Best Bass Guitar – What Are the Top-Rated Basses?

best overall rating
  • Stylish and elegant
  • High-quality craftsmanship
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Active tones
premium choice rating
  • Exceptional quality
  • Stunningly beautiful
  • Yamaha’s IRA technology
  • Exceptional sound quality
great value rating
  • Excellent electronics
  • A solid build and beautiful finish
  • Excellent sustain andd attack
  • A good value for money

Whatever your needs for a bass guitar are, we have an instrument for you in our comprehensive list of the best bass guitars for all types of players.

Buying a bass guitar can be a daunting task when faced with the massive number of good and affordable instruments on the market today. This guide and subsequent guides are there to help you pick the right instrument based on your budget, skill-level, and playing style. At Toms Guitar Lists, we compiled this list after more than a thousand hours of research {} into hundreds of available instruments.

You should consider reading the passages after the bass guitar reviews to learn more from our helpful buying guide. Good luck with finding an instrument!

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

A beautiful, stylish, stunning and well-built instrument with an amazing sound. A bassist’s dream guitar

+ Yamaha BBP34 Bass Guitar

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

An affordable high-end Yamaha BB series bass with the look, feel, and sound to match its price tag

+ Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Wow! What a bass from Fender! Yes that’s exactly how we felt after checking this one out. You’ll love it too!

+ Fender Tony Franklin Precision Bass Fretless Guitar

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

A fretless beauty with top ratings. Gorgeous, solid, and an outstanding sound properties to boot.

+ Yamaha BB734A

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

A pro-level bass with excellent versatility. Excellent sound clarity with booming lows. Rises to the ocassion without fail.

+ Yamaha TRBX605 5-String Bass Guitar

Overall Score: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

A mid-priced Yamaha 600 series bass that will give you the sound you want. Excellent electronics and a stunning finish.

+ Taylor GS Mini-e Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar

Overall Score: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Taylor makes high-quality acoustic guitars and this acoustic-electric bass is pretty good as well.

+ Fender FA-450CE Acoustic Bass Guitar

Overall Score: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

An awesome style, loud and clear bass sounds, flawless finish, all at an amazing price. You can’t go wrong with this one.

+ Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4

Overall Score: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

A great sounding guitar with stunning looks at an affordable price. This truly is a sweet bass guitar.

+ ESP LTD B-204SM FL Fretless Bass

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Beautiful spalting, a fine bass sound with character, and a fun-to-play bass that will keep you playing for hours.

Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4

Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4 x300

The Schecter brand is well-known for making stylish instruments – and this model exemplifies that reputation with an elegant and flawless body.

This high-end bass has a Mahogany body topped with an exquisite quilted Maple top in a beautiful and stylish crimson red burst finish. The style, finish, and choice of wood alone befits the high-end price tag – but the premium features do not end there. The Hellraiser Extreme-4 performs just as good as it looks. The highly playable “c-shaped” neck is made from multiple plies of maple and walnut with a 24-fret (jumbo) Ebony fretboard.

This bass guitar also comes with premium electronics with amazing-sounding EMG 35TW pickups. There are two of them – a single-coil and a double-coil, with each having a separate output. You can easily switch between the two pickups using a simple volume pot. Completing the electronics is a 3-band active EQ.

You can not go wrong with the Extreme-4 if you’re looking for a high-end and stage-worthy bass guitar for your collection.

Yamaha BBP34 Bass Guitar

Yamaha BBP34 x300

Yamaha’s BB-Series of basses is very popular with professionals and hobby players. The high-end BBP34 is a strikingly beautiful and well-built instrument that meets the needs of almost any player.

The body is made from a combination of maple and Alder. The construction of the body and a combination of wood increases sustain and resonance. The body is finished in a beautiful and durable polyurethane gloss.

Fixed to the body with six bolts is the “c-shaped” multi-ply maple and mahogany neck with a smooth satin finish that makes the instrument fast and easy to play. The 10-inch-radius rosewood fingerboard has smooth 21 medium frets with bar inlays and Graphtech nuts. 

This guitar delivers extraordinary lows with excellent power and clarity. You’ll not find a better bass sound from any guitar. This is all down to the premium electronics installed on the BBP34. The electronics feature an SS-configured pickup system comprising of two powerful Alnico V pickups. There’s a split single-coil at the neck position and a single-coil at the bridge position. Completing the electronics are two volume controls for each pickup and a master tone control.

