10 Best Bass Guitars 2021: top 4-string and 5-string bass

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If you have a big one in your pocket and are looking for an upgrade to something more premium, or trying to find a first economical guitar to practice slapping, we have what you need!
Choosing a double bass is not easy, especially as manufacturers improve the production of great instruments at lower prices – the choice is breathtaking.

However, atGuitar Fella, we have our team looking for high and low some of the best lows on the market today. We categorize them into convenient categories, so you can quickly find the right one for you, depending on your budget, skills and tastes.

Our Top Pick

Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Best Bass Guitar To Buy In 2021

Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10 Best Bass Guitar Review

Bestseller No. 1
Glen Burton GB150BCO-BK Electric Bass Guitar, SG-Style, Black
  • Solid Alder Body; Bold-On Neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • P & J Pickups
  • Chrome Die cast Machine Heads
  • Includes: Strings, Picks, Gig Bag, Strap, Digital Clip-On Tuner, Truss Rod And 15 Watt Amplifier
SaleBestseller No. 2
Goplus Electric Bass Guitar Full Size 4 String with Strap Guitar Bag Amp Cord (Black Bass 4 Straps)
  • 🎸 Stable Quality & Fashionable Design---The electric bass is constructed with a wood body, it features solidity so that you can play it freely. The durable bass will stand up to years of wear and tear. With a polished surface, the bass looks smoother and more shiny. Besides, There are black & white and blue & white two colors for you to choose, it can satisfy your different aesthetics.
  • 🎸 Better Tones & Good feelings---The electric bass delivers a smooth tone for you, it is ideal choice for rock and roll, you can use it to play the blues, and everything else in between. The natural, bright sound of the bass complements the warm sounds of the solid wood.
  • 🎸 Bass Travel Bag Easy for Carrying---The electric bass comes with a travel bag, so you can take your bass to your lesson or anywhere you want. You can lift or carry the bass with straps. The bag designed with zip closures, you can also keep your music score or accessories inside conveniently.
  • 🎸 Great Gift & Quality Customer Service---The electric bass is a great gift for new, aspiring musicians or bass enthusiasts with fashionable design, reasonable price and excellent quality. Our professional teams not only offer qualified products with favorable price to our customers, but also great customer service.
  • 🎸 Complete Accessories---The electric bass is fully equipped with accessories The package is include 1×Electric Bass, 1×Bass bag, 1×Shoulder Strap, 1×Bass pick, 1×Amp Cord. When you receive the bass, you can play it directly.
Bestseller No. 3
Bass Guitar For Dummies
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Pfeiffer, Patrick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 382 Pages - 06/29/2020 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 4
Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015 Mint Green Electric Bass Guitar
  • Wide, Chunky Maple neck
  • Classic Ibanez body style
  • Dynamic P & J pickups
  • Ibanez custom 2-band EQ offers a variety of tonal options
Bestseller No. 5
Ibanez GSRM 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Starlight Blue (GSRM20SLB)
  • Fast, slim Maple neck
  • Compact, light-weight Body
  • Dynamic P pickup
  • The Package Dimensions of the Product is 8.5"H x 51"L x 21"W
SaleBestseller No. 6
Best Choice Products Acoustic Electric Bass Guitar - Full Size, 4 String, Fretted Bass Guitar - Black
  • ACOUSTIC-ELECTRIC BASS: Equipped with a 4-band EQ-7545R guitar preamp to produce high-quality sound for beginners and pros alike
  • RICH, RESONANT SOUND: The wood composition creates a beautiful sound, great for unplugged jam sessions or performances
  • 4-BAND PREAMP: Built-in volume control, a 4-band equalizer adjusts bass, middle, treble, and presence
  • FOR BEGINNERS OR PROS: Ready to use right out of the box, it's perfect for beginning guitarists or professionals who want to practice on-the-go
  • BEAUTIFUL FEATURES: Crafted with an attractive inlay, chrome die cast tuners, and a glossy finish
SaleBestseller No. 7
Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right, Walnut Flat (GSRM20BWNF)
  • Fast, slim Maple neck
  • Compact, light-weight Body
  • Dynamic P pickup
  • Short Scale 28. 6"
SaleBestseller No. 8
Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar, Right Handed, Black (GSR200BK)
  • One piece maple neck
  • Rosewood fret board
  • Pearl dot inlay
Bestseller No. 9
How To Play Bass - Learning From James Jamerson Vol 1: An 80-20 Device Method Book For Bass Guitar
  • Wolfe, Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 103 Pages - 08/15/2021 (Publication Date) - How To Play Bass Dot Com Ltd (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 10
Vintage Bass Guitar Headstock for Bassist and Bass Player T-Shirt
  • This retro colors design shows a cool Bass headstock with tuning machines in vintage style. It's perfect for all bass guitar and double bass lovers. A great present for every Low Ender or Bass Dude who Bass Guitars.
  • This Vintage Bass Guitar Headstock for Bassist and Bass Player Design is awesome for adults, men, women, kids, boys and girls. A great gift idea for Christmas, a birthday, or any other anniversary.
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem

Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What makes a good bass guitar?

