The 5 Best Bass Guitars Under $200

David Cobb

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If you’re a beginner who has recently started to practice on a bass guitar, you may not be required to invest a lot of money in order to have one at your home. However, choosing the right one for you isn’t the easiest thing in the world, because you will have to have an in-depth understanding of the bass guitars as a whole, and know what you should expect from those that cost less than $200.

In this article, I will not only list you the 5 best bass guitars under $200, but at the same time, I will also bring you some tips you should follow, because they will help you get the best value and quality of bass guitars in this price range. Are you ready? Let’s get started right away!

Top 5 Bass Guitars Under $200

5. Squier Fender Bronco

The Bronco bass guitar will promise you a higher level of comfort from the moment you start playing, whereas, on the other hand, its performance has lead this guitar to become one of the most recognizable and used bass guitars for those who have recently started to learn to play on a bass guitar!

Design-wise, the Bronco is available in 4 different colors of which you can choose from, however, the one I’m currently reviewing is the black-finished one, because I love this color the most, especially when it comes to guitars.

In addition, this model boasts an Agathis body with gloss polyurethane finish that is accompanied by a C-shaped maple neck, 9.5″ radius maple fingerboard as well as 19 medium jumbo frets, and even though it has a lightweight agathist body which is a cheaper tonewood, still, the manufacturer has managed to make its appearance be indeed premium!

Now, let’s briefly explain its hardware components. The Bronco has a single-coil pickup which does its job perfectly fine, and since you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t consider it as a remark mainly because of its price tag. Also, this model is armed with a two-saddle chrome bridge that will drastically enhance the tuning stability, and let’s not forget its master tone knob and master volume knob that will help you adjust the guitar to suit your preferences!

Last but not least, the sound. Well, what got my attention the most regarding the Branco is that even though it has a single-coil pickup, in practice, this thing does a really good job in delivering rich tones that feel incredibly warm. If we take this aside, this bass guitar feels punchy, and considering the fact that this is an entry-level bass, the Branco can easily compete with some of the midrange priced guitars out there!

To conclude, if you’ve been looking for a bass guitar that combines an affordable price, quality performance and lightweight body that will promise you a lot of convenience, then the Branco should be included in your list!

4. Dean E09M

The Dean is a known manufacturer in the music industry, and if you’ve had an opportunity to see a guitar made by them, you may have seen that the design is brilliant and so the performance. Well, the E09M is exactly this, so let’s see what can you expect from it in practice.

Aesthetically speaking, the E09M features a handsome-looking, basswood body finished in natural satin that is composed of a 34″ maple neck, rosewood fretboard and abalone dot inlays, but what got my attention the most regarding its design is the implementation of the well-known, Dean’s signature which is basically an asymmetrical bolt pattern of the neck joint which lets you reach far enough without interfering with the actual functionality of the guitar.

Moving on, the hardware combines four fully-adjustable saddles, a set of die-cast tuners on the headstock, and a standard bridge, which, therefore, means that you will never have difficulties inspecting the intonation and adjusting the guitar, since everything can be done perfectly fine.

Since this is an electrical bass guitar, I would like to inform you that the integrated soap bar pickup is of a decent quality, which is expected since this isn’t an expensive bass guitar, however, this doesn’t mean that the performance isn’t good. Namely, the pickup can cover a quite good range without any problem.

When it comes to the sound, the Dean E09M produces punchy, yet smooth tones, or in other words, you can achieve excellent results while playing rock or blues, but if you require metal, then you should look for another guitar. Either way, if you’re a fan of blues and if you simply love rock, I think that you will be more than satisfied to have this guitar.

Overall, the Dean E09M deserves your attention, especially if you’re looking for a sleek, easy to perform guitar that will drastically enhance your user experience!

3. Ibanez GSRM20

The Ibanez GSRM20 is an electrical, 4-string bass guitar that has been on the market for a quite long period, but since its release date, it has quickly established itself as an excellent option for beginners who are looking for a high-quality bass guitar while keeping tight on budget!

Speaking of the design, this particular model employs a black-finished mahogany construction that is equipped with a 28.6″neck, rosewood fretboard with pearl dot inlays, medium-sized frets and 4, “scratchy” strings that will be there for you to help you reveal the true potential of this guitar, however, for now, we will stick just for the design. So, did you recognize something unique here? Well, that’s the neck, which is truly unique and the reason is exactly its size – it is way shorter than the average bass guitars! This can be seen as a trademark of Ibanez, who loves crafting such guitars.

