Best Beginner Bass Guitars in 2019 – Top 9 Reviews and Guide

As a guitarist, I had several false starts during my learning years. My biggest problem was choosing the right bass guitar. I spent hundreds of dollars on worthless guitars hoping they would make me a star of some sort. Guess what? I was wrong. I soon learned two lessons. One, practice makes a star, not a certain guitar, and two, that even a skilled player will sound poor on the wrong instrument for their style.

Fast forward, I have gained significant experience in guitar selection as I have sampled quite a number of them. So, I can tell you straight up what kind of bass guitars could work magic for you as a beginner.

In this review, I will reveal the best beginner bass guitars, and I hope you will now be able to make a firm decision.

Our Top Pick

If you’re a little short on time, the Fender Mustang PJ Bass is my top pick in this category. It’s a simple-to-play guitar with a double pickup feature that is suitable for Jazz and Funk music. It is beautifully designed and has a classic tone to it. I’ve reviewed it more in-depth first below for your convenience.

 

 

The Best Bass Guitars for Beginners

Fender Mustang PJ Bass – Best Overall Product

Deriving its acclaimed PJ abbreviation from the smooth jazz pickup of a Fender J and a Fender P split pickup, this is one of the most sought-after beginner bass guitars in the market. It was an easy choice for my top pick—that’s for sure.

 

Key Features

  • Three-way toggle pickup switch
  • Hardtail four-saddle bridge
  • PJ pickup configuration
  • “C” shaped neck design
  • Short scale length (30-inch)

 

What I Like

You won’t find another four-string bass guitar that’s easy to play and packed with a soft tone that can match your sonic requirement like the Fender Mustang PJ Bass.

This short-scale bass guitar lets you exploit the revered P Bass and J Bass pickups in your Jazz and Funk music performances. Perhaps this explains why it’s popular with bands around the world.

Fender Mustang PJ also has a stylish look and feel of a classical guitar as it is made with a fretboard and incorporates a maple neck design.

 

What I Don’t Like

Compared to other bass guitars for beginners, this particular model is quite expensive, and as a result, may put off some buyers.

 

 

Pros

  • Feels good to play
  • Easy tuning and amplification
  • Good for practice
  • Sound quality is great
  • Appealing classic look

 

Cons

  • Shorter scale results in a reduced speaking length
  • Cutaways are not extensive

 

The Fender Mustang PJ Bass is a compact bass guitar that looks and sounds great. It’s suitable for small-handed players who want a playable and visually-appealing bass guitar for their Jazz or Funk performances at an excellent price.

 

Overall Rating: 9.6/10

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Ibanez GSR200 Electric Bass

The GSR200 four-string is a sexy little bass with an Agathis body, and it offers a fantastic balance and feel for a pocket-friendly price. It’s suitable for musical performances that require multiple pickups.

 

Key Features

  • Split-coil and single-coil pickup
  • Jatoba fretboard
  • Fully adjustable bridge
  • Active EQ with PHAT-II bass boost
  • Medium frets
  • One-piece maple neck

 

What I Like

The GSR200 has a nice cutaway that makes it easy for guitarists to access the upper frets for tonal variation. Using the dual P and J pickups, they can switch between sounds and even blend theirs in their Rock performances.

Shop around, and you’ll realize this is one of the inexpensive guitars available to beginners. You won’t have to save for years to buy the Ibanez GSR200 Electric Bass Guitar.

The GSR200 is a stylish guitar available in a variety of colors—you have the freedom to choose a color that suits you. This aspect might not affect playability, but it’s a nice bonus.

 

What I Don’t Like

Starting with its parts, some of them look flimsy and low-grade parts. The frets are also not only rough but jagged. You could injure your hand if you’re not careful while playing, though you could also have them filed. The pickup isn’t that great either.

 

Pros

  • Comfy one-piece maple neck
  • Sound quality is great
  • Versatile and inexpensive
  • Highly playable

 

Cons

  • Finicky tuning
  • Rough, jagged frets
  • Natural unfinished wood

 

The Ibanez GSR200 comes with a solid wooden body and a nice cutaway that makes it easy to explore a range of tones. It’s suitable for learners who want to practice, and at the same time, explore the world of Rock n’ Roll.

 

Overall Rating: 8.6/10

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Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass

Drawing much of its fame from notable pop bands such as The Beatles, the Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass is not a new entrant to the league of top bass guitars. This bass guitar has a distinct classical tone reminiscent of the iconic sounds and chart-topping music of the 1950s.

