Instrument Insight

Top 10 Best Bass Guitars Under 500 in 2022

Learn about our best bass guitars under 500 recommended by industry experts before you buy with a must-read buying guide!

Bass guitar is one of the most important yet highly underrated instruments. If you don’t want to spend tons of cash and looking for something good under $500 then this buying guide will serve you to the fullest.

Related Complete Buying Guides:

The market is filled with tons of different brands and models. Some musicians think that the more we spend the better the quality of the instrument. However, we have gathered the best bass guitar under 500 that is suitable for players with different skill levels.

Our Top 3 Picks (At A Glance)

EDITOR'S CHOICE
Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4
Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4
9.9
  • Mahogany Body/Quilted Maple Top
  • Diamond Active pickups
  • Diamond Bass Bridge
  • Schecter Tuners
  • Limited Lifetime Guarantee
  • Graph Tech Tusq nut
PREMIUM PICK
Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
9.7
  • 100% designed by Fender
  • Inspired by original Bass VI models
  • Fender-Designed alnico pickups
  • Vintage-tinted gloss neck finish
  • Nickel-plated hardware
  • Hand orientation: Right
BUDGET PICK
Yamaha TRBX304
Yamaha TRBX304
9.6
  • Perfectly balanced, ultra-comfortable solid mahogany body provides the optimum tonal foundation
  • Solid Mahogany Body
  • Five-Piece Maple/Mahogany Neck
  • Active Electronics
  • Performance EQ Switch for Slap, Pick, Flat, Finger, or Solo play

What Are The Best Bass Guitars Under 500 Dollars?

First, let us know the big names with the best purposes and some of the specific specifications:

1. Best For Aesthetics and Quality: Ibanez SR405EQM

The Accu-Cast B300 Bridge, Ibanez Custom Electronics, Reddish-brown colored Jatoba fretboard, PowerSpan dual-coil pickups.

2. Best For Versatility: Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI

3 Fender-designed Alnico single-coil pickup, master volume & tone controls, Nickel hardware, Vintage-style tremolo.

3. Best For Playability: Jackson JS Series Spectra JS3QV

Quilted maple veneer top with Poplar body, Compound-radius fingerboard, Active 3-Band EQ, Dual-action truss rod.

4. Best For Durability: Schecter Omen Extreme-4

Classy flame maple top, Black chrome hardware, Maple neck with rosewood fretboard.

5. Best For Multi-Music Styles: Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass

Ash body & maple fretboard, Dual Squier SQR Ceramic Humbucker pickups, 5-Saddle Standard bridge.

6. Best For All-around: Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4

Mahogany body, Exquisite figured maple top, Maple neck, Rosewood fingerboard, 2 Schecter Bass Humbucker pickups.

7. Best For Comfortability: Ibanez SR305E

Immaculately finished mahogany body, Jatoba SR4 neck, and fingerboard, PowerSpan dual-coil pickups.

8. Best For Extreme Versatility: Yamaha TRBX304

Mahogany body with deep cutaways, Custom-designed M3 Humbucking pickups.

9. Best For Resonance: Dean Paramount Maple FB

Single DMT Series single-coil pickups, C-shape neck profile, Jumbo frets.

10. Best For Traditional Tone: Yamaha BB235

Alder body, Custom V3 Ceramic single-coil designed pickup, Maple bolt-on neck.

Comparison Table (Best Bass Guitars Under 500)

Best For Aesthetics & Quality
Ibanez SR405EQM
Ibanez SR405EQM
  • Includes a Gig Bag, Stand, and Tuner!
  • Body: Quilted Maple top/Mahogany body
  • Bridge pickup: PowerSpan Dual Coil bridge pickup (Passive). Neck pickup: PowerSpan Dual Coil neck pickup (Passive)
  • Bridge: Accu-cast B305 bridge (16.5mm string spacing)
  • Equaliser: Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band eq w/3 way Power Tap switch
Best For Versatility
Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
  • 100% designed by Fender
  • Inspired by original Bass VI models
  • Fender-Designed alnico pickups
  • Vintage-tinted gloss neck finish
  • Nickel-plated hardware
  • Hand orientation: Right
Best For Playability
Jackson Spectra JS3QV
Jackson Spectra JS3QV
  • Gloss Poplar 5-String Spectra Body w/ Quilted Maple Top
  • 35" Scale Satin Maple Neck w/ Laurel Fingerboard
  • Jackson Medium-Output Humbucking Bridge & Neck Pickups
  • Jackson HiMass Bridge & Sealed Die-Cast Tuners
  • Case Not Included
Best For Durability
Schecter Omen Extreme-4
Schecter Omen Extreme-4
  • Diamond Active Pickups
  • Schecter Tuners
  • Diamond Bass Bridge
  • 24 Jumbo Frets
  • Limited Lifetime Guarantee
Best For Multi-Music Styles
Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass V HH
Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass V HH
  • Dual Squier SQR ceramic humbucking pickups produce high fidelity tone great for any style
  • Active 9-volt preamp with controls for Volume, Blend, Tone and Bass/Treble Boost
  • Modern “C”-shaped neck profile with 12”-radius fingerboard
  • Maple fingerboard with 20 frets
  • Hand orientation: Right
Best For All-around
Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4
Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4
  • Mahogany Body/Quilted Maple Top
  • Diamond Active pickups
  • Diamond Bass Bridge
  • Schecter Tuners
  • Limited Lifetime Guarantee
  • Graph Tech Tusq nut
Best For Comfortability
Ibanez SR305E
Ibanez SR305E
  • For 25 years the SR has given bass players a modern alternative
  • Embraced by bassists over the decades, the iconic series continues to excite with its smooth, fast neck, lightweight body, and perfectly matched electronics
  • The SR305E is a handsome 5-string bass designed for the experienced player
  • The bass starts with an immaculately finished Mahogany body
Best For Extreme Versatility
Yamaha TRBX304
Yamaha TRBX304
  • Perfectly balanced, ultra-comfortable solid mahogany body provides the optimum tonal foundation
  • Solid Mahogany Body
  • Five-Piece Maple/Mahogany Neck
  • Active Electronics
  • Performance EQ Switch for Slap, Pick, Flat, Finger, or Solo play
Best For Resonance
Dean Paramount Maple FB
Dean Paramount Maple FB
  • Alder Body
  • Alder Top
  • Maple Fretboard
  • Chrome Hardware
  • DMT Series Pickups
Best For Traditional Tone
Yamaha BB235
Yamaha BB235
  • The 5-string Introductory BB235 BL of the hardest working bass in the business: the Yamaha Bb Series
  • Solid alder Body
  • Custom V3 pickups (Ceramic)
  • Vintage style Bridge
  • Lightweight open gear tuners