When it comes to the hardware, the GSRM20 integrates a standard bridge with fully-adjustable saddles along with die-cast tuners, and if you ask me, I think that the hardware is very good for a bass guitar in this price range. To be more precise, for normal use, until you don’t require different setups and gauges, this unit will accompany you pretty nicely, however, once you require more, this guitar will be there for you to help you remember the first steps you made.

Since we are talking about an electric bass guitar, electronics are an important aspect of the guitar, right? Well, the Ibanez GSRM20 comes with an “Std. J” pickup set at the bridge and neck, and all of them are well-controlled through the bridge pickup volume/neck pickup volume knobs.

Now, the most important aspect- the sound quality. Honestly, there aren’t many electric bass guitars that can perform in such a way as this guitar. Namely, the sound quality is incredibly smooth, and its lower string tensions do an amazing job in ensuring that lower notes are going to be nothing less.

In conclusion, the Ibanez GSRM20 is a real example of an entry-level electric bass guitar that does not look nor perform alike, hence, considering all its features and qualities, you should start considering it as your purchase right away, because this guitar can do wonders

2. Ibanez Talman TMB100

The Ibanez Talman TMB100 is an easy to hold/use, 4-string, bass guitar that has received numerous positive critiques by the beginners on the market, because of its playability and its strong performance that won’t cost you thousands of dollars. Intrigued? Let’s dive even deeper!

In terms of the design, the TMB100 comes in a variety of different finishes, but, keep in mind that the one I’m currently reviewing is the mint-green version. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t switch if you prefer different color finish, because all of them look indeed unique!

Moreover, this particular model has a curvy, double-cutaway body which is entirely made of mahogany, and as you’re closely inspecting it, you can also recognize its full-size, 34″ neck and it is rosewood fretboard that has 22 medium frets. From the very beginning, I’m sure that you will love its appearance!

If we take this aside, you may be curious regarding its hardware, well, Ibanez did a superb job here! Namely, there are two solid pickups set on this guitar, the first is a Dynamix P at the neck, while the second is a Dynamic x J at the bridge, along with two control knobs that stand for master volume/tone. Personally, I really like how Ibanez set them, since they are easy to reach and are set at the lower bout.

Also, the TMB100 packs tuners in a fancy, 2+2 configuration. To be more precise, there are chrome tuners set at one end, and fixed chrome bridge positioned at the other end.

In the end, I would also like to mention a few words regarding the sound quality. First of all, I really like the versatility of this guitar due to the fact that it can output incredibly punchy tones, and you can experiment metal and punk rock without any problem, whereas, at the same, you will still be able to play blues and jazz! Excellent, right?

To summarize, the Ibanez Talman TMB100 is a must-have bass guitar for every beginner who wants to experiment with numerous playing style, because this guitar stands for simplicity and quality audio reproduction!

1. Yamaha TRBX174EW

The first thing that will likely pass through your mind, once someone mentions guitars, is Yamaha. The manufacturer is a famous name in the music industry, and in fact, regardless if you intend to purchase acoustic/electric/bass guitar whether you’re beginner, intermediate or professional, the guitars produced by Yamaha simply stand for quality. Such example is the TRBX174EW.

This unit features an attractive, curvy double-cutaway body that is made of a combination of mahogany wood and a thin layer of laminated flamed mango wood that can be found on the top. From the moment you take it out of its box, your breath will be taken away! I guarantee you!

Furthermore, this is a full-size bass guitar, that is accompanied by a 34″ scale length, rosewood fretboard and a bolt-on maple neck that is nothing less, but ideal for beginners who would practice throughout the whole day!

Aside from being a stylish guitar, the Yamaha TRBX174EW has quality hardware and produces rich tones. But before we talk about the sound, let’s briefly explain the components that comprise the hardware.

First of all, this unit comes with two pickups manufactured by Yamaha in kind of tried-and-tested PJ configuration. What does really mean is a combination of precision-style single-coil component in the middle, and a single-coil, jazz-style at the bridge.
In addition, you won’t find things such as selector switch, however, what you will find is a master tone control knob and a volume control set on each pickup.

That’s not all! Yamaha has also implemented a four-saddle vintage bass bridge that does its job perfectly, however, my only remark regarding this guitar is the use of plastic control knobs which somehow decrease the “premium” look of the guitar. Honestly, this is still a highly-affordable bass guitar, so I’m used to these things.

Now, the sound quality. Yamaha is known for their quality guitars, and if you’ve had an opportunity to hear one, then you will recognize that the audio is “Yamaha”!

