What Do Bassists Think Are the Best Bass Guitars?

If you’re looking to buy a bass guitar, it can help to seek the advice of the pros. Having conducted the research, including surveying many of my own bass guitar friends, I’ve narrowed it down to these ten top picks:

  1. Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Click here to see it on Amazon – Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Schecter Omen 4 – Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Yamaha BB734A
  4. Yamaha TRBX305
  5. Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015
  6. Squier by Fender Bronco
  7. Ibanez SRH500F
  8. Squier by Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV
  9. Yamaha TRBX605
  10. Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

Many of the best bass guitars aren’t necessarily the most expensive. The bass guitars on this list range in price but all are excellent. Some are better for beginners and some for more experienced players.

Read on to learn more about what bassists think are the best bass guitars and why!

Also, for an excellent bass guitar, take a look at our top pick, the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

What Do Bassists Think Are the Best Bass Guitars?

what do bassists think are the best bass guitars

1. Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro

Let’s start with something for the beginners. If you’re a newcomer to the bass, your best bet would be the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro, short-scale bass guitar. 

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It’s a classic that’s been around since the 1960’s, and it’s still the top choice for novice bass players up until now. Ibanez bass guitars are typically known for their versatility and affordability, so you’ll definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

Measuring just a short 28.6 inches in length, the Ibanez GSRM20 is the ideal instrument not just for amateurs, but also for bassists with smaller hands.  So if your fingers have trouble reaching the bigger frets of a regular bass guitar, this is the one built for you. It has a slender, easy-to-grasp maple neck, and its small size makes it easy to carry along with you or pack away in small spaces.

Of course, what really counts is how it sounds, and the short scale of the Ibanez GSRM20 actually makes for some really smooth playing.  But while it’s recommended for beginners, make no mistake; this bass is more than just a toy or a practice instrument. In fact, some professional musicians have found the Mikro so comfortable to play that it’s replaced their standard 34-inch scale bass guitars altogether.  It’s the closest that a rookie bassist can get to playing like a pro.

2. Schecter Omen 4

Another great bass for beginners is the Schecter Omen 4. When you ask what do bassists think are the best bass guitars, Schecter has been one of the most reliable bass manufacturers for years, dominating the market with high-quality, high-performance models at reasonable prices.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Constructed from high-grade mahogany with a durable glossy finish, the Schecter Omen 4 is one handsome-looking bass. But this is a case of style with substance. The body’s lightweight and distinctive double-cutaway shape is specially designed for comfortable playability, while its soft, narrow maple neck allows for smooth, fast action.

But not only does the Schecter Omen 4 look and feel great, it sounds great as well. This bass is an exceptionally versatile instrument that meshes well with any musical genre. So whether you play jazz, blues or funk, or if you’re more into rock, grunge or heavy metal, its two Schecter Diamond Bass pickups allow you to cover a wide range of tones. 

First-time bassists and seasoned musicians alike will enjoy the Schecter Omen 4’s balance of elegance and performance. But if you think you’re ready to handle a full-grown bass, then let’s take a look at the big guns.

3. Yamaha BB734A

Going strong for over 40 years, Yamaha’s legendary BB series sets the standard for what bassists think are the best bass guitars. And they’ve come up with a worthy addition to their line with the astoundingly adaptable Yamaha BB734A.

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The Yamaha BB734A comes in the standard contoured shape that typically makes a BB model bass so comfortable to play.  It’s built with a laminated alder/maple body and hard maple center that allows for faster, more consistent sound transmission between the strings and the body and neck. 

The versatility of the Yamaha BB734A comes courtesy of a pair of YGD Custom V7 pickups, which come equipped with an array of tone controls, such as a pickup blend control, a master volume control and 3-band equalization (EQ) controls. With the ability to switch back and forth between active and passive circuits, you can quickly and easily shift musical styles, from hard rock to smooth jazz for instance, in mere seconds.

4. Yamaha TRBX305

best bass guitar

A very fine 5-string from Yamaha, this one hails from their acclaimed TRBX series. The Yamaha TRBX305, is one of the most affordable bass guitars out in the market. While it may not seem to be as fancy as other models, this heavy-duty ax is built for powerful, direct-to-the-point performance.

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Don’t let the very low price fool you; the Yamaha TRBX305 is not some cheap, shoddy, substandard piece of work. In fact, its 5-piece maple and mahogany neck is a feature commonly found in more expensive bass guitars. Its body is solid mahogany, provides optimal tonal foundation, and has a standard double-cutaway design for comfort while playing. The craftsmanship on this instrument is on par with any high-quality and high-priced bass model out there.

The Yamaha TRBX305 has a 2-band EQ that can be adjusted to five pre-set playing styles, simply and practically labeled as Slap, Pick, Flat, Finger, and Solo. Very convenient for both first-timers and pros. The sound quality is impressive, and the flexibility enables you to produce a variety of tones.

5. Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015

And back to Ibanez we go for this beauty of a bass. The Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015, is another instrument that falls in the cheaper price range but is definitely on the higher end in terms of quality. Meaning, it’s cheap, but it sure doesn’t look like it, and neither does it sound like it, too.

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With a mahogany-built body sporting a cool retro design, the Ibanez TMB100 can only be called a modern classic. It’s like owning a vintage 1950’s guitar back when it was brand new. It has a full 34-inch maple neck, nice and thick, wide but comfortable, with a satin finish that allows for fast, smooth and easy action. If you’re looking to play a real grown-up bass, here’s your daddy.

