The cost of a bass guitar varies quite widely. They can be as little as a few hundred dollars to costing several thousand. What they are made of, where they are made, and even what brand they all have an effect on their price.
Let us take a look at the three levels of bass, entry, intermediate, and pro. Let us find out how much a bass guitar costs in each category, as well as some good options.
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These are the most common type of basses. Most people will think of electric basses when they think of a bass guitar.
For anyone starting out on bass, their first will likely be an entry-level one. These basses are inexpensive but can lack a lot of quality.
Entry-level basses are usually made with cheaper woods and hardware. They won’t sound as good as more expensive models and can often be prone to wear and tear.
These basses are also usually mass-produced in Asia in countries like China and Indonesia. This means that not a lot of attention to detail is put into them.
A bass is considered entry-level when it costs between $200 and $500. There are a few decent beginner basses like Ibanez’s Gio and miKro ranges. The Squier Affinity is a good Fender-like. And the Sterling Stingray and Epiphone Embassy are both quality beginner basses.
Intermediate-level basses will probably be what most people play. These basses are fairly good in terms of build quality and sound, and you can even find some great basses in this range.
These basses are ideal for anyone already fairly skilled in the bass and looking to improve further. They are also good enough to play gigs with.
The intermediate level ranges from $500 to $1500. You will also start to see more big-name brands like Fender, ESP, and PRS.
The Fender P-Bass is one of the best midrange basses you can find. The ESP LTD AP-204 is a great bass at the low end of the midrange. And the PRS SE Kestrel is a great competitor for the P-Bass.
You will also start to find more 5- and 6-string basses in this range. Basses like the Jackson Signature David Ellefson and the Ibanez Bass Workshop series.
These are the highest-quality basses you can find. These are the types of basses normally used by professional, touring musicians.
These basses are often handmade using the highest quality woods and the best hardware. They are most commonly made in the USA.
Any bass over $1500 is considered a professional-level bass. They also have the widest range in terms of price and can easily reach $7000 or more.
All the well-known names like Fender, Ibanez, and Jackson are present in the professional range. Some lesser-known, more specialized names also started to appear, like Ernie ball, Fodera, and Lakland.
The Fender American Professional II P-Bass is probably one of the most well-regarded basses. The Fodera Monarch was designed with versatility in mind.
The Lakland Skyline is an exceptional 5-string also designed to have a wide range of tones. Ibanez’s Premium range is just fantastic, and the Ernie Ball Music Man Bongo 6 is a unique-looking bass with an equally unique sound.
Acoustic basses work just the same as acoustic guitars. They allow you to play bass without the need for an amp. They also offer a different sound and feel from their electric cousins.
In terms of price, acoustic basses aren’t too different from electrics. Although, a decent beginner acoustic bass will set you back a few extra bucks compared to an electric one.
The Ibanez PCBE12 and Fender CB-60SCE are great beginner acoustics. Breedlove and Ovation both make fantastic midrange acoustic basses like the ECO Discovery and Celebrity Elite Plus.
At the professional level, you will, of course, find a Martin, the BC-16E.
A brand-new bass isn’t the only option you have. There is a big second-hand market where you can easily find a bass that is still in good condition.
The price will depend on where you buy it and the condition of the bass. Resellers will sell used basses for as close to their original price in order to make a profit.
Private sellers will often sell their bass for a lot less and even be willing to negotiate. But on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from 20% to 40% less for a used bass.
Used basses can, in certain cases, increase in price. This is normally only when it comes to vintage basses, luckily. Basses are considered vintage when they are around 30 years old.
And, of course, always exercise caution when buying any used instrument. Always test it out before buying. And if you can’t test it out before buying, make sure you can return it and get your money back.
How Much Does a Bass Setup Cost?
Once you have your new bass, you will likely want to get it set up.
A setup usually involves getting the bass cleaned, restrung, and the action adjusted. The bass will also be checked for any issues like fret buzz, a bent neck, intonation problems, etc.
The cost of a setup will vary depending on where you live and where you get it done. Smaller towns are usually cheaper than cities, and stores like Guitar Center will also charge more than private luthiers and guitar techs.
The average price for a setup without new strings is around $45 to $60. If you are getting new strings with your setup, the cost will be anywhere between $60 and $90.
You can get setups done by private individuals for as little as $30, while some professionals can easily charge $200 or more. In most cases, you will be paying for what you get.
If someone seems like they are charging too little, ask around about the quality of their work. Plenty of people are very skilled but do setups as more of a hobby and don’t need to charge a whole lot.
How Often Should You Get a Setup Done?
Generally, a good rule of thumb is to get a setup done once a year. This is to ensure your bass stays in good condition.
If you play regular gigs or are a touring musician, you will probably need to get a setup every three months or so. If you play a lot and live in a humid climate, then it might be as much as every two months.
It is also usually a good idea to get a setup done when you change the tuning you play in. Different tunings have different string tensions which will affect the tension on your neck and the high of your action.
It is also a good idea to eventually learn how to do a setup. The process isn’t too difficult and can help you save a few bucks.
You should now have a pretty good idea of what you can expect to pay for a good bass. As well as what it will cost for an initial setup so that you can play the best you can.