The BBP34 is a solid guitar built to look good, sound amazing, and last a lifetime of abuse. The cherry on top is a beautiful free hard case. This is a purchase you’ll have zero complaints about.

Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special

Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special x300You can’t go wrong with a Fender if you want a premium bass – and the Deluxe Active is one of the best electric basses in its price range.

Spotting the classic double-cutaway body-style of a Fender, the Deluxe Active Precision has a body made from solid Alder wood finished in a beautiful glossy finish.

The highly-playable maple neck has a “c-shaped” profile with a 20-fret maple fretboard. The neck plays very fast thanks to the stunning satin finish and the smooth fretboard edges.

This high-quality instrument from Fender is fitted with a noiseless Jazz Bass dual-coil bridge pickup and Precision Bass single-coil middle pickup. A pan pot allows you to switch between pickups or blend the two to finetune your tone. A 3-band active EQ with volume and tone controls complete the reliable electronics.

This is highly-durable bass capable of handling the abuse of travel and stage performances.

Fender Tony Franklin Precision Bass Fretless Guitar

Fender Tony Franklin Precision Bass Fretless Guitar

This may not be for everyone, but we added to our list to appeal to those looking for a fretless bass guitar to buy. But it doesn’t make it just because it is fretless – it is a stylish and well-made high-end guitar an amazing sound to match the price-tag.

The Tony Franklin spots a beautiful Alder body with a highly playable “C-shaped” maple neck. The electronics feature Tony’s signature Jazz Bass single-coil pickup at the bridge position, and an American Precision Bass split single-coil pickup at the middle position. A switch allows you to play either pickups or a blend of the two for some great tones. The high-end electronics include two controls for volume and tone.

A fretless fretboard is an ideal instrument for experimentation. Just let your imagination run wild and play to your heart’s delight.

Everything about this bass exudes quality – from the sound, look, build, feel, and craftsmanship to the hardware and electronics. This is an instrument that is built to last. The Tony Franklin is worth every penny and then some. You also get a premium hard case for free.

Yamaha BB734A

Yamaha BB734A

Any series bass guitarist would’ve heard of Yamaha’s BB Series. They are some of the most popular bass guitars around – and the BB734A is a premium addition to the family. This is a highly versatile bass, which is a major reason in our decision to add it to our list.

The flexible tone of the BB734A is a result of the fitted active pickups. You have a split single-coil pickup at the neck position and a single-coil pickup at the bridge position. A 3-band EQ, volume and tone controls, and a toggle to switch between pickups complete the electronics. The guitar sounds great with a penetrating bass.

It does not only sound great but looks stunning as well. The double-cutaway body is made from solid Alder topped with maple and finished in a glossy finish. The neck has a “c-shaped” neck profile that is easy to play for guitarists of all playing styles. It is made from Mahogany with 21 medium frets on the rosewood fingerboard.

This guitar looks good and well-built with zero blemishes. You can choose from ten colors, which should appeal to every player. A great pro-grade instrument if you can get it.

Yamaha TRBX605 5-String Bass Guitar

Yamaha TRBX605 5-String Bass Guitar

This 5-string bass is one of the best from Yamaha. The Yamaha TRBX605 is a premium 5-string that spots the brand’s uniquely shaped double-cutaway body. The solid Alder body has a flamed maple top with a brilliant satin finish – you can choose from a range of other finishes.

The “c-profile” neck is made of multiple layers of Mahogany and maple with a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. The neck is smooth, comfortable, and plays fast – which is ideal for playing gigs.

The TRBX605 features premium electronics, which include two switchable alnico V pickups in an HH configuration. The two double-coil YGD H5 pickups are located at the neck and bridge positions. You can switch between pickups very easily with the mini-toggle switcher.

This instrument produces a strikingly mellow bass that is loud and clear with versatile tones. This is a guitar that looks gorgeous and sounds great. Get this guitar if you want a highly-responsive bass guitar that will give you the tone of your choice.

Taylor GS Mini-e Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar

Taylor GS Mini-e Acoustic-Electric bassTaylor is known for their acoustic guitars and beautiful ukuleles {}, but they’ve struck the right tune with this high-quality petite bass. The mid-priced reduced-body GS Mini-e has a great sound, looks stylish with excellent craftsmanship – a hallmark of a Taylor.

Everything about this guitar is very nice to look at. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with the back and sides made from layered Sapele. A gorgeous matte 2.0 varnish finish accentuates and protects the wood underneath.