 

Key Features

  • Standard and mini-humbucker
  • Solid mahogany body
  • EB “SG” style bass
  • Vintage feel and look
  • Ebony, cherry colors
  • 34-inch scale

 

What I Like

The crowning glory of this bass guitar is its playable neck that’s also fast. It also comes with two innovative pickups. You can use the standard humbucker, which is the main pickup, or the mini-humbucker serves as the alternative pickup.

It’s also a versatile guitar that comes with electrical set up structures that make it easy for beginners to adjust and play different tunes. Whether you are looking to play some Blues or Rock n’ Roll, you will need just one guitar, the Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass.

The manufacturer has done a fantastic job with the exterior design, and the outcome is a classic 50s guitar look with an excellent sound to boot.

 

What I Don’t Like

Though it’s a good learning guitar, the EB-3 SG Bass has an uneven sound. The other thing is that it’s not cheap. Its high price may scare away beginners who are either still learning or kick-starting their musical careers.

 

Pros

  • Solid mahogany body
  • Maple neck
  • Multiple pickups
  • Classic shape
  • Smooth, sweet sound

 

Cons

  • Not cheap
  • Thin neck width

 

The Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass is a great classical tone guitar for anyone who’s looking for a playable guitar with a good feel. However, beware of its weight distribution and heavy top.

 

Overall Rating: 8.3/10

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Yamaha TRBX174 Electric Bass

The chrome colored TRBX174 also makes it into my list of the best bass guitars for beginners. It’s yet another example of Yamaha’s powerful string instruments known for their advanced designs, precise engineering, and longstanding craftsmanship.

 

Key Features

  • Nice cutaway
  • 34-inch scale length
  • Vintage style bridge
  • Full 24 frets
  • Four strings

 

What I Like

With the TRBX174 you get everything you could want from a Yamaha bass guitar at a fantastic price. It also comes with 24 frets that contribute immensely to its sound. So, you can explore a range of sounds and get creative with your songs.

Made from solid Mahogany, the Yamaha TRBX174 Electric Bass is a tough beginner’s guitar that can serve you and the succeeding crop of beginners for years to come. It can also hit all the high tones as it comes with a well-positioned cutaway, and it’s easy to learn fast and handle when practicing or playing.

 

What I Don’t Like

If you’re a volume fanatic, you may not benefit by using this guitar as it’s not an active pickup bass. The Yamaha TRBX174 lacks volume and can quickly fade out when louder instruments are playing in the background.

 

Pros

  • Solid mahogany construction
  • Glossy polyurethane finish
  • Fast action maple neck
  • P/J pickup arrangement
  • Comfortable body

 

Cons

  • Shallow pickup volume
  • Awful packaging

 

The Yamaha TRBX174 Electric Bass is a good beginner guitar for any learner who likes high tones but doesn’t mind the low volume level. It comes with a comfortable body that supports progressive styling.

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Ibanez AEB5E Acoustic-Electric Bass

If you’re looking to add a full sounding bass guitar to your collection, the Ibanez AEB5E is a worthwhile addition. This round low-end guitar is suitable for beginners who want an acoustic-electric model that lets them practice on their own or perform in a band.

 

Key Features

  • Mahogany back and sides
  • 32-inch scale
  • Four strings
  • Ibanez piezo pickup
  • Chrome diecast tuners

 

What I Like

The Ibanez AEB5E comes with a hollow department that produces a pure and natural sound. Its great mellow tunes can add a layer of warmth to any musical performance, and the action is great. In addition, it has no dead spots, and its frets don’t create buzzing.

As a beginner, you also do not need to pair the Ibanez AEB5E with an amp to play it. You can use it to practice for as long as you like before getting on stage alone or with a band.

 

What I Don’t Like

On the flip side, handling the Ibanez AEB5E can be a tricky affair as it is pretty thick. The other thing is that its scale is two-inch shorter than a typical bass. The acoustics are slightly quieter than other models too.

 

What I Don’t Like

Expect some level of discomfort when handling the AEB5E as it is pretty thick. As a result, it may take a bit of time to get used to the thickness when playing a bit.

 

Pros

  • Natural acoustic sound
  • Rosewood bridge and fretboard
  • Comfortable feel
  • Amp-less practice
  • Suitable for recording

 

Cons

  • Requires regular tuning
  • Uncomfortable to handle

 

Whether amplified or not, the Ibanez AEB5E Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is ideal for beginners and performers looking for a playable bass guitar with low-end resonance. However, handling it can be tricky as it’s quite heavy.

 

Overall Rating: 8.2/10

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Yamaha TRBX304 Electric Bass

Yamaha makes its second entry into our review list of the best beginner bass guitars with its TRBX304 Electric Bass. A versatile bass guitar, this model is suitable for learners who are looking to explore multiple genres.

