Pro Tip: All of the products covered here should last until you are ready to upgrade to something more complex. Of course, you may find the one that is such a good fit, you decide to stick with it for a long time to come. Some guitar brands overprice their guitars because they look cool or are popular. Here’s the one that I felt is the best Value for Money product and I own it.
If you are interested in learning to play the bass guitar, then it is important that you purchase the right instrument. There are a range of styles and technical differences between different makes, and not all of them are right for the first-time buyer. Before delving into some of the more suitable product options, it is essential to learn a little more about this instrument.
The Physical Make-Up of a Bass Guitar
Knowing the different parts of the bass and having an understanding of how it is designed and built will aid you in making a more informed buying choice. It will also help you to ask the right questions of the seller, as well as understanding the answers.
The two most obvious parts of any guitar are the body and the neck. The neck sits at the top end of the body and includes the internal truss rod, fretboard and headstock.
The headstock sits, as you may imagine, at the top of the neck. It is usually wider than the neck and is the point where the strings stop. It contains the tuning pegs; these are the pegs or keys that are used to adjust the tension of the strings and therefore tune the bass.
Otherwise known as the fingerboard, this is a thin piece of wood that runs the length of the neck from the body to the lower edge of the headstock. Fretboards should ideally be made from wood and be smooth, as well as hard wearing. There is often an arch in the width of the fretboard, known as the radius. The strips of metal that run width ways across the fretboard are the frets; these divide the neck up in half-step increments to assist in playing the right note. It is possible to buy bass guitars that are fretless, but these require a high level of skill and as such are not recommended for beginners.
- Truss Rod
This is a metal rod that can be adjusted to account for the twisting or bowing of the neck that can be caused through the tension of the strings.
Difference in Scale
The length of the guitar from the bridge to the nut, the piece between the end of the fretboard and the beginning of the headstock, is known as the scale. 34” is the most common scale length. However, for younger players, or those with smaller hands a scale of around 30” is more suitable. There are also long-scale neck basses and these tend to be around 35”. These are most often found on five and six-string basses, which again are not generally suitable for beginners.
Active or Passive Electronics?
While you may not need to know all the intricate details of how the electronics of a bass guitar work, it is helpful to have a general idea. Active or passive electronic relate to the preamp circuitry of the guitar. Passive systems work without a power source and have few controls – volume and tone knobs, and possibly a blend control. It is simple to operate and there is no risk of a battery dying at a crucial point in playing
On the other side you have active electronics that need an onboard battery to work. This type of system gives you more control over the shaping of the tone and provides a stronger output. However, with this greater control comes a more systems to control.
Putting all the Information Together – Guidelines for the First Time Buyer
- Don’t go for the cheapest instrument you can find. Purchase the best bass guitar you can afford. Quality will last and make learning that bit easier.
- Don’t be tempted to go fretless
- Choose the right scale for your grip size. If it is too large you will find learning to play more complicated than it needs to be.
- A 4-string bass is perfect for a beginner.
- Opt for simplicity
Basses to Consider
With these guidelines, and the previous information in hand, here are a range of bass guitars that are suitable for beginners.
- Crescent Electric Bass Guitar Starter Kit
This kit comes with everything you need to get started including a 3-month elite membership trial to LickLibrary.com, including online guitar lessons, when purchased on amazon.com.
Available in a range of body colors the full size electric bass guitar boasts 33” neck length, four strings and frets, ideal for the beginner. It also has a split P-B P/U, and volume and tone regulator. The kit comes with soft case, strap, amp cord, three picks and digital tuner. At a sale price of $89.95 (full price $99.95) and free shipping it is a deal that is hard to beat.
- Goplus Blue Full Size 4 String Electric Bass Guitar
This is another perfect guitar for beginners and is also eligible for the LickLibrary.com offer.
It is a classical style bass with Rosewood fretboard and metal frets. Again it has just two control knobs, so is simpler to learn on. However, there is no size information given on the product description. You need to be aware of this if you require a smaller leg length. The kit comes with soft case, strap, amp cord and a guitar pick. There is no digital tuner with this option and the strap is on the small side for most people. It is currently being sold for $86.99, with free shipping; leaving you enough money in your budget to pick up a tuner if you so desire.
- Davison Guitars – Full Size Black Electric Guitar
This is the more expensive of the three products, and it is not part of the LickLibrary.com deal. The guitar does come with everything you need, including a 30-watt amp and simple two control knob system. You also get the amp cord, case and guitar strap. While the product states that it ships within 1 to 2 months it is usually much quicker and the $129.95 price tag also includes shipping. Be aware that guitar pick and tuner are not included and will need to be purchased separately.
These are just three guitar bundles that fit the guidelines discussed earlier for beginners. Al of the products featured here should last until you are ready to upgrade to something more complex. Of course, you may find the one that is such a good fit, you decide to stick with it for a long time to come.