How Much Does A Bass Guitar Cost? Pricing Guide (2023)
Bass guitars have a wide range of prices as the brand, material, construction quality, origin country, and model play key roles in the price. Entry-level models are $200 to $500, mid-level models vary between $500 to $1500, and high-end models can go up to $15.000 or more.
Most bass guitars are electric bass guitars, which means you will need extra gear to play these bass guitars, such as amps. This adds to the price, as the practice amps are $100 on average, while bigger amps for live performances can go up to $2500.
Electric Bass Guitars
Let’s take a look at electric bass guitars first as they are the more popular choice than acoustic bass guitars.
Entry-Level Bass Guitars
Entry-level electric bass guitars are ideal for beginner musicians and first-time bass players. Their prices start from $200 and go up to around $500. These basses are often made in eastern Asian countries such as China or Indonesia and feature relatively low-quality construction, less attention to detail, and lower-quality sonic performance.
Some decent entry-level bass guitar brands are Yamaha, Squire, Epiphone, and Ibanez. As the name suggests, these bass guitars are ideal for beginner musicians to get familiar with the instrument and learn some techniques until they decide to step up with their playing by upgrading their instrument. It would also be great to start with some online bass lessons.
Mid-Level Bass Guitars
Mid-level electric bass guitars have prices from $500 to $1500 and are ideal choices for hobbyist bass guitar players. They are produced in many different countries depending on the brand, such as Japan, Mexico, the U.S.A., Indonesia, and Korea. These bass guitars are considered decent-quality guitars with cost-effective designs.
In the mid-level range, bigger names come into play, such as Fender, Schecter, and Squier, as well as other brands like Warwick, Washburn, and Epiphone. There are also different electric bass guitar types in this range, such as 5-string and 6-string models, which have slightly higher prices than traditional 4-string bass guitars.
High-End Bass Guitars
Professional-level bass guitars are the highest-end electric bass guitars, which have prices starting from $1500 and go up to $10.000 and even more in specific cases. These basses are top-quality instruments and are mainly produced in the U.S.A., handcrafted with custom features.
Music Man, Fender, Sterling, and Rickenbacker are considered some of the top names that produce the best quality bass guitars in the world. These bass guitars have special features like high-quality tonewoods, pickups, and designs for increased tonal performance and playability. There can be 4-string, 5-string, 6-string, and even 7-string models in the price range.
Acoustic Bass Guitars
Acoustic bass guitars have slightly higher prices than electric bass guitars as their tonewoods, workmanship, and material quality play a bigger role in the overall sound and playability of the instruments compared to electric bass models. Their prices vary between $400 to $2500.
As acoustic bass guitars produce the sound in an acoustic way contrary to the electrical circuit of electric bass guitars, the woods on the body and the neck, the workmanship, the design, and all the details play bigger roles in the tonal quality and sustain. So, in the end, these models have slightly higher prices than the electric bass models.
How Much Do Used Bass Guitars Cost?
Used bass guitars generally are %20 to %40 more affordable compared to the new bass guitar models depending on the condition and the model of the particular model. The prices start from $150 and go up to $1500 and even more in some cases.
An important note on the second-hand market is that the golden rule is always to try the instrument before buying if you have the chance. Otherwise, you can ask for a high-quality video or recording of the instrument played recently to get a sense of the condition of the guitar.
What Affects Bass Guitar Price?
Bass guitar prices heavily depend on the type, the brand, the model, material, and construction quality, as well as the origin country.
Type Of The Bass Guitar
Different bass guitar types have different prices. For example, acoustic bass guitars are slightly more expensive compared to electric bass guitars. Similarly, the more strings a bass guitar has, the higher the price.
The Brand And The Model
The brand reliability and model also play important roles in the price. Big brands with high popularity like Fender, Sterling, and Music Man have some of the highest prices on the market as they offer top-quality instruments with premium brand reliability.
Material And Construction Quality
Another important factor is the material and construction quality. This aspect is heavily related to the brand and the origin country as big brands use premium-quality materials while producing top-quality handcrafted instruments in countries with high reliability like the U.S.A.
The tonewoods, the hardware, and the electronics on a bass guitar affect the sound dramatically. So, the materials are without a doubt the vital parts of the quality of a bass guitar. The attention to detail in production, innovative engineering, and customized production processes mainly by hand is key to high-quality instruments, which also increases the prices.
Just like almost all musical instruments, there is a hierarchy of production countries that decides the price of bass guitars. China, Indonesia, Korea, and similar Asian countries, produce the lower-end models, Japan and Mexico produce mid-level instruments, and the U.S.A. is home to the top-quality models.
This difference is due to the hourly wage and engineering quality of countries. The instruments produced in countries like the U.S.A. and Japan are manufactured with the best technology, customized processes that involve handmade techniques, and greater attention to detail, which results in better quality instruments.
How Much Should You Spend on a Bass Guitar?
If you are an entry-level bass guitar player looking for the first bass guitar to purchase, you should go with an entry-level model to learn to play the instrument. An average of $300 for the bass guitar and $200 for an amp is ideal to start.
If you are an experienced player looking for a better instrument, you can go for a mid-level instrument with a budget of around $750.
For professional players, there is no limit as they require the best instruments possible for their performances and projects.
Bass guitars are slightly more expensive instruments when you compare them with traditional guitars (see more of or comparisons in our article about bass vs guitar). This is quite reasonable when you take into account that they require more complex production techniques and more material. So it is quite reasonable.
To summarize, bass guitar prices start from $200 for low-end China-made models and go up to $10.000 for custom-made premium bass guitars. On average, entry-level models cost $250, mid-level models cost $750, and professional models cost more than $1000.
Do not forget that you will also need an amp to play your bass guitar, which costs between $100 to $1000 for most models.