Basses can be very heavy instruments. This can make them downright uncomfortable for many to play, and make them give up on learning to play bass.
But what if I told you that basses don’t have to be the bulky instruments that they are? What if they could be as light as a guitar?
Top 3 - Lightweight Bass Guitars
Here are a few lightweight basses that won’t break either your back or your bank account.
Table of Contents
1. Ibanez SR500E
Ibanez isn’t a brand usually associated with bass guitars. But their basses, like the SR500E, are just as good as their guitars.
This bass is quite similar to their S series of guitars. It has a super slim body and neck for super fast playing.
I am a big fan of this body shape and neck. The slimmer body lets the bass sit nice and tight against your body and the neck is a bit easier to grip.
The thin body and oukome wood it is made from also help keep it very light. This bass only weighs a very comfortable 8.14 lbs (can vary slightly from unit to unit). I didn’t have any back ache when playing it standing for half an hour at a stretch.
This bass also sounds as smooth as it plays. While the Bartolini BH2 humbuckers do make it a bit more orientated to a rock or metal sound, I found that they are more than capable of pulling of pretty much any genre you want them to.
And if it doesn’t sound quite the way you want it to, you have my favorite feature of the whole bass: the controls. Few basses come with quite the selection of controls that this bass has.
Apart from the standard volume and balance knobs, you also get three EQ knobs. This lets you really dial in your tone.
Then you also have an EQ bypass switch, so you can play it in either active or passive modes. But the coolest feature is the three-way EQ switch. This switch changes which part of the mid frequencies you want to emphasize to really help the bass standout more or less.
2. Gibson SG Standard
What is cooler than a Gibson SG? A Gibson SG bass, of course. This bass takes the cool look and sound of the SG guitar and puts it in the hands of bassists.
If you have played an SG guitar, I think you will already know what this guitar is about. This thing is meant for rocking out.
The bass version is very similar to its guitar counterpart. Obviously, it has the same body shape and headstock.But it also has a slightly shorter neck, just like the guitar version.
It is also quite light, coming in at around 7 lbs.That makes it just as comfortable to play. And if you already play an SG guitar, you won’t need to get used to playing the bass.
Coming to my experience playing this thing, the SG humbuckers give this bass quite a punchy tone. This is a bass that is much better suited to rock than any other genres.
There are also only tone and volume knobs, so it isn’t a super versatile bass. But if you are only playing rock, I doubt you will need much more.
The big downside here is that this is quite an expensive bass. This is really meant more for professional and higher intermediate players.
That is a bit disappointing since the size of the body and the scale length of the neck actually makes this an ideal bass for beginners. There is an Epiphone SG Bass,which is decent for the money, but it obviously doesn’t sound or play as great as its Gibson sibling.
3. Spector Performer 4
The Spector Performer 4 is one of the best budget lightweight basses available. From its playability to its sound, there is very little to find wrong with this bass.
The design of the Performer is fairly minimal. This isn’t a bass that stands out. But underneath that minimal exterior is a very well-made, great sounding bass.
The body is sleek with a generous contour at the back to make it sit comfortably against your body. Meanwhile, the neck is thick enough to provide tons of grip, while being thin enough for smooth and fast playing.
The Performer isn’t the lightest bass at around 8.3lbs, and a few specific units tend to be closer to 8.5 lbs (that much variance is pretty normal).
Despite this,I still found it to be more than light enough for long playing sessions. And it also helps thatthe weight is spread quite nicely, so it doesn’t really feel that heavy when you wield it.
The Performer is quite a versatile bass. While it is definitely most comfortable in rock and metal, I had no issues getting it to sound great playing jazz, blues, or anything really.
This is thanks to the P and J pickups used on the bass. Each pickup also has a dedicated volume and tone knob. You are getting the best of both sounds while also able to adjust them to your liking.
While the tone of the Performer is great, I do feel like it is lacking a bit in terms of clarity and output. You are maybe going to want to use a boost and even an EQ pedal with this bass to get the most out of it.
But as far as budget basses go, the Performer is well worth every penny.
4. Fender Player Precision
This is a Fender P bass, do I need to say more? I probably should.
Fender P basses are highly regarded as some of the best basses around. While the Player Precision isn’t quite on the level of an American Professional model, it is still a full on P bass.
In terms of build and playability, the Player P bass is about on par with its big brother. It has similar dimensions, with only the nut being slightly narrower, and featuring a modern C shape neck with medium jumbo frets.
P basses are super comfortable and easy to play. They are a bit on the bigger side, however, and aren’t quite ideal for players with smaller hands.
It also weighs about the same (most Player series basses weigh very slightly less than their American-made counterparts). The Player Precision bassis overall on the lighter side at about 8.4 lbs.
Tonally, the Player Precision isn’t quite on the same level as the Professional series. But not by much, and still far above many other basses in the same class.
P basses are known for their full, rich, and versatile sound. The Player P bass is no different.
These basses can fit seamlessly into pretty much any genre. But I do think that they shine the most when playing blues and rock.
The Player Precision is a bit pricier compared to other basses I’ve mentioned here, making it more of an intermediate level bass. However, it can still be a great option for beginners since it is an easier bass to play, and it is going to last a very long time if taken care of.
5. Squier Classic Vibe ‘70s
If a Fender Player P bass is still out of your budget, you can always go with a Squier. Specifically, the Squier Classic Vibe ‘70s.
The Vibe ‘70s is quite similar to the Fender Player. Its body shape and neck are almost identical.
The body feels pretty much the same to me as the Player P bass. The neck feels a bit different, though. The Vibe ‘70s’ neck feels a bit thicker. So, while it isn’t quite as smooth and fast as the Player’s, it does have a bit more grip.
It is also a bit lighter than a Player P bass. The Vibe ‘70s comes in at around 7.5 lbs. This makes it even more comfortable, especially around the neck and shoulders. If low weight is your #1 priority but you can’t afford a Gibson SG bass, a Vibe ‘70s model would be a great choice for you.
Tonally, this is a Squier. While you are getting a great tone from it, you shouldn’t expect it to be the same as a Fender’s.
The Vibe ‘70s also lives up to its name in my opinion. While the Player P does have that vintage Fender tone, there is also a bit of a modern touch to it. The Vibe ‘70s,on the other hand, leans much more into the vintage sound.
This bass sounds fantastic when you are playing old school blues and rock jams. That does also mean it isn’t quite as versatile.
But for beginners, this is a fantastic bass. It does still have the same size issue for players with small hands, so keep that in mind when considering this bass.
6. Danelectro ‘59DC
The Danelectro ‘59DC is one of the coolest looking basses. Not only that, but it is also one of the coolest sounding. This thing simply oozes style, and I love it.
The ‘59DC has what I would call a ‘50s retro look. Like a ‘50s Chevy convertible that you would see parked next to Venice Beach.
This is a seriously good-looking bass with its shallow double cutaways and pickguard that wraps around to the back of the body. It also has two lipstick single coil pickups that adds to its retro look.These lipstick pickups also give it its unique tone.
Coming to the most important aspect, the weight of the bass. This ‘59DC Long Scale model (there’s also a short scale variant) weighs just around 6.6 lbs, making it one of the lightest basses in existence.
Due to its low weight and larger body than a guitar (which is typical for basses), the weight is distributed very well. In reality, it felt even lighter than a few of my electric guitars!
That light weight also means that you will be able to jump and run around on stage with ease. And if you like doing tricks like spinning your bass around your neck, the ’59 DC is perfect for that.
I do think that it might be a little too light for some. From talking to some other bassists, they have said that a bass this light actually throws them off balance a bit since they are used to playing quite weighty instruments.
Just from looking at the bass I already knew I was going to be playing some surf rock. When I plugged it in, that is exactly what happens.
It is perfect for that poppy surf tone. But it still has enough low end to give the tone a nice amount of body.
I didn’t find it to be a very versatile bass, however. You won’t really get a great modern tone, and it might be a bit thin for some. This is a very vintage, mid-range focused bass.
The bass is also super comfortable to play. The body isn’t very large and sits comfortably, even without a contour at the back. The neck is also smooth and the nut width makes it great for smaller hands as well.
