The Best Electric Bass Guitars Under $450 (Ultimate Guide 2023)

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Looking for the best electric bass guitar under $450? We’ve got you covered! In this ultimate guide, we’ll review the top 6 electric bass guitars in this price range, based on factors such as sound quality, playability, and value. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned bassist, we’ve got the perfect bass guitar for you.

 

1. Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass

NOSTALGIC TONE

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2. Yamaha TRBX305 CAR 5-String

VERSATILE POWERHOUSE

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3. Ibanez Standard SR305E 5-string

LIGHTWEIGHT PERFORMER

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4. Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass

VINTAGE SOUL

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5. Sterling by Music Man 5 String Bass

SMOOTH POWERHOUSE

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6. Epiphone Viola Electric Bass

BUDGET-FRIENDLY BEGINNER

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1. Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass

NOSTALGIC TONE

Comfortable, smooth C-shaped maple neck.Alnico pickups: vintage Jazz sound.
Stainless steel frets for durability.Die-cast tuners for accurate tuning.
Picture by Squier

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • The Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass is a fantastic choice for electric bass guitars under $450, offering several key pros that set it apart from the competition.

    Firstly, the comfortable C-shaped maple neck with rolled fingerboard edges is a major highlight. This neck provides a smooth and fast playability that is enjoyable even during extended periods of practice or performance. The rolled fingerboard edges reduce fatigue and allow for easier navigation across the neck, enhancing the overall playing experience.

    Secondly, the Alnico single-coil pickups with vintage-style Jazz Bass voicing offer a classic and versatile sound suitable for various genres including jazz, rock, and funk. These pickups enable the creation of a wide range of tones, making the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass an excellent choice for musicians seeking versatility in their sound.

    Another noteworthy advantage of this bass is its stainless steel frets. These frets not only enhance the instrument’s durability, lasting longer than traditional nickel frets, but they also contribute to improved sustain. With stainless steel frets, your notes will ring out for a longer duration, adding richness and depth to your playing.

    Lastly, the inclusion of die-cast tuners ensures accurate tuning, even during intensive playing conditions. This feature enhances the guitar’s stability, ensuring it stays in tune for extended periods.

    In addition to these four standout features, the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass boasts a comfortable body contour, a tortoiseshell pickguard, and a natural finish that ages gracefully over time. Considering its overall value for the price, it is undoubtedly a worthy contender for the title of the best electric bass guitar under $450.

    Regarding its comparison to other guitars mentioned in the blog post, such as the Ibanez TMB100 and Yamaha TRBX305, it is essential to note that each instrument caters to different preferences and needs. While these other guitars offer their unique features and benefits, the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass stands out with its classic Jazz Bass sound and feel, offering an appealing option for players seeking a vintage-inspired sound. Ultimately, the best electric bass guitar for an individual will depend on their personal requirements and preferences.

    To summarize, the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass truly excels in providing a high-quality bass guitar experience at an affordable price. With its exceptional playability, versatile sound, durable frets, and accurate tuning, it is an excellent choice for beginners, intermediate players, and even experienced musicians seeking a budget-friendly alternative to high-end Jazz Bass guitars. Whether you prioritize comfort, tone, durability, or tuning stability, this instrument caters to a variety of needs, making it a standout option in the under $450 price range.

CONS

  • The pickups are not as high quality as some other basses in this price range. The pickups on the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass are made of alnico magnets, which are a good quality magnet, but not the best. Some other basses in this price range, such as the Ibanez TMB100, have pickups with ceramic magnets, which are known for their brighter sound.
  • The neck can be a bit thick for some players. The neck on the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass is made of maple, which is a dense wood that gives the neck a thicker feel. Some players prefer a thinner neck, which is more common on basses with a mahogany neck. Overall, the Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jazz Bass is a great bass for the price. It has a good sound and feel, and it is well-made. However, the pickups and neck are not the best in this price range. These basses all have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to try out a few different ones to find the one that is right for you.