 

Key Features

  • Hum-canceling design
  • Double cutaway
  • Solid mahogany body
  • Vintage-style bridge
  • 34-inch scale length
  • Maple neck

 

What I Like

The Yamaha TRBX304 Electric Bass comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that expresses your character and love for music. It’s easy to adjust the tone of this guitar, too, and thanks to its double-cutaway feature, the TRBX304 bass guitar lets you play the treble-friendly tone or the bass-heavy tone.

This instrument also offers unmatched comfort when handling, which translates into better playability. What’s more, is that it gives you the freedom to innovate and create different sounds.

 

What I Don’t Like

Since the TRBX304 is only a four-string, it doesn’t let you explore a range of tones. This can make your performances shallow and dull.

 

Pros

  • Fun to play
  • Comfortable to handle
  • Beautifully finished neck
  • Tuners work great
  • Good pick up

 

Cons

  • Four-string
  • Fret buzz

 

The Yamaha TRBX304 Electric Bass is a well-balanced bass guitar with solid electronics. It will benefit beginners who are looking for a super-durable yet easy to play guitar with mellow tunes.

 

Overall Rating: 8.4/10

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Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass PJ

The Squier is a simple, classic guitar with a dual-pickup. It not only looks and feels great to handle, but it’s easy to play too. You will enjoy its tonal versatility and get an exceptional sound while strumming it.

 

Key Features

  • Sleek precision bass form
  • 21-fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Vintage-style bridge
  • Standard single-coil jazz
  • 1-year warranty

 

What I Like

I love the exceptional tone and sonic power of this vintage-style bass guitar. It comes with a split-P single-coil in the neck and a J-style single-coil in the bridge. The advantage of this structure is that it gives you tonal variability. Also, the Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass PJ comes with a nice cutaway that can hit high pitches with ease.

You have a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard that makes it easy for you to switch between tones. Use this guitar consistently, and you will be playing like a pro in no time.

 

What I Don’t Like

This guitar’s finish scratches easily, and that doesn’t jive well with perfectionists like me. The other thing is that the pickup guard is prone to damage. Unless you are extra careful, it’s going to cause you problems.

 

 

Pros

  • Comfortable to play
  • Tunes very well
  • Five-way pickup switch

 

Cons

  • Flimsy pickup guard
  • Loose screws

 

The Squier by Fender is a low-cost bass guitar that’s easy to adjust and play. It allows you to explore a range of tones and offers impressive sound quality.

 

Overall Rating: 8.6/10

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GoPlus Electric Bass

Goplus is a functional bass guitar that looks good and feels great to handle. You can use it for practice or regular performances. Tucked under your left arm, it will belt out beautiful tunes.

 

Key Features

  • Fashionable design
  • Better tone and feel
  • Chrome diecast tuners
  • Classical body style
  • Full set of accessories

 

What I Like

Goplus produces a deep and warm sound plus smooth tones that will add a layer of warmth to your performances. It has a solid wooden body and can stand years of rough handling without showing wear or falling apart. It’s a looker, too, the surface is polished and smooth. Whether you choose black and blue or blue and white, you will love its aesthetics.

Since it comes with a beautiful set of accessories, you won’t have to buy other items separately, either. Your package includes a carrier bag, shoulder strap, amp cord, and bass pick.

 

What I Don’t Like

Having used this one for a while, I can tell you for certain it’s not one of the most straightforward guitars to tune. You may need to get a pro to help you out the first few times.

 

Pros

  • Deep and warm sound
  • Comfortable touch feel
  • Easy to carry
  • Complete set of accessories

 

Cons

  • Hard to tune
  • Poorly packaged

 

If you’re looking for an electric guitar with a stylish look and a deep warm sound to spruce up your performances, go for the GoPlus Electric Bass.

 

Overall Rating: 8.2/10

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Davison Guitars Full Size Electric Bass

As a teacher-approved electric bass guitar, Davidson makes it easy for self-learning guitarists to practice and hone their skills on their own. It’s comfortable to handle and comes with everything a beginner could want.

 

Key Features

  • Full-size 45-inch bass guitar
  • Contoured body
  • Includes amp case and strap
  • 22 frets

 

What I Like

When you buy this guitar, you will get a full set of accessories that allow you to set up your guitar and start playing right away. Your package includes an amp and a cute carrier bag.

I know I have listed many guitar models in this review. However, none comes close to this model in terms of ease of learning. So, don’t pass up the chance to get such a beautiful guitar that lets you practice at your pace.

