10 Best Bass Guitars Under $500 (2018 Review)

Best Bass Guitars

I will assume you probably own a bass or two, and who is looking for another bass guitar to add in your collection, or maybe a bassist wanting to try out a 5 or 6 string bass guitar on this said budget. However for beginner picking up a bass guitar for the very first time here is a brief introduction to educate and motivate.

The role of bass in all aspect of music and on a band is unquestionably integral. It fills in the rhythmic pulse with multiple notes from the lowest to the highest pitch in can reach, or give the sound a beat like a drum. This notes produce on a bass guitar adds another character and emotion to the sound by playing it lively, dark and even futuristic using the modes of the scale.

Its interaction with other instruments builds the backbone of the sound. The bassist has to manage this as well as do it at the same time. Connecting to the beat of the drum and the notes to other instruments like the guitar through basslines with different attack namely in finger technique, slap n’ pop and tapping etc. This is how challengingly fun the bass guitar is.

Also keep in mind there are other essential gears you will still need in order for you to play the bass that will require you to spend a few more bucks on it. Like the amp to use, cable, stand, and gig bag to house your instrument during travels keeping it safe from bumps and falls.

Now those pointers are set, time to choose a bass guitar. Quality bass guitar fairly starts at the 200 dollar range. They are considered decent to learn and play with even on the sound alone. So as you moving up the budget range, the selection only gets better. This is where the components adds more to its value and performance of the bass. 

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Epiphone Goth Thunderbird IV Electric Bass GuitarEpiphone Goth Thunderbird-IV 

Read Full Review Epiphone is a subsidiary of another well known brand Gibson Inc. that makes entry level to mid-range guitars and basses. As a brand, it is renowned for models like the Les Paul, SG for guitars and the Thunderbird for the bass. The Thunderbird is a classic bass with a very unique reverse zig-zag body design and for those who are new on the bass world, they might think it is a modern bass.

In order, it comes in Thunderbird Classic made by Gibson for its top of the line. Thunderbird Pro on the mid-range level and Thunderbird Goth coming from Epiphone which is more on the entry level category when price and specs are concerned. The body is made of mahogany in goth black with a grey pickguard. Its neck is carve in hard maple with a slim taper design.

All the rest of the parts are Epiphone designed. TB Plus Humbuker pick-ups with 2 volume, 1 tone knob, bridge and tuners. One would choose this bass mainly because of its deep clean bass tone, and let’s not to forget the unique design of the bady which is clearly a standout with the rest of the pack, making it a great bass to play or add in any bass guitar collection.

Where to buy: Epiphone Goth Thunderbird-IV Bass Guitar $279.00 Amazon

Sterling by Music SUB Music ManSterling by Music Music Man SUB Ray4 

Read Full Review Here is a good first bass guitar recommended for a budding bassist on a relatively reasonable price. It features a S-body design and comfortable neck comparable to the traditionally well received Fender models. The lightweight contoured body virtually fits on any body type ideal for long hours of practice and gigs.

Key specs on this bass that separates it to other basses is the shell style pickguard, robust bridge design, modern 6 bolt-on attachment that ensures solid neck to body construction and an easy access truss rod wheel for adjustment.

For the pick-up, Standard Music Man active humbuckers controlled by a volume, 2-band EQ treble & bass for a classic bass tone every bass player loves to produce. To those bassist who likes the features seen on this bass, but is looking for a 5 string model, simply add another $20 on the price of the 4 string model you can already have Sterling by Music Music Man SUB Ray5 string version.

Where to buy: Sterling by Music Man SUB Ray4 String Bass $299.99 Amazon

Ibanez GSR206Ibanez GSR206 6-String Bass Guitar

Read Full Review For bassist who is looking for a 6 string bass guitar that is easy on the pocket without compromising the tone and build quality, the Ibanez GSR206 is a good pick. It has a superstrat body design of a modern bass today which is also smaller, lightweight and comfortable because of the contoured body shape.

The pick-ups use on the neck and bridge are hum canceling passive Dynamix humbukers controlled by 2 separate volume knob for the neck and bridge, 1 master tone knob, and a Phat II EQ for active bass boost adding an additional low-end power to the bass.

