13 Best Bass Guitar Brands (2023) – Top Bass Makers!

Author: Santiago Motto | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Bass players know that the variety of instruments you can find on the market today is huge. Moreover, every brand claims to have the best bass guitars on offer.

But how can you be sure you’re buying from the right company? Furthermore, does the company you’re buying from align with your musical taste?

Well, if all these questions are on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, I’ve gone the extra mile and wrote a dedicated piece on the best bass guitar brands that will help you understand the “who’s who” of the bass market right now.

Plus, I’ll leave you some models you just can’t miss per brand so you can get started right now.

Your new bass guitar is on this list, ready to take you to your next musical level.

Don’t keep it waiting!

The Best Bass Guitar Brands in Existence!


Let me begin talking about Fender by saying that it was Leonidas Fender who invented the first electric, fretted, commercially available bass guitar. He called it the “Precision Bass” because players could fret notes like guitar players. The year was 1951.

The Precision Bass (now known as P-Bass) has been part of the soundtrack of our lives. I mean, among famous P-Bass players you can find people as far apart as Pino Palladino, Sting, Duff McKagan, Dee Dee Ramone, Mike Dirnt, and Roger Waters.

But Fender didn’t stop with the groundbreaking Precision Bass, they kept on innovating to come up with the Jazz Bass (1960), a dual-pickup design that brought mid-range and high-end to the instrument’s sound. That led sonic innovators like Jaco Pastorius, Geddy Lee, Adam Clayton (U2), and Flea (RHCP) among many others to come up with a new role for the modern bass guitar.

Fender is a part of our musical DNA and, as restless innovators, they offer a wide range of models and prices for these two legendary instruments as well as newer creations like the Dimension Bass, the Jaguar Bass, and many others.

Finally, Fender’s magic as a brand is that it’s so broadly available around the world with such high production standards that you can find their basses in your friend’s garage and also on the stage of the Madison Square Garden.

In the rare case you haven’t already, trying a Fender bass before buying is a must. For beginners and people on a budget, their budget-focused subsidiary Squier is a great option, and may probably be the most popular bass guitar brand based on sales figures alone.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

The Jazz Bass and Precision Bass are Fender’s flagship models. Those are the ones that you should try first.

For beginners, the Squier Precision and Jazz Bass are great choices.

Intermediate players might enjoy the Mexican-made Precision and Jazz Bass models too.

Advanced players might want to look into the American Professional line Precision and Jazz Bass.

For expert players with modern taste, the American Ultra Precision and Jazz Bass are superb instruments. Those wanting something more classic will find the American Vintage Precision and Jazz Bass simply amazing.


Ibanez is a Japanese giant when it comes to music instrument making. Although it had a big breakthrough in the world’s mainstream music market during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, it was founded way before, in 1957.

Nowadays, Ibanez is among the top-5 best-known, best-selling guitar and bass brands in the world.

The characteristic that has always set Ibanez apart from the competition is the fact that it’s a performance-oriented brand. Indeed, the company has become a synonym for active, heavy tones, thin and fast necks, and cutting-edge technology.

Thus, when the whole Nü Metal scene broke into the airwaves, bass players like Fieldy (Korn) put the brand on every Billboard creating a new sonic space in the minds of listeners.

If you’re into instruments that depart from the classic look and feel but deliver next-level playability and comfort, you have to try an Ibanez bass before buying.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Let me tell you that the SR line by Ibanez is a great place for beginners to start. In that vein, a bass like the GSR200 is a great candidate.

For intermediate and advanced players, the SR600 and SR1350B are great instruments to try.

Finally, expert players will find the SRMS805 an incredible canvas to paint their imagination on.


Together with Fender, Gibson has been ruling the musical instrument world for decades. Furthermore, during that time, the brand established itself as a synonym for rock and roll tones.

Gibson bass guitars are no exception to that legacy and reputation. On the contrary, they have a realm of their own. In this vein, players who love a bigger-than-Jesus low-end with the weight and looks of a traditional bass guitar will feel at home playing an Epiphone or Gibson model.