This guitar offers versatility and a huge amount of tones for the user. To be even more precise, thanks to the Precision-style pickup, you will be able to hear deep bass sound, whereas, the second, jazz-style pickup will help you get a real jazz sound! Who doesn’t love this?

In the end, although the price of this guitar exceeds the $200 range, the difference isn’t huge if you put into consideration its remarkable build and audio quality, and if you ask me, I would spend $20-30 more dollars to be an owner of a guitar made by Yamaha

Buying Guide (Things You Should Know)

In the beginning, I’ve informed you that I will offer you some tips of which you can benefit a lot, because they will help you choose the right bass guitar for you. Well, here we are!

Neck

First things first. One of the most important things you should pay attention to regarding bass guitars is exactly the neck. Why? Because each bass guitar has different necks. Some have thin, and there are also 4-string, 5-string, and 6-string basses. My point is that you should choose the one that you feel the most comfortable to play with!

Fretboard

Fretboard is basically a wide portion that sits at the top of the neck, and here, bass strings are followed by tuners which will help you to adjust the tension of each string. In addition, you can find fretted and fretless guitars and each of them offer pros and cons.

For example, standard bass guitars have frets and they allow you to play way more easily in comparison to fretless bass guitars. Why? This is because your hands will slide smoothly up and down and you can really feel the grooves.

Fretless ones are harder to play with, mainly because of the fact that you don’t have frets that will stop the vibrations, so you have to use your fingers in order to achieve this

The choice is yours.

Type

There are multiple types of bass guitars, some of them have passive/active electronics, others have four-strings, five-strings and more, whereas, some are called bolt-on neck, set neck and thru-body neck depending on the type. Therefore, you will have to choose the one that would suit your personal preferences, because we can’t debate about a taste.

Material

The build quality, as well as the material used throughout the crafting process, is yet another important factor. Beginners are often curious whether they should choose a soft or hardwood. For your information, hardwood has very nice, tonal characteristics because the sound is bright. Once you see ebony, rock maple or rosewood, this is hardwood.

On the contrary, softwoods as the name suggests, are warmer and have a mellow tone, some of these include alder and basswood.

Would you require bass amp?

If you’re thinking about this most of the time, I would tell you one thing. Yes, you will require bass amp, but once you get more skilled, because as a starter, you are not obliged to invest a lot. Instead, all you have to do is to practice, a lot!

Brand

Not every product is equal on the market. Guitars aren’t different at all. Hence, I would suggest you to always prioritize those (bass) guitars that are made by popular brands, because famous brands tend to provide you with products that will be very quality ,regardless of the price tag.

Extra Tips

Since now you have a better understanding regarding bass guitars, here are you some simple Not every product is equal in the market. Guitars aren’t different at all. Hence, I would suggest you to always prioritize those (bass) guitars that are made by popular brands, because famous brands tend to provide you with products that will be very quality, regardless of the price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What’s the best guitar under $200?

A: Honestly, this is one of the most asked question by the customers on the market, because everyone wants to get the best guitar for a specific price. Although I’m not able to answer this question by saying ” this guitar”, the closest answer you can get would be the guitars or one of the guitars that is listed in this article!

Q: What are the pros of an electrical bass guitar?

A: Most of them are small, and hence, this means that they are easier to play in comparison to the acoustic models. In addition, you will have an opportunity to play a wide variety of different music styles, starting from jazz and all the way up to heavy metal!

Q: Is it hard to play on bass guitar?

A: Every beginning is hard, and bass guitars require a lot of patience and practice before you become better. But, to simplify this, I would say that being a bassist means that you can easily join a band because you can learn quickly by having a good mentorship.

Q: Are $200 bass guitars reliable?

A: Of course they are. Usually, cheaper bass guitars tend to act as a good starting point for the beginners, because they will help them gain more skills prior to becoming professionals.

Q: I’m left-handed, should I get a left-handed bass guitar?

A: Generally, you’re not obliged to purchase a left-handed bass guitar, however, yes, there are some bass guitars that are made strictly for left-handed people. However, in comparison to the regular, right-handed ones, you won’t have plenty of options.

Now, let’s get to the point. The choice is entirely up to you, and even if you don’t purchase left-handed bass guitar, keep in mind that you didn’t make a bad choice, since there isn’t such thing as left-handed piano, right? In terms of the cost, “left-handed” bass guitars will cost you at least $100 more, and I don’t really think that you will benefit a lot.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve found this article informative and entertaining and that I’ve somehow managed to help you find the right, bass guitar without spending a fortune! Each of these guitars are quality, and exclusively made to bring value for cost and to help you become better bass guitarist whose name will be known in the future!