Cheap Bass Guitar Roundup
The quality of cheap bass guitars is on an upward trend as technology makes more efficient materials and construction methods available.
Whether you are just starting out or you are simply looking for a good deal, we have picked out the best among the bargain priced bass guitars to help you make the right choice.
Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass 70's
With its killer looks. superb tone and impressive hardware, we consider the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass '70s as the best cheap bass guitar. Its maple body and neck convincingly mimics the look and feel of old 70's era Jazz Bass guitars, resulting in a versatile instrument that is easy on the eyes, on your hands and on your ears. The hardware installed follows the vintage theme, including the tuners, 4-saddle bridge and 3-ply pickguard. The key to the great tone of the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass is its 2 single-coil Duncan Designed JB101 Jazz pickups, they give authentic vintage Jazz bass tones without the hefty price tag, and many are impressed. Beginners who start out with this bass will be easily satisfied, while professionals will find this inexpensive bass to be a worthy and reliable back-up. Retail Price: $300. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
Yamaha knows how to balance affordability and quality, so it is not surprising to find that the RBX170 sits in the sweet spot where quality and cheap goes hand in hand. Instead of just copying traditional designs, the RBX170 comes with its own ergonomic shape that helps improve playability and aesthetics. For its price, the build and hardware quality is quite impressive, much like Yamaha's other student level instruments. This bass is designed to handle the abuse that students and beginners are expected to bestow upon it. Rounding off its features, Yamaha equipped this bass with a unique pickup combination - a split style pick-up on the neck and a J-style pickup on the bridge, which gives off a broader set of tones. If you are looking for a cheap jack-of-all-trades bass, then this is it. Retail Price: $180. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
Epiphone Viola Bass
The Epiphone Viola Bass is a tribute to the instrument that was popularized by bassist/singer/songwriter extraordinaire Paul McCartney. It carries the vintage look, feel and tone - without the vintage price tag. Its hollow maple body and short scale maple neck follows the elegant look of a vintage Höfner 500/1. Completing its vintage appeal is its flame maple finish and chrome hardware. To match its classic vibe, Epiphone equipped this bass with two mini humbucker pickups, producing a warm tone that is strikingly similar to the sound of the iconic bass used by Paul. This instrument also benefits from modern materials and building construction, so it is more durable and affordable. Thanks to Epiphone, you don't have to spend too much to own a stylish classic bass. Retail Price: $299. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
Sterling S.U.B. Series Ray4
The Sterling Sub Ray4 is an affordable version of Musicman's popular StingRay bass guitars, it gives beginners and budget conscious bassists a chance to experience a stripped down version of one of the most popular bass guitars in the market. The Sub Ray4 features the same formula as the classic StingRay series including low noise humbucking pickup, active electronics, solid hardware and it also copies the exact same look. Unique to this entry level bass guitar is an onboard battery powered 2-band preamp. It lets you have unprecedented control over your volume, bass and treble, including full cut & boost of bass & treble frequencies - making this one pickup instrument surprisingly flexibility. If you are just starting to learn bass, or you want to try the StingRay designed at a budget friendly price, this is a great instrument to test the waters. Retail Price: $279. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
This entry-level bass guitar from Ibanez does away with the bells and whistles to focus on playability and high output sound. As expected from an Ibanez made instrument, the main selling point of the GSR100EX is its top-notch playability. The GSR4 neck profile simply makes playing less painful and more enjoyable, which will inspire students to practice more. Its mahogany body also helps with its a deep cutaway for conveniently reaching the upper frets. Instead of trying to compete in terms of tone versatility, Ibanez was wise enough to focus on a niche market that other entry-level instruments miss out on - the need for modern and high output bass tones. The Powerpole Dual coil pickup will please future rockers, giving sounds that can match their playing style, attack and speed. Retail Price: $180. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
SX Ursa 4 JR RN 3TS Short Scale Bass
The SX brand is gaining quite a following with their use of quality tone woods while remaining ridiculously cheap - their guitars are used widely for project instruments and modifications. Thankfully, they make bass guitars cheap as well, and the SX Ursa 4 JR RN 3TS Short Scale Bass is an excellent example. With a price tag of just over 100 bucks, you get a solid alder body that looks like a smaller Jaguar body, wrapped with a beautiful 3-tone-sunburst finish. Interestingly, it comes with a smaller and comfortable maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. It has a short-scale length of 30", which is ideal for young bassists or those that prefer a neck that is shorter than the average bass. Although the two J-bass style pickups are already good on its own, its cheap price tag will ensure that you have enough change to buy good replacement pickups - which will greatly improve the performance of this affordable bass guitar. If you are looking for a worthy bass guitar to experiment pickups and various modifications on, this is highly recommended. Retail Price: $139. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.
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