Electric Bass Guitar Buying Guide

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Electric bass guitars help link all the other instruments to the drums, giving a full complete sound. The electric bass guitar comes in four, five and six strings.
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Hopefully in this article I can educate you on some fundamentals of the electric bass guitar so you have an easier time when choosing what you are looking for.


There are several types of styles to choose from when looking for a bass guitar. Below are some typical types to choose from.
1- P Bass – This style is called the Precision Bass which was the first electric bass guitar on the market back in 1951. It has a thick neck and a split-coil pickup, which I will explain what that pickup is later in this article. The P bass is a very comfortable instrument to play. Fender, who is well-known in the music industry came out with this style and a lot of companies copied this design.
2- Fender Mustang PJ bass – This is the granddaddy of bass guitars. This bass guitar has both the smooth Jazz pickup from a fender J- Bass and the split pickups from a fender P bass.
This is an attractive looking four string bass guitar with its rosewood fretboard and maple neck and has a great range of tone.
This guitar can be used for playing Jazz or Funk because of its multiple pickups and is very popular with a lot of famous bands. This guitar is not cheap because of its features.
3- J Bass – This style is also made by Fender and is usually purchased for playing jazz, thus the letter J in the name of the bass and has a similar look of a P bass. What distinguishes this Guitar from the p bass is the different pick guard shape, dual pickups and it has a slimmer neck. The J bass is more versatile than the P bass because of its slimmer neck where you can actually play chords.
4- Thunderbird – This electric bass guitar is manufactured by an another very well-known company in the music industry called Gibson. It has dual humbucking pickups and a wide body which tone wise gives it a higher or brighter punchy sound. You should definitely try one out before purchasing this bass because of its neck being a bit heavy.
5- SG – This model is also made by Gibson.this bass guitar has a duller warmer sound than the fender bass guitar. But because it is very light and its body shape it is very easy to play.
6- Flying V – This type of bass guitar has a shape that allows you to be able to play higher notes. Because of its shape, it is a much harder bass guitar to be able to sit when playing. This is a unique and very cool looking bass guitar.
7- Violin – This type of bass guitar produces a muted natural tone
that harmonizes nicely with other instruments They are short scale, which makes this style bass light and easy to transport

Types of Tonewood

like all instrument, these types of woods make up a huge difference in the sound it produces, price of the instrument, play ability, and looks.
1- Basswood – This is the most common material used on an electric bass guitar because of its cost. This wood produces very little sustain which is a preference to many bass players who play fast complex pieces
2- Maple – This wood produces a nice sustain because of the heaviness of the wood. It also creates a clear crisp sound which really stands out when playing with other instruments.
3- Mahogany – This wood is another heavy type wood which produces a softer warmer tone which has low mid tones unlike the higher crisp tones of the maple wood.
4- Ash – This wood has a really nice grain to it and usually you would put some type of clear varnish on it to highlight the grain. It creates a fair amount of sustain and a nice balance and depth to its bright overtones.

Neck Type

There are three types of necks made for electric bass guitar which plays a vital role in playing the instrument and producing different sounds.
1- Bolt-On – This type of neck is cheaper to manufacture and makes it much easier to replace in case something goes wrong with the neck. They are a separate piece that gets bolted on the body of the guitar.
2- Neck-Through – This type of neck is made by gluing several pieces of wood together. It is expensive but has a sustain that doesn’t compare because there is no joint between the neck and body to interfere with vibration.
3- Set – these type of necks are similar to the bolt-on necks that use a dovetail joint instead of a metal bolt. These necks are between bolt-on and neck-through as far as sustain goes.


Pickups play a very important role in your playing and style of music you are playing. There are three types of pickups.
1- Humbucker – This type of pickup is for high output players. The design of the pickup decreases excess noises and its primary function is for gain and punch.
2- Single-Coil – This is the most common of the three pickups for most electric bass guitars and electric guitars. It produces a bright tone that becomes friendly when you add some distortion. There are usually two single-coil pickups on an electric bass guitar, one located near the bridge and the other near the neck, which the bass player can extend in his choice.
3- Split-Coil – This pickup is very popular on p bass electric guitars. It gives a very full deep boomy sound with low-end and mid- range accents. You won’t get a hum-noise with this pickup when raising the volume.

Price Ranges of Electric Bass Guitars

Least Expensive Price – You can get an electric bass guitar for as little as $100.00. What you will probably get for that price is a basic basswood bass guitars with four strings and simple electronics. They can sound pretty good and can pack a punch but when you start raising the volume you won’t get the clarity and experience more noise. This price range would be a good beginner pack, which would include the bass guitar, four strings, strap, and a soft gig bag.
mid-range Price – For around $500.00 you would get a better tonewood, better pickups, four or five strings, and a more variety of finishes and designs,
Top of the Line – For $1,000.00 and above you would get the best wood available, fantastic clear sounding pickups no matter how high the volume, maximum sustain, neck-through designs, and five or six string basses.


There are a lot of quality basses on the market today and hopefully through this article, I made it a little easier to choose what electric bass guitar you are looking for on your decision to buy one. The more you know about the different styles and features of an instrument, the easier it is to choose what you are looking for. If you have any questions I would be happy to try to answer them for you.

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