The look and sound of the ‘59DC certainly isn’t going to be for everyone. But if a retro look and tone is your style, then this is the bass for you.
7. Schecter Omen Extreme-4
For the heavy metal bassists, the Schecter Omen Extreme-4 is the way to go. It says so right there in the name, this is an extreme bass for extreme bassists.
Schecter’s Omen series of guitars are some of the best metal guitars around. Their Omen basses are no different.
For a bass guitar designed for metal, it is seriously light. The Extreme-4 clocks in at only 8.4 lbs. Making it possibly the lightest metal-oriented bass I have played.
The Extreme-4 is meant for loud and aggressive playing. The Schecter Diamond Bass humbuckers pack a mean punch.
There is a lot of low-end depth and mid-range punch in the tone. But the bass still manages to have a lot of clarity, so technical playing like tapping sounds just as great as slaps, pops, or normal fingerstyle. The pickups also sound great distorted if you want it to sound more aggressive.
But that doesn’t mean this bass is only meant for metal. I find it to sound just as great playing jazz standards as it does playing Meshuggah.
How Much Does a Normal Bass Weigh?
Basses are generally quite a bit heavier than a guitar. This is due to their larger bodies, longer scale necks, and larger headstocks.
The average bass weighs around 10 lbs, but they can easily go up to 12 or even 14 lbs. Lightweight basses, meanwhile, weighbetween7to 9 lbs, but can be as light as 5 lbs.
What Determines the Weight of a Bass?
Pretty much everything that goes into making any instrument will add to its weight. In the case of basses, the main contributors to its weight are the materials used, size and style of the body, and scale length of the neck.
The wood used to make the bass is going to be the biggest source of its weight. Some woods are naturally denser than others, meaning that they will be heavier.
Mahogany, for example, is a fairly common wood used in the making of basses. It has a fairly balanced tone, but is also fairly dense, making it heavier than other woods. But mahogany is also more expensive to use.
Basswood is also quite commonly used to make basses. It is much lighter than mahogany, but also not as durable, and is used mainly in cheaper instruments.
Among intermediate and higher-end lightweight basses, you’ll also find Nato and Alder being used.
The size and style of the body is also going to have a big impact on the weight of a bass. A larger body means that more wood needs to be used. The more wood you use, the heavier the body is going to be.
Similarly, the style of body is also going to require more or less wood to make. All of the basses on this list are solid body basses.
That means that the body is made from one solid piece of wood. Just like a larger body, a solid body has more wood.
Semi-hollow body basses like the Ibanez AGB200 or the Schecter Corsair have bodies that are slightly hollow on the inside. This means that there is less wood in the body, making it lighter.
Semi-hollow body basses have a more natural, resonant tone than solid body basses. They are often used to get a warmer, more mellow tone and are fairly common in jazz bands.
Just like with bodies, different bass necks also use different amounts of wood. A short scale neck, 30 inches, is going to need less wood than a long scale neck, 34 inches.
The type of wood used is also going to have an effect. A maple neck, for example, is going to be heavier than a walnut neck.
And while the wood used in the fingerboard isn’t going to add too much in terms of weight, it could still make a difference. For example, a maple fretboard is slightly heavier than a rosewood fretboard.
What Are the Benefits of Playing a Lightweight Bass?
Generally speaking, there are two groups who will benefit the most from a lightweight bass: kids and people with back problems.
For kids, having a lightweight bass is going to make it easier to learn and play. A lightweight bass won’t be too heavy for them to hold in their laps. They also won’t struggle to hold the bass while standing and playing.
If you have back problems, a lightweight bass won’t worsen those problems. This will allow you to play comfortably for longer, and you won’t deal with more issues down the line.
Normal bass players can also benefit from a lightweight bass, especially if you play live or play while standing for long time at a stretch.
Since basses can be so heavy, it isn’t uncommon for bassists to develop back problems after years of playing. A lightweight bass can reduce or even prevent developing any issues.
If you are considering a lightweight bass, either because you are a beginner or you simply can’t play a regular bass anymore, then the basses on this list are just for you. Whether you are into rock, jazz, or a bit of everything, I am sure you will find a bass on this list that is to your liking.