Best Bass Guitars Under $1000

Are you an aspiring bassist on a tight budget? Are you curious to do some research on the cheapest bass on the market?

Are you interested in learning more about the different specifications and body styles of these inexpensive instruments? Then look no further! Check out this list of the 5 best bass guitars under $1000.

Is a $1000 Bass Guitars Worth It?

1. Fender Player Precision Electric Bass Guitar – Best Overall

Fender Player Precision Electric Bass Guitar


  • Body: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Scale Length: 34”

The Fender Precision Bass Guitar is one of the most iconic bass guitar designs in modern music history. The Fender Player Precision Electric Bass Guitar is a perfect continuation of this legacy. A slightly redesigned body, updated pickups, and historically inspired aesthetic touches make this the best bass guitar under $1000.

The Player Precision bass features an alder body. Fender began using alder for instrument bodies in the 1950s because of its abundance near the coastal California location of the original Fender factory. Alder is a relatively lightweight and bright sounding wood with good midrange response. This is beneficial because bass guitars can quickly become heavy and become muddy with the wrong woods.

A maple neck and maple fretboard bring the classic Fender aesthetic and the 34″ scale length and medium jumbo frets ensure all the notes ring true and clear along the entire instrument. The Player Precision bass comes with a single Alnico V Precision Split Single-coil pickup for that classic P bass growl. The single pickup is controlled by one master volume and one master tone knob.

Overall, The Fender Player Precision Electric Bass Guitar is a perfect choice for an intermediate to advanced bassist looking to upgrade to a high-quality instrument that won’t break the bank. Classic Fender style and tone combined with quality components and construction make the best bass guitar for under $1000.

2. Sterling by Music Man Sting Ray 4 Bass Guitar – Budget Pick

Sterling by Music Man Sting


  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Hard Maple
  • Fretboard: Hard Maple
  • Scale Length: 34”

The Sting Ray 4 Bass Guitar from Ernie Ball Music Man subsidiary Sterling is an excellent example of a well-built and inexpensive bass guitar. Ernie Ball Music Man has carved a major niche with its Sting Ray design. Originally an off-shoot of Fender, Music Man debuted the Sting Ray bass in the early 1970s and according to journalist Dan Shaw :

Through a combination of cutting-edge technology, ergonomic design, dashing good looks and a sound to die for, this iconic bass attracted more than a few high profile purveyors and has continued to steadily grow its fan base since its inception.

The Sterling Sting Ray 4 is a great, affordable example of this model. The Sterling Sting Ray 4 features a basswood body. Basswood is sometimes regarded as a poor quality wood, but its relative abundance and light weight makes it a perfect choice for a performing bassist on a tight budget . The last thing you want is a bass that is too heavy! The Sting Ray’s basswood body is complimented by a hard maple neck and fretboard for a well balanced feel and clear, crisp tone throughout the instrument’s 34″ scale length.

The Sting Ray 4 features a single ceramic humbucker pickup with an active 9 volt preamp with 2 band equalizer. This allows for a powerful and customizable tone from a relatively simple setup. However, if you leave the bass plugged in, the battery will drain and you might find yourself caught off guard if you plug-in and no sound comes out! So make sure to unplug when you are done and to change the battery if you need.

Overall, the Sterling Sting Ray 4 from Ernie Ball Music Man is one of the best bass guitars under $500 and is the best budget model bass guitar on this list. It is a perfect entry point into the Sting Ray bass world, is built well enough to perform, and won’t break your bank account to buy.

3. Squier 0374531500 Classic Vibe 60s Jazz Bass Fretless

Squier 0374531500 Classic Vibe 60s


  • Body: Poplar 
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Laurel 
  • Scale Length: 34”

The fretless Fender Jazz bass is an iconic instrument probably made most famous by the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius. It is rumored that Pastorius removed the frets of his 60s Fender Jazz Bass himself only hours before a gig . That spirit of fearlessness has inspired generations of bassists to pick up a fretless Fender Jazz Bass for themselves and the Squier Classic Vibe 60’s provides a perfect entry point.

This Squier fretless Jazz Bass features a poplar body. Poplar is a wood that is increasingly being used in less expensive guitars made in Asia. It is softer than maple and is generally considered a neutral sounding tonewood without any strong defining characteristics.

The Squier fretless Jazz Bass also comes with a maple neck and laurel fretboard. Because of environmental restrictions, rosewood has become more difficult to procure, and Fender has switched to using laurel fretboards instead of rosewood.

The two are similar in color, grain, and timbre. The laurel fretboard is marked with fret lines in place of frets for accurate intonation. The Squier also features two Alnico single coil pickups, each controlled by an individual volume knob and one master tone knob.

Overall, the Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Fretless Jazz Bass is an affordable entry point into the world of fretless basses. The Squier grants you access to the iconic Fender instrument of Jaco Pastorius and others for one half or one third the price. The materials are definitely not the best and the craftsmanship of Squier is hit or miss, but if you want to experiment with a fretless without risking too much, this is a good choice.

4. Epiphone EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar

Epiphone EB-0 Electric Bass


  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 30.5”

The Epiphone EB-0 is a classic bass design. The original Gibson EB-0 was favored by rock stars like Jack Bruce of Cream and John Entwistle of the Who. Gibson stopped its production of the EB-0 in 1979 and now you can own a piece of rock history without paying a hefty vintage price tag!

The Epiphone EB-0 features an all mahogany solid body in the iconic SG double cutaway style. The slim taper body is thinner than either of the Fenders on this list, which makes up for the otherwise heavy mahogany body wood. The EB-0 also features a mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard rounding out a dark and heavy rock and roll machine.

The EB-0 also features a shorter 30.5″ scale length, making it perfect for a bassist with smaller hands or a guitarist looking to switch to a bass with a more comparable feel. The EB-0 comes equipped with a single, neck position Sidewinder humbucking pickup. This pickup helps define the character of the EB-0 and produces rich, vintage sounding tones controlled by single volume and tone knobs.

Overall, the Epiphone EB-0 is a perfect choice for a musician who adores the classic look of the vintage Gibson EB-0 but doesn’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for one. The EB-0 can also be a little shred machine for a guitarist interested in a shorter scale bass to zoom around on.

5. Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB 4-String Bass Guitar

Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB 4


  • Body: Spruce and Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 30”

The Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB bass guitar is a contemporary take on a classic bass. The Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB is part of Höfner’s Ignition Series Club Basses which are designed to allow all players easy access to the vintage sound and feel of Höfner basses.

Höfner is something of a hidden legend in the musical instrument world. Paul McCartney famously played a Höfner Violin Bass and Höfner has made many iconic and wonderful sounding guitars and basses but has never really reached the level of notoriety of Fender or Gibson. For this reason, Höfner instruments are often less expensive than larger brands, while still maintaining excellent quality. I own a vintage Höfner hollowbody guitar and it is one of my favorite instruments of all time.

This Höfner Ignition Series Club bass features a combination spruce and maple body. Höfner guitars are often made from this combination of tonewoods. This combo generates a light and ethereal timbre that packs a punch when you need it but is not too dense or muddy. This combo of body tonewoods is well matched with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, lending the perfect amount of depth and darkness to the lighter body.

The 30″ scale length will feel similar to the Epiphone EB-0 and is perfect for zooming around the fretboard like a Mazda Miata. This Höfner Club bass also comes with Höfner’s unique pickup design and controls. Two Höfner Staple pickups are controlled by individual on/off switches, a solo/rhythm switch for selecting output, and individual volume controls. This unique design allows for a wide range of tonal possibilities to suit many playing styles from rock to jazz to folk and everything in between.

Overall, the Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB is a great choice for a bassist interested in entering the world of Höfner instruments without forking over a large amount of money for a vintage instrument. Like many inexpensive instruments, these Höfner basses are now made in China. However, according to the Höfner website :

Höfner made enormous efforts to bring the branch in Beijing to the level of quality sought by Höfner in terms of craftsmanship and technology …

The HOF-HI-CB-SB includes all the features that have made Höfner basses an important piece of musical history and nothing you don’t need.

What To Know Before Buying a $1000 Bass Guitar?

It is important to consider the body style when purchasing a bass guitar for under $1000. Do you like the look of a classic Fender Precision bass? If so, then the Fender Player Series Precision bass is a solid choice. The Sterling Sting Ray 4 is an offshoot of the P-Bass design.