Chrome cast hardware for performance and the different top color finishes on this bass for looks namely in Ibanez GSR206 6 string in walnut, black, grey burst and brown burst giving every bassist the option to choose just the right finish matching their taste and preference.

Where to buy: Ibanez GSR206 Brown Burst $349.00 Amazon

Squier by Fender Vintage Modified 70'sSquier by Fender Vintage Modified 70’s Jazz Bass 

Read Full Review Squier started out as a fledgling company until it was acquired by Fender to make guitar strings for the Fender brand. Then by 1982 it begun manufacturing affordable versions of guitars and basses of the classic Fender blossoming to and becoming a stand alone brand with the name Squier by Fender which is now trusted and known all over.

The Jazz bass featured here has a natural finish with the classic J-bass body design that mimics the original Fender model. For the sought after classic fenderish voice bassist go for, a pair of Fender design single-coil pick-ups controlled by 2 volume and 1 master tone is responsible. Then adding accent to the already vintage look of this bass are 3 ply pickguard, chrome standard open gear tuning machine heads and knurled flat top knobs to complete the main parts.

In case you don’t prefer a 4-string jazz bass, the Squier brand also made a Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass in 5 strings and Squier version of the other two famous Fender bass models the precision and jaguar. The price of Squier Vintage Modified is bit lower compared to the other two models making it a good choice for aspiring bassist in terms of budget.

Where to buy: Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass 70’s, Natural $349.00 Amazon

Cort Action DLX PlusCort Action DLX Plus 

Read Full Review When you’ll first try out this bass, the initial thing you would notice is that it has a comfortable double cutaway body made of poplar and the tonewood is very light to carry. The top finish is glossy quilted maple giving the bass a premium appearance and feel overall. For the neck it is constructed in 24 fret rosewood fingerboard overlaying the Canadian maple neck bolted on using five screws.

Hardware are all die-cast with a solid construction starting from the tuners, onto the bridge as well as the knobs. Two soap bar pick-ups on the bass is capable of producing punchy tones controlled by a master volume, blender, Markbass 3-band EQ treble, mid, bass cut with a toggle switch to play the bass in active or passive mode.

Where to buy: Cort Action DLX Plus Red Cherry Burst $449.00 Amazon

G&L JB2 Bass GuitarG&L Tribute JB2 

Read Full Review The minimalistic design and refinements G&L have done on this bass guitar is dully inspired on what made the classic bolt-on neck bass so special that generations of bassist had all rave about, together with the direct correlation of this bass guitar with Leo Fender’s work. The body of the bass has the classic P-bass contours made of swamp ash. It is a bit smaller when looking at it making it more sleek and tighter. Hard maple for the neck in “C” profile which also holds the 21 fret medium jumbo fretboard in maple as well.

Chrome open tuning machine heads for a classic vibe and the bridge has the Leo Fender designed G&L Saddle-Lock system that helps keep the bass in tune always and to maximize the sustain coming from the body. Two G&L Alnico single-coil pickups to muster in the vintage tone of a jazz bass controlled 2 volume and 1 master tone.

The bass guitar is available in two finishes, the JB2 in natural finish with rosewood fretboard and G&L Tribute JB2 Bass Guitar in sunburst with maple fretboard. Overall this bass from G&L can be a go to bass to anyone, very simple very easy to use bass to get that true vintage sound without having to spend a fortune on an instrument.

Where to buy: G&L Tribute JB2 4-String Electric Bass Gloss Sunburst Maple  Fretboard $449.00 Amazon

http://www.constantinecruz.com/schecter-stiletto-extreme-4-review/Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 

Read Full Review On its early days, Schecter started out making quality guitar and bass replacement parts. Then later on the company transitioned from just making parts to a full time instrument manufacturer, introducing their own line of guitars and bass.

As Schecter grew it couldn’t keep up with the supply and demand in production of its instruments that the company was eventually  sold to Hisatake Shibuya of ESP LTD that happens to have the same story starting out making guitar and bass custom replacement parts on a small music store in Tokyo Japan.

