As a beginner, picking the best electric bass guitar (or simply bass guitar) can be a tricky affair. With so many models, which is the one best suited for you? This is why we have put together this guide to inform you what things to go for and what current models are considered the top rated electric bass guitars in the market. Since this guide is meant for newcomers, who probably wouldn’t pay top dollars yet, all the models featured here are under $500 with most under $300 or even $200.
- 1 Bass guitar parts
- 2 Guitar vs bass guitar
- 3 What is the difference between electric and normal bass guitar
- 4 Best bass guitar under 200
- 5 Conclusion
Bass guitar parts
Before going into the buying guide, it is useful to take a look at this image to understand how the guitar works.
Image credit: TheHub
Looking at the parts above, two of the most important component to pay attention to are the necks and the bodies.
Types of bass guitar necks
There are two items of guitar necks essentially: either it is a continuous part of the body or it is a bolt on attachment. For the latter, you can further differentiate by how the neck is connect to the body. If it is bolted on, it is called a bolt on neck while a neck connected via a mortise or dovetail joint is known as a set neck.
In terms of stability and prices, this is how it goes
- Through body neck i.e. the neck is a continuous part of the body
- A set neck
- A bolt on neck
As a beginner, you can settle for a bolt on neck but make sure the connection is tight so that it doesn’t move during your playing.
Types of bodies
Another important component is the body. Most of the time, these are made of solid wood. The higher priced ones tend to have the whole body being made of wood while the cheaper ones will have things like laminated backs or even plastic sides.
A second type of bass guitar body is the hollowbody. As the name implies, it is hollow like an acoustics guitar although it still uses magnetic pickups that are similar to the solid models. Comparing the two, a hollowbody bass guitar is less prone to feedback but has the disadvantage of producing softer volume. This is why they are mainly used in genres such as jazz where a lighter touch is preferred.
While the two components mentioned above are what we consider to be the most important, there are other decisions you need to consider such as the type of bass bridges and the number of strings (see below). Nevertheless, we feel they dun carry so much weight in terms of impact to the sound so this guide will not focus too much on them.
Guitar vs bass guitar
Compared to an guitar, a electric bass guitar has a longer neck and has a longer available range that goes from 4 to 8 strings. However, most of the standard bass guitars come with 4 strings.
In comparison, a guitar has 6 strings on average, with the note range of EADGBE. A bass guitar’s 4 string uses the same lower 4 note of EADG. Viewed from such an angle, both guitars are rather similar but they played very different roles in a band setting.
A bass guitar is usually used as a background rhythm but its importance cannot be underestimated. Together with drums, it set the tone and grove for the rest of the instruments to build on. If a bass guitarist misses a beat, it might send the whole song out of whack.
A guitarists, on the other hand, is responsible for creating stuff such as riffs or solos. This is why they are usually more widely recognized than the bass guitar players. While they may be the center of attention, their role is supporting the whole team’s playing is less important than a bass guitar.
What is the difference between electric and normal bass guitar
A non electric bass guitar doesn’t require a power source to create sounds. In contrast, an electric bass guitar requires an amplifier for any sounds to be created. This is why most of the electric guitar models we will recommend comes with an amp so that you can start playing right off the bat, rather than having to shop around for another amplifier.
Between the power source, there is also big differences in terms of sound quality and playing style between an electric and non electric bass guitar. Basically, a normal bass guitar gives you better resonance just by its strings alone while an electric version need a good amp to feel it. Sound quality also differs as the electric version can different tonality due to the electronics component.
I wouldn’t one is better than the other but is up to your personal preference.
Best bass guitar under 200
Now we come to the actual recommend models. As mentioned above, we understand that most beginners do not like to spend too much initially on this hobby so we are keeping the list to only the best models that below the 200 dollars mark.
Davidson electric bass guitar set for beginner review
For its price, the Davidson guitar set is a very good package to consider as it has everything from guitar to case to amplifier. Each item might not be the best in class but they are of sufficient quality to make playing enjoyable.
Lets’ review the main guitar first. It is of a decent quality as it produces good sound and is pretty light to carry. The picks up are also good and that works well for a beginner.
Unfortunately, the neck area is its weakness point. Over time, the stability is not as good as you might start to hear rattling sounds or have trouble with the strings. By that time, you will probably be ready to upgrade to a more professional guitar so it is not a big deal.
Next is the amp. It is of decent quality but don’t expect it to perform like a Fender. With such low prices, the two are just not comparable. Performance wise, the amp is loud enough although I have read reviews that some of the units might have hissing sound.
Overall, it is a great and affordable package for beginners who want to keep cost while getting their feet wet.
Crescent electric bass guitar start kit
The Crescent guitar package is another starter kit that is affordable. It comes with a turner, pickups but no amps so make sure you buy one along with this or you shouldn’t be able to start playing right away. There is also only a soft guitar case that comes with the kit but I suggest you buy a hard one as it offers more protection.
Guitar quality is acceptable within the price range but just don’t compare it to the likes of Fender and other big guitar brands. The sound is ok and so are the pick ups. It is also pretty portable as it is light. As a practice guitar, it is perfect. Durability wise, I have not seen any complaints that this thing will break within one year of use so it is pretty durable.
The other accessories that comes with this works well including the pick ups. However, do note the turner doesn’t come with battery (which I don’t understand why) so get ready your own if you want to use it.For $100, you can’t get more value than this.
As a beginner starting to play bass guitar, getting a cheap set is not a bad idea as you probably can’t tell the difference between a high end and a mid range guitar. Once you have practice enough with a budget set, you can then think about progressing to a higher end guitar like the Fender. Enjoy playing and i will see you soon with another music gear article.