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Bass Guitar buying guide
$100, $500, or $5,000, there's no reason not to fill out that low end with some solid, groovy tunes! Let's take a look at where your basspirations should lead you.
With a versatile P/J pickup configuration, medium-profile neck and a variety of cool colors, this is an easy-playing bass that fits any players personality!
IBANEZ TMB200 TALMAN BASS - $199
Meat and potatoes. Easy to play, familiar sounding bass tones with an elegant woodgrain finish.
YAMAHA TRBX174 ELECTRIC BASS - $199
Looking for that punchy, slap-friendly, crystal clear StingRay sound on a budget? GREAT contender. Often overlooked. Great color offerings.
STERLING BY MUSICMAN S.U.B. SERIES STINGRAY 4 - $299
The 2nd Gen Sires are INCREDIBLE for the money. Rolled fret edges, 3-band EQ (with sweepable mids), nice bite to the pickups. DEFINITELY the highlight in this price range! Extremely comfortable and versatile. Unbelievably well priced for such a quality.
SIRE 2nd GEN MARCUS MILLER V3 - $369
A staple of the Fender lineup, and a great introduction to the Fender brand. The new Alnico pickups sound thick and clear. Feels great. Perfect for the traditionalist.
FENDER PLAYER SERIES BASS - $674.99
Retro vibes and an alternative to what most people are used to. The lipstick pickups have a big, clear tone while maintaining a “vintage-y” growl. The Copper finish is a great touch.
DANELECTRO LONGHORN BASS - $419
Sire’s flagship bass. They use premium cuts of ash for a stunning look and, while the preamp is the same as the V3’s, the pickups have a “70s” voicing for added bite. The bridge pickup is in the “70s” position and nicer appointments (black block inlays and binding). Also has rolled fret edges. This is the bass that Marcus himself plays most of the time!
SIRE 2nd GEN MARCUS MILLER V7 VINTAGE - $719
Ridiculously comfortable AND has rolled fret edges. Great for the modern player. Crystal clear highs, punchy lows, and plenty of tonal control.
IBANEZ SR650E - $749.99
The standout of this price range. Same badass features as the Jazz and Precision, just an alternate (cool) body shape. Great for someone looking for familiar tones with a cooler vibe.
Reverend totally nailed the unique body shape that is totally accessible in just about every genre. The Mercalli is particularly attractive with its humbuckers (including one that mimics the tone of a split-coil in the neck position) and with its roasted maple neck!
REVEREND MERCALLI 4 - $999
Entry-point to the US Made Fenders. Cool finishes like “Penny” and “Satin Surf Green.” The American Performer Precision is a great bang-for-buck option, and the new Greasebucket tone capsule helps retain definition when you roll off the tone.
FENDER AMERICAN PERFORMER BASSES - $1199.99
Modern look, feel, and sound. The electronics are quite punchy and articulate, and the bass just feels super comfortable and well-balanced. GREAT entrance point to a powerhouse brand!
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Stunning figured tops, well-balanced sound and feel, premium woods and electronics (you can find these loaded with pickups from builders such as Aguilar or Nordstrand). Titanium truss rod to keep that neck in place, variable string spacing (so you can move the strings +/- 1.5mm), and rolled fret edges for maximum comfort.
IBANEZ SR2400 - $1499
The California Series has become the flagship for Sandberg. “California” is a nod to the great builders of California, particularly Leo Fender. Fatness from the humbucker in the bridge position, boasts a 16” fingerboard radius to accommodate faster playing, and a comfortable slimmer “C” profile to the neck.
SANDBERG CALIFORNIA II TM4 - $1805
Timelessly cool, incredible bite, and perfect for Rock. The 4003S has one mono output jack, so you get the classic Rickenbacker tone without the confusion of the Ric-O-Sound (stereo) jack and don't get a sound from the neck pickup!
3-Band EQ with sweepable mids, compound fingerboard radius (9.5” at the nut, 14” at the 12th fret), a contoured neck heel, and a compound neck shape (Slim C at the nut, rounds out to a medium D up the neck) for comfort up and down. Convenient truss rod adjustment at the neck base.
FENDER AMERICAN ELITE SERIES - $2049.99
Made in Germany. Ovangkol neck and wenge fingerboard for sturdiness and a great snap. Brass frets that have a great resonance and feel. Pickups sound clear and have a well-balanced feel.
WARWICK TEAM BUILT SERIES - $2099.99
An updated version of the classic stingray, the neodymium pickup magnets and 18v preamp system offer a ton of attack and increased headroom. Stainless steel frets that will last a lifetime. STUNNING finishes (like Charging Green and Cruz Teal).
ERNIE BALL MUSICMAN STINGRAY SPECIAL - $2049
Handmade in Gdansk, Poland. Definitely a brand taking the world of bass by storm. Extremely comfortable slim, fast-playing neck. Loaded with premium electronics (Aguilar, Nordstrand, Delano…).
MAYONES VIKING - $3176
A fantastic classic vintage vibe with all the wonderful attributes of a 60's/70's J bass combined with modern active/passive electronics. Above all, playability is Mike's number one goal in each and every build; the M4V hits it on every mark! One of the fastest playing necks out there!
MIKE LULL M4V - $3520
Handmade in Brooklyn, NY (in fact, about 2 blocks away from Fodera on 34th street by master luthier Mas Hino). It’s truly amazing to watch the man-himself work on these instruments. No two basses will be alike, and every one of them will feel like they are made for you. Hand-wound pickups and relic options abound.
LA BELLA OLINTO BASS - $4000
Since 1969, Ron and Susan Wickersham (and their daughter Mica Thomas) have been at the forefront of engineering. From their beginnings improving audio engineering to the modern-day evolution of design, their commitment to excellence is unmatched. They ensure every single component is made to perfection and stand behind everything they create. They are also the type of people who check in on you to see how your family is doing, make incredibly personalized gifts, and are committed to their community (they built a telescope for the Santa Rosa Astronomy Club and also founded a collective that provides internet to residents in the mountains of Northern California). They even have a history of restoring instruments that have been damaged in natural disasters free of charge! Yes, they are expensive. It’s because they care about what they make and they truly care about the people who play them. In short, YOU WILL NOT FIND A SINGLE FLAW IN ONE OF THEIR INSTRUMENTS. EVER.
The Brooklyn luthier scene in the late 70s was a very impressive one. At one time, some of the most important names in bass building were sharing a workspace -- Ned Steinberger, Stu Spector, Ken Smith, and their apprentice? Vinnie Fodera! He learned from some of the best until he set off with the gifted session bassist Joey Lauricella in 1983. The duo typify the kind of elite quality you’d expect out of Brooklyn, NY. A major part of the beauty of their custom instruments is in the experience you share with the builders from start to finish. Much like Alembic, Fodera excels in their premium selection of woods and components (everything goes through their hands and is meticulously approved during crafting). And much like Alembic, YOU WILL NOT FIND A SINGLE FLAW IN ONE OF THEIR INSTRUMENTS. EVER.