It’s essential to do a bit of research and set a budget before you set out on the hunt for your next, or first bass guitar. You’ll want to set a minimum and a maximum as far as the amount you are able to comfortably spend, you wouldn’t want to let a few bucks stand between you and your ideal piece of gear, would you?
Setting your budget at 500 dollars is sure to provide you with a great number of options from different brands and in various styles. Bass guitars priced around 500 dollars are where you begin to see more features such as better pickups, premium tuners, and higher quality materials being used.Below we’ve reviewed the 5 Best Bass Guitars Under 500 that we feel provide outstanding quality at an affordable price. Enjoy!
Top 5 Best Bass Guitars Under $500 Reviewed
Squire is known for providing its customers with affordable gear that demonstrates quality and functionality beyond its price tag, and the Squire Affinity Series Jazz Bass is no exception. This entry-level bass guitar is perfect for players just beginning their journey as a musician. This bass has high playability and delivers quality sound.
The body of the Squire Affinity Jazz Bass is made of Alder, and the slim “C” profile of the Maple neck makes it comfortable for speed-playing. Dot inlays cover the 20-fret Rosewood fingerboard, and two single-coil Jazz Bass pickups on the neck and bridge are individually controlled by chrome-plated knobs.
Body: AlderNeck: MapleFingerboard: RosewoodFrets: 20 Medium-JumboInlays: DotsPickups: Dual single-Coil Jazz BassElectronics: Volume and Master Tone KnobsBridge: Standard Adjustable 4-Saddle BridgeTuners: Open Gear Tuning MachinesHardware: ChromeColor: Brown Sunburst
- Although it’s known as a beginner’s base, many experienced players like it as well
- The slim “C” profile Maple neck allows you to comfortably play faster
- The single-coil Jazz Bass pickups give you a variety of sounds and brighter tones
- This bass can produce a variety of tonal stylings
- Sometimes this bass won’t hold a tune, and will need to be adjusted fairly often
The Ibanez brand is known for providing you with both high performance and aesthetics at an affordable price. Their bass guitars, in particular, have long been a staple in the world of hard rock and metal, and they have also been the weapon of choice for many famous touring musicians.
This electric bass is a great option for aspiring rock stars on a budget, but you don’t want to start off with a bottom rung, basic bass. You want a piece of gear that can grow with you as your technique improves and you develop your own sound.
The GSR200 is sleek, lightweight, and features a smooth Rosewood fingerboard giving you easy access to all 24 frets. Its warm tone and strong low end make it great for gigging or in the studio. It performs well and functions as a great first bass or as a backup for a touring professional.
You definitely get your money’s worth from the Ibanez GSR200.
Body: MahoganyNeck: MapleFingerboard: RosewoodFrets: 24 MediumInlays: DotPickups: P & JElectronics: Active Phat II EQ, volume and tone controlsBridge: B10 FixedTuners: Die-castHardware: ChromeColor: Soda Blue
- Single-coil and split-bridge pickup combo provide exceptional sound
- The Active EQ on the GSR200 works continuously to improve the quality of sound
- This lightweight bass is comfortable to wear for hours of practice or recording
- The thin neck on this bass makes it easier to maneuver for those with smaller hands
- While the active EQ can adapt to different genres, the options are limited
- If you have a heavy hand, you may find yourself having to replace the tuning knobs at some point
It’s no secret that Squire is known for producing outstanding, well-made gear at a reasonable price, and this is exactly why they will be making multiple appearances today in our Best Bass Guitars Under 500 Reviews. Up next, The Squire Vintage Modified Jazz Bass ‘77.
The Jazz Bass ‘77 delivers incredible performance at a great value, and it’s an excellent option for beginners and touring professionals alike. The body of this classic 3 color sunburst bass is made of Agathis tonewood, the neck is Maple, and an Amber finish is added to compliment the finish on the body.
The offset, J-Style body of the Jazz Bass ‘77 gives you unobstructed access to the lower frets, and there are Fender-designed single-coil Jazz Bass pickups on the bridge and middle of the guitar. This great all-around bass guitar can effortlessly produce a variety of tones from the fat low end, to clean dynamic highs, and everything in between.
