Buying your first bass guitar can be a little scary especially if you’re new to the music world. You probably have a million questions running through your head and are up to your ears with research. You want the best bass guitar there is, and we want that for you, too. This is an exciting step, so let us take out some of the stress and do the research for you.
Let’s start with the strings first. You may have noticed a variety of strings available on bass guitars. There are four, five and six-string varieties, but the four-string bass is the most common and will probably be the best if you’re just starting out. The four-string also tends to be the cheapest option. A five or six-string bass will allow you to hit lower notes, but you could get away with tuning your four-string bass lower to achieve a similar sound. You can always upgrade as you get more comfortable, but we recommend a four-string bass to start.
Next up to look out for are frets. A fretted bass is a great option for those just starting out. Frets help to produce consistent sounds and semitones.The strings hit the raised lines across the neck to produce a slightly different sound than fretless guitars. The frets will also help you to learn hand and finger placement. A fretless guitar is recommended for intermediate and beyond players.
The wood used to make the guitar should also be considered because it has an effect on the sound. Most bass guitars will have a hard wood to produce a bright sound and a percussive tone. Look out for hard/rock Maple, Ebony, Walnut, Paduak, Wenge, Koa or Rosewood.
Additional factors to consider
Don’t choose a bass just based on looks. You should notice how it feels when holding/playing it. Don’t get something that’s uncomfortable, awkward or stiff just because it’s your favorite color. You should take into consideration the weight, length, width, shape and thickness of the instrument. You should also listen for a clear, clean bottom-end sound.
Obviously cost and budget will be a deciding factor. Bass guitars run anywhere from $200 to $5,000 depending on the quality. Used basses are a great option for beginners if you’re not willing to spend the extra money on an instrument you’re not sure you’ll like. Used bass guitars start at about $100 and will sound the same as a shiny, brand-new one. Used instruments will also allow you to save up for something really special when you’re ready.
Hopefully this helps you choose the bass guitar of your dreams. Happy shopping!