The uniqueness of the bass body design is a signature of the company made of mahogany bind with quilted maple top in black cherry finish and has no pickguard. Its neck is made of maple carrying the 24  X-jumbo frets rosewood fingerboard with avalon vector inlays. Hardware are all in black chrome, pick-ups use are Schecter Diamond Bass controlled by 1 master volume, 1 blend and active 2-band EQ. 

Where to buy: Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 Bass Guitar 4 String Black Cherry $459.00 Amazon

Traben Chaos Core 5Traben Basses Chaos Core 5 Series

Read Full Review Traben is an American brand based in Clearwater Florida USA. The Chaos Core is one of five in the Chaos Series. As a company Traben is subsidiary of Hanser Holdings International, and has affiliation with companies such as B.C. Rich and Michael Kelly Guitars.

It has a solid double cutaway body made of paulownia top of by burled maple. Bass neck is constructed using maple with a 24 fret rosewood fingerboard bolted on to the body using 5 screws. A pair of Rockfield humbucker pick-ups releases amazing sound controlled with Aguilar OBP-3 pre-amp with 3-band EQ, volume, and a 5 way switch for tapping onto the outside and inside coil of the pick-ups giving it a variety of tone. Grover tuners and string to body bridge in black with locking saddles is a plus on keeping the bass in tune.

Unlike mainstream bass guitars, it present a different appeal through the stylistic curvature of the bass body and finish giving bassist a whole new experience and vibe playing the bass.

Where to buy: Traben Basses Chaos Core 5 Series 5 String Bass Guitar, Granite $499.00 Amazon

ESP LTD B Series SeriesESP LTD B Series B-204SM 4-String Bass

Read Full Review In the heydays of trash metal in the 80’s ESP LTD became a prominent brand not only in their guitars but in their bass guitars as well. Even though many would suggest that this is a metal bass, it doesn’t conclude that you can’t play other genre of music using this bass and it would be unfair to say that this bass can’t do it all.

The bass contoured body is made of ash top of by spalted maple in natural satin finish without pickguard, while the neck has a 5 piece maple and 24 fret rosewood fretboard bolt-on to the body using 6 screws. LTD tuners, and string to body bridge in black nickel holds the string and maintains its tuning. ESP SB-2N for neck pick-ups and ESP SB-4B for the bridge all passive controlled by 1 master volume, 1 balancer and ABQ-3 3-Band EQ also in black nickel for massive tone variety and great quality. If the 4 strings isn’t quite enough for you, there is also the a 5 and 6 String version of this bass guitar.

Where to buy: ESP LTD B Series B-204SM 4-String Bass Guitar Natural Satin $479.00 Amazon

Yamaha TRBX504Yamaha TRBX504 4-String Bass

Read Full Review Yamaha is a multinational company base in Japan that became a house hold brand around the world through their countless services they offer and products they make dominantly on motorcycle, electronics, parts and especially on their line of musical instruments. If you go to a music store looking for a bass guitar or go online to shop, I’m pretty sure there is a Yamaha bass guitar just right and fits every type of budget.

The Yamaha TRBX is a long line series of bass. beginning from bass guitar on a 200 dollar range, the Yamaha TRBX174 up to Yamaha TRBX505 a 5 string bass of the Yamaha TRBX504. The sculpted 3D body design of the TRBX504 made of mahogany is a balance between tone and comfort because of the weight distribution. A combination of maple and mahogany on the neck construction with ultra comfortable profile and contributing for fast play and precision. YGD designed H5 pick-ups with alnico magnets for the neck and bridge controlled by audiophile-grade active/passive circuit 1 master volume, 1 middle, 1 bass, 1 pick-up balancer, and a active/passive toggle switch for fine tonal control and extreme flexibility on the bass sound you want to produce.

For a personal pick I would go for this bass even though the looks  is not so flashy and eye catching, but for the balance design and overall tone that matters most.

Where to Buy: Yamaha TRBX504 TBN Electric Bass Guitar $499.99 Amazon