Top 10 Best Bass Guitars Under $500 (In-Depth Guide)

Best For Aesthetics & Quality: Ibanez SR405EQM

Key Features

  • Handsome 5-String bass guitar designed for the experienced players
  • The Accu-Cast B300 Bridge provides precise intonation and conducts string-to-body vibration
  • Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-Band EQ w/3-way power tap switch
  • Reddish-brown colored Jatoba fretboard produces rich mid-range & crisp high end
  • Offers stronger signal with PowerSpan dual-coil pickups

Ibanez SR405EQM Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Ibanez SR405EQM

Product Description: With the Ibanez SR405EQM 5-String, you'll be as proud of the way your bass guitar looks as you are of its sound. This bass has a one-of-a-kind appearance with its quilted maple top and mahogany body that gives it a textured look. The bridge pickup is a PowerSpan Dual Coil passive pickup, while the neck is a PowerSpan Dual Coil neck pickup, which is also passive. It features an Ibanez Custom Electronics 3-band equalizer with a three-way power tap switch to finish it off.

Brand: Ibanez

  • Build Quality
    (4.6)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.7)
  • Playability
    (4.6)
  • Versatility
    (4.7)
  • Electronics
    (4.6)
  • Value For Money
    (4.6)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Top Material: Quilted Maple
  • Body Finish: Glossy
  • Neck Type: SR55pc Maple/Walnut neck
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Neck Finish: Satin
  • Scale Length: 34” (864mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.77” (45mm)
  • Truss Rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Jatoba
  • Fretboard Radius: 305mmR
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Inlays: Dots
  • Pickups: PowerSpan Dual Coil
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: HH
  • Bridge Type/Design: Fixed / B305
  • Tuning Machines: Die-Cast 
  • Color Options: Dragon Eye, Surreal Blue & Surreal Black
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.6

Pros

  • Durable maple and rosewood neck.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Impressive hardware and electronics.
  • Available in three colors.
  • Comes with a gig bag and stand.

Cons

  • The strings tend to rattle slightly.

Ibanez never fails to amaze us with its amazing range of guitars and the Ibanez SR405EQM is no different. The SR series is one of the most popular bass guitar series out there. In terms of aesthetics, this baby is absolutely top of the line. It comes in three different shades that will absolutely blow your mind.

The bass has a 5-string design which may seem a bit off-putting for those who usually play 4-string ones. The body of the guitar is constructed with mahogany and topped with quilted maple.  The neck is a blend of 5-piece maple with a rosewood piece.  

The hardware of the Ibanez SR405EQM is quite impressive. It comes with fully adjustable saddles and high-quality tuning machines. You’ll also be satisfied with the electronics as it features a set of PowerSpan dual-coil pickups on the bridge and neck.

To sum up, this bass guitar lies above the average considering its mid-range price. The sound quality is highly impressive and you can play any genre you like.

| Ibanez SR405EQM Demo |

Best For Versatility: Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI

Key Features

  • Six-string bass provides a wide range of tones with an octave lower than guitar
  • 3 Fender-designed Alnico single-coil pickup
  • Master volume and tone controls with three on/off switches (1 for each pickup)
  • Nickel hardware encompasses vintage-style tremolo and tuning machines
  • Standard E–E Tuning

Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI Review insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI

Product Description: With all of the power of a bass with all of the classic appeal of an electric guitar, the Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI is a premium choice for any serious player. Designed by Fender, this bass takes its inspiration from the original Bass VI models, including the vintage tinted gloss neck finish and the Fender-designed alnico pickups. The nickel-plated hardware promises its durability throughout the years, ensuring a long-lasting instrument you can rely on.

