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. Therefore, a bass' electronics and construction are the most important things to consider as they affect its 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 guide 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:
EastCoast make beginner guitars and basses to excellent standards, with great specs and a mix of classic and original shapes. Made in Eastern Asia, they add loads of cool features to their instruments to ensure that they're as easy to play as possible, while keeping build costs down to make them affordable for everyone.
The GP200 model takes inspiration from the iconic P-Bass, but has a more versatile pickup configuration that comprises both a split-coil and a jazz-style single-coil to give you a broader palette of tones. The EastCoast B210 bass is a far more modern affair, with its elegant body design and dual humbucking pickups that dish out thicker and more powerful tones. We also offer EastCoast bass bundles, which include everything you need to get playing out of the box.
Best for: Anything from indie to rock, or even metal with the B210 model. Vintage style and timeless sounds with the GP200, or strong growling tones with the B210.
EastCoast Basses on Andertons T.V.
Ibanez basses are renowned for boasting slim necks and smooth contoured bodies. Their GSR series models are designed to fully embrace those distinctive traits, and are very comfortable and easy to play. If you’re a guitarist looking to get into the world of bass, an Ibanez GSR is a great choice with its neck having a thin and familiar feel.
Typically boasting pairs of high-output J-style single-coil pickups installed in lightweight Poplar bodies, Ibanez GSR basses deliver punchy tones with plenty of mid-range definition. They respond well to finger-style playing, but sound clear and precise when played with a plectrum too.
Best for: A number of styles, these versatile basses represent great bang-for-your-buck; suitable for any bassists looking for a solid first instrument.
Ibanez GSR Bass on Andertons T.V.
Sire basses are getting some serious acclaim among our staff, which is why we included not just one of their models in this guide - but two! We'll get to the other one later... The Sire V3 bass is very similar to the classic Jazz Bass, but has a slightly more modern look and features highly-versatile electronics that let you tweak your sounds to absolute perfection.
Sire's V3 basses sport Rosewood fingerboards adorned atop genuine Canadian Hard Maple necks, which provide a smooth feel and a fast note response. Their Mahogany bodies keep the lows full and dense, with their J-style Marcus Standard Jazz Advanced pickups delivering vibrant sounds with some crisp top-end bite
The high-quality Heritage-3 preamp is fitted in these basses too, sure to help your tone really punch through in a full band mix by boosting the middle and treble frequencies. There really aren't many basses in this price bracket that can offer as much flexibility as that of a Sire V3.
Best for: Bass players after a more vintage tone and aesthetic. However, these instruments can definitely enter modern territory with their active preamp systems.
Sire V3 & M2 Basses on Andertons T.V.
One of the most modern-looking basses of the 5 contenders that we selected, Ibanez's SR300 basses boast appointments that are aimed at more contemporary-minded bassists.
With thin and elegant body designs that are ergonomically-contoured, SR300 basses ensure excellent playing comfort when in sitting or standing positions. To make up for their lean construction, Ibanez SR300 bass bodies are made from a Mahogany-like material called Nyatoh, expending a solid low-end with rich highs.
Sporting pairs of thick-sounding PowerSpan humbuckers, SR300 basses deliver a big sound with plenty of mid-range definition and rumble. Also featuring 3-band EQ systems like the Sire V3, you can carefully tailor their sound to suit practically any amp or speaker configuration.
Best for: A modern voice, with a contemporary look and feel. Perfect for punchy tones in metal and hard rock.
Ibanez SR300 Bass on Andertons T.V.
If you thought the Ibanez SR300 was a modern-looking instrument, the Sire Marcus Miller M2 bass takes it a whole new level! With a metal vibe, these exquisite instruments not only have super-cool aesthetics but also possess some seriously good features; especially considering their modest price-tags.
Much like the SR300 basses, Sire's M2 models also sport dual humbucking pickups but are installed in real Mahogany bodies. With a Heritage-3 preamp system just like the Sire V3, you have full control of your tone, making these basses adaptable for various styles and genres. Also boasting passive/active switches, you have the best of both worlds completely at your disposal, allowing you to choose flick between vintage and modern voices on-the-fly.
Best for: Attaining potent tones with plenty of output and projection, with a striking look to match.
Sire M2 vs. Ibanez SR300 on Andertons T.V.
Want To Learn 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 Guitars' for all of the bas(s)ics.
There's also a chance that you're looking for a bass guitar that's suitable for beginners. The ones included in this guide certainly qualify, but we've also curated a selection of the best bass guitars for beginners to save you a little bit of time! Don't forget to check out our 'All About the Bass' videos on Andertons TV too: