The 7 Best Acoustic Bass Guitars (2022)

Acoustic bass guitars are a little less popular than electric bass guitars, but they’re an excellent option for a wide variety of genres, as well as being perfect when bands want to play ‘unplugged’ acoustic sessions.

The Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic Bass Guitar is my top pick among acoustic bass guitars available on the market. Its compact build and short scale length ensure great playability and portability. Its powerful ES-B pickup system gives players enhanced control over the volume and plugged-in tone of the guitar’s rich, acoustic sounds. 

For a more budget option, the Ibanez PCBE12MH Acoustic Bass Guitar wins out. Despite being very affordable, it does not compromise on either the acoustics or the electronics. On the other hand, the Martin BC-16E Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is a great high-end option. Its resonant natural acoustic tones are well worth the price. 

Your choice of acoustic bass guitar should ultimately be motivated by your own needs, preferences, and experience level. To help you with your decision, I’ve compiled a list of the top 7 acoustic bass guitars available in the market.

The 7 Best Acoustic Bass Guitars (2022)

1. Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic Bass Guitar
Editor's Choice - Compact build with great acoustics and electronics
2. Ibanez PCBE12MH Acoustic Bass Guitar
Affordable Option - Warm tones with efficient electronics
3. Martin BC-16E Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar
Pro Option - Pure, natural acoustic sounds
4. Fender Fa-450ce Acoustic Bass Guitar
Aesthetic acoustic bass ideal for performances
5. Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar
Great playability with uncompromised acoustics
6. Takamine GB30CE Acoustic-Electric Bass
Acoustic bass with a versatile pickup system

Let’s compare them in more detail.

1. Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic Bass Guitar

Top pick
Compact build with great acoustics and electronics.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic Bass Guitar is a great option that optimizes sound quality and ease of use.

Its 23.5” scale length and compact build make it comfortable to hold, carry and play. Its easy playability facilitates practice and learning. So, if you’re a beginner bassist, or find it difficult to stretch your fingers across long fretboards, the Taylor GS Mini-e will aid you in your journey to bass guitar mastery.

Its compact design also allows easy transportation, making it ideal for camping and festivals.

Pros

  • Great playability
  • Powerful pickup system
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Short scale length may reduce the brightness of the tone

Its piezo-electric ES-B pickup system boasts of a preamp with a built-in digital chromatic tuner. Eliminating the need for tuner apps or external digital tuners, this built-in tuner is a great asset for guitarists who need to tune their instruments on the go.

Along with tone and volume controls, it also has an LED low battery indicator. The two-button cell 3 Volt Lithium batteries give approximately 300 hours of use. The ES-B pickup also conserves battery life by automatically switching off if left on for more than three minutes.

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleShort-scale (23.5”)
Number of strings
Fretted Yes

The guitar’s smooth satin finish allows the player to easily slide their fingers across the fretboard. The strings – nylon cores, overwound with coated phosphor bronze wire – give warm, clear bass tones. 

Additionally, its body – made of layered maple wood – gives the guitar an exotic look, while also making it resilient to humid, dusty, or extreme climates.

2. Ibanez PCBE12MH Acoustic Bass Guitar

Budget pick
Warm tones with efficient electronics.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Ibanez PCBE12MH Acoustic bass guitar delivers far more than what you’d expect, given its affordable price.

With top, sides, and back built of Sapele wood – a member of the mahogany family, the guitar projects warm, woody, balanced tones.

Pros

  • Low string noise
  • Affordable price
  • Rich tone and color

Cons

  • Somewhat sharp fret ends

This acoustic-electric bass guitar also has an under-saddle pickup with the AEQ SP2 preamp. Apart from the master volume, you can use the bass and treble controls of the preamp to adjust bass and treble frequencies respectively.

Additionally, the LEDs of the built-in tuner indicate the note being played, and also if the pitch of a string is flat or sharp.

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleMedium-scale (31.89”) 
Number of strings4
Fretted Yes

The open-pore natural finish of the Ibanez PCBE12MH preserves the acoustic properties of the tonewood, while also offering decent protection. 

The carbon-coated strings last longer than uncoated strings, while also eliminating unwanted string noise.