I also love the high gloss blue finish of this guitar. You’re sure to stand out from a crowd—or band—with this model.

 

What I Don’t Like

Many players have complained of protruding frets on this particular guitar that have to be filed before use. A few people even managed to cut themselves playing.

 

Pros

  • Full-scale bass guitar
  • Durable diecast tuners
  • Good for self-learners
  • Bundle package

 

Cons

  • Protruding frets
  • Flimsy gig bag

 

The full-size Davidson guitar is suitable for self-taught bass guitarists who are looking for low-cost bass guitars with a nice bundle of accessories.

 

Overall Rating: 8.0/10

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What to Consider Before Buying a Beginners’ Bass Guitar

From the moment I started playing bass guitar, I thought I knew everything. These days, though, I realize there’s always something left to learn about bass guitars—I can’t teach you all the tricks. What I will do is share what I have learned that could help you make a firm buying decision. Follow the guidelines below, and you’ll never go wrong in your selection of any bass guitar.

 

Accessories

Though it might not be high on the list of things to consider when shopping around for the best bass guitar for beginners, accessories remain a crucial aspect of buying a guitar. Their cost will vary from one vendor to another, but most commonly you will find vendors, including the carrier bag as well as cables you will need to use with your guitar.

Generous vendors will include an amplifier as part of the accessories that come with a guitar package. When shopping, consider what you have back home and then determine what else you need on top. The bottom line is, go for a guitar that includes all essential accessories.

 

Versatility

As a beginner, it will help if you try out different genres from time to time. This is going to help you learn more and at the same time get you grounded in a particular kind of music (as your skillset grows).

I strongly recommend that you get a versatile bass guitar, preferably one that will let you explore different music genres with much ease and eliminate the need to switch between guitars. This will save you money as you won’t need to buy two guitars.

 

Ease of use

How easy was it for you to play the last guitar you bought? Keep that question at the back of your mind each time you go shopping for a bass guitar. Ideally, a good guitar should be easy to set up and use. Avoid any guitar that appears challenging to use. It’s going to give you a headache and discourage you from learning and applying your knowledge.

 

Size

The size of the guitar is going to impact your level of comfort when handling it, and how well you are going to play it. If a guitar is too thick or too big, it will be hard to play. That’s because you will focus on balancing the weight of the guitar instead of what you are playing. Additionally, if you’re playing a heavy guitar that doesn’t have a strap on it, you are more likely to drop and damage it.

 

Price

I always look at the price tag before I buy a guitar, and I encourage you to that as well. A good guitar should be right on the money, but still have a blend of features. Though you may not have enough cash to buy the guitar of our dreams, you can still get a decent and affordable guitar that does the job by comparing prices.

 

 

Differences between Acoustic Vs. Classical Guitars

As a beginner, the biggest dilemma you are likely to face is choosing between a classical guitar and an acoustic one. One thing that you should understand is these two are regarded as the same kind when compared against an electric guitar. Both acoustic and classical guitars do not require you to have an amp to play them. So, what are the main differences between an acoustic and classical guitar?

 

Size

By default, classical guitars are much smaller in size than their counterparts the acoustic guitars. You might find it challenging to handle and play the acoustic guitar because of its large size than the acoustic one.

 

Cutaway

It’s pretty much a defining feature on acoustic guitars, and by extension, a distinguishing factor that even a newbie or anyone who hasn’t played the guitar would be able to recognize. A cutaway has its own advantages when it comes to handling a guitar and also hitting some high notes. It enables you to explore more genres and at the same, gives you room to explore a range of sounds when playing your acoustic guitar.

 

String

One other notable difference between these two guitars is the type of strings used. Classical guitars have nylon strings (softer sounds and less resonation) whereas their counterparts use steel strings (resonate for longer). Acoustic guitars will suit the heavier genres while classical guitars the much softer styles.

 

Final Thoughts

As a beginner, choosing a bass guitar need not be a difficult task. This review has shown you some of the best bass guitars for beginners, and even proficient amateurs (no matter their skill set). Good as they all are, the Fender Mustang PJ Bass carries the day.

You are going to love its classic tone and its beautiful design. This masterpiece wins it for me because of its tonal variability and the ease with which I can play both Jazz and Funk music. Whether you’re self-taught or learning under an instructor, you will enjoy every moment spend playing this fantastic guitar.

I will also throw in that a player’s preference can weigh heavily on whether a bass is good or bad. There’s a natural sort of bias in reviews like this as a result. You may find one of the other wonderful choices in this round-up work better for you. Either way, I hope this review has helped you find a perfect fit.

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