There are a whole bunch of different things that go into making a great bass guitar, but the things that make a great bass guitar for you may be things that make a bass guitar mediocre for other musicians.

But, one of the main components that go into creating a great bass guitar is the choice of woods that are used to make the body and the neck of the guitar. On cheaper bass guitars, you’re going to find bodies comprised of basswood or alder; the more expensive the guitars are, you’ll begin to find other woods incorporated, such as maple, swamp ash, and mahogany.

While the woods used on your guitar shouldn’t be the defining point of the choice you make in your guitar, they should be one of the reasons that you do look into specific guitars.

How to find a good bass guitar?

Make sure that when you’re shopping around for a guitar, that you do your research for all of the benefits that a specific type of wood has to offer to you. As an example, guitars that are comprised of swamp ash produce a bright sound, whereas guitars that are comprised of mahogany will provide musicians with a warm sound.

You should also take time to research the type of wood your guitar is comprised of for your physical benefit; if you plan on traveling with your bass guitar and spending a lot of time standing on stage, you should look into a guitar that’s made from a lighter wood so it not too heavy for you to play.

At the end of the day, no matter what the woods, the electronics, the pickups, or how many strings your bass guitar has, you shouldn’t face any instrument with any prejudice. Pick your bass guitar based off of what you think sounds best, regarding instruments in your budget. You can’t go wrong with a bass guitar that you enjoy the sound of! Check out our guide on the best guitar strings and how to pick the right one for your guitar.

What’s the difference between active pickups and passive pickups?

The type of pickup that your bass guitar has will also define what type of sound your instrument produces. If you are a musician who is looking for the classic warm, vigorous sound with a dynamic range of tonal production, you’re going to want to look for a guitar that has passive pickups.

However, if you get your hands on a bass guitar that have a set of active pickups installed, you’re going to get yourself bright, clear, bell-like tones.

These tones will be especially prevalent if your guitar comes with built-in preamps, as the overall volume output is larger when being compared the overall volume output of a passive pickup. Active pickups are typically a favorite in the guitar community, typically because they also don’t have to interact with a lot of interferences or background noise.

When coming time to choose your bass guitar, the choice of an active or passive pickup will be a choice you’re going to have to make based on your personal preferences. As said earlier, make sure that you play around with a few different guitars before making a final decision on any one instrument.

Should I buy new or used?

Again, it’s really all up to you on whether or not you’d like to purchase a new or used bass guitar. When you purchase a new bass guitar, you’re more than likely going to have the security of a warranty from the company. On top of purchasing a new bass guitar, you’re also going to be purchasing the full set-up, so you’ll be ready to start playing as soon as you’ve completed your purchase.

Purchasing a used bass guitar, no matter what the price tag is, is going to be a bit riskier. However, this risk can be a great payoff if you end up purchasing a gem of a bass guitar and didn’t have to spend a whole lot of money on it. If you do happen to be purchasing a used bass guitar, make sure that the purchase is going through an online or physical guitar store that has a good reputation.

Getting an instrument from a flea market, yard sale, eBay, or thrift store can be a lot larger of a risk, especially if you aren’t able to test out your instrument when it’s hooked up to an amp and you won’t have the ability to make returns.

The best piece of advice that I give to all musicians who are looking to purchase a new guitar is to take some time and try out a whole variety of different guitars to find an instrument that you truly love.

While a new guitar may be a little more expensive in the beginning, if you end up purchasing a used guitar from a seller that isn’t reputable, you can be out hundreds or thousands of dollars by trying to make repairs on a mediocre guitar.

Type

Electric

Though it is technically one of the more modern types of bass guitar, the electric bass is by far the most common bass guitar played today. This is mostly due to the fact that a traditional acoustic bass guitar is incredibly large, and a modern acoustic bass guitar cannot generate the volume most players prefer, especially those in a band with a drummer. The downside to an electric bass is that you require an external power source as well as an amplifier to play it. Aside from the fact that this can often significantly increase the overall cost of your instrument, it also limits where you can play your bass guitar as locations without electricity are not really an option.