Brand: Squier By Fender

  • Build Quality
    (4.7)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.8)
  • Playability
    (4.7)
  • Versatility
    (4.8)
  • Electronics
    (4.7)
  • Value For Money
    (4.7)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Top Material:
  • Back and Sides:
  • Body Finish: Gloss
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Neck Finish: Vintage Tint Gloss
  • Scale Length: 30” (762mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.687” (42.8 mm)
  • Truss Rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Indian laurel
  • Fretboard Radius: 9.5”
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Fret Size: Narrow Tall
  • Inlays: Pearloid Block
  • Pickups: Fender Designed Alnico Single-Coil
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: SSS
  • Bridge Type/Design: Tremolo / 6-Saddle Vintage-Style with Non-Locking Floating Vibrato
  • Tuning Machines: Vintage Style
  • Color Options: 3 Color Sunburst, Black
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.7

Pros

  • Inspired from the high-end original Bass VI models.
  • Nickel-plated hardware.
  • Vintage gloss finish on the neck.
  • Excellent tonal quality.

Cons

  • Pickup selector is not up to the mark.

Even though Squier is the budget-friendly line by Fender, there’s no skimp on quality. It’s a versatile instrument that works incredibly well for different styles. Along with incredible performance, this guitar also tops in terms of visuals. It comes in a 3-tone Sunburst finish and solid Black finish that gives it a premium look.

It has a lightweight basswood body and a maple neck. The body distributes the weight evenly throughout the instrument which ensures hours of comfortable playing. The thin neck contour ensures lightning-fast playability with rock-solid reliability. The c-shaped neck profile is super player-friendly as well.

It’s equipped with dual Fender-designed alnico single-coil pickups that can generate tons of different tones. It comes with an ample number of knobs that give the bassist immense flexibility in tweaking the tones without any need to adjust the amp or pedalboard.

Whether you’re jamming in your room or rocking the stage, the Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI will be an impressive addition to your collection.

| Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI Demo |

Best For Playability: Jackson JS Series Spectra JS3QV

Key Features

  • Quilted maple veneer top, poplar body with a gloss finish
  • 12″–16″ Compound-radius fingerboard for ultimate playability
  • Active 3-Band EQ with bass, mid, and treble controls offers a wide range of tone production
  • Dual-action truss rod with graphite reinforcement
  • 35-inch scale length with 24 Jumbo frets

Jackson Spectra JS3QV Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Jackson JS Series Spectra JS3QV

Product Description: Take your place on the stage and in every audience member's memories with the Jackson JS Series Spectra JS3QV. This beautiful one-of-a-kind five-string bass features a quilted maple top that gives the appearance of creamy smoke billowing through a rich purple background. it features a 35-inch scale satin maple neck complete with a laurel fingerboard with sealed die-cast tuners at the top. A Jackson HiMass Bridge and Neck pickups offer premium sound.

Brand: Jackson

  • Build Quality
    (4.6)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.7)
  • Playability
    (4.7)
  • Versatility
    (4.6)
  • Electronics
    (4.5)
  • Value For Money
    (4.6)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Top Material: Quint Veneer
  • Body Finish: Gloss
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Neck Finish: Satin
  • Scale Length: 35” (889 mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.75″ (44.45 mm)
  • Truss Rod: Dual-Action
  • Fretboard Material: Laurel
  • Fretboard Radius: Compound
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Fret Size: Jumbo
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Pickups: Medium-Output Humbucking
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: HH
  • Bridge Type/Design: Fixed / Hi-Mass
  • Tuning Machines: Die-Cast
  • Color Options: Purple Phase, Alien Burst
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.6

Pros

  • Durable poplar body with a maple neck.
  • Two-way toggle switch.
  • Includes a die-cast tuner.
  • Suitable for playing all genres.

Cons

  • Pickups may leave you considering other options.

Durability and lightweight are the two most prized qualities of a mid-range bass guitar. It features a gorgeous poplar spectra body with a quilted maple top. The tight poplar grain provides extra resonance with a bright meaty tone. The thin graphite-reinforced bolt-on maple neck ensures proper grab on the instrument with incredible playability.

Whether you play hard rock, heavy metal, or blues, this baby has got you covered. The electronics on the Jackson Spectra JS3QV are absolutely remarkable. The medium-output humbucking pickups generate epic low-end growl whole the HiMass™ bridge ensures stability with enhanced sustain. It also comes with a die-cast tuner so that you never go out of tune.

The guitar is equipped with a push/pull selector so that you don’t have to worry about losing sound when the battery runs out. You can just pull on the volume knob to regain the sound from the bass without any battery power.

Overall, it delivers supreme performance with excellent sound quality.

| Jackson Spectra JS3QV Demo |

Best For Durability: Schecter Omen Extreme-4

Key Features

  • Classy flame maple top and black chrome hardware adorn a Mahogany body
  • Maple neck with rosewood fretboard
  • Killer tonewood combo stabilizes rich sound with great sustain
  • Powerful 2-band equalizer lets you play bass in a flawless tone
  • 2-Way adjustable rod w/ 5/32” (4mm) Allen nut 

Schecter Omen Extreme-4 Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Schecter Omen Extreme-4

Product Description: The Schecter Omen Extreme-4 brings you all of the classic appeals of basses you love with a premium modern sound. This Schecter Omen Extreme-4 features a vector inlay and a diamond bridge that gives the strings proper spacing. The instrument is built to last out of durable elements, such as the black chrome hardware that matches well with the rest of the bass and the durable tuners. It features basswood back for sturdiness and durability.