Yes, Gibson basses are not part of the performance-oriented rocking brands such as Ibanez, Jackson, Schecter, or ESP. The brand focused its efforts on applying minor twists and changes to adapt classic models and shapes to modern-day needs. By this, I mean the addition of active circuits and improved hardware.

For example, I remember very precisely the moment I played my first Gibson Thunderbird. Believe me, it doesn’t get much heavier than that.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Perhaps, the most recognizable bass shapes available from Gibson/Epiphone are the Thunderbird and the SG.

Beginners will find the Epiphone SG Bass and Thunderbird models great options.

Advanced and expert players will enjoy the Gibson SG and Thunderbird grandly too.


For bass players around the world, the word “Spector” is always associated with high-performance, elite-player-oriented instruments that shake the bottom end of the planet.

This company founded in 1976 and now owned by Korg (since 2015) is still making top-notch instruments in the same woodshed they were in the late ‘70s. Moreover, a cutting-edge company like Korg recognized there was nothing to be changed in Spector’s uncanny bass-making approach and left the company’s structure untouched.

To say more, Spector has benefited greatly from that acquisition since the distribution network, and consequently, the availability of Spector basses in every corner of the globe grew immensely.

For players who love the tone of active pickups, the feel of high-class necks, and premium woods, Spector might be the answer to their needs.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Beginners will find the Performer line of Spector basses a great place to start.

For intermediate players, the NS-Ethos line is a perfect sample of the Spector sound.

Advanced players might find in the Euro 4 LT line their new lifelong companion.

Experts, professionals, and collectors will marvel at the USA NS-4 line of outstanding basses.


David Schecter founded the company that bears his last name in 1976 as an instrument repair shop making replacement parts for all the great brands. By 1980, the brand had turned into an exclusive custom shop endeavor selling high-end guitars to lucky owners in California.

The company saw a huge leap forward at the beginning of the 21st century when Jerry Horton of Papa Roach played “Last Resort” live on TV with a Schecter guitar. Also, Stone Temple Pilots bass player Robert DeLeo became a Schecter-endorsed artist adding visibility to the brand.

After that, word of mouth about the relationship between quality and price got the brand into the musical instruments mainstream.

Nowadays, Schecter is owned by Hisatake Shibuya (who also owns ESP) and the line of guitars and basses has expanded considerably. Schecter is considered by many as one of the best bang-for-the-buck brands out there.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Although the heavier line by Schecter is the most widely known, there are basses for all tastes.

Beginners will love rocking the Schecter Omen Extreme-4, a modern rocker to play anything on.

Intermediate and advanced players will love the rocking SLS Elite-4 while traditional players will find the P-4 Exotic a great P-bass rendition and the Corsair Bass an amazing EMG-loaded hollow instrument.


When Leo Fender sold his company, he got together with long-time partner and friend George Fullerton and founded G&L. It was Leo’s way of outdoing his previous endeavor. He wasn’t entirely successful, but G&L products carry on Leo’s innovative spirit and unbreakable commitment to excellence.

Thus, what you can expect from G&L instruments is the Fender feel and construction methods (bolt-on necks and utterly familiar shapes) but with a modern twist. Yes, G&L isn’t just a reproduction of Fender originals, but a brand that has been working very hard to establish new models into the market.

Whether you buy renditions of old classics or soon-to-be classics from them, one thing is certain: quality is always assured.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Beginners will find the Tribute line of basses great sounding and conveniently priced. For example, the G&L Tribute Fallout is a short-scale bass with a humbucker pickup and the Tribute Kiloton is a mix between a StingRay and a P-Bass.

Intermediate and advanced players will love the Deluxe Fallout and Deluxe Kiloton basses made in Fullerton, California.

Experts will find in G&L’s Custom Shop the instrument of their dreams.


Thinking of ESP and not thinking of heavy metal music is very difficult. For example, they have been manufacturing Metallica’s guitars for decades, and Tom Araya of Slayer and John Campbell of Lamb of God play ESP as well.

But why do these worldwide stars choose ESP as a brand? Well, the reason behind their choice might very well be the high-performance profile of the instruments. Indeed, while USA-made Custom Shop models can be tailored to whatever you want, regular production models ooze ergonomics, tone, and playability.

Furthermore, you can find active circuits, multi-scale basses, clever electronic layouts, and top-notch craftsmanship on the entire line, from the entry-level to the most expensive bass on their catalog.

If you like heavy music and want to play mammoth bass lines, trying ESP (or LTD) is a must.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

The LTD B-204SM is a great place for beginners to find their first or second instrument.

For intermediate players, the traditional-looking LTD M-4 Arctic Metal is a great choice. Those in the search for something more menacing might find the LTD F-1004 a perfect choice.

For expert players, the multi-scale LTD B-1004 is a great candidate.

For acoustic bass players, the LTD TL-4 can be a wonderful addition to their collection.

MusicMan by Ernie Ball

MusicMan is a company that was founded in 1974 in sunny California. Perhaps, the biggest milestone in the brand’s long curriculum is that they introduced active electronics to production line models.

In that quest, that seemed impossible at the time, a man by the name of Sterling Ball proved to be crucial. Later on, he purchased the company (1984) and is the president to this day. His sons Brian Ball and Scott Ball are CEO and Vice-president.

Why is this relevant? Well, because despite the size of the market MusicMan operates for, the core of the company remains a family business. This translates into a level of care and attention to detail that’s very difficult to encounter on production-line instruments anywhere else.

If you’re a Chili Peppers fan like me or grew up listening to Gail Ann Dorsey kill it with Bowie and Kravitz, you’ll know what the StingRay means for bass history. Well, the company continues to write bass history to this day making impeccable instruments for the modern musician.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Beginners or players with a reduced budget should look at the Sterling line of basses (kind of the Squier of MusicMan). For example, the StingRay RAY4 is a great place to start.

Intermediate players can buy a StingRay RAY34 and nail that Californication sound any day on a budget.

Advanced players and professionals can find basses like the super advanced, dual-humbucker Bongo 4, the flashy, stage-ready StingRay Special (in dazzling Amethyst Sparkle with gold hardware), or the full-on exotic with the BFR DarkRay made of Korina and roasted maple.


Hans-Peter Wilfer founded Warwick in Germany in 1982. Although he started making high-end instruments from exotic woods with exorbitant quality standards, nowadays, the company offers basses for almost every budget.

One thing that’s interesting to know about Warwick is that it’s a successful case that’s completely carbon-neutral. Indeed, the company uses roof-placed solar panels, wind power, a boiler fueled with production leftovers (wood waste), and its own natural gas power plant to sustain its operation. Furthermore, all wood comes from certified sustainable sources.

But beyond their care for the environment, the quality instruments Warwick puts out can compete with brands like Spector and Ibanez easily. Moreover, the Custom Shop and high-end Pro Line, both manufactured in Germany, represent the top of the crop of European manufacturing.

If you want some quintessential heavy tones (Robert Trujillo, Sam Rivers, Troy Sanders, Mike Inez, and James LoMenzo play Warwick) and some exotic wood tones (Alphonso Johnson, Guy Pratt, Adam Clayton, and Prince also play Warwick), you have to try a Warwick bass out.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Although there are no super affordable Warwick models, beginners should get started with the RockBass Corvette Basic.

Intermediate players can go a step further to the RockBass Corvette Taranis.

Advanced players and professionals can go from the amazing Warwick Pro Series Thumb BO to the outstanding Warwick Pro Series Streamer Stage.

Professionals, connoisseurs, and collectors can marvel at a Warwick Masterbuilt Infinity.


Yamaha’s first product was a piano. Although nowadays people associate it with some of the fastest motorbikes on the planet, Torakusu Yamaha founded it in 1887 as a piano maker.

The legacy of the founder lives on and Yamaha makes some of the best pianos in the world that can be found on symphony houses in every corner of the planet. That know-how, legacy, and commitment to excellence live inside every bass guitar the company makes too.

Indeed, although Yamaha has always been kind of an outsider in the modern musical instrument industry, some of their creations were the instruments of choice by virtuosos like Billy Sheehan and Mike Stern, for example.