Acoustic

There are, broadly speaking, two subtypes of acoustic bass, but only one type of an acoustic bass guitar. Though the upright bass is a stringed instrument, it should not be confused with a “guitar,” as they produce two completely different effects. While both are low-toned, the upright produces a deeper, richer sound and is significantly more expensive than an acoustic bass guitar. The materials used are far more important for the quality of sound in an acoustic bass guitar than they are for an electric. That said, acoustic bass guitars are more specialized in their use and have a smaller market, which depresses their price making them cheaper than most other types on average.

Hybrid

This is the most recent development in the bass guitar type category and is pretty much what it sounds like: a combination of the two main types of bass guitar. It is worth noting that what you get in versatility, you give up in overall sound quality because few musicians of any skill will say that a hybrid bass guitar sounds as good at either modality than the specialized bass guitar made for it. However, for a musician who plays a wide variety of genres in just as wide a variety of settings will appreciate the ability to move quickly from one to the other without having to purchase and transport multiple instruments. That said, hybrid bass guitars, while providing the most versatility, also have many of the weaknesses of either type.

Materials

Any reputable bass guitar will be made of wood throughout the body, neck, and top, but the specific type of wood used will affect the type of tone generated. This is based on how the tone vibrates throughout the bass guitar’s body and runs the gamut from favoring the lower tones to favoring the brighter ones. That said, most beginning bassists cannot really tell the difference between the sound of different woods, though more experienced players often can.

Mahogany

This is by far one of the most popular types of wood used for bass guitars due to the fact that the medium density enables this wood to accentuate the lower registers naturally. For the overwhelming majority of bass guitar players and genres of music, this is the preferred sound.

Maple

Maple is pretty much the opposite of mahogany in terms of how it affects the tonal quality, producing instead a brighter sound that favors the higher registers. This type of sound is an excellent option for technical bass guitarists who are far more likely to use the higher octaves than a bassist playing pop music.

Alder

Alder is another type of wood that produces a brighter sounding tone, but it is not used as much for the body with bass guitars. Instead, alder is far more common to be used along the neck due to how well the wood resonates and transfers the tone.

Strings

  • 4 – This is the standard configuration for a bass guitar, regardless of its type, and is easily the overwhelming majority of bass guitars used, professionally and by amateurs. There are many incredibly accomplished bassists who rarely ever pick up a bass guitar with more than 4 strings. Considering that the bass guitar is primarily a rhythm instrument, a smaller range was not, and still is not, considered a hindrance. This arrangement has a low E and a high G and is appropriate for all but the deepest or the most technical styles of music.
  • 5 – This was once a bass guitar played almost exclusively by jazz musicians but was considered unpopular by most other mainstream genres of music when first developed because the 4 string bass guitar offered much of what the 5th string provided by down tuning. However, like rock music, in particular, began to develop heavier and heavier subgenres, the 5 string bass guitar has once again become more popular. This arrangement is generally not any more expensive than a 4 string, but it will require a more skilled musician to play without ignoring a string in the beginning properly.
  • 6 – The standard guitar has 6 strings, but the 6 string bass guitar is actually a fairly recent development. Following the wholesale failure of the 5 string bass guitar when first released, some jazz musicians appreciated the extended range but wanted more. In 1975 the first 6 string bass guitar was released and would eventually evolve into the current design used today. Though made for and played by jazz musicians, the 6 string bass guitar is a popular choice for any highly technical genre where the bass will solo. The 6 string bass guitar differs from the 5 string bass guitar by offering an octave lower as well as an octave higher than the standard 4 string bass guitar.

Design

Precision

The precision bass guitar is technically a Fender design, but it has endured and remained one of the most common and popular designs used by most bass guitar manufacturers. This design is noted for a center of gravity weighted towards the body and a neck that remains the same width throughout the shaft. This design allows the musician to basically “set it and forget it” when it comes to the functional movements of playing but can make it more difficult to play more technical pieces. The precision bass also uses a split 4-pole single-coil pickup, though it is worth noting that this makes the bass sound ‘punchier’.

Jazz

The jazz bass guitar is another design based on an early Fender bass guitar that has simply become an industry standard. The jazz bass guitar differs from the precision bass guitar by centering its gravity more weighted towards the neck for easier control of the body. On top of that, the jazz bass guitar also features a tapered neck which starts thicker near the body and thins out towards the head. This allows the musician to have better control over the strings and neck as they play. The jazz bass guitar also differs from the precision by using dual 8-pole humbuckers as opposed to the split pickups, which provides the jazz bass guitar a richer sound rather than a punchy one.

Hollowbody

This design is exclusively reserved for acoustic and hybrid bass guitars, which generate their sound through resonance rather than amplification. That said, strictly acoustic bass guitars are becoming more and more uncommon due to the fact that their sound is difficult to hear in even a small accompaniment. If drums even exist within 15’ of an acoustic bass guitar, you can no longer hear the stringed instrument. That said, there are some acoustic bass guitars that include small piezoelectric pickups to naturally amplify the resonance and increase its volume without an electric amplifier.

Pickups (Electronics)

Passive

While there technically are two types of electronics, active and passive, you will definitely want to look for active electronics over passive ones. Passive electronics basically use powerful magnets to pick up the signal generated by the strings. This allows for a number of problems, but the two most common and impactful are an increase in noise and a condition called string pull. Because the magnets have to be so powerful, there really is no way around these issues outside of using an EQ to turn down the octaves you are not using.

Active

Active pickups are unquestionably better than passive pickups in virtually every way except for the fact that they require an active power source, generally a battery. For one, active pickups use significantly weaker magnets and then boost the signal once it is received. This allows the electronics to provide a much better and clearer tone than passive electronics. That said, old habits die hard, and a fair number of players still prefer passive electronics, likely because it is the sound they are used to. Still, active electronics allow for a much more precise signal than passive electronics and is ideal for highly technical players.

Pickups (Type)

Single-Bolt

The pickup is essentially the part of the bass guitar that transmits the signal from the string to the guitar’s electronics. The first and most basic type of pickup is the single-bolt, though unlike with the pickup’s electronics, there is not a clear winner. In this instance, it is due to the fact that the single-bolt pickup provides a clearer tone, which is often vital for highly technical music. However, single-bolt pickups are also known for producing far more noise than the more advanced Humbucker. This means that you will need a noise gate somewhere along your chain to reduce this effect.

Humbucker

The humbucker pickup is fairly similar to the single-bolt in terms of its mechanism and construction. Basically, a humbucker pickup contains dual-bolts which each generate an opposing signal. This allows the humbucker to cancel out the noise while still keeping the original signal intact. On top of that, this also generates a much thicker sounding tone, though this is often not considered ideal for highly technical music. On the other hand, the various pop music genres often use distorted bass, and the humbucker is an ideal pickup for this sound.

What To Look For In The Best Bass Pickups?

Deciding on an adequate bass guitar may be challenging, especially if you’re inexperienced so let’s break down what to search for:

Audio

Audio is crucial, which is problematic when purchasing online. Fortunately, with all the marvels of modern technology, you can typically locate a movie or two of the version you’re considering in action.

However, it’s vital to keep in mind that this is subject to their recording capacities and the compression of the video-sharing system.

The sound you need is very much down to individual taste and somewhat subjective, with the view changing from 1 individual to another. The sound you need is also biased towards the fashions of music you like playing or wish to play with this.

When purchasing online, it’s essential to consider the terminology used to describe the noise of this tool so listen for a gritty, bluesy bass along with a glowing popping bass are just two different timbres.

How well the version is made and the elements used inside your bass’s digital components may radically impact the audio quality. If you shop at a price level over a minimum of $250-$300, you need to find there’s a relative amount of quality concerning the sound.

There are a few exceptionally economical choices on the market, but unless you’ve got a minimal budget, you ought to be a bit cautious as shortcuts might have been taken.

You may decide on a mix pickup to provide you more scope within the design of the tool and shape the sound through an amplifier once the signal was delivered from your device.

It’s also reasonable to say you can alter the pickups at a later date. You can, in reality, provide the bass a whole overhaul concerning its hardware.

Comfort

Among the most crucial things to consider is your playability. The amount one reason that individuals quit playing with the bass is how uncomfortable they’re to perform.

For starters, they’re generally much thicker than the usual guitar, along with the excess weight o the shoulder could be problematic.

They have more immense fret distances and thicker strings, which adds up to a more demanding time around the palms, requires a great deal of strength and the will to maintain it.

Having low actions can assist with this from the get-go, even though it’s crucial to keep in mind that it requires a whole lot of devotion to creating the calluses as time passes.

Having the ability to correct the action using a truss rod and flexible bridge can, hence, be a valuable thing to elect for.

The neck has to be straight and nicely machined from great compact wood. Some people today would rather have a thinner neck to provide them more excellent protection.

Choosing frets or forgo them and selecting a fret-less bass guitar is actually down to taste. We’d suggest a newcomer gets a fretted bass because it provides an unambiguous indication of where every semitone is combined every series and is essential if you have a little playing experience.

Size and Size

You’ll need to settle on a size before you even consider anything else. If you’re a younger participant or some petite person, you may wish to think about shorter scale bass, then a full-size bass has a long neck and maybe a small stretch in the shallow end of their neck, and let us face it, bass will be really for playing with the bass notes.