The Ibanez TMB100 may look like a museum piece, but it certainly isn’t made just for display.  It has fantastic sound quality, owing to the versatility of its 2-band EQ, enabling you to switch from hard to soft music styles in a snap. What do bassists think are the best bass guitars? The ones that sound as good as they look and the TMB100 wins on both counts.

6. Squier by Fender Bronco

A short-scale bass guitar, the Squier by Fender Bronco, is often classified as an entry-level instrument. But more than just for beginners, this bass is suitable for players of all skill levels, and it’s budget-friendly as well.

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The 30-inch Squier Bronco has a bolt-on maple neck and a lightweight body made from agathis, an inexpensive wood that contributes to lowering its cost, but which by no means lowers its quality. On the contrary, its compact size makes it ideal for newbies, convenient for bassists with small hands, and generally a fun instrument to play for professional musicians. And with its cool retro look, this is quite simply a good-looking bass.

The Squier Bronco plays well with various styles of music, packing a rich, warm sound that is pleasantly surprising for a bass guitar with a single-coil pickup. It also comes equipped with a 2-saddle chrome bridge that provides great tuning stability, plus master tone and volume control knobs. Whether you’re playing for practice, jamming or gigging, this bass always delivers the goods.

7. Ibanez SRH500F

Harkening back to the gypsy jazz era, you can’t get any more retro than the Ibanez SRH500F, fretless bass. With the look and feel of a vintage 1930’s bass guitar, it’s almost like playing a piece of history.  It thankfully comes at an affordable price but is nonetheless priceless in terms of musical value.

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The Ibanez SRH500F is defined by its look.  Aside from its aforementioned nostalgic design, it has a semi-hollow body built with a spruce top and mahogany bottom and sides. This not only makes the bass lighter but also gives it a rich, resonant acoustic tone. It has the same basic shape as other bass guitars in the SR line, but with a special elbow cutout for extra comfort while playing.

The controls on the Ibanez SRH500F are simple and straightforward. Just the tone and volume controls, which are all you really need. It’s a stripped-back bass, but this doesn’t in any way limit its performance, and in fact, enhances it. The sound resonates from the entire body, giving it a natural, organic feel. As befits its look, the SRH500F plays best with jazz or fusion music but is adaptable enough to be played in other genres.

8. Squier by Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV

With a look inspired by vintage Fender Jazz Bass models, the Squier by Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV, has a classic yet contemporary feel. It is marketed towards bassists who want an instrument with “a modern active tone at an unbeatable value,” and this bass certainly fulfills that promise.

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The Squier Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV has a wide maple neck that comes in the standard C-shape and has a radius of 12 inches.

The body is constructed from basswood, which isn’t usually looked upon favorably as tonewood material but is a necessity to keep the price low. At any rate, it’s still a solid choice of wood. To turn a phrase, don’t judge a bass by its body.

Boasting a pair of single-coil Jazz Bass pickups, an active 3-band EQ, and controls for master volume, blend, treble/bass, middle and slap, the Squier Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV packs an impressive array of hardware. With the active circuits turned on, you indeed get a hard-hitting modern sound. But when turned off, you get the sound of an old-school Fender bass guitar. Quite appropriate, given its classic/contemporary influences.

9. Yamaha TRBX605

From a fine selection of 4-stringers, we move on to the 5-string bass guitars.  If you’re a first-time bassist, be warned—these are for more experienced players. And we start with the durable and dynamic Yamaha TRBX605.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Built from alder and maple, the Yamaha TRBX605 is crafted in the custom double-cutaway shape, with a sleek, contoured design for comfortable playing, tonal balance, and accurate weight distribution. With a 5-piece maple/mahogany neck and laminated finish, this is a stylish and elegant instrument with an organic look.

With an assortment of EQ controls, a pair of YGD H5 pickups and a superb active/passive circuit, the Yamaha TRBX605 maintains tonal stability while also allowing for tonal flexibility. You get a clear, clean, hard and heavy sound in active mode, while you get a warmer, smoother and mellower sound in passive.

10. Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

We close with a review of the flashy 5-string Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass. With a sexy, sophisticated look and solid sound quality, this is an axe sharpened to a killing edge. It’s possibly one of the best bass guitar for beginners and more experienced players.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Constructed from mahogany with a striking bubinga top, the Schecter Stilletto Studio-5 is a heavyweight beast of a bass. Its body comes in a double-cutaway shape, carved with a flat top and smooth side contours to give it that sleek blade-like look. The slim C-shape maple/walnut neck is designed for low action and unrestricted access to the highest frets.

The Schecter Stilletto Studio-5 is equipped with a pair of passive EMG (Electro-Magnetic Generator) 40HZ pickups, which bring out a clear, warm and powerful sound. The active 3-band EQ allows for tonal versatility, enabling you to style the sound in any way you wish. It’s one of the best sounding bass guitars you can find at a reasonable price.

Conclusion – What Do Bassists Think Are the Best Bass Guitars?

What do bassists think are the best bass guitars? Here are the top 10 picks:

  1. Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Click here to see it on Amazon – Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Schecter Omen 4 – Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Yamaha BB734A
  4. Yamaha TRBX305
  5. Ibanez Talman TMB100 MGR 2015
  6. Squier by Fender Bronco
  7. Ibanez SRH500F
  8. Squier by Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass IV
  9. Yamaha TRBX605
  10. Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

The best bass guitars aren’t always the most expensive. The bass guitars on this list range from more expensive to more affordable bass guitars, for beginners and more experienced players. Try any of these guitars and you will see why they made this list.