Last update 27/07/2023
Part melody, part rhythm, no one can deny a bass guitar importance in today’s popular music. Our bass guitar buying guide covers all the critical information you need to know about the best bass guitar.
Table of contents
Which is the best bass guitar for you?
The marketplace for electric bass guitars can be very confusing, just as with most other guitar types, electric guitars, for example. The array of options and configurations can make your head spin. However, we aim to educate you on the instrument to choose and buy the right electric bass.
Bass guitars | Construction
Tonewoods | A comparison
Many factors determine the various tonal properties of wood for a bass guitar. The type of wood for the top is crucial for the instrument’s tone.
However, the wood used affects specific properties of the bass’s tone or any other type of guitar. Other design considerations are just as important, the maker’s skill and the tonewood quality used to construct the bass.
Tonewoods, however, can be a deciding factor for building an exceptional bass guitar.
Ash and Alder
Alder and Ash’s Woods are incredibly similar sonically; both provide good, excellent sustain and well-balanced tone that is beautifully resonant and rich in nice harmonic overtones. Guitar makers commonly choose ash because it is a more attractive grain, primarily when used with a semi-transparent finish.
Lots of excellent entry-level basses use agathis as they are relatively cheap. Tonally, it is between mahogany and ash/alder. It offers a rich tone that resonates and emphasizes the lower midrange frequency over its upper frequency.
Mahogany bass guitars are warm and full-bodied sounding. Furthermore, the medium density and its low resonance of mahogany give the lower register of the bass guitar a pronounced emphasis and roll off the faster string attack that you might expect from an alder or ash body.
Basswood is a tremendous body wood for bass players who play diverse music. One appealing quality of basswood is blatant softness, which absorbs vibrations. Furthermore, it has a short sustain, which is excellent for fast or more complex playing styles.
Maple is a dense wood; it offers exceptional sustain and a bright, sharp tone. Also, many bassists and recording engineers love maple because of its clarity and definition.
6, 5, or 46 Strings?
There are many types of bass guitars, and it’s tempting to say that you’re better off sticking to a traditional 4-string bass if you need to ask. By design, regular 4-string basses may have much narrower necks than 5- or 6-string basses tuned in a standard E-A-D-G format. Furthermore, this makes them much easier to handle and learn to play.
However, some styles of music do favor 5-string basses. Modern worship music and country appear to have more songs the root in B. However, its B-E-A-D-G tuning is ideal.
However, regardless of style, 5- and even 6-string basses offer players lots of options to expand their creativity and more room to expand creatively. However, if you perform a lot of bass solos, then a 6-string bass-tuned B-E-A-D-G-C will let you pull off some nice lines.
Fretted vs. Fretless
Be aware that there are two different fretboards to consider when choosing a bass guitar, fretless and fretted. A fretted neck is the standard guitar neck. It has steel frets that divide each half-step for the chromatic scale.
The steel frets make finding the right notes much easier, especially when starting on the instrument. However, a fretless bass features a neck with no steel frets; it is just smooth wood, similar to an upright or violin bass.
Many bass guitar players say that fretless basses offer a much more smooth, warmer tone. The pitch for the note being played varies depending on your finger on the fingerboard. Advanced players rely on muscle memory to place their hands properly; however, practice always makes perfect.
Acoustic Bass Guitars
Suppose you’re searching through all the different bass guitars and decide you don’t want a bass that needs an amp. An acoustic bass might be the solution for you. It will have all of the characteristics of an acoustic 6-string guitar. However, an acoustic bass produces sound through a resonant hollow guitar body.
Longer necks offer a more defined sound from the low strings. However, a shorter scale is acceptable for 4-string bass and suitable for players with smaller hands.
The guitar’s intonation
The guitar’s intonation is a term that refers to whether or not all the notes play in tune as the guitarist plays up the neck. All notes should be in tune in any position on the fretboard.
The neck | Bolt-on or Neck-Through
Neck-through basses are generally more robust. They offer better sustain and note resolution. However, bolt-on necks have a punchier sound but are more prone to dead spots.
Coated fingerboards help produce a whining, trebly “fretless sound” and better sustain. However, Uncoated fingerboards tend to have a warmer, natural sound.
The Number of Frets
Most basses offer 21, 22, or 24 frets. However, since most bass playing occurs in lower positions, it’s down to your taste.
It is the pickups that, more than anything else, affect your bass’s final sound. Pickup offers very different results between various bass guitars.
The critical question about the wood is whether you like the instrument’s sound. Choice of woods, the tone, and the guitar’s weight; consider how you will use the bass (i.e., playing long gigs or sitting in a studio).
Enjoy your journey searching for your new electric bass guitar. Be sure to try as many bass guitars as you can. Be aware that a bass guitar amplifier significantly impacts the bass sound.
Take your time, as it is with any guitar; the right bass will speak to you.
Bass guitar. (2022, January 12). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_guitar