2. Yamaha TRBX305 CAR 5-String

VERSATILE POWERHOUSE

5-string bass, versatile sound.Precise tone shaping controls available.
Smooth playing with rolled edges.Die-cast tuners for accurate tuning.
Picture by Yamaha

PROS

    • The Yamaha TRBX305 CAR 5-String offers a multitude of reasons why it stands out among other electric bass guitars under $450. Firstly, its 5-string configuration gives it a greater low-end range and versatility compared to a 4-string bass. This allows for more dynamic and expressive playing, especially in genres that require extended range and deep bass tones. Furthermore, its body shape is designed for utmost comfort during both standing and sitting playing positions, making it suitable for any situation.

      The TRBX305’s sound versatility is another pro worth mentioning. It is equipped with an active EQ featuring 3-band controls, allowing for precise tone shaping. Players have the ability to boost or cut the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, enabling them to create their desired sound effortlessly. This level of customization is particularly appealing for musicians aiming to fine-tune their tone to suit their playing style and genre preferences.

      Additionally, the TRBX305 boasts rolled fingerboard edges that provide a smooth playing experience. This feature ensures that players can comfortably practice for extended periods without experiencing finger soreness. It is a thoughtful addition that adds to the overall playability and enjoyment of the instrument.

      Lastly, the TRBX305 is equipped with die-cast tuners that contribute to its accurate tuning and stability. This means that regardless of the intensity of your playing, the bass will remain in tune. This feature is indispensable for musicians who require consistent tuning reliability during performances or recording sessions.

      Overall, the Yamaha TRBX305 CAR 5-String is an excellent bass guitar choice within the under $450 price range. Its comfortable body, versatile sound capabilities, and a range of features exceeding expectations make it suitable for players of all skill levels.

      Notably, the TRBX305 is a value-for-money instrument that rivals more expensive bass guitars in terms of its features, such as the active EQ and die-cast tuners. Its versatility makes it fitting for a wide range of musical genres, offering both low-end punch and high-end clarity. Moreover, its ability to provide extended playing comfort with rolled fingerboard edges and a contoured body makes it an easy and enjoyable instrument to wield.

      All in all, if you are in search of an exceptional 5-string bass guitar under $450, the Yamaha TRBX305 CAR is undoubtedly an outstanding option that delivers on comfort, sound versatility, and top-tier features for players at any proficiency level.

CONS

  • 1. The pickups are not the best quality. The TRBX305 CAR has passive pickups, which means they don’t require batteries. However, the passive pickups on this bass have been criticized by some for lacking output and clarity compared to active pickups.

    2. The body lacks resonant qualities. Constructed with basswood, a lightweight wood, it lacks the resonance found in other woods like alder or mahogany. This can result in a less full and rich sound.

    Overall, the Yamaha TRBX305 CAR is a great bass for the price.

3. Ibanez Standard SR305E 5-string

LIGHTWEIGHT PERFORMER

1. Comfortable & lightweight body shape.Wide range of tonal possibilities.
Balanced sound with quality pickups.Durable construction for live performance.
Picture by Ibanez

PROS

  • The Ibanez Standard SR305E offers a combination of features that make it a popular choice for electric bass players.

  • Firstly, the comfortable body shape and lightweight construction of the SR305E make it ideal for extended playing sessions. Beginners, in particular, will find it easy to hold and play for long periods of time. Its lightweight design also makes it convenient for musicians who frequently travel or need to transport their instrument.

    Secondly, the SR305E is equipped with an active EQ that provides a wide range of tonal possibilities. With its three-band EQ (bass, mid, treble) and boost/cut switch, players can achieve different sounds, ranging from warm and mellow tones to bright and aggressive ones. This versatility allows for exploration and experimentation with various musical genres and styles.

    Another notable feature of the SR305E is its high-quality pickups. The combination of a PowerSpan humbucker in the bridge position and a Dynamic EQ P-Style pickup in the neck position delivers a balanced sound suitable for diverse musical genres. This ensures that the SR305E can adapt to different playing preferences and musical contexts.