3. Martin BC-16E Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar

Pro Option
Pure, natural acoustic sounds at good volumes.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Martin BC-16E Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is a great option for an unplugged performance. This guitar is specially designed to give pure, natural sound, even when amplified through its pickup system.

Pros

  • Pure, natural acoustic sound
  • The slim neck and cutaway body enhance playability
  • Factory Plek treatment

Cons

Its East Indian rosewood back and sides produce warm, resonant tones, while its Sitka spruce top adds extra definition to these creamy tones. 

The Martin BC-16E’s Fishman electronics pickup system allows you to control the tone and volume, and also ensure great tone when playing with the guitar plugged in. 

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleLong scale (34”)
Number of strings4
Fretted Yes

This acoustic-electric bass guitar has a slim neck – making it easier to play, and a cutaway body that gives the player complete access to the upper frets.

With a fretboard treated with Plek – a computer-controlled fret leveling tool, it ensures accurately leveled frets and smooth playability.

4. Fender Fa-450ce Acoustic Bass Guitar

Aesthetic acoustic bass ideal for performances.
View Price at AmazonView Price at Guitar Center

The Fender Fa-450ce Acoustic Bass Guitar has a unique aesthetic appeal that makes it a great option for guitarists who regularly perform onstage. 

Its fretboard is studded with decorative inlays, and the soundhole is framed by a graceful rosette. This guitar is available in three colors – Natural, 3-tone Tea burst, and 3-color Sunburst.

Pros

  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Clear, bright tones
  • Good volume and midrange

Cons

  • Stock strings not great

Its mahogany back and sides give plenty of volume and midrange, while the flame maple top contributes to the clear, bright tone. The back is laminated, which makes the guitar resistant to cracking due to changes in humidity and less likely to feedback when plugged into an amp.

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleMedium Scale (32”)
Number of strings4
Fretted Yes

The Fender Fa-450ce’s Fishman Electronics pickup system allows players to adjust bass and treble frequencies along with volume and ensures that the sound stays true to the instrument’s natural voice.

5. Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar

Great playability with uncompromised acoustics.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar has a back and sides built of classic mahogany. This gives it a full-bodied sound and enough projection to give great unplugged performances. 

Pros

  • Rolled edges on the fretboard make playing comfortable
  • Slim neck
  • Full-bodied sound

Cons

Its Fishman Classic Design pickup system allows you to adjust volume, bass, and treble. This pickup system also has a built-in tuner that works well in both – bright sunlight, as well as in dimly lit venues.

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleMedium Scale (32”)
Number of strings4
Fretted Yes

The Fender CB-60SCE has a smooth walnut fretboard with rolled edges, making it more comfortable to play. Its mahogany neck also has a slim taper, which further enhances its playability.

6. Takamine GB30CE Acoustic-Electric Bass

Acoustic bass with a versatile pickup system.
View Price at AmazonView Price at Guitar Center

The Takamine GB30CE Acoustic-Electric Bass guitar boasts the powerful Takamine TK-40B pickup system.

Pros

  • Powerful pickup system
  • Great feel and playability

Cons

  • The tuner isn’t very accurate

This pickup system has a built-in tuner, three-band EQ and gain control, mid-shift control, bass-boost switch, and an EQ bypass switch – thus allowing considerable flexibility in the sound tone. 

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleLong scale (34”)
Number of strings4
Fretted Yes

Its spruce top and mahogany back give a rich resonant sound, whereas its slim mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard offer a great feel and playability. 

7. D'Angelico Premier Mott Acoustic-Electric Bass

Smooth sound and good playability.
View Price at AmazonView Price at Guitar Center

The D’Angelico Premier Mott Acoustic-Electric Bass has a slim C-shape mahogany neck that increases playability and reduces the risk of wrist-ache. 

Pros

  • C-shape neck reduces the risk of wrist-ache
  • Thinner coating better preserves acoustic sound

Cons

  • The thin finish provides less protection from humidity

The solid Sitka spruce top and spruce and mahogany back give the D’Angelico Premier Mott a powerful and smooth sound.

