Best Bass Guitar for Beginners: Top Choices
Kick off your bass playing career in style
To fit in alongside our “Non-Bass Player’s Guide to Buying a Bass” article, we decided to put together a list of models that we feel allows you to hit the ground running. Whatever style of music that you play, all of these bass guitars offer tonal versatility and power. Of course, we’ve made sure that they are comfortable for those who are honing their skills.
1. Redwood RB5 Bass Guitar and B15 Amp pack
To start things off we’ve gone for the Redwood RB5 Bass Guitar and B15 Amp pack, which has everything that you need to start playing such as bass guitar, amp, gig bag, strap, cable, tuner and picks.
RB5 Bass Guitar
The RB5 design borrows from a very popular deep double-cutaway model that you will probably have seen before (one definitely pops up on this list). Ergonomically shaped for maximum playing comfort, the bass establishes a figure-hugging feel with curves in all the right places. Whether you prefer to practise in the seated or standing position it sits nicely on your lap or rests snug against your body. Lightweight alder is used in the construction of the bass, whilst the hardwood neck offers a generous 34-inch scale length to play along.
We should note that youngsters may find it a stretch to get to the lower frets, but we’ll explore short-scale options further down the list.
Moving back to the neck and fingerboard, Redwood opt for a rounded profile for a substantial feel in the hand. There are 21 frets to explore with a relatively curvy 12-inch radius, which means that your fingers can adopt a natural grip position when fretting notes. Thanks to the double-cutaway body shape the highest frets are within easy reach, giving you freedom to move around the fingerboard with minimum effort.
B-15 Bass Guitar Amp
Our pack includes Redwood’s B-15 bass guitar amp, which packs quite a punch thanks to its impressive 15-watt output and custom 6.5-inch speaker. Across the control panel you’ll find a 4-band EQ for shaping your sound as well as a master volume knob. For when you want to continue practising into the wee hours or if you just want to cut out distractions, the headphone output allows you to shut yourself off from the world and focus solely on your playing.
Between the RB5 and B-15 you have the ideal partnership for cutting your bass teeth on. From practising at home, jamming with friends, recording in the studio, busking or performing intimate gigs, Redwood has you covered with this awesome pack.
2. Redwood JB2 Bass Guitar
Our second entry is another masterful effort from Redwood with their JB2 Bass Guitar, which is also a rendition of another hugely popular model. A lightweight alder body with a slightly offset waist makes the JB2 another flexible model for those who switch between seated and standing positions. Wear it high or sling it low, either way you can slap, tap or pluck your way through tunes with ease.
The Canadian hard maple neck with gloss finish offers a chunky profile for a reassuring feel in the hand. Extending your hand along its entire length is a breeze, but again, those with a shorter reach may find it somewhat of a stretch. However, don’t let that put you off, where there’s a will there’s a way after all.
Tonal versatility is the name of the game with the JB2, thanks to a pair of pickups with independent volume pots and a master tone pot. Deft attenuation allows you to go from chunky low-end to sparkling upper mids and everywhere in between.
The natural finish of the body is paired with a black pickguard, whilst block position inlays continuing the natural/black aesthetic. Open-type tuning machines maintain tuning stability, giving you the ability to play as passionately as you wish.
3. Epiphone Toby Deluxe IV Bass Guitar
Striking in its physical form and breath-taking in its tonal abilities, the Epiphone Toby Deluxe IV Bass Guitar is a unique instrument indeed. Designed by luthier Michael Tobias, the Toby Deluxe IV (there is also a Toby Deluxe V five-string model) possesses the ability to navigate any musical style with the greatest of ease thanks to the Tobias TBR and TBT Dual Rail humbuckers and elaborate yet delightfully simple to use control layout.
At your disposal there’s a master volume pot, pickup blend with a useful centre detent – so that you know where centre is! -, Active Tonexpressor Bass Enhancement control, and Master Tone pots. The Active Tonexpressor allows you to fine tune your sound with impressive accuracy, allowing you to make the most of the vast tonal arsenal at your fingertips.
Combining a hefty lower bout with super slim waist and emphatic cutaways, the Toby Deluxe IV is not one for those who want to fade into the background. This is one for those who want to make an impact. A solid radiate body provides the bedrock whilst the hard maple neck with Tobias asymmetrical profile sits beautifully in the hand. The double octave range 24-fret rosewood fingerboard provides a sumptuous tactile feel.
A flush-mount, low-profile bridge can be adjusted freely to suit your playing style, whilst premium die-cast tuners boast a mighty 17:1 gear ratio (the greater the ratio the more stable the tuning).
4. Epiphone EB-0 SG Bass Guitar
When it comes to rock and roll, is there anything more recognisable than the SG body shape? (Rhetorical question, we’re sure you all have your own opinion on this ;)) The Epiphone EB-0 SG Bass Guitar takes that revered horns body profile and makes excellent use of the single pickup setup.
Marrying classic style with modern performance is harder than it looks, but Epiphone do it so well. From the vintage cherry finish to the vintage style tuning machines, the EB-0 SG is the stuff dreams are made of. Solid mahogany lays the foundation for a reassuringly stable body, whilst the SlimTaper mahogany neck benefits from a short-scale 30.5-inch length. The result is a comfortable, well balanced model that is great for strutting your stuff on stage with. Once again, rosewood features as the fingerboard material of choice, with 20 jumbo frets to play with and pearl dot inlays to guide your way.
As noted, a single Sidewinder humbucking pickup resides in the neck position, which brings to life the rapturous energy of the body and neck’s powerful resonance. As you lash at the strings you can temper and tweak your tone using the volume and tone pots from fat low-end rumble to super tight and articulate upper mids.
