Trying to find a new instrument isn’t always as easy as it sounds. When you’re parting with your hard-earned cash, you want to make sure that you’re buying something that fits your style and captures the sound in your head.
The features and construction of a bass are therefore the most important things to consider, as they affect their sound and playability. In order to find the perfect bass, you can spend literally hours crawling retailer websites, scouring online forums or checking out customer reviews for recommendations.
While they are great sources of information, sometimes it’s nice to have a concise article that highlights some cream-of-the-crop choices, to make the process easy and enjoyable!
We touched base (pardon the pun) with Guitar Department manager and ‘All About The Bass’ host Lee Voss, to help us choose some top contenders:
1. Ibanez GIO GSR180 Bass
Ibanez basses are notorious for boasting slim necks and smooth contoured bodies. The GSR180 has been designed to fully embrace those distinctive traits, giving you a comfortable instrument that’s very easy to play. If you’re a guitarist looking to get into the world of bass, this is a great choice, with its neck having a familiar feel.
Boasting a pair of high-output J-style single-coil pickups installed in a Poplar body, the Ibanez GIO GSR180 bass delivers a punchy tone with plenty of mid-range definition.
Best for: A number of styles, this versatile bass represents great bang-for-your-buck, suitable for any bassist looking for a solid first instrument.
2. EastCoast GP200 Bass Bundle
EastCoast make beginner guitars and basses to excellent standards, specs and of quality woods. Made in Eastern Asia, they add loads of cool features and designs to make it as easy to play for you as possible, whilst keep build costs down. This bundle includes everything you need to play out the box, which nothing else on the list can offer.
Whether you're looking to play with a pick or fingerstyle, the EastCoast P-bass can handle what you throw at it and deliver great sound for the price.
Best for: Anything from indie to rock. Vintage design combined with a strong, growling tone.
3. Sire Version 2 Marcus Miller V3 Bass
Sire basses are getting some serious acclaim amongst our staff, which is why we added in another one of their models! The V3 model isn’t at all dissimilar to the Squier, but has a slightly more traditional look and highly-versatile electronics.
Similarly to the M2, the V3 has a Rosewood fingerboard atop its Canadian Hard Maple neck, which produces a smoother and more-rounded low-end. The Mahogany body keeps the lows full-bodied and dense, with the J-style Marcus Standard pickups delivering a vibrant sound with some crisp top-end bite. The newest model received pickup, electronic and neck upgrades to make it even smoother to play!
The same high-quality Heritage preamp features in this bass too, sure to help your tone really punch through in a full band mix.
Best for: Bass players after a more vintage tone. However it can definitely reach modern territory with its active circuit.
4. Sire Version 2 Marcus Miller M2 Bass
If you thought the Ibanez SR300E was a modern-looking instrument, the Sire Marcus Miller M2 bass takes it a whole new level! With a metal vibe, this exquisite instrument not only has super-cool aesthetics but also has some seriously great features, especially considering its modest price tag.
Much like the SR300E, the M2 also sports dual humbucking pickups, installed in a rich-sounding Mahogany body. With a full 3-band EQ as well, you have full control of your tone, making this bass adaptable for various styles and genres.
Also boasting a passive/active switch, you have the best of both worlds completely at your disposal, allowing you to choose flick between a vintage or modern sound on-the-fly. The Version 2 upgrade is marginally pricier but completely worth it for the pickup and neck improvements.
Best for: Attaining a potent tone with plenty of output and projection from the Sire Heritage preamp.
5. Ibanez SR300E-PW Bass
One of the most modern-looking basses of the 5 contenders that we selected, the Ibanez SR300E also boasts features that are aimed at more contemporary-minded bassist.
With an elegant design, the SR300E has a thin and smooth body to ensure excellent playing comfort when sitting or standing up. To make up for its lean construction, the SR500 has a Mahogany body, expending a solid low-end and sparkly highs with its 5-piece Maple/Rosewood neck.
Sporting a pair of thick-sounding PowerSpan humbuckers, the SR300E delivers a big sound with plenty of mid-range definition and rumble. Also featuring a 3-band EQ like the Squier, you can tailor your sound to any amp or speaker system.
Best for: A modern voice. A perfect bass for punchy tones in metal and hard rock.
Want to Know More?
If you'd like more guidance and advice on these basses or others, please contact us and a member of our Guitar Department will offer assistance! If you're a complete beginner, take a look at our 'Ultimate Guide to Electric Bass' for all of the bas(s)ics.
If you've come across this page, there's also a chance you're looking for a guitar that's suitable for beginners. We've curated a selection of the best bass guitars for beginners to save you a little bit of time!
Don't forget to also check out our selection of 'All About the Bass' videos on Andertons TV too!