Brand: Schecter

  • Build Quality
    (4.9)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.9)
  • Playability
    (4.8)
  • Versatility
    (4.8)
  • Electronics
    (4.8)
  • Value For Money
    (4.8)

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Omen
  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Top Material: Flamed Maple
  • Back and Sides: Basswood
  • Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
  • Neck Shape: Thin ‘C’
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Scale Length: 34” (863mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.496” (38mm)
  • Truss Rod: 2-Way Adjustable Rod
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fretboard Radius: 16” (406mm)
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Fret Size: Jumbo
  • Inlays: Abalone & Pearloid Vector
  • Pickups: Schecter Diamond Bass
  • Pickup Type: Diamond Active
  • Pickup Configuration:
  • Bridge: Diamond bass
  • Bridge Type/Design:
  • Tuning Machines: Schecter
  • Color Options: Black Cherry, Vintage Sunburst
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.8

Pros

  • Mahogany and flame maple body.
  • Humbucking pickups for deeper tones.
  • Maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
  • Sealed and lubricated tuning machine.

Cons

  • Slightly heavy.

The Schecter Omen Extreme-4 is the new upgrade of their Omen line. It has a standard body shape that Schecter has implanted on many of their bass guitars. The body has a comfortable design that will help you easily reach higher notes.

Schecter used mahogany and flame maple for the body of the guitar. Mahogany is generally used on expensive models but Schecter has outdone our expectations. The neck is made of maple and the fret is constructed with rosewood.

The hardware of the guitar is quite impressive as well. It comes with a die-cast tuning machine by Schecter. The bridge ensures optimum sustain and the intonation holds well too. The sound quality is superb as it gives a lot of definitions on both high and low notes.

The electronics on the guitar are an absolute bargain considering the price. It comes with two Schecter Diamond Bass pickups that are perfectly suitable even for aggressive genres that require some extra punch.

| Schecter Omen Extreme-4 Demo |

Best For Multi-Music Styles: Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass

Key Features

  • Active jazz bass with Ash body and maple fretboard
  • Dual Squier SQR Ceramic Humbuckers produce a unique tone with active EQ
  • Active electronics with controls for master volume, pickup blend, master tone, and bass/treble boost
  • 5-Saddle Standard bridge and Open-Gear tuners

Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass

Product Description: Enjoy a classic, timeless-looking jazz bass guitar when you choose the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass V HH. This durable bass features Dual Squier SQR ceramic humbucking pickups that offer high-fidelity sound and tone, making it ideal for playing any style of music. There is an active 9-volt preamp that comes with controls for blend, volume, tone, and treble/bass boost. It features a maple fingerboard complete with 20 total frets and a C-shaped neck profile.

Brand: Fender

  • Build Quality
    (4.6)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.7)
  • Playability
    (4.6)
  • Versatility
    (4.9)
  • Electronics
    (4.6)
  • Value For Money
    (4.6)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Ash
  • Body Shape: Jazz
  • Body Finish: Glossy
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Neck Finish: Satin
  • Scale Length: 34” (863mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.875” (47.6mm)
  • Truss Rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Radius: 12”
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Fret Size: Narrow Tall
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Pickups: SQR Ceramic Humbucker
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: HH
  • Bridge Type/Design: Fixed / 5-Saddle Adjustable
  • Tuning Machines: Open-Geared
  • Color Options: Black, Chrome
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.6

Pros

  • Available in many different colors.
  • Modern C-shaped neck design.
  • Durable Maplewood fingerboard.
  • SQR ceramic humbucking pickups.

Cons

  • The onboard tuners tend to be inaccurate at times.

If you want a bang for your buck then look no further the Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass V HH is the one for you. Also, if you’re a sucker for looks then rest assured that your jaws will drop with the sheer beauty of this guitar. It comes in a myriad of color choices so that you can find the best match for you.

It has a killer tonewood combo that has a great impact on the overall sound and feel of the guitar. The neck is made out of maple that stands out great against warping and damage. The thin c-shape neck profile makes it a great choice for smaller hands as well.

The control knobs are quite smooth and have a solid feel to them. This bass guitar is equipped with SQR ceramic humbucking pickups by Squier that is suitable for all music styles. It has an active 9V preamp with the tone, blend, volume, and treble boost.

| Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass V HH Demo |

Best For All-Around: Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4

Key Features

  • Perfect combination of Extreme Schecter sound and jaw-dropping aesthetics
  • Mahogany body, exquisite figured maple top and neck, and 24-Jumbo-fret rosewood fingerboard offer a smooth bass playing experience
  • 2 Schecter Bass Humbucker Pickups with active EQ circuit
  • Master volume/blend/EGM Active 2-Band Equalizer provides great control
  • 2-way adjustable rod w/ 5/32” (4mm) Allen nut

Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4

Product Description: With the Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4, you can enjoy a classic bass both in terms of its appearance and the sound it outputs. This bass has a mahogany body with a quilted maple top in a rich black cherry finish. It features diamond active pickups as well as a diamond bass bridge to give it a streamlined look. Iconic Schecter tuners give it the silhouette you're looking for while also providing plenty of room to get a nice grip.

Brand: Schecter

  • Build Quality
    (4.9)
  • Sound Quality
    (5)
  • Playability
    (4.9)
  • Versatility
    (4.9)
  • Electronics
    (4.8)
  • Value For Money
    (4.9)

Specifications

  • Body Shape: Stiletto
  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Top Material: Quilted Maple
  • Body Finish: Glossy
  • Neck Shape: Thin C
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Scale Length: 34” (863mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.496” (38mm)
  • Truss Rod: 2-Way Adjustable Rod
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fretboard Radius: 16” (406mm)
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Fret Size: Jumbo
  • Inlays: Pearloid & Abalone Vector
  • Pickups: 2 Schecter bass Humbuckers
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Bridge: Diamond Bass
  • Tuning Machines: Schecter
  • Color Options: Black Cherry, Thru Black
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.9

Pros

  • Mahogany body with quilted maple top.
  • Lightweight and comfortable to play.
  • Thin neck design.

