanced designs that strike a balance between sound, comfort, and style. These make the guitar a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to all of a guitarist’s needs. It also means that the users are granted all the benefits of the modern day guitars in one comprehensive package.
The guitar comprises powerful control features that have the ability to effectively engage the various parameters of the guitar. These include the active EQ circuits, exclusive stage-tuned and ultra-musical features. The players of these guitars are thus assured of seamless management of their guitars at all times.
It's bass neck is very slim, strong, and pretty fast. All these traits are indeed crucial and also grant the players the benefits of extreme playability of the guitar. Users are not all required to strain to produce the desired pitch, tone, or loudness of the musical notes. The bass guitar may hence be used for longer without the feeling of boredom or fatigue.
This bass guitar also has certain performance-ready features which enhance the player’s overall musical experience. They expedite the processes of engaging the guitar, simplify the playing process, and generate the needed notes with ease.
3. Schecter Stiletto Custom-4 Electric Bass Review:
The need to be conspicuous and stand out of the crowd during a concert or presentation is very necessary especially in case of a contest. For this to happen, the bass guitar in use has to be made of very elegant, noticeable, and breathtaking materials and finishes. This Schecter Stiletto Custom-4 Electric Bass fits this bill perfectly well, as shall be deduced from its benefits discussed below:
The exterior of the bass guitar exhibits a natural or the Vampire-red satin maple-top and a gold or black exterior hardware. These finishes confer great aesthetics to the bass guitar and enable the players to clearly get noticed while on stage during a live performance.
Precision and Strength
This guitar is also precise in its configuration and perfectly resilient to the common elements of wear and tear. Due to these, the guitars may be controlled effectively to exude the needed notes, tunes, and tones without much strain on the part of the players.
Variety of Notes and Sounds
It is available in the 4-string, 5-string, and the 6-string configurations respectively. For this reason, it may generate a wide variety of notes, tones, and sounds. This variety is very crucial as it means that the guitar may be utilized in a variety of performance, concerts, and shows. It is indeed a worthy purchase.
4. Squier by Fender Vintage SS Modified Special Jaguar Bass Review:
For those guitar players who are on the lookout for the comfort of a short-scale musical instrument, this bass guitar is theirs for the taking. It is large yet light, super slim, very handy and quite easy to play. Moreover, it is highly versatile in the sense that it may be used in varying conditions and for various proposes. Highlighted below are its top benefits:
Distinctively Sharp Look
Its exterior body is finished with very glossy and breathtaking materials. This confers great and breathtaking looks to the users and the audiences alike. For this reason, the guitar may be utilized on stage to attract the attention of the audience.
The guitar generates superior musical tones. This stems from its smooth playability owing to the smooth strings that offer almost no resistance when plucked by hand. The tonal pitch is not only clear but is high enough to be heard from a far off distance.
Great Comfort and Fantastic Value
Users are assured of maximum comfort at all times. The guitar may be suspended on the shoulders for long without the feeling of fatigue thanks to the padded handles. Moreover, the bass guitar’s highly versatile nature means it returns maximum value to the amounts so invested.
5. Epiphone Goth Thunderbird-IV Electric Bass Guitar Review:
The lovers of class are not left out either. This Epiphone Goth Thunderbird VI bass is designed with class and prestige in mind. It is, as a matter of fact, the best selling bass in its price class.
A shall be seen from the ensuing bass guitar review, it contains several elegant features that make it a pricey and worthy possession indeed. Highlighted and explained here under are its top notch traits:
Its body is made of the tough Mahogany hardwood that is pretty resilient to the common elements of tear such as flames, scratches, rotting, and abrasions. This means it may be relied upon to discharge its functionalities without any unnecessary hindrances. This also spares the users of constant repair and maintenance.
The fretboard of this bass guitar is made of Rosewood that is famed for producing natural fragrances. This means, that besides discharging the duties of holding the strings and the bridge together, the fretboard also exudes certain naturally-relaxing fragrances that soothe the users.
Its exterior is finished by the clean, pitch-black finish. This serves as a protective barrier against the unnecessary penetration of moisture and water. It also confers great and breathtaking appearances to the users and the audience alike.
The bass guitar is very light. It weighs a paltry 12 pounds (5.4 kg) and is as such convenient to carry around. This trait also enables the users to carry it for long without feeling tired or bored. This is the guitar to settle on in the event of longer concerts.
6. Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series Review:
Operational efficiency is by far the most important feature or trait of the bass guitar of choice. That’s because it guarantees that the core business or purpose of the guitar shall be accomplished perfectly well, as desired. This bass guitar is indeed intended for this very purpose. As shall be seen in the ensuing review, it is very efficient in discharging its functions.
