Best Cheap Bass Guitar - 2024 Guitarsite Selection

The quality of affordable bass guitars is improving due to advancements in technology. As a result, you get the best cheap bass guitar, with features exceeding their price range.

Check out these top-budget bass guitars, perfect for beginners and budget-conscious musicians alike!

Student Friendly
yamaha trbx304

Yamaha TRBX304 Bass

For the price, this bass has solid construction, good playability and versatile tone options. A testament to Yamaha's commitment to quality and performance.

Affordable 5-String
Sterling By Music Man StingRay RAY5

Sterling StingRay RAY5 5-String​

This gives you a good quality 5-string guitar in the entry level price range. With good built quality that translates to good playability, tuning stability and tone.

Best Overall
squier classic vibe 60s precision bass

Squier Classic Vibe '60S Precision Bass

An affordable homage to the iconic Fender Precision Bass from the 1960s. This cheap P Bass boasts vintage aesthetics, along side familiar playability and tone.

Iconic Bass Design
epiphone viola bass

Epiphone Viola Bass

Inspired by Paul McCartney's iconic bass guitar, this gives you the same eye-catching viola style aesthetics, and pop friendly tone, at a more accessible price point

Best Short Scale Bass
Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II

A short-scale bass guitar that offers classic Gretsch bass tones and their distinct aesthetic style in a compact package. Impressive quality for the price.

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There are now plenty of good quality bass guitars that you can get without straining your budget. 

These are perfect for novices who are just beginning to venture into the realm of low frequency sounds. 

But  even experienced musicians who want an affordable back-up instrument will enjoy the benefit. I for one am genuinely surprised at  the playability, sound, and overall quality of some of these cheap bass guitars.

Here we feature the standouts from among the entry-level bass guitars, based on our decades worth of experience, and our extensive research on the current market favorites. 

Incidentally, the best cheap basses featured here cover a wide range of styles, from classic designs to modern, and come from a good mix of brands. 

We’ve divided our selection into two categories: Standard Scale Basses (over 30.5″ scale length) and Short Scale Basses (30.5″ and lower)

Sweetwater

The Best Cheap Bass Guitars: Standard and Short Scale

Standard Scale Basses

Yamaha TRBX304

Best Student Friendly Cheap Bass Guitar

yamaha trbx304

Yamaha TRBX304 Bass Guitars

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Yamaha TRBX304 Bass Guitar is a testament to Yamaha’s commitment to quality and performance. It features a solid construction and versatile tone selection.

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The Yamaha TRBX304 showcases Yamaha’s dedication to quality and performance. It’s a great bass guitar with a solid mahogany body and sculpted construction. This offers a balanced and comfortable playing experience, ideal for long jam sessions or gigs.

The TRBX304’s 5-piece maple/mahogany neck construction provides stability and enhances the guitar’s sustain. Meanwhile, you’ll be pleased playing with its satin polyurethane-finished neck, which adds to its smooth feel and makes it easier to play across its 24 frets. 

Combined with the rosewood fingerboard and medium fret wire, you can expect a responsive and dynamic playing experience.

This bass is equipped with two YGD-designed M3 ceramic humbucking pickups for a versatile range of tones.

It also has Yamaha’s Performance EQ active circuitry. This 5-way performance EQ tone circuit allows instant access to various stage-ready tones. 

It’s like using a stompbox effect, but this one’s integrated with the guitar itself. This gives you the control to shape your sound to your liking. The downside to active basses is the need to regularly replace or recharge the battery.

The Yamaha TRBX304 bass guitar is a great, reliable, and performance-ready cheap bass guitar.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Neck: Maple/Mahogany 5-Piece Satin Polyurethane Finish
Body: Mahogany
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Scale Length: 34″
Nut Width: 2.22″
Fingerboard Radius: 10″ (250 mm)
Frets: 24
Pickup: Double Coil / Ceramic
Bridge: Fixed
Controls: Master Volume, Pickup Balancer, 2-Band EQ(Bass,Treble), 5-Position Lever Switch

Sterling Stringray Ray5

Affordable 5-String Bass

Sterling By Music Man StingRay RAY5

Sterling By Music Man StingRay RAY5 5-String Bass Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The StingRay RAY5 bass guitar by Music Man features versatile tone options. It’s a comfortable bass guitar, making it a dependable choice for tonal versatility and playability.

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The Sterling by Music Man StingRay RAY5 bass guitar is designed to offer five string low end expansion at a modest price point. 

And it’s not just about being a cheap five string bass, rather its ceramic humbucker and 2-band active preamp deliver a punchy, clear tone.

The RAY5 is constructed of a hard maple neck and either a hard maple or jatoba fretboard. It’s got 22 medium frets and an easy, playable 12″ neck radius. This slim neck profile and ergonomic design ensure comfortable playing that you’ll appreciate whether you’re a pro or a beginner.

Hardware-wise, the StingRay RAY5 has a fully adjustable heavy-duty bridge and open-gear tuning machines, which ensure stable tuning and intonation.

And because it has 5 strings, you can reach lower frequencies with this bass guitar. This is ideal for playing heavier genres or songs.