Cons

  • Both pickups sound too similar.

We have got another gem by Schecter for the rising bassists out there. The left-handed bassists who’re feeling left out can give this one a try as it comes with a left-handed version as well. It has a mahogany body with a quilted maple top.

This guitar has got full marks in terms of ergonomics. The c-shape neck profile is highly comfortable and it’s crafted with maple. The slim neck design gives a slim feel with easy playability. The fingerboard is constructed with rosewood and it has 24 extra jumbo fret designs.

Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 comes with top-grade components that keep the guitar in a stable tune for hassle-free performance. The adjustable diamond bass bridge ensures the stability you need with a massive range of intonation. It features Schecter humbucking pickups that deliver punchy lows and clear highs. Thanks to the active EQ, you can have proper control over the sound you produce.

| Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 Demo |

Best For Comfortability: Ibanez SR305E

Key Features

  • Immaculately finished mahogany body features a sturdy 5-Piece Jatoba SR4 neck and a Jatoba fretboard
  • Accu-Cast B120 Bridge ensures perfect directional uniformity
  • PowerSpan dual-coil pickups maintain a stronger signal & increase the response of the higher frequencies
  • Reddish-brown colored Jatoba fretboard produces enrich mid-range & crisp high end
  • Ibanez custom electronics, 3-Band EQ w/3-way power tap switch provides a wide variety of tone production

Ibanez SR305E Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Ibanez SR305E

Product Description: Sleek, stylish, and slim, this Ibanez SR305E 5-String Electric Bass is a comfortable and trendy bass in equal measure. It features a comfortable, thin SR Nyatoh body that is light enough to comfortably wear for hours on end. This bass has a maple and walnut 34-inch scale neck as well as a 24-fret Jatoba fretboard to give you plenty of space to play. It is complete with PowerSpan Dual Coil Bridge and neck pickups finished with Ibanez Custom Electronics.

Brand: Ibanez

  • Build Quality
    (4.5)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.6)
  • Playability
    (4.7)
  • Versatility
    (4.5)
  • Electronics
    (4.5)
  • Value For Money
    (4.5)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Mahogony
  • Body Finish: Glossy
  • Neck Shape: Modern
  • Neck Material: Maple Jatoba
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Neck Finish: Glossy
  • Scale Length: 34” (863mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.65″ (42mm)
  • Truss Rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Jatoba
  • Fretboard Radius: 12” (305mmR)
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Pickups: PowerSpan Dual Coil
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: HH
  • Bridge Type/Design: Fixed / Accu-Cast B125 Bridge
  • Tuning Machines: Die-Cast
  • Color Options: Metallic Silver, Pearl White, Sky Veil Matte
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Available in many colors.
  • Suitable for playing different genres.
  • Excellent electronics and hardware.
  • 5-piece maple neck.

Cons

  • Inconvenient to tune.

Ibanez is a pioneer in the guitar industry and the Ibanez SR305E 5-String Electric Bass is one of the best bass guitars under 500. The 300 tier is the SR series opener and it’s good enough to be used for many genres of music you’re into.

It has a mahogany body with a five-piece maple neck. It comes with a 24-fret fingerboard constructed with rosewood. The rosewood fingerboard finish adds up to the feel and the looks of the guitar.

The hardware of the guitar is great for the price. It has a standard Accu-cast B125 bridge and a die-cast tuner to keep the strings in tune. The Ibanez SR305E 5-String Electric Bass features a pair of PowerSpan dual-coil cannons and an extended control unit. The electronics have rock-solid performance and you can play any type of music you love.

| Ibanez SR305E Demo |

Best For Extreme Versatility: Yamaha TRBX304

Key Features

  • Comfortable body & versatile bass for all styles of music
  • Mahogany body with deep cutaways features a 5-piece maple neck & rosewood fingerboard
  • 5-way performance EQ switch provides optimized tones for divergent playing styles
  • Custom-designed M3 Humbucking pickups deliver massive Bass tone

Yamaha TRBX304 Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Yamaha TRBX304

Product Description: For a perfectly balanced and comfortable bass, try the Yamaha TRBX304 4-String Electric Bass. This bass guitar features an ultra-comfortable solid mahogany body, which provides the perfect tonal foundation for any kind of sound. Its solid mahogany body extends up to the five-piece neck that is crafted using both mahogany and maple. It features a performance equalizer switch to help you change up your play style from flat, pick, slap, solo, or finger play.

Brand: Yamaha

  • Build Quality
    (4.8)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.8)
  • Playability
    (4.7)
  • Versatility
    (4.8)
  • Electronics
    (4.7)
  • Value For Money
    (4.8)

Specifications

  • Body Shape: TRBX
  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Top Material: Maple
  • Back and Sides: Mahagony
  • Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
  • Neck Material: 5-Piece Maple
  • Scale Length: 34” (863.6mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.496” (38mm)
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fretboard Radius: 10” (250mm)
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Inlays: White Dot
  • Pickups: M3 Ceramic Dual-coil
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Bridge: Die-Cast 19mm
  • Bridge Type/Design:
  • Tuning Machines: Covered Die-Cast
  • Color Options: Nineteen Different Colors
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.8

Pros

  • Great build quality.
  • Versatile tone.
  • Fun to play.
  • Good feel.

