So you want to learn bass guitar huh? Let’s see if I can get you started…
This article lists a number of quality beginner bass guitars that are still reasonably priced and should give you a solid introduction to your new hobby. As a good rule of thumb, if you stick with big name brands it is hard to go too far wrong. If you are buying for a child or would prefer a smaller guitar, check out my post on 3/4 sized left handed guitars.
As a beginner there really isn’t a lot you need to ponder over. Seriously. Types of woods used, number of frets, types of tuners – these are really non-issues for now. Just buy something (preferably from the list below) that you like the looks of and dive in. But just before we start looking at the basses, there are a couple of things you might like to consider…
Number of Strings
Your traditional bass guitar will generally have 4 strings tuned EADG from low to high. Bass guitars are available with 5, 6 or even more strings, but if you are starting out it is generally recommended to begin with a 4-string model.
Long, Medium or Short Scale?
A standard 4-string bass generally has a 34 inch scale length (the distance between the nut and the bridge), however many other sizes are available. If you are a younger player you may find it easier to begin on a shorter scale length model (generally 30 inches or less) before graduating to a 34 inch or higher bass later on. Likewise, someone with smaller hands might find a short-scale bass easier to get on with.
There is a difference in tone between basses of different scale lengths, but at this early stage it isn’t going to be a big deal. If you decide to go for a smaller bass you can also check out my guide to 3/4 Size Left Handed Bass Guitars.
Here are a few great beginner bass models for the aspiring lefty bassist. Unless otherwise stated, these are all 4-string models. I have also listed their scale lengths in bold and provided links for current pricing and specifications. They are also listed in order of my own personal preference.
Popular Left Handed Bass Guitars Under $200
In all of the other price brackets, I have listed the guitars in order of my own personal preference – but not here. The basses here are all very similar in terms of features and pricing – pick whichever looks the best to you. You really aren’t going to notice a big difference between any of them at this stage. The exception here is the Ibanez, which is a shorter scale instrument at 28.6 inches. This is the one to go for if buying for a younger player, or for people with smaller hands. Without spending a lot more cash, the Ibanez is the best short scale left handed bass available, period.
Popular Left Handed Bass Guitars Under $300
- Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass Sunburst 34 – link
- Ibanez GSR200 34 – link
- ESP Ltd B50 34 – link
- Rogue VB100 Violin Bass 31 – link
- Stagg BC300 34 – natural or black
- Ibanez GSR205 5-String 34 – link
In this price bracket the Squier is going to be the best choice if you are after a more traditional looking instrument. These guitars are super versatile, well-made, and you have that famous name on the headstock.
Looking for a more modern design? The Ibanez GSR200 is for you! Again, these guitars are really versatile and well-constructed – super popular amongst new players. They’re also a little bit lighter than the more traditional jazz and precision basses – easy on the back! The ESP is very similar, but has a more ‘pointy’ design that is sure to appeal to the heavy rockers!
If you really want to stand out, why not consider the Rogue VB100? This guitar is modelled after the Violin bass made famous by Sir Paul McCartney (a fellow lefty!). The shorter 31 inch scale length will make it easier to handle if you have smaller hands.
Popular Left Handed Bass Guitars Under $400
In my opinion, these are the two best basses for new players, period. If budget permits, either of these will be a fantastic choice.
The 70s Jazz bass is very similar to the sunburst model in the previous price bracket, but has a few extra bells and whistles to offer. For example it has a soft maple body and maple neck/fingerboard which will help give it a slightly brighter sound. The fingerboard is also bound and has block inlays, which gives it that awesome 70s vibe.
Again, if you’re after something with a more modern design, Ibanez make some great lefty bass guitars – the SR300L being one of them. The specification is superb for this kind of money, and just look at it – how could you not want to pick that thing up for hours every day? Sexy!
Neal Says: So to sum up quickly! For general all-round versatility, I would pick up one of the two Squier Vintage Modified Jazz basses. In fact – I did! I have the natural model hanging on the wall in front of me as I type this. These jazz basses are pretty much the go-to basses for new bass players, and receive universally great reviews.
Alternatively, if you’d like something a little less traditional looking, my choice would be the GSR200L from Ibanez. Again, this is another bass that I have owned and can recommend personally – in fact, it was my first bass! It’s well made, sounds great and will hold its value well due to the popularity of this model amongst new players. The SR300L is an even better choice if you can stretch your budget that little bit further!
Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Amps
Part Six : Effects
Part Seven : Accessories
Part Eight : Lessons