The 7 Best Bass Guitars for Metal (2023)

Bass guitars with a vintage design, such as Fender Precision, are ideal for some metal genres. Many contemporary sub-genres, on the other hand, demand a more aggressive sound. Metal bands today put a strong emphasis on low-end tones, which is why 5 and 6-string bass guitars are common in metal.

Choosing the right bass for the job is not simple, especially for metal music. With a more low-end nature, metal music needs a good low-punch sound. Keep in mind that this isn’t an ultimate list and that this is simply my choice of bass guitars that offer a good balance between quality and price.

My top recommended bass is the Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass. If you’re looking for the ideal quality choice that fits all descriptions, this is the one!

My second recommended bass is the Yamaha TRBX304 if you’re on a tighter budget but still want a good bass that will get the job done.

The 7 Best Bass Guitars for Metal (2023)

1. Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass
Top Pick - Perfect choice for metal, high-quality bass.
2. Yamaha TRBX304
Budget Pick - Affordable bass that offers impressive value for the money.
3. ESP LTD B-204SM
The perfect middle-ground bass for metal music.
4. Schecter Stiletto Studio 5
Designed for metal on purpose, excellent EMG pickups.
5. Ibanez Bass Workshop SRFF805
High-quality multi-scale bass with excellent intonation and wide tonal diversity.
6. Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4
An affordable, good-quality bass by a reputable brand.
7. Ibanez SR500E
Great middle ground, excellent quality, and durable bass for metal.

Let’s compare these in more detail.

1. Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass

Top Pick
Perfect choice for metal, high-quality bass.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)View Price at Amazon

It’s hard to imagine a list without a Fender bass. For decades, the famous Iron Maiden bassist relied on this simple but highly effective design. It may not be an ideal solution if you prefer modern metal genres but if classic metal tones are your main concern, then search no more.

One of the things that make this bass guitar shine is its simplicity. It features a typical Precision layout, the legendary Fender design, but there are also numerous pretty distinctive details.

The thing I enjoy about this guitar is the combination of a maple neck and maple body. In terms of sound, you can count on plenty of dynamics, whether you play with a pick or fingers. The neck features a kind of U-shape profile, which may take some time to get used on it, but it is very comfortable.

Bass players who like to keep things simple will also like the fact that this bass guitar comes with just one P pickup. It is Steve’s signature pickup that comes from Seymour Duncan. Controls are also simple, as you may count on just a couple of knobs. The ideal bass choice for a lot of musicians out there!

2. Yamaha TRBX304

Budget Pick
Affordable bass that offers impressive value for the money.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)View Price at Amazon

As a brand, Yamaha has one of the highest reputations in the business. Whether it’s about electric guitars, basses, or classical instruments, the Japanese manufacturer offers excellent quality. This particularly refers to the segment of more affordable instruments, where Yamaha offers probably the best value for money in the business.

The Yamaha TRBX304 is no exception. The first thing that will impress you is the build quality, which is really amazing. The overall design makes this bass guitar quite versatile and enjoyable for metal styles or something more. This bass sounds great and it is very comfortable to play.

In terms of sound characteristics, this model relies on pretty common design solutions. It is a 4-string bass, which comes with YGD designed M3 pickups and pretty straightforward controls.

Pickups are active and work great with any kind of effects. In terms of build, you may count on a solid mahogany body, which delivers a very balanced tone, while the rosewood fretboard makes this guitar very comfortable and smooth under fingers.

3. ESP LTD B-204SM

Well-rounded choice
The perfect middle-ground bass for metal music.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)View Price at Amazon

Probably one of the most recognizable designs on this list, the ESP LTD B-205SM is a 5 stringed beast that offers quality as well as great aesthetics and material. It is simply the perfect middle-ground choice.

With a solid bolt-on five-piece maple neck, you can be certain that this bass will keep tune properly. The B-205SM’s ultra-thin U-shaped body with a rosewood fingerboard makes this seamlessly played bass more than suitable for metal and long playing sessions.

When it comes to sound, the ESP LTD B-205SM produces a high-quality sound which is remarkable considering the price. For a reasonable price, the bass’ tonal qualities are simply superb. Warm tones are delivered with precision.

The pickups are backed by a handy 3-band active EQ. The EQ promotes fast reducing or increasing of specific frequency ranges which only adds value to this bass and proves that it can hold its own for metal genre playing.

4. Schecter Stiletto Studio 5

High-quality, 5-string bass
Designed for metal on purpose, excellent EMG pickups.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)View Price at Amazon

This particular bass is a fantastic metal machine. With the neck-through construction, it offers impressive sustain and control, while a couple of active EMG pickups make things even more impressive. This bass guitar deals with heavy distorted tones with ease, as well as with all other kinds of effects.

This is a five-string bass (4-string version also available), so you can count on lots of clean low-end tones, mostly thanks to a nice combination of the central part that features the same neck material, maple, and walnut. Wings combine a mahogany body and a Bubinga top that allow for tonal manipulation.

You may count on five knobs, including a 3-band EQ. Thanks to a neck-through construction, it’s super easy to reach any fret on this bass guitar. The neck by itself is also very comfortable and easy to play on.

Furthermore, you may count on jumbo frets, while machine tuners work great. Simply, it’s hard to find any bigger complaint about this model, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a good bass for metal music.