The thin and smaller neck of this guitar has a profile that suits players with small hands, but it can also be played comfortably by fat-fingered guitarists. The neck is made from Sapele and has 20 frets on the African ebony fingerboard.

This acoustic-electric guitar comes with ES-B electronics that feature a preamp and pickup system with tone and volume controls. It also comes installed with a digital tuner.

The sound on this little bass is impressive for a guitar of this size. The smaller size also makes it an ideal guitar to hit the road with. Taylor GS Mini-e is also an excellent instrument for beginners to learn on.

Fender FA-450CE Acoustic Bass Guitar

Fender FA-450CE Acoustic Bass GuitarThe FA-450CE is a beautiful and versatile bass you can play with or without an amp. This single-cutaway acoustic bass has a striking flame maple top with the back and sides made from Mahogany. A high gloss finish highlights the nice-looking sunburst tri-color sunburst color below. The choice of tonewoods and scalloped X bracing produces an excellent sound projection with crisp and warm basses.

The neck has a “C-shaped” profile with a 9.5-inch radius, making it highly playable for most styles of play. It is made from Nato wood with 20 frets on the Laurel fingerboard.

The guitar has a loud and clear sound when played unplugged, but you may want to amplify the sound in some situations – like when playing to a room full of people. This is where the built-in electronics come into their own. The Fishman preamp system sounds amazing when connected to a good acoustic guitar amp. It comes with tone and volume controls to help you finetune the sound to your liking.

The FA-450CE plays and sounds great out of the box, and the action is set just right – it is easy to replace the strings and tweak the action if you need to. It is built surprisingly well for an instrument of this price range and should give you years of fun.

Bass Guitars Under $500

Some of you may be looking for an affordable bass selling for under $500 to meet your budget demands. We want to take a brief look at a couple of our favorite wallet-friendly models below.

Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4

Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4This guitar looks stunning and sounds amazing for an instrument that sells for less than $500. The Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 is the next best thing if you can’t afford a high-end instrument like the Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4. The beautiful aesthetics of this instrument will wow anyone wanting a good and stylish bass guitar.

The brilliant and unique double-cutaway body is made of Mahogany and topped with a gorgeous figured maple top and a flawless glossy finish. The maple neck has 24 jumbo frets on the rosewood fretboard, and we are impressed with the quality craftsmanship and excellent finish of this Schecter.

So, what about the sound? This bass comes with good electronics that produce an amazing sound, although you may want to upgrade the pickups if you’re going to play it professionally. Don’t get it wrong, the sound is amazing, thanks to the two humbucker pickups and a 2-band EQ system, but we feel it may not be the best for a serious band. A volume and blend control complete the electronics setup.

Despite our suggestion above, the sound is excellent for most guitarists. We love this instrument for its high-quality build, amazing sound, and exceptional aesthetics. It is worth more than they’re asking for, so this is a steal.

ESP LTD B-204SM FL Fretless Bass

ESP LTD B-204SM FL Fretless BassThis is a 4-String fretless bass, which is not an ideal instrument for everybody but for those looking to be adventurous.

The body is beautiful with an ash body and a striking spalted maple top with a natural satin finish that gives it a rustic look. However, this instrument is about more than just how it looks. The electronics produce a bright and warm bass thanks to the two onboard pickups located at the neck and bridge positions. The electronics also come with a 3-band EQ and tone and volume controls to further tweak the tone to your heart’s desire.

The thin and “U-Shaped” neck is very comfortable and easy to play, with the profile allowing you easy access to all 24 extra jumbo fret markers on the rosewood fretboard. This is an ideal instrument if you’ve never played a fretless bass before. The high-quality build of this instrument belies its under $500 price tag. It is worth every penny!

Bass Guitar Buying Guide

Often underrated and ignored when lavishing praise on legendary guitarists, the bass player is an important member of today’s music. They can dictate the rhythm and melody of the music. As such, you must know a few things before deciding to buy a bass guitar. This guide will outline some of the most important things you need to know before researching an instrument you want to buy.

Fretted or Fretless?

A bass guitar may have a fretted or fretless fretboard layout, with the fretted fingerboard being the standard and most popular option. It is easier to play a fretted instrument because you are guided by steel frets that show you the positions of the notes. A fretted bass should be your bass of choice if you’re a beginner just learning to play.