Clean and simple yet undeniably stylish, Epiphone EB-0 SG we salute you!
5. Yamaha TRBX174 Bass Guitar
The Yamaha TRBX174 Bass Guitar is an understated model that boasts an impressive pedigree. The curvy yet slender alder body is lightweight and easy to wield, creating a comfortable resting position for your picking hand and easy access for the fretting hand. Married to the body is a generously proportioned 34-inch scale maple neck, which features a slim profile for your hand to get to grips with. A 24-fret sonokelin fingerboard with dot position inlays affords a wide playground to roam around in. Whether you’re slapping, tapping, picking or plucking, you can navigate body and neck in supreme comfort.
Confident tones spring forth from the split single-coil/single-coil pickup partnership. Control comes in the form of a pair of volume pots alongside a master tone pot. Everything from saturated low-end to tight highs are within easy reach. As we’d expect from Yamaha, the hardware setup is as stable as they come from the tuning machines to the bridge. Everything carries out its task dutifully so that you can get on with doing what you do best.
Whether you’re just picking up the bass for the first time or need a solid back up, you can’t really go wrong with the Yamaha TRBX174 Bass Guitar. Bar something catastrophic – and yes, we appreciate that accidents do happen -, Yamaha build quality is reassuringly consistent and if you take care of it, then you’ve got a bass for life.
6. Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Special Bass Guitar
Classic cool meets modern performance with the Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Special Bass Guitar. The offset waist body shape pairs well with the length 34-inch scale neck to create a lightweight feel with plenty to work with. Squier’s Vintage Modified series cherry picks the finer points from past models and revamps them for today’s players. The Jag Bass Special is a born performer and perfect for those who want a reliable gigging buddy.
At the core of the Jaguar Bass Special there’s a split single-coil in the middle position and a single-coil in the bridge position. Control comes via independent volume pots for each pickup, as well as an active bass boost for when you want to give it a little extra grunt, and a master tone pot to tailor your output.
Though it can tackle any musical style, if you’re in favour of heavier punk, thrash, and good old rock’n’roll, then this beauty is perfect.
7. Ibanez SRMD200 ‘Mezzo’ Bass Guitar
The Ibanez SRMD200 ‘Mezzo’ Bass Guitar is the newest model on our list, but it has already made quite an impact with those who have been lucky enough to get hold of one. Coming from the Ibanez family we already knew that it was going to be awesome, but boasting a punchy 32-inch scale, gorgeous finishes (Candy Apple Red and Seafoam Green) and a sparkling tonal palette, it is a very exciting prospect indeed.
A pair of Ibanez’ Dynamix P and J pickups feature master volume and balance pots, as well as Ibanez Custom Electronics 2-band EQ for boosting/cutting Bass or Treble. Fat and thick low-end, clipped highs or bouncing mids that pop out unabashed, everything is at your fingertips.
We really can’t throw enough superlatives at the SRMD200 ‘Mezzo’ Bass Guitar, it looks cool, sounds sublime, and plays like a dream. What more could you want?
8. Orange O Bass Guitar
You may know Orange from their brightly coloured amps, which provide the backbone to many a guitarist/bassist’s rig in the world of blues, rock, metal, etc. But did you know that they also made the rather tasty Orange O Bass Guitar? Well, let us enlighten you.
The O Bass is a retro-style modern workhorse that doesn’t cost the earth and punches well above its weight. Featuring a contoured body shape built using highly resonant Okoume and topped with basswood veneer, the single-cutaway profile is a familiar sight. A slender yet thoroughly robust maple neck provides an elegant and stable playing support, whilst the ebony fingerboard offers a luxurious feel for your fingers.
Moving on to the pickup, at the heart of the O Bass is the custom wound split-humbucking pickup, which is voiced to produce retro-inspired loveliness. Temper the output using the volume and tone pots or let loose for some old-school ’70s rock inspired beefiness. Each model is supplied with a padded Orange gig bag and an alternate scratch plate.
9. Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass
Where would we be if it wasn’t for the incredible Fender Precision Bass, the one that started it all. For those looking for that classic charm on a tighter budget, you can’t go wrong with the Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass, which reaches into the past, picks out all the best bits and then maximises performance for modern bassists.
Lightweight agathis is used in the construction of the body with the customary double-cutaway profile of the P Bass. A lengthy maple neck with comfortable C-shape profile sits sweetly in the hand, whilst the Indian laurel fingerboard provides a sumptuous touch for the fingers. A PJ pickup configuration (that’s Precision Jazz) open up a vast range of tones to play with to suit any style from jazz to punk.
10. Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Guitar
Last but by no means least is the good old Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Guitar. Just like its Precision Bass counterpart, this is a gloriously faithful rendition of its Fender cousin. Boasting a maple body, maple neck, and maple fingerboard, the Jazz Bass is as crisp and articulate as they come. Play in a seated position, standing up, or running around on stage, the offset JB style sits comfortably against your body as you rock out.
A pair of Fender-designed single-coil Jazz Bass pickups sit in the middle and bridge positions, whilst a trio of controls allows you to get down to business with ease. Hardworking hardware from the standard open-gear tuning machines to the 4-saddle standard bridge make sure that you are in tune and intonated throughout every gig.
Get in touch
Go to the Dawsons Music website to check out our full range of bass guitars and bass amps. Alternatively, head to your nearest Dawsons store where our in-store specialists will be more than happy to help you out.
As ever, if you need any help or advice then our Customer Service Team are more than happy to help over the phone on 01925 582420 or via Email.