Body: AgathisNeck: MapleFingerboard: MapleFrets: 20 Medium-jumboInlays: DotPickups: Fender-designed single-coil Jazz Bass bridge and middle Electronics: Volume and Master Tone controlsBridge: 4-Saddle StandardTuners: Standard Open-GearHardware: ChromeColor: 3 color sunburst
- Offset body gives you more access to the lower frets
- Top-notch, Fender-designed single-coil Jazz Bass bridge and middle pickups
- Slim “C” Maple neck for fast-action play
- Has the ability to a wide range of tones for different genres of music
The Agathis body isn’t as durable as Mahogany or other tonewoods
The Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass combines retro styling with modern playability. The Basswood body of this 4-string bass comes with a low-profile “C” shaped maple neck, which aids you in being able to comfortably play the fast action-neck with less fatigue to your hands and arms.
This feature also comes in handy for players with smaller hands. The 20-fret Rosewood fingerboard includes stylish Pearloid block inlays. Volume and tone master controls along with the Fender-designed Alnico Single-Coil and Split-Coil and pickups assist you in creating just about any tone to accommodate your preferred playing style.
This bass can kick out some serious low-end thumb one minute, and clear top ends the next. The Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special also has great sustain and intonation. This versatile bass guitar is sure to serve you well for decades, and all for under 500 dollars!
Body: BasswoodNeck: MapleFingerboard: RosewoodFrets: 20 medium-JumboInlays: Pearloid BlocksPickups: Fender-designed Alnico Single-Coil (middle/bridge) and Split-Coil (neck)Electronics: Volume and tone master controlsBridge: 4-Saddle Vintage-StyleTuners: Vintage-StyleHardware: NickelColor: 3 Color Sunburst
- Slim “C” Maple neck for fast-action play
- Fender-designed Alnico Single-Coil and Split-Coil pickups
- Pearloid blocks on the inlays add a touch of sophistication
- Vintage-style bridge and headstock
- The control knobs feel cheap and easy to break if you aren’t careful
Last but certainly not least, the Vintage Modified Bass VI. This retro six-string bass has excellent low-end thump and delivers a bright vintage tone via three custom Jaguar, single-coil pickups. The body is made of Basswood, and the neck is Maple.
21 medium-jumbo frets line the Rosewood fingerboard and Pearloid block inlays add a touch of class to this beautifully crafted bass. The low-profile “C” style neck is comfortable to use, and this bass comes standard with loads of tonal variations via the (4) two-position slider switches (one power switch for each pickup, and one bass-cut tone circuit switch).
There are also master volume and control knobs, and a vintage-style, six-saddle bridge with non-locking floating vibrato. Beginners beware! The Squire Vintage Modified Bass VI is a fully loaded bass designed with advanced players in mind. This is absolutely a bass for seasoned pros.
Body: BasswoodNeck: MapleFingerboard: Rosewood Frets: 21 Medium-JumboInlays: Pearloid BlockPickups: Custom Jaguar Single-Coil Bridge Pickup with claw, reverse-wound/reverse-polarity, Middle pickup with claw, Neck pickup with clawElectronics: 3-On/Off slide switches (one for each pickup), master volume and tone controls Bridge: 6-Saddle vintage-style with non-locking floating vibratoTuners: Vintage-styleHardware: Chrome, black plastic knobsColor: Olympic white
- Vintage tone delivered by three custom Jaguar single-coil pickups with notched “claw” shielding rings
- Tons of tonal possibilities due to the (4) two-position slider switches
- Durable and beautiful build quality
- The cheap, plastic knobs on the controls
Our Final Thoughts
The cost of an electric bass guitar can widely vary, and the price is directly correlated with the brand name and type of materials used. I wouldn’t recommend investing any big money into a bass guitar unless you were a touring professional or skilled player.
Hopefully, you found our reviews of the 5 Best Bass Guitars Under 500 helpful. Nothing on our list piqued your interest? Reread them again and make a list of the features you liked the most, and then use that as a starting point for further research on finding the perfect bass to suit your style and needs.
We are confident that you can easily find a fantastic bass guitar for practice, recording or gigging in the 500 and under range.