There are several American-made bass guitar manufacturers. Some are better than others. What are the best American-made bass guitars?
The 7 best American-made production bass guitars are as follows:
- Ernie Ball Music Man (EBMM)
These companies are why American bass guitars have such a high reputation worldwide for quality craftsmanship and sound.
Read on to learn more about the best American-made bass guitars as well as the companies that make them.
Also, take a look at one of the best American-made bass guitars, the Fender American Original ’60s Precision Bass. This bass produces the exceptional feel and tone you expect from the legendary American brand. It delivers an expressive, rich tone, ideal for any music style or situation.
7 Best American-Made Bass Guitars
G&L may not be as well-known as some other companies, but they produce some of the best American-made bass guitars in the business. The company was founded by Leo Fender and George Fullerton in 1979, in California.
G&L arguably makes the best American-made bass guitars. Well-known for their edgy and smooth play, the G&L bass guitar is definitely a good choice if you want a classic bass that will last for a long time.
The G&L Tribute JB2 bass guitar lives up to its name by paying tribute to bass tunes you’d hear during the ’60s.
The G&L Tribute M2000 is a top choice for beginners or more seasoned players.
It has a rich, expressive sound and plays solidly with any musical style. The price point for this bass is very affordable given the quality of sound it delivers.
Compared to bigger names in the production of best made American bass guitars, Lakland is a baby in the bunch. But thanks to the quality of its bass guitars and outstanding sound performance, Lakland has gained a huge following of fans. A big reason for their popularity is for those who can’t yet afford the hefty price tags of Fender Jazz or Precision bass guitars.
Just like G&L, Lakland offers classic-sounding bass guitars but with a little something to add to the mix. If you’re interested in trying any of Lakland’s bass guitars, go with their Skyline Series bass such as the Lakland Skyline Series 44-51 4-String Bass Guitar.
It’s similar to a version of Fenders P and J bass guitars but with a slightly more affordable price – and arguably better sound.
3. Ernie Ball’s Music Man
Music Man by Ernie Ball Inc. definitely stands out as one of the best makers of bass guitars in the U.S. The company doesn’t go for the usual but rather the unique. They are well-known for choosing pickups that are big and using fat humbuckers rather than the regular single-coils which makes their bass guitars deliver a beefier tone.
Not everybody likes the Music Man bass guitars though given its different vibe and tone. However, the company has plenty of great models including the Bongo which works if you’re into a bass guitar that looks funky and fun to play with.
Their flagship StingRay has earned a reputation for its quality and unique sound, and other great models like the Sterling and Sabre are definitely worth checking out.
The Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay Special HH Bass Guitar has been upgraded, reimagined, and re-voiced to make it perfect for bass players of all skill levels.
Featuring a roasted maple neck with 22 stainless steel frets, an 18-Volt preamp, neodymium magnet humbuckers, and expanded body contour with a sculpted 5-bolt heel joint, this bass will bring out the best of you.
Rickenbacker rivals Fender as one of the most well-known guitar brands. Rickenbacker guitars have been around for a staggering 88 years (older than Fender’s 73 years). They are a legend in the industry, credited with being the first maker of electric guitars. 
The original 4001 bass guitar evolved from their flagship 4003 model and while it might not hold as much appeal to the younger crowd, seasoned musicians know their sound is worth the price.
If you’re not yet convinced, Geddy Lee, Lemmy Kilmister, John Entwistle, and Paul McCartney are just a few who played a Rickenbacker bass guitar.
Rickenbacker has stood the test of time making awesome bass models since the 1950s, so they definitely know what they’re doing. Their 4000 series made tuning their very easy to do and you come up with sharp tunes that sound amazing when you play.
It’s not just possible not to see the name Fender when it comes to the subject of legendary guitars, including in this list of best American-made bass guitars. As one of the top bass guitar brands, Fender makes all types of bass guitars for everyone – beginners and veterans.
The company is the top choice for Precision and Jazz bass guitars and have set the bar for the bass industry for the last five decades.
One of Fender’s best offerings is the Mustang PJ Bass.
This is a classic bass guitar that plays with mixed pickups of smooth jazz from the J-Bass and the split from the P-bass – hence why it’s called the PJ Bass.
The Mustang PJ Bass from Fender offers a classic tone with multiple pickup selections that are easy to play and comfortable enough to be played by famous bands all across the world. Not only that, the Mustang PJ is one of the best beginner bass guitars out there.
If you’re more of a lively performer, then you’d probably enjoy using the Geddy Lee Signature Jazz bass. If you’re into premium bass guitars, and a hefty price tag is not a problem, the Deluxe Active is something you might want to check out.
Another top quality Fender bass is the classic Fender American Original ’60s Precision Bass.
This bass produces the exceptional feel and tone you expect from the legendary American brand. It delivers an expressive, rich tone, ideal for any music style or situation.
When it comes to musical instruments, Peavey has done just about everything – not just bass guitars. They are well-known for their amps, but also make it onto this list of best American-made bass guitars. They are especially a top choice in the entry to mid-level market, bringing quality design with high-gain amplifiers that produce a loud and deep sound.