The Sterling By Music Man StingRay RAY5 is a reliable option if you’re looking for a quality, versatile bass guitar.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Neck: Hard Maple
Body: Jabon / Basswood
Fingerboard: Hard Maple / Jatoba
Finish: Satin
Scale Length: 34″
Nut Width: 1.77″
Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
Frets: 22
Pickup: H – 1 Ceramic Humbucker
Bridge: Fixed
Controls: 2-band Active Preamp 1 x volume, 1 x treble, 1 x bass

Squier Classic Vibe '60S P Bass

Best Cheap Bass Guitar Overall

squier classic vibe 60s precision bass

Squier Classic Vibe '60S Precision Bass Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Precision Bass is an homage to the iconic P Bass from the 1960s. It boasts vintage aesthetics and tone, all wrapped in a comfortable design.

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As a tribute to the iconic P Bass from the 1960s, Squier created the Classic Vibe ’60s Precision Bass Guitar. This bass guitar is designed to capture vintage aesthetics and deliver a tone reminiscent of the original P Bass.

Compared to Fender basses like the Jazz Bass, the Classic Vibe ’60s Precision Bass is known for their clarity and mid-frequency punch. That has a lot to do with the instrument’s Alnico split-coil pickup.

Regarding playability, the Classic Vibe ’60s P Bass has a slim and comfortable “C”-shaped neck profile. It provides a smooth playing experience. However, its vintage-tint gloss finish might be worth noting if you’re picky with neck finishes.

This bass guitar has an Indian Laurel fingerboard with narrow-tall frets, which enhances its playability and intonation.

Additionally, the vintage-style bridge with threaded saddles of the Classic Vibe ’60s allows for adjustable string spacing. This provides an optimal setup and period-correct style.

The Classic Vibe ’60s Precision Bass comes with rich nickel-plated hardware and 1960s-inspired headstock markings to add to its vintage charm. This durable hardware enhances the instrument’s aesthetic appeal and ensures reliable performance and tuning stability.

The Fender Classic Vibe ’60s Precision Bass is a good new bass to get for beginners or for experienced musicians who want a quality yet accessibly priced instrument.

Overall, this is a reliable instrument, paying homage to the golden era of electric bass guitars. Its punchy tone is iconic for fueling many hits over the decades.

Note that there are cheaper options like the Squier Affinity Jazz Bass, but they aren’t as impressive as this one in terms of quality. 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple – “C” Shape
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Scale Length: 34″
Nut Width: 1.685″
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″
Frets: 20
Controls: Volume, Tone
Bridge: 4-Saddle Vintage-Style
Pickup: Split Single-Coil

Short Scale Basses

Epiphone Viola Bass

Best User-Friendly

epiphone viola bass

Epiphone Viola Bass Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Epiphone Viola Bass Guitar is a vintage-inspired instrument paying homage to Paul McCartney’s iconic bass guitar. It features nice tone controls, making it an excellent choice for musicians seeking classic aesthetics and tones at a reasonable price.

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Epiphone presents the Viola Bass Guitar as a nod to the classic instrument made famous by Paul McCartney. It offers vintage aesthetics and tones without breaking the bank.

Its hollow maple body and short-scale neck give it that vintage Höfner 500/1 vibe. Add a flame maple finish and chrome hardware to complete the whole look.

In terms of sound, the Viola Bass Guitar is equipped with two mini-humbucker pickups that deliver a warm and dynamic tone reminiscent of Paul’s iconic bass sound. It gives you access to classic tones for pop bass, and similar styles.

In addition, it has individual neck and bridge volume controls and a master tone control, so you can easily dial in your preferred sound.

On the hardware side, you have premium tuners and a compensated saddle bridge for tuning stability and intonation. 

To add a vintage charm, it is fitted with the Viola Scroll tailpiece, while the adjustable truss rod allows for easy adjustments to suit your playing style.

The Epiphone Viola Bass Guitar is a good option if you’re looking for a bass guitar with vintage, eye-catching aesthetics and tone.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body: Maple
Neck: Maple
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
Fingerboard: Okoume
Scale Length: 30.5″
Nut Width: 1.65″
Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″
Frets: 22
Controls: Neck Volume, Bridge Volume, Master Tone
Bridge: Compensated Saddle
Pickups: NYR Mini Humbucker

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II

Best Short Scale Bass

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II Bass Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II Short-Scale from the Electromatic Collection is designed to offer classic Gretsch tones and style in a compact package. This is a reliable option for vintage-inspired sound and comfortable playability.

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From Gretsch’s Electromatic Collection comes the Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II Short-Scale. This bass guitar is designed to deliver classic Gretsch tones and style in a more compact package. The shorter 30.3″ scale length makes it really comfortable to play, and it does not compromise on the signature Gretsch tone.

The G2220 is constructed with a basswood body and a bolt-on maple neck to achieve a solid and resonant tone while remaining lightweight. Pair that with a laurel fingerboard with a 12″ radius and 20 medium jumbo frets, and you get an instrument with smooth playability, ideal for soloing.

