What To Look For When Buying Bass Guitars

July 20, 2018 5 min read

Buying your first bass guitar

There is a lot of transferrable knowledge between bass guitars and regular six string guitars, but at the end of the day they're a whole different animal. Here's what to look for when buying a bass. 

Perhaps you have a wealth of musical knowledge, and perhaps you don't. Either way, it is now time for you to buy a bass guitar for the first time.

If so, you probably are wondering where to start looking. The good news is that you have come to the right place by reading this article. Detailed below is everything you need to consider when it comes to buying bass guitars.

You are not alone in your interest in the instrument. In fact, guitars and bass guitars generate over a $1.3 billion revenue each year. That means that you shouldn't have any trouble finding a bass guitar.

The question at this point is what exactly that bass guitar should look like. Don't worry if you're a beginner - there is always room for growth. Get started now, and in no time, you will be playing like a champ.

Why Do You Want a Bass Guitar?

You might not even be buying a bass guitar for yourself. Maybe you know a friend or family member who plays, and you are looking to gift them with a new instrument soon.

If that's the case, then you should consider what level of a player he or she already is. Have they been playing for years? Are they wanting to start for the first time here pretty soon?

If you are gifting a bass guitar for an expert player, consider investing in a bass guitar that is more of a collectible. For example, look into the many options of vintage bass guitars available. One of these could be a real treasure for a bass enthusiast.

If you're buying one for a newbie (even if that newbie is yourself), then start small. A player should be able to get the feel of a basic bass guitar before handling an overcomplicated or super expensive model.

Have You Ever Played Bass Before?

Again, consider the level of experience the recipient of this bass guitar has accomplished. If there isn't a lot of knowledge about the instruments, then you should stick with a simple model.

These guitars usually don't offer a lot of options for modifying sounds. For example, some bass guitars come with open tuning machines. The unfortunate side of these features is that they require a lot more maintenance and care.

If you are looking for an easier guitar to handle, you should choose a simple electric 4-string bass guitar. It's the best way to get started learning the skills a bass player really needs.

For those of you who want to play bass but have no idea where to start, that's okay. There are plenty of online tutorials available to get you started, one of our favorites is truefire.com who also has some of their videos on youtube for free. It's recommended, though, that you eventually hire an in-person teacher to give you the feedback you need to perfect the craft.

The Anatomy of Bass Guitars

Before you learn anything else, you need to understand the structure of a bass guitar. Knowing the purpose of each different peace will help you understand what to look for. If any of these parts are damaged on the guitar you are interested in, it would not be worth your purchase.

To start, you should know what a headstock is. This is what many people consider to be the "main" part of a bass guitar. It's the wide, round wooden part at the end of a guitar.

The headstock is what many people like to customize. It comes in many different kinds of wood and colors. If you can afford it, you should do your best to personalize the headstock to express your personal style.

Next, think about the long, skinny part of a bass guitar where the strings are mostly held. This part of the guitar is called a fretboard. A fretboard is usually glued to the neck of the guitar.

The neck is essentially the entire length of the guitar, on which each other pieces attach. Sometimes the neck is thin and separate from the rest of the guitar. Other times, though, the neck is called a "through neck," which means that it is an integral part of the entire guitar's design.

Through necks are high-end bases for the most part. You can trust that they provide more stability to the guitar's shape.

Lastly, the truss rod is a metal part of the guitar that makes sure the neck and fretboard don't bend. If this rod, or any of the above parts, don't seem to be in working order, the guitar is not worth your money. You definitely want to make sure its entire structure is sound enough ahead of time.

Choosing the Best Type of Wood

The wood used to build the bass guitar might be its most significant quality. For beginners, it's suggested to buy one made from the versatile, yet affordable, agathis. Ask is also a popular wood used since it is easy to maintain.

How Much Are You Willing to Invest?

At the end of the day, you care about the bottom cost of your bass guitar purchase. That's sensible because they sure can cost a lot of money.

Once again, the amount of money you should spend might depend on your level of experience (or the level of the player's experience to whom you are gifting). It might not be smart to spend tons of cash on a reckless teenager's new hobby.

Be honest with yourself about the budget you are willing to work with. Then, don't deviate from that.

Number of Strings

Bass guitars come with either four, five, or six strings on the fretboard. For beginners, it is recommended that you stick with the traditional four strings to get started. Later on, you can upgrade to learning to play with more strings.

It's Time To Shop!

Congratulations on starting your research to buy the best bass guitar to suit your needs. Bass guitars are an enticing and long-lasting hobby.

If you are ready to find the style of bass guitar that you know you want, look no further. We are here to match you with the absolute best bass guitar of your dreams. Check out our varying options of bass guitars available on our website today.

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