Cons

  • Lack of control over mid-range frequencies.

The TRBX304 is the latest addition to Yamaha’s catalog of electric bass guitars. It has a sleek contemporary design, is very comfortable to play with, active electronics on board with a ton of options for shaping your tone.

This bass has a very slim, fast, and comfortable neck. It’s a five-piece maple and mahogany which is very solid. This kind of stability provides great intonation up and down the neck. The body design allows for easy access for hanging out way up there in higher notes.

It’s got a high-mass die-cast bridge, neck, and humbucking pickups. Another cool thing is, the guitar has thumb rests built into the side of the pickup. The pickups are connected to Yamaha’s performance EQ active circuit that features a master volume, a pickup balancer blend control, bass control, treble control, and a performance EQ switch.

Overall, the sounds are really great. It’s a very versatile instrument that you can use literally any style of music.

| Yamaha TRBX304 Demo |

Best For Resonance: Dean Paramount Maple FB

Key Features

  • Lightweight, stylish & supremely resonant bass guitar
  • The c-shaped neck is easy to grab and play with for a long time
  • Single DMT Series single-coil pickups with volume & tone Controls to explore all styles of music genres
  • Flawless bass playing with Jumbo frets

Dean Paramount Maple FB Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Dean Paramount Maple FB

Product Description: Look the part on stage and sound your best during jam sessions when you choose the Dean Paramount Maple FB. This stylish bass features a classic black body complete with cream details on its alder top. It features a maple fretboard that is durable and long-lasting and therefore won't wear down easily. The chrome hardware also fortifies it where it counts as not to have to constantly replace its pieces. The instrument is complete with DMT Series pickups.

Brand: Dean

  • Build Quality
    (4.3)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.6)
  • Playability
    (4.4)
  • Versatility
    (4.5)
  • Electronics
    (4.4)
  • Value For Money
    (4.4)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Alder
  • Top Material: Alder
  • Back and Sides: A
  • Body Finish: Gloss 3 Tone Tobacco Sunburst
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-On
  • Neck Finish: Glossy
  • Scale Length: 34” (863.6mm)
  • Nut Width: 1-5/8″ (41mm)
  • Truss Rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Radius: 12”
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Fret Size: Jumbo
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Pickups: DMT Series Humbucker
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: S
  • Bridge Type/Design: Fixed / Die-Cast
  • Tuning Machines: Vintage-Style Open-Gear
  • Color Options: Chrome
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Excellent design with multiple color options.
  • DMT Series Pickups.
  • Maple fretboard.
  • Chrome hardware.

Cons

  • Alder construction may not be preferred by everyone.

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that sounds as good as it looks then the Dean Paramount Maple FB is the perfect choice for you. It has an alder body with an alder top and back construction. Alder is known for its resonant bright sound quality and the sound quality of the guitar will not disappoint you at all.

This guitar has excellent ergonomics and regardless of your sitting posture, it will sit snugly on your lap so that you can play for hours without any fatigue. It has a narrow fret design which makes it easier to play the thicker lower-end strings.

The low notes of the Dean Paramount Maple FB are thick and punchy while the highs have an extra body to them. The guitar is equipped with DMT Series Pickups that offer a phenomenal punch with vast sound-shaping opportunities.

The Dean Paramount is an excellent choice for the budding bassist who’s looking for a quality instrument under $500.

| Dean Paramount Maple FB Demo |

Best For Traditional Tone: Yamaha BB235

Key Features

  • Alder’s body Provides a clear tone with plenty of punch
  • Lightweight tuners for better balance
  • Custom V3 Ceramic single-coil designed pickup offers a versatile & intuitive bass playing experience
  • A maple bolt-on neck provides clarity & steadiness
  • Easy to use volume & tone control layout

Yamaha BB235 Review Insight (Editor's Edition)

Product Name: Yamaha BB235

Product Description: If you're thinking about giving bass a try, look no further than the Yamaha BB235 5-String Electric Bass, often thought to be the best introductory bass guitar. It is a part of one of the most durable and powerful bass lines in the industry: the Yamaha BB Series. This bass is crafted with a premium alder body that is durable and strong without being too heavy. It features a vintage-style bridge to improve upon its appearance and lightweight open-gear tuners.

Brand: Yamaha

  • Build Quality
    (4.6)
  • Sound Quality
    (4.7)
  • Playability
    (4.7)
  • Versatility
    (4.6)
  • Electronics
    (4.6)
  • Value For Money
    (4.7)

Specifications

  • Body Style: Double Cutaway
  • Body Material: Alder
  • Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
  • Neck Shape: C
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Neck Joint: 6-Bolt
  • Neck Finish: Satin
  • Scale Length: 34” (863.6mm)
  • Nut Width: 1.69” (43mm)
  • Truss Rod: Standard
  • Fretboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fretboard Radius: 23.6” (600 mm)
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Fret Size: Medium
  • Inlays: Dot
  • Pickups: Single-Coil Ceramic
  • Pickup Type: Passive
  • Pickup Configuration: SS
  • Bridge Type/Design: Fixed / 5-Saddle Adjustable
  • Tuning Machines: Open-Geared
  • Color Options: Chrome
  • Orientation: Right-Handed
Overall
4.6

Pros

  • Strong construction.
  • 6-bolt miter neck joint.
  • Custom-wound pickups.
  • Convertible Bridge and saddle.

