What's the best buy overall (brand/model) for a cheap bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassguy74, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. By cheap I mean $500 at most, if not less.

    I'm hoping to narrow it down to just one brand/model that you guys agree about "fitting the bill". :)
  2. azfryguy


    Feb 2, 2010
    Queen Creek AZ
    i would say ibanez,shecter and well thats it . . . though if you are lucky you can find a bass on the list for cheap thats really really expensive
  3. NineSpine


    Jun 19, 2007
    You can get a used G&L Tribute for that price. The nicer Squier models are also really good for the price.
  4. JDHolmes


    Jan 6, 2010
    I was looking for the same thing a month ago. Go to Guitar Center or somewhere where you can play, find one you like the vibe of then ask again.

    Ibanez 300
    lots of lower price stuff

    but you need to like the sound
  5. I'm a vintage Fender type of guy and a kitch retro 60's type as well but I've gotta say... if I had about $500 to toss around, it would be towards a Yamaha BB414:

    I guess I just have a thing for Yamahas.;)
  6. tuba4


    Jun 14, 2009
    Marietta, Georgia
    Squier Classic Vibe

    3 models to select from.
  7. I'd go with any of the Squire Vintage Modified series. I had a Precision VM for a few years and just sold it for what I paid for it. It was a great bass but I needed the cash for finance a new bass (well .... actually to smooth things over with my wife for buying yet another bass!). I just played the Fretless Jazz Bass VM in a music store and it felt and sounded great. And the 70s VM is a kick-a$$ bass for the money. The MSRP on them is now about $400 but you can usually get the Musician's Friend price of $300 at most local stores.
  8. All suggestions duly noted guys. Thanks mucho! :)
  9. edot3021


    Jan 29, 2010
    The Fender Jaguar Bass will run you $550.
  10. saxshooter


    Sep 18, 2009
    Washington DC
    +1 for Yamaha BB414... great tones, great feel.
  11. A.K.


    Jan 9, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Epiphone Thunderbird IV. Amazing value and tone for $299.00.
  12. i just picked up a new mim jazz for 400. yes it was an incredible deal.
  13. syndrome666


    Feb 17, 2009
    Look around for new old stock Basses, you'd be surprised how much of a discount you can get. Try ebay. I'm picky with my basses. I like them to be hand made instruments, so that means that they can't be made in China, Korea, Indonesia. Not sure about mexico. But it all depends on what you care more for. If it's just the sound and not the craftsmanship, go with an Ibanez soundgear SR500 or higher range if you can find, maybe some new old stock MIM or MIJ Fenders floating around craigslist or ebay. I've found lots Ibanez SR800 basses all Japan made (hand crafted), very nice basses by the way, and they're usually selling and reselling around ebay. I love these basses and think they are perfect for just about any style, and now that they're out of production, they're easy to find for cheap 250-500$, some sell them for more as they originally went for 800-900$ when they were in production from '87-'03. I've also stumbled upon some Fender Jaguar basses for around 500$ which are also MIJ made. But again if how it's crafted isn't an issue to you than go for anything that sounds good and feels comfortable to you. You may also want to consider the type of pickups you are after (P, J, twin J, and the combinations). Seriously check out Ebay and craigslist, you'd be surprised at how many great basses you can find. If you're a fan of beefy but comfortable necks, check out Warwick's Rockbasses. I beleive they were on sale for around 390$ on ebay, as new old stock. I had one, they sound real good, got the German made MEC electronics and pickups and German made hardware, the only thing is, the bass is made in China, but regardless, it plays awsome if you like thick necks. But if you are after performance and speedy techniques you may want something with a narrower action and slimmer neck liek the Ibanez soundgear or BTB. Don't buy a Dean, Washburn, Squire, or Epiphone in that price range as they'll need modification to sound good and feel more appropriate, those companies are known for cheapness, and cheapness is what you mainly get from them, well if you throw in a few extra hundred on the Epi, maybe it's worth it, but i'd never touch an epi personally, unless it was a vintage MIJ made. Think Yamaha has some goodies too. ESP is a definite goody for your price range. Not sure about Aria pro, but they may be decent with that price range. If you can get your hands on a musicman bass for $500, grab it, w/o question, they are superb basses, i got a '91 5 string stingray which i traded for a Warwick Corvette standard 5 string, and it's so much of a better fit and feel and sound then the Warwick for me, but I still like Ibanezes soundgears for their unbeatable fast slim/low action necks. Schecter isn't bad, as someone mentioned, but they do tend to cheap out on the pickups and electronics a bit, and I personally wouldn't ever touch one after playing a few at the local music shop, some of them don't sound too bad, but they feel like a stiff slab of wood that you can use for baseball as a bat. Their custom shop is really good, but they cost a ton more. Also keep away from stock BC Rich basses, very cheap and horrible sounding, also imbalalnced when on a strap for many models. But honestly look for the standard P bass or the Ibanez, I think those two would constitute the best compromise if you really want a bass but know nothing about it but want to spend 500$, i think even a brand new standard P or Jazz bass go for around 500$, but you may want to check with ebay or cragslist first. Good luck with your bass hunt!
  14. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Ibanez, Traben, ESP Ltd as the 3 that come to mind for very nice basses in the $500 and under catagory.
  15. PZapdos


    Jan 23, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Depending on your string # requirements, i cannot express the awesomeness that is the esp ltd D4, D5, and D6 line. tons of bass for the $
  16. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    $500 will go a long way, especially if you're willing to consider used instruments. Tribute G&Ls and Skyline Laklands are legitimately good instruments by any standard, vary in style to suit most any taste, and can easily be had at that price.

    EDIT: Didn't notice you were in WA. Where, if you don't mind? :)
  17. kochillin420


    Feb 17, 2010
    In my opinion, Ibanez makes some of the best basses on the market. You will find what you need in every price range. I recommend their Soundgear or Ergodyne models. Also, try to get a neck through. Also look for the 5 knobs on the front (Highs, mids, lows, tone, and volume controls). For a four string, it is going to run you right around $500.
  18. +1 on the Jag, they're selling at half price at MF now that they're discontinued. Value-wise, i'd say that wins hands down (out of brand new basses from music stores). I personally also like the Ibanez SRs, about to buy a 900 (hopefully) :hyper:
  19. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    +1. Ibanez is King.
  20. superhand


    Sep 14, 2009
    Fresno, CA
    I got my MIM Fender Jazz last year for $450. It was NOS. I like it a lot.