Investigate your favorite bassists and learn which instruments they use to generate their sounds.

If you are interested in something slightly larger, but still want a Fender feel, then the Squier fretless Jazz Bass may be the perfect choice for you!

If you are interested in something a little different, the Epiphone EB-0 or Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB may be the best choice. The Epiphone EB-0 is based off the Gibson SG body style. The SG is a double cutaway, thin-line guitar that has been the chosen instrument of many famous rockers including Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Angus Young of AC/DC.

Numerous famous bassists have also adopted the EB-0 as their chosen body style. The Höfner HOF-HI-CB-SB is also modeled after a famous guitar, the Gibson Les Paul. The Les Paul is a solid-body guitar with a single-cutaway favored by many guitarists throughout its history.

The Höfner incorporates the same single-cutaway style and combines it with a chambered hollow body to deliver a lighter and punchier timbre than the traditional Les Paul.

The Woods Used

It is important to consider the woods used when purchasing an electric bass guitar for under $1000. For example, many inexpensive basses are made from basswood or poplar. Examples on this list include the Sterling Sting Ray 4 (basswood) and the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Fretless (poplar).

The quality of construction can vary widely at lower price points and you will probably be happier with some choices over others.

These woods are often used on less expensive instruments because of their relative abundance and low cost to manufacture with. But, you might find that these woods do not produce a tone that you enjoy or that they lack depth and clarity.

However, other choices such as alder, mahogany, and spruce are often used on more expensive guitars as well. Alder is a fairly common choice for Fender instruments. The Fender Player Series Precision bass has an alder body as do other Fender instruments twice or three times the price.

Similarly, the Epiphone EB-0 features an all-mahogany body. Many higher-end Gibson and Epiphone guitars are legendary for their all-mahogany bodies. Additionally, many of the more expensive Höfner guitars use spruce for a body wood as well. All of this means that you can be relatively sure that the body will not be poor quality.

The Style of Pickups

The final thing that is important to consider when purchasing an electric bass for under $1000 is the style of pickups used. While the quality of pickups in an inexpensive bass may not be stellar, it is important to consider the style and arrangement of pickups that you want. There is a wide range of pickups options on this list.

Are you interested in a single pickup design? The biggest advantage of a single pickup design is its simplicity. You have one choice of pickup and don’t need to worry about anything else. If you are interested in a single coil pickup, the Fender Player Series P-Bass features one single coil pickup.

If you are interested in a single humbucker pickup, both the Sterling Sting Ray 4 and Epiphone EB-0 feature a single humbucker pickup. The Sterling’s single humbucker is in the bridge position and is an active pickup which adds output to the pickup. The Epiphone’s single humbucker is in the neck position and is not an active pickup.

Are you more interested in having a pair of pickups so that you can dial in a wider range of tones? The biggest advantage to having multiple pickups is that you can customize your tone for various playing situations. This is an advantage if you play multiple styles or are interested in having multiple different bass sounds.

The Squier Classic Vibe 60’s Jazz bass features two Alnico single coils with separate volume knobs which can be blended together in different ways. The Höfner Ignition Series Club Bass features two of Höfner’s famous Staple pickups with individual on/off switches, volume knobs, and a rhythm/solo switch for adjusting the output. This pickup setup allows you to build a handful of interesting tones. Again, check out your favorite bassists and recordings for inspiration!


Is bass harder to play than guitar?

Yes, in some ways bass is harder to play than guitar, and in some ways no, bass is not harder to play than guitar. Basses generally have larger frets and have thicker gauge strings which can be difficult to push for smaller hands. However, bass parts for many popular songs are generally easier to play than guitar parts. Bassists are usually only playing one note at a time while guitarists are often playing many notes.

What is the difference between 4 string and 5 string basses?

The difference between 4 and 5 string basses is that 5 string basses have an additional string. That additional 5th string is usually tuned to a low B below the low E string on a 4 string bass. This extra low string extends the range of the bass to accommodate music in lower registers. While 4 string basses are the most common, basses can include up to 7 or 8 strings.

Does a fretless bass sound different?

Yes, a fretless bass sounds different than a traditional, fretted bass. Fretless basses have a more wobbly tone and a wider range of intonation with each note. Because there is no set point for the string to press against, the pitch of each note depends on where you place your finger.