Possessing a neck too long to your height can make it sit back in your neck or shoulder dip. As you fix your normal posture to compensate because of its size, you might suffer from neck, shoulder, and backache consequently.

Appears

The design will quite frequently weigh when creating a tool buy; however, the aesthetics should not be given top priority.

Types of Bass Strings

There is a wide variety of strings for electric bass guitars. Each type has its own unique influence on tone, ease of playability, and durability. Although there is a lot to be said for high-end bass strings, simply buying expensive strings doesn’t mean greater player satisfaction. The best thing you can do is to become familiar with string construction, materials, and gauges. From there, compare string size sets, and pricing to start experimenting. This knowledge will guide you to the strings that can give you an optimal playing experience.

Should you read online reviews? Online reviews have some value for learning. Keep in mind that reviews are rarely written by an expert. Even comments among the best bassists of all time may differ. The bottom line is you have to find what works for you.

Bass String Basics

Bass Strings Materials and ConstructionAll bass strings have a core wire which has another wire tightly wrapped around it. The core wire is either round or hexagonal. The external wire is round nickel or stainless steel wire. Some external windings (wire wraps) have coatings

Bass String Core Wire

Per the Strings and Beyond website, “Guitar Strings used to be made with round cores, but high production manufacturing made it hard to wind the strings efficiently using the round cores. The introduction of hex cores allowed for more efficient manufacturing and more consistent string winding tension.”1. In terms of playability, round-core strings are more flexible while hex-core feels stiffer.

There are sound and tone differences between round core and hex core. Generally, round-core strings have a more rounded bottom and softer highs, whereas hex-core strings have a brighter tone. Hex-core strings are believed to offer improved tuning stability over round-core strings.

Helpful Tip: Do you want to promote optimal tuning stability when installing new bass strings? Simply make a very short 90-degree bend at the point where you cut the string. This mitigates slippage between the core and the outer wraps.

Roundwound Bass Strings vs Flatwound Bass Strings

Roundwound bass strings are made with a round outside wire wrap covering the inner wire core. By comparison, roundwound strings are a bit brighter than flatwounds. When sliding your fretting hand, roundwound strings have a noticeable texture. With roundwound strings, there’s often a noticeable sound when sliding your hand over the strings.

Flatwound bass strings are made with flat outside wire covering the inner wire core. By comparison, flatwound strings deliver a tone that is darker and warmer than roundwounds. When sliding your fretting hand, flatwound strings feel very smooth. With flatwound strings, there is virtually no noise when sliding your hand over the strings.

Bass String Gauges and Tone

The sizes of your strings play a key role in shaping your tone. The website MusicRadar.com states, “As regards playability, generally lighter gauges are great for slap bass or fast leads, whereas a weightier set will give you fatter tone for heavy metal, modern RnB and for down tuning.”.3 The top 3 popular bass string sizes, in order of popularity, are 45-105, 50-110, and the basic 40-100. Many beginners, short-scale basses originally have a set of light gauge strings (.040 .065 .080 .100). Long-scale most often has 40-100 or 45-105 string sets. Manufacturers do not necessarily use the same combination of string sizes to create a “set of bass strings”.

What Size Are My Strings?

How do you know what size strings are on your bass? Most bass players simply “buy a standard size set of strings”. This works most of the time but you really do need to know you’re installing sizes that fit your net slots. The best way to determine the size of your strings is to use a 0-1″ micrometer (digital caliper) that measures in the thousandths of an inch. Although not really practical for non-techs, we recommend the sold by StewMac.

Before Changing Bass String Sizes

Changing string sizes means changing the tension on your neck and may mandate modifying tour nut’s string slots. The change in tension will have some level of effect on the action. Adding or decreasing tension impacts the control the truss rod has on relief. Installing heavier strings in slots that do not allow for free movement can cause tuning problems. This may require If you decide to change to heavier strings the nut slots on your bass may need to be widened. Then, if you decide to go back to lighter strings, you may need to replace your nut to regain thinner slots. Before changing string sizes you should carefully evaluate the full ramifications. If you’re chasing a specific tone, you’re just going to have to bite the bullet and go for it. The comforting news is few bass players decide to revert back to lighter strings.

The Final Word

As you’ve seen, there are many things to consider before buying a new bass, whether it’s your first or tenth!

In general, the best advice we can give is to spend some time reading about, watching videos on, and trying out different basses to really find something you love.

At the end of the day, you’ll be parting with anything from a couple of hundred bucks right up to over a grand, so you want to ensure the bass you end up with is the perfect one for you.

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