    Lastly, the SR305E is built with durability in mind. Its construction, using a combination of basswood and maple, ensures that it can withstand the rigors of live performances and daily use. The basswood body provides a lightweight yet strong foundation, while the maple neck offers stability and responsiveness. This durability makes the SR305E a reliable choice for gigging musicians and ensures that it will last even in demanding conditions.

    Overall, the Ibanez Standard SR305E 5-string electric bass guitar is a fantastic option for electric bass players seeking an instrument with a comfortable body shape, versatile sound options, and durable construction. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, the SR305E is sure to meet your needs and deliver a satisfying playing experience.

    I hope this information is helpful in making your decision.

CONS

  • Sure, here are two cons of the Ibanez Standard SR305E 5-string that are relevant to the blog post “The Best Electric Bass Guitars Under $450 (Ultimate Guide 2023)”:
    1. The pickups are not the best quality. The SR305E has two PowerSpan Dual Coil pickups, but their clarity and articulation, particularly in the high frequencies, may not meet some users’ expectations.
    2. The build quality is not as good as some other basses in this price range. The SR305E’s neck can be flimsy, and the body finish is prone to scratches.

4. Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass

VINTAGE SOUL

Vintage-inspired design, C-shaped neckAlnico pickups, rich warm sound.
lightweight solid mahogany body.2-band EQ for tonal versatility.
Picture by Squier

PROS

  • 1. Vintage-inspired design with comfortable C-shaped neck. The Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass has a vintage-inspired design that is both stylish and comfortable to play. The C-shaped neck is a popular choice for many bassists because it is both fast and comfortable, making it ideal for playing both fingerstyle and slap bass techniques.

    2. Alnico pickups with rich, warm sound. The Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass features two Alnico pickups that produce a rich, warm sound that is perfect for a variety of genres, from rock and blues to jazz and funk. The pickups are also well-balanced, providing a balanced sound with both low end and high end frequencies.

    3. Solid mahogany body with comfortable weight. The Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass has a solid mahogany body that gives it a warm, rich tone. The mahogany body is also lightweight, making it comfortable to play for extended periods of time.

    4. 2-band EQ for tonal versatility. The Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass features a 2-band EQ that allows you to customize the sound of your bass to your liking. The EQ has controls for bass and treble, giving you the ability to boost or cut these frequencies to achieve the sound you want.

    In addition to these four pros, the Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass also features a comfortable rosewood fingerboard, sealed die-cast tuners, and chrome hardware. It is a well-rounded instrument that offers great value for the price.

    Compared to other budget bass guitars in the $450 price range, the Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass stands out as an excellent choice. With its high level of quality and features, it offers a tremendous value for the price. It is suitable for both beginners and experienced players, thanks to its easy playability and versatile sound. Whether you are just starting out or have been playing for years, this bass guitar will serve you well.

    If you are looking for a reliable and high-quality budget bass guitar, the Squier Classic Vibe Precision Bass should be at the top of your list. Its vintage-inspired design, rich sound, comfortable feel, and tonal versatility make it a great option for any bassist in need of a budget-friendly instrument. You can expect years of enjoyment and satisfaction from playing this bass guitar.

CONS

  • The pickups aren’t as high quality as some basses in this price range. The single-coil pickups have a bright and clear sound, but could be too trebly for certain genres. The pickups have inconsistent performance, with some sounding better than others.
  • The neck can be thick, making it uncomfortable for players with smaller hands or those used to thinner necks. Overall, it’s a great bass for the price, but might not suit everyone.

5. Sterling by Music Man 5 String Bass

SMOOTH POWERHOUSE

Solid, fast, versatile, affordable bass.Responsive and smooth playability.
Versatile for various music genres.Affordable option for around $450.
Picture by Sterling

PROS

  • 1. Excellent build quality:
    – The Sterling by Music Man 5 String Bass is made with high-quality materials and construction, giving it a solid feel and good sustain.
    – The neck is made of maple, known for its durability, and the fingerboard is made of jatoba, known for its playability.
    – The body is made of lightweight basswood, providing a warm and balanced sound.

