How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Hooray! You are on your way to buy your first Bass Guitar...

Discovering which Bass Guitar to purchase can be exhilarating, if not just a little daunting. As part of our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Bass Guitar’ series, this section will help you start your journey as you mean to go on.

How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Things you should know before buying your first Bass Guitar

If you’re unsure of how to choose a bass guitar that will be right for you then it’s worth thinking about something called the “four P’s”.

These are personal opinion, personal use, playability, and price.

Let’s go through each one to see how they will help you choose the right instrument.

How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Personal Opinion

Ultimately you will have to live with the bass that you choose so pick something you like.

It’s always tempting to buy a bass because a website, blog or YouTuber has it on their “basses you must own” list, but if you don’t like a bass then you won’t enjoy playing it.

And you certainly won’t enjoy paying for something you don’t want!

If you see a bass online, try one in a shop or hear one on a recording and it makes you smile then your reaction matters. 

Yes, a good bass needs to feel good to play and sound good on a gig but it also needs to put a smile on your face. It needs to make you want to pick it up and play.

How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Personal Use

How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Before you buy a bass it’s important to ask yourself what you will use the bass for so that your purchase ends up meeting your needs without also becoming a burden.

For example, if you’re a new student who’s only been playing for a month, it may not be a wise idea to purchase a bass that costs £2,000. 

It might be a great bass in its own right but if you decide after another month that you don’t want to play the bass anymore then that £2,000 has turned into a very expensive hobby and perhaps a £150 bass would’ve been a better choice.

However, if you’re a professional or a music student looking to start a career in music, a £2,000 bass is a worthwhile investment.

There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what suits you.

Playability

The term “playability” simply means “how well does an instrument feel to play?”.

Hopefully, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your new bass and that time should be enjoyable. After all, many of us play music for fun and enjoyment so an instrument needs to help facilitate that enjoyment.

Whilst it’s always recommended to try an instrument yourself before purchasing you can also look through Google and YouTube for instrument reviews.

Many of these will give you an indication of how the bass sounds, how comfortable it feels to play and many of the reviewers will give you their own two cents on how “worth it” a certain bass is.

Ultimately, remember though that this will be your bass and no one else’s. If you find a model that you like, that you think feels nice to play and sounds good, even if it’s not a popular one, then trust your gut and go for it!

How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Price

How To Choose A Bass Guitar

Getting a good price ties in very much with understanding how you’ll personally use a bass.

Remember that you’re buying a bass for yourself and this means that a more expensive bass isn’t necessarily a better bass.

Ask yourself how much you are comfortable spending and don’t be afraid to take your time and shop around.

Many online retailers offer great deals at certain times of the year like “Black Friday” and many of the deals will include things like cases, cables and practice amps which will make parting with your hard-earned money more worthwhile.

As a rule of thumb, a good beginner instrument should be anywhere between $100-$350, a decent intermediate bass is usually $350-$800 and a professional quality bass can be anywhere from $800 and up.

That being said many manufacturers like Squier and Sire are making great quality basses that cater to lower budgets so don’t discard entry-level basses without trying them first!

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How To Choose A Bass Guitar - Summary

Having a lot of options is always good, but it can feel overwhelming. The best way of narrowing down your choices is to consider important factors such as the price, playability, how often you’ll be using it, or the personal opinion of someone knowledgeable. But at the end of the day, you should feel confident with your choice as you go through your learning journey. Should you need to help in choosing the perfect bass guitar, you can always reach out in Ted’s List Community at Facebook to talk to like-minded people that will help you go to the right direction.

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