The Gretsch single-coil bass pickups deliver articulate tones. For tone shaping, it also has a three-position pickup toggle switch and knobs for the master volume and tone control.

In terms of hardware, you have a four-saddle adjustable bridge and die-cast tuners with a chrome finish for reliable performance and tuning stability.

It has a black plexi pickguard with a white Gretsch logo to add a vintage touch.

Be aware though that because this is a short scale bass, the bass extension might not be as deep as longer scale basses.

The Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II is a solid choice for a short-scale guitar. It’s got that vintage Gretsch touch in a small package.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body: Basswood
Neck: Maple
Finish: Gloss
Fingerboard: Laurel
Scale Length: 30.3″
Nut Width: 1.56″
Fingerboard Radius: 12″
Frets: 20
Controls: Volume and Tone
Bridge: 4-Saddle Adjustable
Pickups: Gretsch single-coil bass pickups

Ibanez miKro GSRM20

Easy Playability

Ibanez miKro GSRM20

Ibanez miKro GSRM20 Bass Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Ibanez miKro GSRM20 Bass Guitar is a compact and comfortable option. This small bass is ideal for players who want a guitar with balanced tones and smooth playability.

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If you’re in the market for a compact and comfortable bass guitar, the Ibanez miKro GSRM20 is a solid choice. This is a nice beginner bass guitar with a maple neck and a poplar body. The maple neck and body give the guitar a balanced tone with a lightweight feel.

The Mikro GSRM20 looks sharp with its bound purpleheart fretboard and white dot inlays. Plus, it’s got 22 medium frets for smooth playability.

The GSRM20 is equipped with a Dynamix P neck pickup and a Dynamix J bridge pickup, both passive. This setup offers a decent range of tones, enough for laying down simple bass tracks for your mix. At the same time, the B10 bridge allows for adjustable intonation and solid tuning stability, which is always handy.

The Ibanez miKro GSRM20 Bass Guitar is a practical choice if you want a compact bass guitar. It is ideal for beginners or those who simply want an easier bass to play.

 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple
Finish: Gloss
Fingerboard: Bound Purpleheart
Scale Length: 28.6″”
Nut Width: 1.49″
Fingerboard Radius: 13.78″
Frets: 22
Controls: Tone, 2 x Volume
Bridge: B10 bridge
Pickups: Dynamix J bridge and P neck pickup

Things to Consider in Choosing the Best Cheap Bass Guitar

Budget

Are cheap bass guitars worth getting? The answer is a big YES – given the great value and quality of what you can get in the entry to mid-tier market.

All the bass guitars featured here are budget-friendly, and are already at a high level of quality and performance.

While it would be ideal to save up for expensive basses or for the one premium dream bass that you want, it’s not the most practical option.

Construction and Comfort

If you’re an gigging bassist, look for a bass guitar that can withstand the demands of practice and performing. 

You also need to consider comfort while playing and when carrying the instrument around. You don’t want unnecessary stuff to worry about like discomfort while playing.

This is the reason why heavier basses (vintage models) aren’t the best for long sessions.

 

Tonal Versatility

Pickups and electronics significantly impact the tone of electric instruments. Choose a good bass that meets your needs, whether a simple single-tone control or a more complex tone control with a pickup selector toggle switch.

Hardware Quality

 High-quality tuning pegs, bridges, and tuners ensure the tuning stability of your bass guitar. A bass has to not only sound good but do so for a very long time.

Playability and Setup

 Consider the neck profile, fretboard radius, and overall bass guitar setup. A good bass will have an easy-to-navigate neck.

Size and Scale Length

The size of the bass guitar affects its tone. Standard-scale basses produce a fuller tone and can reach lower frequencies. They are larger and bulkier. On the other hand, a shorter-scale bass guitar produces a lower mid-tone and is easier to carry due to its smaller size.

Aesthetics

 Choose a bass guitar that resonates with you and fits your music. A bass guitar that looks the part on stage adds a lot to your overall “vibe.”

Brand Reputation

Cheap instruments may have less desirable features due to cost-cutting. Choosing established brand names ensures a certain level of quality control and consistency. But don’t count out bass guitars that are gaining popularity like the Harley Benton Bass, and other cheaper bass guitars.

 

Conclusion:

The best cheap bass guitar is one that is soft on the wallet, but hard on quality and reliability.  And it doesn’t have to compromise aesthetics, since there are plenty of good designs to choose from.

You should also consider additional features when evaluating the value of a bass guitar. The versatility that you get from some basses make them worth more than you’ve paid. 

Like any instrument, a bass guitar is a tool for creative expression. The absence of a high-end instrument shouldn’t hinder your ability to express yourself. The bass guitars on this list are more than enough to do the job.

Alexander Briones

Lead Author

Jerome Arcon

Contributor: Research and Supplemental Writing

1 thought on “Best Cheap Bass Guitar – 2024 Guitarsite Results”

  1. Bass guitar
    danica

    When selecting for bass guitar, it is essential to read reviews about the instrument. This can serve as your guide about the guitar when it comes to materials used and specifications.

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