Cons

  • Low-quality tuners.

Yamaha BB basses have offered guitarists the traditional tones they crave since their original release. The Yamaha BB235 offers the superb sound and build quality that this series is known for.

It features an Alder/Maple/Alder multi-laminated construction for quicker transmission of sound from the strings to the body and neck. When playing you’ll feel its round edges and forearm and belly cuts melt into your body. Its comfortable and familiar contours are what set this bass guitar apart from other basses.

One amazing feature is the 6-bolt miter neck joint that holds the neck closer and tighter to the body. This feature combines these two components into one. Also, miter bolting offers a more efficient transfer of string vibration throughout the body compared to a conventional bolt-on joint.

Another cool feature of this guitar is the custom-wound pickups that deliver a uniquely versatile sound while retaining the classic BB tone. Moreover, the bridge and saddle are convertible. They can be adjusted to 2 different angles for more accurate tonal shaping and feel.

| Yamaha BB235 Demo |

Best Bass Guitar Under $500 (A Must-Read Buying Guide)

What To Look For In A $500 Bass Guitar To Get The Most Output?

This buying guide is designed to help you understand the features of a bass guitar so that you can buy the best bass guitar for under 500. We have described all the important factors and features so that you can get the best value from the money you spend on the guitar.

Bass Body Types  

The body is the largest part of the guitar and it plays a tricky role in resonating the sound of the strings as you play. Every manufacturer has its own distinct body style, however, they can be broken down into 3 major categories.

The P-Bass body style is based on the Fender Precision Bass design. It has a single pickup construction with a lightweight body. These guitars are generally used for reggae, punk, and alternative rock-style music.

The J-Bass body style is based on the Fender Jazz Bass design. They have a large construction with a single-coil pickup. These guitars offer great tonal variation and they’re suitable for almost all types of musical styles.

Modern-Style bass guitars are equipped with humbucking and soapbar pickups. They have the largest body compared to the other two designs and they’re suitable for a wide range of genres. However, these guitars are highly popular among rock and metal bassists. 

Number of Strings

Bass guitars generally come in 4-string, 5-string, and 6-string models. If you have just started as a bassist then you should opt for the basic 4-string model as that follows the standard E-A-D-G format. You can play all types of musical styles with this guitar.

Also, they have a small neck which will make it easier for you to handle and understand the instrument better. You’ll face no trouble reaching the top frets and you can also achieve better speed due to the small neck design.

5-string and 6-string models are equipped with a lower B string for more versatility. These instruments are catered to professionals who want to explore deeper ranges. These bass guitars are usually preferred by jazz, metal, and rock bassists.

Active vs. Passive Electronics

Active and passive electronics are the preamp circuitry of the guitar. This feature helps to boost the pickups’ output and gives the guitar tone-shaping controls.

Bass guitars with active electronics need the power that’s usually provided by the onboard battery. These guitars have a separate EQ control divided into different bands like low, mid-high, etc.

In simpler words, these pickups will generate more power and give you a more consistent tone compared to a passive pickup. However, bass guitars with active pickups are more expensive than the ones with passive pickups.

The passive system works without any power source. However, they have lesser control over a simpler operating system. One benefit of passive electronics is that it doesn’t rely on the battery. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the battery dying out in the middle of the song.

Wood Types

The tonal quality varies depending on the type of wood used in making the guitar.

Maple

Maple is known for its incredible sustain and bright crisp sound quality. Maple is a common choice by many bass guitar manufacturers due to its high level of clarity and definition.

Basswood

Basswood is also a common choice for bassists who like to shuffle around different genres. Basswood has a softer density which enables it to absorb vibration. However, it has a short sustain which makes it an ideal choice for playing speedy complex playing styles.

Rosewood

Rosewood is a warm and sweet tonewood. It delivers a softer sound and it’s generally used in making the fretboard of the bass guitar.

Ash/Alder

Ash and Alder have quite similar properties as they both deliver a balanced tone with excellent clarity. They are highly resonant with a very full sound. Swamp Ash is a popular choice due to its attractive grains that enhance the aesthetics of the guitar when used under a transparent finish.

Agathis

Agathis is quite a favorite choice for inexpensive entry-level bass guitar models. It has a balanced with more emphasis on the lower frequencies.

Fretboard and Bridge

Bass guitars have two different fretboard layouts: fretted and fretless. The standard bass guitar neck is fretted as it contains steel frets throughout the entire length of the fretboard/fingerboard. Fretted guitars are a better choice for beginners as it guides along with the notes so that the player can learn quicker. You’ll be able to find the correct note quickly and learn better.

On the contrary, fretless guitars are suitable for professionals or advanced-level players. Fretless bass has a smooth neck with a similar design to a violin. Fretless basses are adored for their warm smooth tone.

However, you need to have a proper understanding of the notes with impeccable musical knowledge to ace this instrument. Beginners may have a hard time finding the finger position as they are still in the learning phase.

The bridge of the bass guitar is the component that supports the strings and transmits vibrations to the soundboard.