    2. Smooth and responsive playability:
    – It features a fast neck and comfortable fretboard, making it easy to play fast passages and complex chords.
    – The active electronics offer a wide range of tonal possibilities, from warm and mellow to punchy and aggressive.

    3. Versatile sound:
    – This bass can be used for various genres, including rock, pop, jazz, and funk.
    – The active electronics provide a wide range of tonal possibilities, allowing you to dial in the perfect sound for your needs.

    4. Affordable price:
    – The Sterling by Music Man 5 String Bass offers excellent build quality, smooth playability, and a versatile sound, all for under $450.

    Overall, the Sterling by Music Man 5 String Bass is an excellent option for under $450. Its build quality, playability, sound versatility, and affordable price make it a fantastic choice for musicians looking for a reliable and versatile 5-string bass.

CONS

  • 1. The pickups are not as high quality as other basses in this price range. The 5 String Bass has a single humbucking pickup, limiting tonal options compared to instruments with 2-3 pickups.
    2. The neck is slightly thicker than some players’ preferences. While the rounded D profile is comfortable for many, some may prefer a thinner neck, like a C or U profile.

    Overall, the Sterling by Music Man 5 String Bass is a good option for budget-conscious musicians seeking a versatile and well-crafted instrument. It’s essential to be aware of its limitations before buying.

    Ultimately, chose the bass that aligns with your personal needs, budget, music genres, and playing style. Conduct thorough research and try out a few different options to make an informed purchase.

6. Epiphone Viola Electric Bass

BUDGET-FRIENDLY BEGINNER

Comfortable body shape, versatile sound.Versatile sound for various genres.
Well-made and durable.“Gig bag included for portability.”
Picture by Epiphone

PROS

  • The Epiphone Viola Electric Bass is a great option for musicians on a budget. Here are four important pros or positive aspects of this bass that make it an excellent choice for under $450.

    Firstly, the Viola Bass features a comfortable body shape that caters to both sitting and standing players. Its hollow body produces a warm, resonant sound that is pleasing to the ears. Additionally, the short scale neck ensures easy playability for musicians of all sizes, making it an ideal option for beginners or those with smaller hands.

    Secondly, this bass offers a versatile sound that suits various genres. Equipped with dual mini-humbucking pickups, it produces a warm and thick tone ideal for jazz, blues, and rock. However, if you’re into more aggressive music styles like metal and punk, the Viola Bass can still deliver the desired punch.

    Furthermore, this instrument is well-made and durable, providing great value for its price. Constructed with laminated maple, the body ensures stability and longevity. The maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard also contributes to the bass’s overall sturdiness. Additionally, the hardware is of high quality and expected to withstand years of playing.

    To top it off, the Viola Bass comes with a gig bag. This added bonus enables musicians to easily transport the bass wherever they go, making it ideal for traveling musicians.

    In comparing the Viola Bass to other options in its price range, it’s worth considering alternatives like the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass. Though similar in body shape and sound, the Jazz Bass features a single pickup rather than dual pickups. Another option is the Ibanez SR300, which offers a more aggressive sound with its shorter scale neck, facilitating fast playing. Alternatively, the Yamaha TRBX174 is a versatile bass suitable for different genres, boasting a comfortable body shape and a wide range of tonal options.

    Ultimately, the best bass choice depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you seek a comfortable instrument with a versatile sound, the Epiphone Viola Electric Bass is an excellent option to consider within your budget.

CONS

  • The pickups are not very high quality. This is a common complaint among owners of the Viola Bass. The pickups are said to be muddy and lack definition, which can be a problem for genres that require a more precise sound, such as jazz or funk. The neck can be uncomfortable for some players. The Viola Bass has a narrow neck, which can be a problem for players with larger hands. The neck is also not very thick, making it feel flimsy.

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