While guitarists, drummers, and singers seek stardom, the bassist is content to simply hold down the rhythm section. Watch any performance by The Who from the ’60s. While Pete Townshend is smashing his guitar and Keith Moon is kicking over his drum kit, John Entwistle is peacefully playing along to the cacophonous noise of his bandmates destroying their equipment. Sure, the guitarist will party with you all night, but the bassist will make sure you get home safe. Bassists, in short, are a good lot.
The glamour associated with guitars and drums draws a lot of talent to those instruments. That means that good bassists can be scarce. To put it in blunt economic terms, it’s a seller’s market if you play bass. Don’t be surprised if you have to start turning down offers to join bands.
If you’re looking to get into playing bass guitar, we’ve rounded up a few choices that are great for beginners. If what’s turned you off from trying bass is the length of the neck, we’ve included some short scale bass guitars as well.
1. Squier by Fender Bronco Bass
Squier is an affordable sub-brand of Fender. This listing features multiple basses of different sizes, including a more expensive precision bass, a jazz bass, and a short scale style called “Bronco.” The price and picture shown is for the Bronco. The benefit of a short-scale bass is that it’s easier to play if you have smaller hands.
Pros: Good sound and great value.
Cons: Some mild fret buzz.
2. Best Choice Products Full Size Acoustic Electric Bass Guitar
Don’t let the acoustic look of this bass guitar deceive you, it’s has some serious tech under the hood. Specifically, it comes with a preamp that lets you adjust the volume, bass, and treble levels, and it can be played acoustic or amplified. It’s an affordable option that’s great for beginners.
Pros: Affordable acoustic/electric bass guitar, built in EQ works well.
Cons: Truss rod will need to be tightened, so it won’t be ready to play right out of the box.
3. ESP LTD Bass Guitar
ESP may not be as well known as Ibanez or Fender, but they have been trusted for over 40 years. ESP instruments can be found in bands as disparate as Sly and the Family Stone and Slayer. This bass guitar has a unique satin wood finish and black nickel hardware for a sophisticated look. It’s available fretted or fretless, and in four-, five- or six-string setups. It has passive pickups and active EQ.
Pros: Sleek satin wood finish. Active EQ.
Cons: Somewhat expensive.
4. Glarry Electric Bass Guitar
This affordable bass guitar is specifically billed as a great option for beginners. Besides the attainable price, this bass guitar also comes with a carrying bag, shoulder strap, pick and amp cord. And while it is a beginner bass, it doesn’t look like one — it has a full-length neck. The bright red color of the bass also helps it stand out.
Pros: Comes with accessories like a carrying bag, shoulder strap, pick and amp cord.
Cons: Fret has some buzz.