So, what you can expect from Yamaha is impeccable craftsmanship, great innovative designs, and a lot of tone at your fingertips.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Beginners can get started with the inexpensive TRBX174.

For intermediate players, the BB434 is also a great, classic-looking choice.

Advanced players will find the BBP34 to be a great (and beautiful) instrument.

Professionals and experts will love the model Yamaha made for the amazing Billy Sheehan, the Attitude Limited 3.


Right at the same time Jerry Horton was making waves playing his Shecter in Papa Roach’s meteoric ascend, Tobin Esperance was rocking his Lakland basses for the whole world to see.

Tobin still plays them today, 20+ years later.

In the same vein, Lakland continues to work as a family business making basses from their Chicago facility and finishing them one at a time. At least, that’s the attention to detail given to their USA line.

Since 2001, and due to overwhelming demand, the company started making the Skyline Series in South Korea and currently Indonesia as well.

Lakland offers renditions of classics and outstanding creations, make sure to try one out before you buy your next ax. They might surprise you.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Although the concept of “extremely affordable” Lakland basses doesn’t exist, beginners and intermediate players will find the Skyline basses to be great instruments.

Intermediate to advanced players will love the modern twist on timeless classics like the aged USA Classic 44-64 P-Bass and J-Bass.

Advanced and professional players will love the original creations such as the USA 44-94 Deluxe and the flamed Koa USA 44-60 J-Bass


Rickenbacker started making solid-body electric instruments before anybody else in 1931. Indeed, the famous “Frying Pan” guitar is considered the first commercially successful electric guitar in history.

But that was just the beginning because Rickenbacker was a privileged witness to most sonic revolutions. For example, in the hands of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Rickenbacker instruments helped change the history of music.

Further down the line, perhaps one of the most famous bass tones of all time, the tone of Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister started with his collection of Rickenbacker basses.

Let me tell you that I’ve tried quite a few in my life and you can love it or hate it, but there’s absolutely no other bass that sounds like a Rickenbacker.

If you haven’t already, you should try one out today.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

There is no such thing as beginner-oriented Rickenbacker instruments, but if you can afford it, nothing sounds quite like a Rickenbacker 4003.


Grover Jackson started the company after working for Wayne Charvel for several years. It was the late 1970s in California and a new scene of fast shredders, overhauled guitars, and fast cars was making it through to the mainstream.

In that context, Jackson-built Charvel guitars became the best-kept secret among shredders.

The first instrument that Jackson stamped his name on was the now-famous Concorde guitar he made for none other than Randy Rhoads. Needless to say, the brand’s fame went from zero to a hundred quicker than the Concorde plane itself.

Nowadays, Jackson is still one of the go-to brands for shredders and metal lovers around the world. Moreover, it’s the brand that fuels David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Chris Beattie (Hatebreed) among many others in their metal journeys.

These are the Models You Need to Check Out

Beginners can get started with the Jackson tradition by playing the inexpensive Spectra JS2.

For intermediates and advanced players, the Pro Series Spectra Bass SBP IV and the CBXNT DX IV are great candidates too.

The Bottom Line

The bass brands mentioned above offer some of the finest instruments in the market today. But that’s not all, most offer basses in all tiers to accommodate players with all kinds of needs.

If you’re in search of a new low-end machine, you can surely find it in these brands’ catalogs.

Happy (heavy bottom) playing!

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About Santiago Motto

Santiago is a guitar player with over 25 years of experience. A self-confessed guitar nerd, he currently tours with his band 'San Juan'. Called 'Sandel' by his friends, he has a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music. San especially has an immense love for telecasters and all-mahogany Martins.

5 thoughts on “13 Best Bass Guitar Brands (2023) – Top Bass Makers!”

  1. Wait! Hold up! You mean tell me,…”MUSIC MAN” Stingray is “NOT!” on this list?!!! Are yaw “SERIOUS?!” IBANEZ,…made this list and “NOT”,…”MUSIC MAN?!!” WOW! That’s an “INSULT” to the bassists of thee “UNIVERSE!” and “MUSIC MAN!” What?!!! Yaw don’t even have,…”KEN SMITH” on this jawn! Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!


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