Bass Guitar Ultimate Buying Guide

Buying a bass guitar whether you are a beginner, or an experienced bass player is an exhilarating experience full of possibility! But where do you turn when you need advice about buying the best bass guitar for you? With so many options available, you have a lot of decisions to make before settling on your new instrument.

But if you are just starting to play, finding the best bass guitar for beginners can seem like an overwhelming task. You want to make sure that you don’t pay over the odds but also want to end up with a quality instrument that will support your learning process.

And even if you are an experienced bass player, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and buy something which looks great but is completely ill-suited to your body shape or type of playing.

How Do You Make Sure You Are Buying A Bass Guitar Which is Right For You?

There are lots of debates online about what makes a good bass guitar for beginners, and each person giving advice will be certain that they are completely in the right.

But playing an instrument is an individual activity, and to get the best bass guitar for beginners or experienced players; you need to, first of all, think about what you need to support your growth as a musician.

Below we will talk you through all the decisions you will need to make when buying a bass guitar and what effect your different choices will have on your playing and sound. So read our guide to buying a bass guitar below before you start shopping for your next instrument!

What to Consider When Buying a Bass Guitar?

Before you start looking for a good bass guitar for beginners, stop to think about exactly what you want from your instrument. Having a clear set of expectations before you begin shopping will make sure that you buy the best bass guitar for you. Here are some factors to think about.

  • What style of music do you want to learn to play? You will need to pick a bass guitar that gives you the sound and tone you are after.
  • What is your budget? If you are looking for a good bass guitar for beginners. You don’t have to blow your budget, an instrument costing between $100 and $500 should be good enough to get started with. As you progress as a player you can invest in more expensive equipment.
  • Where will you be playing your bass guitar? Are you going to be playing with friends at home, or is this an instrument you’ll be playing in live performances in big venues and auditoriums?
  • Does it need to be light and portable? If you are going to be attending lessons or traveling a lot with the instrument, think about weight and portability when buying a bass guitar.

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How Many Strings Is Best For a Bass Guitar for Beginners?

The number of strings on a bass guitar can vary with some people playing four, five, or even six strings. When choosing the best bass guitar for beginners, in most cases, you will find that a four-string will allow you to play the style of music you are interested in.

Whether you want to branch out to five or six strings will depend upon what type of music you eventually want to play. If you want to play Metal music, then a five-string will allow you to play below E, so think about the type of songs you will be learning before you begin buying a bass guitar.

As a rule of thumb, when buying a good bass for beginners, four strings will be good enough to start learning on. As your skill levels begin to rise you can look at expanding the number of strings you are playing.

Different Types of Wood Will Affect The Sound and Tone of Your Bass Guitar

When buying a bass guitar for beginners, you will need to start thinking about the type of sound and tone you would prefer.

Different bass guitars are made of several types of wood and as a result, they can sound quite different. Different bass guitar makers tended to favor different woods in the past to give their instruments a signature sound. For example, Gibson instruments were made of mahogany.

You will also find that the neck of a bass guitar can vary too, but the most common wood choices are a rosewood neck which gives a snappier sound, and a maple neck which has a warmer tone.

Here are some of the woods you may come across when looking for a beginner bass and the types of sounds they create.

Bass Guitar Woods With a Bright, Percussive Tone and Snappy Sound

  • Walnut
  • Rosewood
  • Ebony
  • Hard Maple
  • Koa

Bass Guitar Woods With a Warmer, Deeper Sound

  • Alder
  • Basswood
  • Ash

If you have friends who play bass or test out some different woods ahead of time in a store. Then make sure to note down which type of woods produce the sound and tone which sounds good to you.

What is the Radius on a Bass Guitar and How Does it Affect Your Playing?

Radius in this case refers to the curvature on the fretboard of your bass. These can be either curved or flatter and you will have to see which you prefer to play.

The bigger the radius of the fretboard on a bass, the flatter it will be, and the smaller the radius the more curved the surface. A curved fretboard surface will match the curve of your hand as you play. But some find that a flatter fret supports the faster movement of fingers while playing.

As you learn how to play bass and begin to favor certain styles and playing approaches, you will get a more definite idea about what type of bass fretboard is best for you.

How Does the Shape of a Bass Affect The Feel While Playing?

If you are buying a bass guitar for beginners, you will need to make sure that you feel comfortable holding the instrument so that you will enjoy your practice sessions and lessons.

So, you will need to make sure that you pick the right size and shape for your height and body type.

The size of the bass guitar neck needs to be comfortable for the size of your hands and the length of your fingers. If you have small hands, then you may struggle with playing a bass guitar with a wider and fatter neck. And if you want to play quickly and move your hands up and down the neck quickly a slimmer neck design will support this.

If you are left-handed, you will naturally feel more comfortable when playing an instrument that has been reversed to meet your needs.

What Do You Need to Check When It Comes to Frets on a Bass Guitar for Beginners?

When you are learning how to play bass, you don’t want to have to struggle with the discomfort of sharp fret edges as you learn to play. So, make sure that you buy a high-quality instrument that has a properly dressed set of frets that will keep your fingers protected while you play!

Summary: Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Bass Guitar

Buying a new bass guitar is an exciting process, so remember not to get too bogged down with technicalities and think about the enjoyment you’ll get when you start playing your new instrument. Just keep our guide in mind and use it to draw up a rough guideline of what you are looking for.

And don’t forget the golden rule when buying a bass guitar – have fun!

Related Reading:

How To Choose an Electric Guitar

How To Choose an Acoustic Guitar

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