Comprehensive Guide in Buying Your First Bass Guitar

Bass guitars are enjoyable to play and are ideal for beginning players. And if you're in the market for a bass, there are many affordable entry-level versions available.

But, how do you know what bass guitars are right for you?

Let's look at some of the different types of bass guitars available and what they offer. This will serve as a guide to help you determine what you're looking for in a bass guitar.

1. Contemporary Bass Guitars

Contemporary bass guitars range from the ultra-affordable Squier & Fender basses to the high-end boutique basses made by Alembic and John Suhr.

These are valued for the timeless designs that have proven helpful in all kinds of music. These basses are also known for their unique tonal characteristics found in higher-end models.

However, most players will look to contemporary basses for their secondary or 'backup' basses because of their price tags. In other words, most players will look to a cheaper and more practical option for their principal bass.

2. Classic Bass Guitars

They are also referred to as "vintage" or "retro" bass guitars. These basses are characterized by their classic designs and tones from the past. This doesn't mean that classical bass guitars are all old, antiquated and out of date. It just means that their design and tone harken back to the days of yore.

A classical bass guitar can come equipped with humbuckers and passive electronics, and active, passive or piezo-based electronics. Some classic designs have been reissued as signature basses by some of the biggest names in music.

3. Jazz Bass Guitars

Aside from the Precision Bass, the Jazz bass is the most recognized and esteemed of all the Fender bass guitars. The Jazz bass is a versatile workhorse that can handle any genre of music you throw at it.

Jazz basses are valued for their clean, articulate and punchy tones, ideal for any vernacular of music. They can be equipped with single-coil or humbucker pickups. They are also equipped with active electronics, passive electronics or even piezo pickups.

5. Precision Bass Guitars

Although the Precision bass is commonly associated with jazz, it can also be heard in nearly every genre of music. The Precision bass is known for its punchy tone, sustain and low-end growl.

Precision bass guitars are noted for their versatility. They can handle smooth jazz and groove-oriented music but can also perform rockabilly and blues. These basses are generally equipped with single-coil pickups but can also be equipped with humbuckers.

6. Double Bass Guitars

Double bass guitars are giant, beefed-up versions of the Precision bass. This larger version of the Precision bass has plenty of low-end growls and plenty of power. Metal bassists favour them as they produce thunderous low-end tones that rattle your bones.

All bass guitars are different, whether contemporary, classic, modern, vintage or double bass guitars. Other models are available within each different genre of bass.


Bass guitars are the backbone of most genres of music. It adds the low-end frequencies that define the soul of the music. Bass guitars also lay down the groove, add the melody and rhythm, and produce the percussive element that brings all the music together.

Now that you've taken a closer look at some of the different bass guitars available, you're better prepared to make a more informed decision when it's time to purchase. 

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