Fretless bass guitars are more suitable for advanced players that can use their muscle memory to pick out the correct notes. This is because this type of instrument does not have steel frets on the fretboard to tell you where each note is positioned. Bass guitarists believe the absence of frets produces a smoother and warmer sound than their fretted cousins.

Although fretless basses are not ideal for the inexperienced player, you can only improve and learn how to play by practicing on one.

Good Bass Guitar Brands

Yamaha, Fender, and Schecter are not the only good bass guitar brands out there. Our list is not an exhaustive one, so we’ll naturally miss a few of the top brands. We want to give a shoutout to some of the other excellent makers of high-quality basses.

Brands like Ernie Ball, Washburn, G&L, ESP, Lakland, Rickenbacker, Spector, Ibanez, and Warwick have the experience and expertise in the making of bass guitars. You should seriously consider some of the models produced by these seasoned manufacturers.

Not all of these brands are household names, but they do have experience in making high-quality instruments for a wide range of prices and musical genres like metal, jazz, and rock.

The attributes of a good bass

This topic can cover over 10,000 words on its own as we’ve already found out about the topic of what makes a “good guitar {}.” This is mainly because one guitarist’s “good” may be another’s “not so good.” However, there are a few attributes of good bass guitars that most bassists will agree on.

One thing you should consider is the tonewoods used to make the instrument. The choice of wood may affect the overall tone of the guitar. The standard bass has a solid body made from Alder, ash, basswood, maple, Mahogany, and Sapele.

The type of wood can also determine how cool or beautiful the instrument is. For example, ash is a wood that produces a body with beautiful grains, which is accentuated with a transparent body glossy finish. Maple is associated with exceptionally bright and crisp sounds with remarkable sustain, making it the tonewood of choice for sound recording engineers and professional bassists. You should read more about the tonal properties of each type of wood to help you choose the right instrument.

Also, you should consider how you’ll be using the guitar. You should opt for a lightweight wood like basswood if this guitar is intended to be played as a daily practice instrument.

Another attribute of good bass is the onboard pickups. Pickups are either active or passive when it comes to a bass guitar. Passive pickups are associated with full, warm, and dynamic tones but lack the tonal control freedom of an active pickup system. However, a passive pickup system is “good” for those who only want punchy and fat tones of a classic bass.

Active pickups are relatively new, and they divide opinion. Some bassists believe they are god-sent while others have an agnostic feeling towards them. They are associated with a bright and percussive sound with exceptional clarity. This type of pickup also produces a higher output – thanks to the onboard preamp.

If you’re not sure of which type of pickup system to get, some bass models combine both, allowing you to switch between them or blend both.

We don’t have a straight forward answer to the question; what makes a good bass guitar? The best bass is the instrument that best meets your needs.

4, 5, or 6 Strings?

Basses can have 4, 5, or 6 strings on their necks. The standard is a 4-string bass, and you should probably not stray away from that if you’re asking this question. The standard 4-stringed bass usually has a slimmer neck and much learn with – this is due to their E-A-D-G tuning and better playability.

5-stringed bass has a B-E-A-D-G tuning, which is ideal for some genres of music like country and gospel worship songs.

6-string basses have a B-E-A-D-G-C tuning, which gives you room to be more creative and perform some fancy tricks when playing.

Your decision ultimately depends on your playing style and the type of music you want to play.

The Cost of a Good Bass Guitar

Your budget ultimately determines how much you can spend on a bass. High-end basses are not as expensive as their electric or acoustic counterparts, so it is possible to buy a high-quality bass at a reasonable price.

Beginners can expect to pay about $200 {} for a decent bass to practice on. This is an excellent place to start if you’re just beginning to learn to play, but that doesn’t mean you should look at the cheapest option because there are some very mediocre guitars in this price range.

A good-quality mid-priced bass can set you back $300 to $500. They will have better electronics, hardware, and improved build-quality. They also tend to play and sound better than budget models.

Those looking for a high-end bass should be prepared to spend over $1,000 to get the top bass guitars. They usually feature premium electronics and hardware, the best tonewoods, and a durable free hard case.

Our Final Thoughts

Buying a bass guitar means doing a ton of research to find the most suitable instrument for your needs. We have done that research for you and present you with our top favorites, so you can easily browse through and pick a quality bass to buy.

We hope you have enjoyed reading the reviews and buying guides and are well on your way to getting that bass you’ve always wanted to buy. Good Luck!

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