5. Ibanez Bass Workshop SRFF805

Popular choice, versatile bass
High-quality multi-scale bass with excellent intonation and wide tonal diversity.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)View Price at Amazon

This is one of the best deals you can get if you’re looking for a great metal bass guitar. For a fairly reasonable price, you get a well-designed multi-scale bass, which offers perfect intonation. Along with a nice 5-piece jatoba/walnut neck, it’s super playable and stable. Plus, there’s a Mono-Rail VS bridge and you can count on excellent sustain and stability.

The tone by itself is quite rounded, while the high ones are also very bright. That’s mostly because of the interesting tonewood combination, which consists of mahogany and polar burp top. Of course, big thanks go to a couple of Bartolini humbuckers, which do their job great and deal with high-gain tones with ease.

The SRFF805 stands out from the visual standpoint as well. This guitar definitely works great for all metal genres. Moreover, it goes way beyond that. With six strings and an impressive amount of tonal tweaking options, there is plenty of room for all kinds of tonal manipulation.

You may count on classic Volume and Balancer switches, as well as on a 3-band EQ control. Furthermore, there are two switches, for mid-frequency boost and EQ bypass.

6. Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4

Budget-friendly, quality brand
An affordable, good-quality bass by a reputable brand.
View Price at Thomann (Europe)View Price at Amazon

The Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 is an affordable yet amazing-looking bass guitar, suitable for metal playing. This model features active electronics, low-noise humbucking pickups, a well-built construction, all the while being from a reputable brand.

This maple/basswood bass performs surprisingly well considering its modest price. The aesthetics are simply amazing and are what draw you in at first, however, you immediately stay for the teardrop pickguard and control layout.

Apart from looks, this bass has really good components. The 2-band active preamp has well-adjustable options with volume, Treble, and bass. A comfort that is welcomed with this Music Man model and is more than worthy for metal playing.

Probably one of the best value-for-price products on this list so it’s well worth the time to check out and maybe even buy if you think that it’s the perfect match for you!

7. Ibanez SR500E

Durable, great-sounding bass
Great middle ground, excellent quality, and durable bass for metal.
View Price at Amazon

Another Ibanez on this list, this time with a more affordable price tag than the previous one. The Ibanez SR500E has two Bartolini BH2 humbucking pickups that allow for a very versatile sound and clarity while playing.

The reason why this bass is good for metal is that the pickups have a very natural and good low-end response that just drives the sound well. If you want more punch and something that stands out, particularly for metal, this bass is an absolute beast!

Its mahogany body and rosewood fretboard is a sight to behold and a privilege to play. The Ibanez SR500E falls under a moderate price range but considering all the great components and positives in this situation, it has a very good value for the price.

If you’re looking for a sturdy model with great sound qualities, all the while having a reasonable price tag, this bass will exceed all expectations and then some!

How Important is the Bass in Metal?

Bass is important in any style of music, in my opinion, and metal is no exception. For metal, in particular, the bass provides the extra punch and girth which is the signature of metal music style.

The metal bass tone is kind of specific, to say the least. With the ability to provide a solid foundation with low-end tones that are a driving force even in shredding sections and long-drawn-out gjents, the bass always plays a vital part!

How many Strings on a Bass for Metal?

There is no set rule when it comes to how many strings for metal playing. I’d say go with your gut and what makes you play more freely and comfortably. Remember that quality is more important than quantity regarding bass guitar strings.

A 4-string bass has everything you need to successfully fill out your metal role, although, having a 5-string bass, or 6-string bass will just add more variety to your playing. The versatile nature of 5-string and 6-string basses is a big boost, tone-wise, variety-wise, more low-ends, and overall pushing the boundaries on your sound/song.

What to look for in a Bass for Metal when Buying?

When it comes to crucial components of what makes a great bass for metal playing, there are a few things to keep in mind if you don’t want to make the wrong choice when purchasing.

Firstly, you want quality above else, which means you need a good overall base regarding pickups which can be humbucker, single-coil pickups, or anything that fits the description, as well as a good quality fretboard. Sturdiness is also key, you want a well-built bass, whether it be with an alder body, a maple top, this all falls under build construction and quality components.

Secondly, the sound is very important! Low-end tones and clear execution is pivotal when it comes to metal music, so go for good quality-sounding basses. The way to know this is to look for good pickups, whether it be a good quality bridge pickup or neck pickup, also, body construction, and a good fretboard. But the best way to know is to go check out bass at your local music store and hear the sound firsthand.

Lastly, consider your price range and your skill level. Depending on your skill level you don’t need to go overboard if you’re still a beginner and looking for a beginner option. If you’re an intermediate to pro-level then you might want to consider spending a bit extra for a good quality bass as an upgrade!

Summary

This concludes the list of best electric bass guitars for metal. As you can see, this list has all kinds of different instruments in a pretty wide price range for the metal bassist, so I believe there should be a good choice for everyone here.

My top metal bass pick is the Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass. A very popular and high-quality choice that will exceed any expectation.

My budget metal bass pick is the Yamaha TRBX304 for those looking for a more affordable solution but still a good one!

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj is a touring and recording bass guitarist who loves to share his passion for all things music.

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