Bass Guitar Buying Tips for Beginners

Picking out the perfect bass shouldn’t be considered an impossible task. With so many good quality, affordable basses out on the market, it is now even easier to find a great instrument. Take note though that you should not buy the first bass that catches your interest. There are still a lot of things you have to be aware of when choosing to purchase a new bass. Basses, after all, come with many different features that should be taken into consideration, so that you are able to get the best value on it. Here are some helpful guidelines to ensure that you pick the right one.


Be a Detective

Before you even set foot in any music store, you should have a general idea about what you want to buy. Doing some research can include looking into product reviews, catalogs, as well as the manufacturer’s website. This will help you get familiar with what features and specs are available, and which ones meet your needs. After you have narrowed your bass options, you should take the time to learn everything you can about those specific ones. The more you have familiarity with the guitar’s features, the easier it will be to identify which you like and need. Plus, it will also help that you’re able to tell the salesperson exactly what you are looking for. Never base your decision on what your favorite guitarists are using, or what the salesperson recommends. This is due to the fact that not every instrument will be the best acoustic bass guitar for you, and something that works for your favorite player may not be what you are looking for.

Once you have an idea about what you want, it is time to browse through a few music stores and try out some basses. It might be tempting to try out every single bass in the store, and that is okay. Trying out an expensive bass could give you some perspective on how a well-crafted bass is supposed to feel. This will help be able to pick out a less expensive but still good instrument. After that, you should try out the ones that are actually in your price range. When trying out basses you should look at the fretwork, how the neck feels, what the finish looks like and how sturdy the construction of the instrument is. If a less expensive bass seems to be pretty similar to the more expensive one, then chances are you have found a great value.

The Parts of a Bass Guitar

Body construction plays an important part and should be the next feature to look at before making your purchase. The key areas that you should focus on the most include:

-The Neck Pocket: The neck pocket is where the neck attaches to the body of the bass, and should be attached with a bolt-on neck. If the neck is glued onto the body or has a neck-through-body design then you should move onto a different bass. The neck should fit comfortably into the pocket, and there should be little to no space between the two. On the other hand, if you are able to easily slide anything thicker than a business card between the neck and body then you should keep on searching. If there is a large space between the two, then that guitar is not a well-constructed one.

-The Finish: Make sure that you also check the paint job for any bubbles, dimples, orange peel, or any other defects. Keep in mind that even though an instrument has a poor paint job, it can still be played to sound great, but could indicate that the overall construction of the bass was done haphazardly.

-Body Materials: More often than not, the cheapest basses are made out of plywood butcher block. This wood is actually made up of pieces that have been glued together, sanded, and is then covered by a single piece of veneer, before a heavy finish has been added on. It is becoming more difficult to be able to spot plywood construction, but you should look for uneven surfaces that are separated by straight lines. This is where checking the manufacturer’s specs come in handy. These specs will usually include information on whether the bass body is made out of one, two, or three pieces.

It’s All About The Neck

The first thing that you should look at is the neck of the bass. This means that you should run your fretting head along the neck and make a mental note about how it fits in your hand. If the instrument feels uncomfortable in your hands then move on. You should also try to play the bass while sitting as well as standing. Take some time to strap on the bass and then let go of it. If the instrument suddenly slides after you strap it on, it usually means that the neck is too heavy for you. Unless you’re fine with muscle strain while playing, don’t select an instrument with a neck that slides off. Take note too that not every bass body shape will fit comfortably on your lap. This is especially important if you are planning to sit down to practice or record songs.

Hardware Inspection

Take time to examine the instrument’s hardware and electronics, to make sure everything is aligned and attached the right way. This includes checking out the bridge, tuners, pickups, controls, and string trees.

Listen Up

The last thing you should test out is how the bass sounds. You should plug the instrument into an amp that you either already own or plan on buying then listen! This will help you know what type of sound your new bass will be producing.

A thin-sounding bass will be a perfect fit for a bassist that plays with a large ensemble of musicians since the tone will occupy a specific range, while a bass with a huge tone will be great for a player that is part of a trio because it is able to cover a wide tonal range. The right bass just depends on your own personal preferences and needs. Do not buy a bass that has a poor tone, because trying to fix it with other amps or effects will not be an adequate fix.

If you’re on a tight budget, it may be best to check out the brands and models reviewed on

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