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. Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar
Bass guitar necks are even longer than guitar necks, which can be a challenge for those with smaller hands or shorter arms. A short scale bass guitar, like this one from Ibanez, allows you to play bass without too much hand discomfort.
Pros: Affordable bass from a trusted brand that counts Thundercat among its adherents.
Cons: Some users complained about fret buzz.
2. 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 (which is currently out of stock) and a short scale style called “Bronco.”
Pros: Users liked the good sound and great value.
Cons: Some mild fret buzz.
3. 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.
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.