Its Fishman Presys pickup and preamp system, which includes an onboard tuner, is great for direct input amplification or for playing over PA systems. 

Home-friendly bass guitarYes
Including pickup systemYes
ScaleLong scale (34”)
Number of strings4
Fretted Yes

Additionally, a thinner coating for the finish of the guitar allows you to get the most out of your acoustic sound. 

Things to keep in mind when buying

Scale length, body type, neck, and of course, price, are some of the factors you need to consider while choosing your acoustic bass guitar. 

Short and long scale lengths each have their benefits. The scale length affects the tension of the string, which in turn affects the timbre of the sound. Shorter scale lengths give more warm and muddy overtones, while longer scale lengths favor bright and clean overtones. 

Scale length also affects playability. Shorter scales imply less distance between frets, making them more desirable for players with small hands. 

The ideal guitar body shape for you will depend on your style of playing and your personal preferences. You may want to choose a more huggable shape – like the grand concert – if you prefer playing sitting down as opposed to standing up. 

A slimmer guitar neck might be easier on your wrists and might make playing smoother. However, depending on your preferred styles and guitar techniques, your fingers may find it difficult to get used to. 

Additionally, the wood used for the body of the guitar will affect its acoustic tones, while its finish will impact smoothness, climate resilience, and tone. Although a thinner coating or finish might ensure that the natural acoustic tones are better preserved, a thicker coating will protect the guitar from harsh climates and humidity or dust. 

Make sure the electronics onboard the guitar, if any, suit your needs as a musician. Your requirements from the pickup/preamp system will change depending on if you’re buying an acoustic bass for live performances, or at-home practices.

Is an acoustic bass beginner-friendly? 

An acoustic bass guitar is generally harder to play than an electric bass guitar. On average, it is slightly larger than an electric bass and its strings take more effort to press down.

However, choosing an appropriate scale length and beginner-friendly strings – nylon, for instance – can help beginners quickly get comfortable with the acoustic bass. 

How does an acoustic bass sound compared to electric bass? 

An acoustic bass gives much richer tones than an electric bass does. 

Electric bass guitars have solid bodies and produce sound with the use of magnetic pickups. Acoustic basses, on the other hand, have hollow bodies with a soundbox – an open chamber that modifies the sound of the instrument. 

The air in this chamber has its own resonances, which interact with those of the body and ultimately impact the resonances of the entire instrument. The soundbox usually adds resonances at lower frequencies, which, in turn, enhances the lower-frequency response of the instrument. 

Does an acoustic bass need an amplifier? 

Although the sound of an acoustic bass guitar is desirable, the volume is usually too low to be heard without an amplifier. Even in settings with other acoustic instruments, acoustic basses usually need some amplification. 

This is why most acoustic bass guitars have pickups – transducers that convert mechanical vibrations into an electric signal. 

These acoustic bass guitars – also known as acoustic-electric bass guitars – can be plugged into a PA system or a guitar amplifier to get loud acoustic tones. 

Does an acoustic bass guitar require high maintenance? 

Acoustic bass guitars are made of different kinds of wood. Wood expands and contracts with varying temperatures, and also expands when it absorbs moisture. This can cause changes and cracks in the body, neck, and fretboard, and affect the tone quality of the sound.

This is why extreme sudden changes in temperature, or high humidity levels can damage your acoustic bass guitar. 

Make sure you keep your guitar in a closed case when you’re not playing it. It might also be a good idea to invest in a humidification system to maintain the surroundings of your acoustic bass at a 45 – 50 % humidity level. 

Cleaning your guitar regularly, and washing your hands before playing will go a long way in increasing its longevity. 

Verdict

Before you make your decision, be sure to take into account your needs and preferences as a bassist, along with your lifestyle, and the climate of the region you live in. However, if I were to recommend one product, it would be the Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic Bass Guitar.

Its compact build, great acoustic tones, and versatile pickup system make it an unparalleled choice for anyone looking to start playing the acoustic bass while affording experienced bassists and performers the portability they might need.

I hope this guide helped you better understand acoustic bass guitars and the subtle differences between them. If you have any further questions about buying an acoustic bass, do leave a comment below!

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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