Overall Built Quality

You can get a mid-range quality bass guitar for under $500. The built quality is highly important as it directly affects the durability and the performance of the guitar. We have picked some of the finest bass guitars under 500 and they all come with impeccable built quality. Do give one of them a try and you’ll see for yourself.

Playability

The playability of the guitar refers to how easily you can play it. If you’re a beginner then go for bass with a thin neck design as that will provide you with better playability. The bass guitars that we reviewed here offer excellent playability across all skill levels.

Looks

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The look is all about perception. We have reviewed many guitars that come with multiple colors and shade variations so that everyone can find the guitar that suits their personality. However, looks should not be the topmost priority when you’re purchasing an instrument.

What Budget Bass Guitar Is Best For Beginners? (Under $500)

All the bass guitar that we reviewed here is the best bass guitar under 500. However, if I were asked to choose one option for beginners then I’d go for either Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 or the Squier By Fender Classic Vibe Bass VI.

Best Alternatives To A $500 Bass Guitar For Different Budgets

A Lower Budget (Under $300)

If you’re looking for something within $300 then take a look at the Fender Squier Affinity Precision PJ.

On A Even Less Budget? (Under $200)

Both Squire Affinity Bronco Bass and Yamaha TRBX174 are great bass guitars for just under $200. We have the most trending buying guide on the best bass guitars under 200 as well which is definitely worth looking at.

Have A Bigger Budget? (Under $1000)

If you’re willing to hike up the budget then the Ibanez SRF700 Portamento or Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass V will be an excellent choice. Both guitars have their own premium features and are popular amongst advanced players.

In fact, we have also featured an expert-recommended buying guide on the best bass guitars under 1000 that will take you through everything you need to know about under 1000 bass guitars. 

Have Even More Budget? (Under $2000)

The Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 4 Bass is a great buy for professional players who’re looking for a bass guitar for under $2000.

Accessories That You’ll Need With Your Bass Guitar

There are essential accessories that you need to have as a bassist for those uninterrupted jamming sessions and gigs. Gigbag, hardshell case, cable, strap, electronic tuner, and extra strings are must-have accessories for bassists of all skill levels.

What To Expect From A $500 Bass Guitar?

Bass guitars under $500 are considered mid-range guitars. They generate quality sound and tone considering their price. However, if you’re looking for a highly versatile instrument with ethereal sound quality then you need to hike up your budget.

Should I Go For Used Or New For A $500 Budget?

If you’re a beginner then you should opt for a new bass guitar when you got $500 to spend. All the instruments we reviewed here are top of the line and they are a great match for beginners. However, if you’re an advanced-level player then you can go for a used guitar for under $500. You may get a high-value guitar with premium specifications for $500 as it is used.

What Bass Amp Should I Get?

A bass guitar is of no use without the amp. One amp will never satisfy the ears of all types of musicians. However, these amps will come in handy for playing in gigs, practicing, and even recording.

If you’re a beginner bassist then you should opt for an amp within 15 to 50 watts. Pathfinder Bass 10 is an excellent choice for beginners. It comes with a 5-inch Bulldog speaker and a 10W full vintage Vox tone. It’s super portable and lightweight as it weighs only about 2.54 pounds.

However, if you’re a professional who’s looking for something more powerful then take a look at the Orange Terror Bass Amp. This one is quite on the pricier side but it’s an absolute beast of an amp.

Best Budget Bass Guitar Brands

Some of the big names are:

  • Yamaha
  • Fender
  • Jackson
  • Ibanez
  • Schecter
  • Gretsch
  • Washburn

Many of them are popular brands known for their top-notch instruments. However, they have budget-friendly models as well.

5 Tips From Pros

  • Playing bass is quite cumbersome work. So, warm up before you play the guitar.
  • Maintain a disciplined routine for practicing.
  • Learning bass guitars can be a hectic process. Don’t be demotivated and stay determined.
  • You should always follow the musicians who aspire to you. This will help you learn new techniques and get inspiration from their playing styles.
  • Make sure that you chose a bass guitar that is comfortable to play.

FAQ

Q. Is a budget bass guitar any good?

Ans: Yes, the budget bass guitars we picked have excellent quality and many of them are good enough to be a strong competitor of the high-end bass guitars.

Q. Can you play bass if you know the guitar?

Ans: Playing bass is different from playing an acoustic guitar. If you have knowledge of acoustic guitar then you can eventually learn to play bass. However, you need to practice a lot to have a better understanding of the instrument.

Q. Which bass guitar material is the best?

Ans: Bass guitars made with mahogany offer excellent sound quality.

Q. Which is the most versatile bass guitar?

Ans: The Fender Squier Contemporary Active Jazz Bass V HH is one of the most versatile bass guitars on our list. It works splendidly well for different genres and styles.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t necessarily have to cost you an arm or leg to get your hands on a quality instrument. We have picked some quality bass guitars that are a great choice for beginners as we the advanced-level players. High-end bass guitars are certainly worth their price but these are some of the best bass guitars under 500 that will surely quench your musical thirst.

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Author | Bass Guitar and Gear Expert at Instrument Insight | Website

Fred L. Robinson is a young man from Mansfield, TX. He has always had a great passion for music and bass guitars in particular. At the age of 28, he is an expert on bass guitars and their related equipment, materials, history, and origins. Fred works as an author and bass guitar expert at Instrument Insight, where he uses his vast knowledge to help people make informed decisions about their bass guitar purchases.

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