Just like any other successful company, they target up-and-coming musicians or brand new beginners. From their starter packs suited to newbie bass players, Peavey has everything to offer that is very much worth their price.
The Cirrus series is one of the best lines of bass guitars made in the U.S.A. The Peavey Cirrus 4 has been one of Peavey’s top-selling American-made bass guitars.
It has a very deep but tight bass sound. It has a very cool, sleek, slim form, and fits well with any band and music style from country to rock to metal.
Last but definitely not the least of choice when it comes to quality, are Kiesel bass guitars. Compared to other production bass guitars mentioned here, Kiesel bass guitars aren’t exactly production-level as they specialize in custom-made made guitars.
But I decided to include them in this list as they do have some “set” series templates to choose from to base your custom design on.  They are also well-loved for their great sound and quality craftsmanship.
Being a custom bass guitar company, this puts Kiesel in the category of being a little more expensive than its rivals among the best American-made bass guitar. But judging what other bass guitarists have said about them, a Kiesel is one of the smoothest bass guitars you’ll ever play.
Another plus is that Kiesel is not as heavy as other bass guitars and offer many different tones. The Kiesel Aries series is a personal favorite of mine. It has such a rich, clean, and cool sound.
Does It Matter Where Bass Guitars Are Made?
You’d think that when it comes to choosing the best bass guitar, where it’s made doesn’t matter that much. It’s true that you can buy well-built and quality guitars all around the world, but America has its own proud history to share when it comes to guitar making.
Besides, it’s true that the location doesn’t matter. But it’s also a well-known fact that US guitar companies put extra care and effort in inspecting their guitars before putting them out on the market. American-made guitar companies also follow a very high level of regulation, resulting in producing consistent instruments that live up to their advertised expectations. Cleanliness and environmental responsibility are also included in every regulation which sets the standard high for American guitar brands.
That aspect of quality control alone cannot be said to be the same for other countries that make the same type of guitar, bass or otherwise. In the hierarchy of guitar quality, the US generally comes first in the list; although some would argue the US is tied with Japan (e.g. Ibanez) in terms of brand quality. Other countries include Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, and China.
How to Choose the Best Bass Guitar for You
The best bass guitar production companies in America stay on top of their game for a good reason: they have built their reputation over the years with high-quality bass guitars played all around the world. Music legends and up-and-coming musicians who’ve played guitars from every brand mentioned in this post can give you an inkling how they feel and sound when you play them.
It’s true that there are other less famous companies who make the same amazing bass guitars. But if you want a bass that lasts for years, then you are best off choosing from any of the top production US bass companies I’ve listed above.
If you’re fairly new to the world of bass guitars, this guide will help you choose the best bass guitar for you.
Whether you’re a rookie bassist or not, choosing the right one for you demands that you follow a few guidelines. The below factors should all be taken into account when choosing your bass:
Functionality – If you’re just beginning at playing the bass guitar, choose a passive bass without all the complicated internal wiring. They’re low-key and require little to no maintenance at all. But if you’ve been playing for a while or you wish to show off your mad bass skills, go for ones with an active pickup that you can tweak as you play. Some other bass guitar features to consider include the electronic functionality, humbuckers, pickups (e.g. dual or triple), etc.
Play-style – How you play or wish to play your bass guitar is a big factor to be considered when choosing one. If you like clean tones when you play, going for the classics is the best option. If you fall on the category of a funk or slap player while maintaining clear tones when you play, Music Man or Fender has a few top choices to offer you.
Musical genre – Not all bass guitars are the same. Some play a classic funk sound, while others produce a heavy and complex metal sound. Others give out a heavy growl while there are some that produce some wicked funk pickups. Make sure that you pick up a bass guitar that absolutely fits with your taste in music and what you want to play.
Budget – Budget, of course, is a factor to consider with any large scale purchase like a bass guitar. If you are looking for a bass guitar that stands the test of time, you’ll have to pay a bit more; however, some bass guitars are listed at a very affordable rate and still give acceptable sound.
If you’re a beginner, also keep these points in mind:
Stick to a 4-string bass guitar. 5-string bass guitars are best for those bassists who are a bit more advanced. It’s not beginner-friendly and that additional 1-string will cause you more complicated lessons and more time to learn. Besides, most songs played with the bass guitar are in “drop-d” tuning which means that you’re not about to use the 5th string anytime soon.
The bigger the bass amp, the better. They say that big is not always good. But when it comes to your bass guitar, go for the bigger bass amp for a better sound. Also, a plug-in and go amp – also called a combo amp – is great for beginners because they are dead simple.
Conclusion – 7 Best American-Made Bass Guitars (production-level)
The 7 best American-made production bass guitars are as follows:
- Ernie Ball Music Man (EBMM)
Any of the bass guitars you choose from this list will give you years and years of quality sound. These bass guitar companies have stood through time as leaders, and are still growing in popularity, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. Now you just have to choose the right bass guitar for you.