Classic Body Lines
Its body lines comprise the classic layouts, signature tear drop pickups, and other great finishes. These features enhance the appearance of the body and with it, the attendant benefits of breathtaking views and conspicuous looks on stage.
Humbucker Pickup with Active Electronics
This guitar’s Humbucker pickup filters noise by driving the generated sound through the 9V-powered active preamp. Moreover, the active controls also enable the volumes of the sound produced to be varied either upwards or downwards as desired.
"3 + 1" Tuning Key Arrangement
This tuning key arrangement makes it very fast and convenient to set the required tune, note or scale of the guitar. It is accurate, easy to engage, and very precise. As such any inconsistencies that may naturally compromise with the quality and nature of these parameters are kept at bay.
The guitar’s 6-bolt neck is very strong and stable. It holds the string and the bridge perfectly in place. This prevents the loosening of the string and with it, any distortions in the quality of the musical notes produced.
7. Crescent Electric Bass Guitar Starter Kit Review:
Reliability is very crucial in case the hopes of mitigating unnecessary inconveniences are to be realized. That’s where this best beginner bass guitar comes in. It is designed in such a way as to ensure reliability.
This is made possible by the sheer fact that it is suited for users of different skill levels, ranging from beginners to the intermediate, and finally to the advanced players. As such, it may find relevance throughout the lifetime of a player.
The guitar is able to carry out various music related tasks and purposes. The entire set consists of a starter amp, an amp cable, a gig bag, additional strings, a pick, a shoulder strap, and a tuner. These accessories enable its functionality to be extended.
All factors considered, the bass guitar is very cheap and affordable. Its acquisition does not at all inflict unnecessary financial strains onto the users and is hence a worthy purchase.
Moreover, it is also accompanied by a generous manufacturer’s warranty that further lessens any financial burdens on the parts of the players and users.
It is possible to vary the volume and the bass power of the sounds so produced. This means that the desired blends and sound quality may be achieved at any given time. This is a guitar not to overlook in case the intended use is in concerts and musical competitions.
Low Power Consumption
The electric bass guitar consumes negligible electrical power. This results in low utility bills. Consequently, it may be used for longer without the fear of incurring unnecessarily high utility bills.
8. ESP LTD B-205 Fretless Spalted Maple 5-String Bass Guitar Review:
Excellent sound quality and long term reliability are two core traits that any guitar player may want to leverage at any given time. They are the niches of this bass guitar. As shall be deduced from the review below, this guitar is constructed and intended for these benefits and purposes in mind.
Extra Low Growl
Due to its possession of the low B-string, it generates high-quality sound that is devoid of any growls. This negates boredom, nuisance, or any other issues that may arise out of poor sounds. On the flip side, the sounds so produced are very exciting to the ears.
Expressive Tone Machine
This feature enables different tunes and genre to be played seamlessly. This means the guitar may be used for various occasions and in several concerts also. It is hence a very worthy and convenient purchase indeed.
Its body is adorned in a translucent finish that accentuates the beautiful grain patterns that are fair to behold indeed. This brings along great aesthetics that enhance the appearance of the guitar. This stylish appearance further bestows a sense of pride and prestige to the users of the guitar.
Excellent Body Construction
The guitar’s body is primarily made of the Swamp Ash and contains the Spalted Maple top. These materials are very tough yet stable enough to guarantee long term reliability throughout the utilization of the guitar.
9. Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar Review:
Regular guitar players may inevitably require a bass guitar that is tough and quite resilient to the associated elements of wear and tear. The ideal guitar for such a situation ought to be impervious to moisture, resistant to scratches and peel offs, and strong enough to withstand bending of whichever nature. This is where this Dean E09M Edge Mahogany Electric Bass Guitar comes in. Its body is made of the tough Mahogany hardwood. Below are some of its top features:
Its body is constructed and finished with Mahogany that is quite tough and long-lasting. The Mahogany finish confers great looks and also ensures a longer lifespan. The users of the guitar may thus count on it to deliver for longer.
Those who intend to utilize the guitar in playing musical tunes that entail plenty of movements may count on this one. It comprises the dean-design neck joints as well as the asymmetrical 4-bolt pattern. Both of these traits ensure that the movements of the players are not at all restricted throughout its usage.
The body of the guitar is contoured to grant as much comfort as possible to the players. This bass guitar may hence be utilized for longer without the need or feeling of fatigue. Moreover, this feature also enhances the overall playing experience.
Elegant Maple Neck
It neck features the speedy maple neck that contains a rosewood fingerboard and the classic abalone dot inlays. These greatly facilitate the plucking of the strings and also generate high-quality tones and musical sounds.
10. Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Bass VI Review:
The generation of complicated tunes requires a guitar that has effective control mechanisms. It is only in this way that the quality of the tunes so generated may not be compromised and may also be as closer to the desired outcomes as possible.
This bass guitar, which is the subject of the review that follows, is intended for these specific purposes in mind. Below are some of its unique selling points:
It is packed with several features that enhance and facilitate its controls. These include the 2-position slider switches, the black plastic control knobs, and the non-locking floating vibratos. The players are granted the leeway to determine the quality of their tones as much as possible. This of course produces musical tones of very high quality.
The body of the guitar is contoured to fit seamlessly onto the player’s main body. This brings along the benefits of added comfort, greater convenience, and effective handling and controls of the guitar altogether.
With a weight of only 13 pounds (5.9 kg), the guitar is light enough to be carried around and handled with ease. For this reason, it may be used for longer without necessarily inducing a feeling of fatigue on the part of the players.
Amazing Sound Output
The quality of the sound so produced by the guitar is amazingly high enough. The sound is devoid of any growls, is of crisp clear pitches, and may also be varied in loudness. This is the guitar of choice in case the intended area of use is concerts and high quality production.
How To Play Bass Guitar Correctly
The typical bass guitar may be played by adhering to the following main steps or procedures:
Suspend the Guitar on Your Body
The first step is to suspend the guitar on your body accordingly. Do this by placing the string that holds the guitar around your neck. Make sure that all the crucial parts and components of the guitar such as the strings, fretboard, and bridge are easily accessible by your hand and eyes.
Place yourself at a Proper Posture
Choose which posture you prefer. Do you want to play the guitar standing or seated? Either case, you will have to find a nice posture that will not subject you to fatigue or boredom and which will also allow you to play the guitar hassle-free.
Tune the Guitar Appropriately
Tune the guitar accordingly. Set it to comply with the required scale, notes, time interval, and other instruments if available. This may require some professional advice or support, especially in case you are new to the field of guitar playing. Make adequate arrangements to have these services provided for in advance.
Pluck the Strings in accordance with the desired tune
Do you want to pull the strings by hand or by use of a pick? Answer this question appropriately and then proceed to pluck the strings. Pluck the strings thereafter using the appropriate method or item and in line with the desired tune.
Repeat the above Procedures
In case you are a beginner in the field of guitar playing, you may have to repeat the procedures above for some time in order to sharpen your guitar playing skills.
How To Take Care A Bass Guitar
The proper care and maintenance of the bass guitar entail the adoption of certain practices and the refraining from several other practices also. They are explained below:
Some of the various care and maintenance practices include but are certainly not limited to the following:
- Dust the fingerboard, the neck, the body, the fretboard, and all the other parts of the bass guitar to rid them of dust, grime, and oils from the hands of the players.
- Examine the bass guitar regularly to identify any cracks or splits and make arrangements for any repairs timely.
- Be sure that the frets are neither seated, pitted or damaged and that the fingerboards are well-nourished with oil at all times.
- Straighten the neck of the guitar from time to time using the truss rod
- Flush the plates with wood and check that the screws are fitted securely
- Lubricate the machine head gears periodically to ensure their smooth functioning
- Inspect the machine covers to ensure that they are neither dented nor damaged and that they are fully functional at all times.
- Inspect all the electrical components such as the connections, pickups, switches, and plugs are in the best shape and form always.
- Fasten all the joints such as pickups, bolts, and other movable components.
- Avoid exposing the bass guitar to moisture such as rain, snow excessive humidity levels or sleet.
- Keep the bass guitars stored in a cool dry place devoid of any possibilities of fluctuations in external temperature.
- Loosen the strings prior to storage and ensure that the bass guitar is encased in its storage casing before any storage.
- Keep the base also in its casing whenever it is not in use.
- You are also advised to utilize the guitar on a regular basis to help maintain the tautness of the strings and lengthen the overall lifespan of the guitar.
- Keep the guitar away from any inflammable substances such as cooking gas, naked electrical wiring, and cooking stoves.
The subject matter of best bass guitar, as may be deduced from the review above, is pretty broad. It may hence not be exhaustively discussed in a single review of this kind. Certain aspects of the pieces of information that are contained or provided for in the discussions above may also not hold in the long run.
As such, the review above should merely be treated as the launching pad or starting point for future research. It is also necessary that the would-be buyer conducts a thorough due diligence prior to making a purchase for the best decision to be arrived at.
In the meantime, why not buy at least one bass guitar? Please hurry, because these guitars may diminish in quality or surge in price in case of any delays. We look forward to receiving your expression of interest as soon as is practically possible!