The Most Popular Beginner and Budget-Friendly Bass Brands on Reverb

Holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and one question we're often asked at Reverb during this time of year is: What model should I buy a player who is just starting out on their instrument? This question is often in reference to bass guitars, and with the current market's vast array of fantastic bass options, there's no shortage of excellent brands and models for new players to consider.

Most experienced bassists have their go-to picks for budget-friendly instruments, and there are plenty of articles out there that corral and review the most common recommendations. But since we here at Reverb are all about taking advantage of the real-life data from our marketplace, we're taking a slightly different approach today and showcasing the actual most popular bass brands on our site, across both new and used sales.

Below, you'll find the rankings of the most popular brands on Reverb from the past year for all bass guitar sales under $600. We've included our picks for the essential model from each brand with a little insight about what defines each. Hopefully, if you (or someone you're buying a bass for) is just starting out, this will point you in the right direction. And if you're an experienced player or buyer, hopefully you find this data intriguing, too.

    Bass Brand Key Models Reputation
1 Fender Standard Jazz or Precision Bass Fender standards like the Precision and Jazz Bass are fundamental, all-around instruments. Precision basses are considered more rock-oriented, while Jazz Basses are capable of just about any style. These basses are both no-brainer starting points for any player.
2 Ibanez SR300E The SR series are excellent, versatile instruments at home playing metal, jazz, or anything in between. Ibanez does make a variety of more specialized designs as well.
3 Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass Special SS While mostly known as the lower-end of Fender's lineup, today, Squier offers a fresh range of slick models, including a number of short-scale designs that beginners will find especially inviting.
4 Epiphone Thunderbird Pro IV Like with its guitar division, Epiphone produces some lower-end versions of classic Gibson basses, as well as a range of original designs. The Thunderbird Pro IV is the latest iteration of the classic rock mainstay Gibson Thunderbird that debuted in the 1960s.
5 Peavey Millennium 4 The Peavey Millennium (and the similar Grind) series are great budget-friendly entries into the realm of R&B bass. They offer spunky active pickups that are great for slap and funk, as well as worship band gigs.
6 Schecter Stiletto Stealth One of several more metal-focused brands on the list, Schecter’s Stiletto series is a great launching point for players interested in heavier rock styles.
7 Yamaha TRBX304 Like the Ibanez SR, the Yamaha TRBX basses are excellent all-arounders. Just as they do with guitars, trumpets, pianos, and motorbikes, Yamaha makes exceptionally reliable basses, down to their most affordable options
8 Warwick RockBass Streamer Mostly known for their range of higher-end basses made with exotic woods, Warwick's RockBass series takes some of the German maker's more popular designs and packages them in a beginner-targeted format.
9 Hofner Ignition Violin Bass Hofner’s original violin bass was made famous by Paul McCartney. The company’s Ignition Violin bass represents the most affordable version of its most iconic design. These basses are known for their warm, almost acoustic tones.
10 Dean Edge Made in a variety of configurations, the Dean Edge is considered a solid all-arounder with a generally metal-leaning sound.
11 ESP LTD F-4E or B-4E Made by a decidedly metal-oriented company, the F-4E and B-4E are two variations on the same basic bass recipe.
12 Sterling SUB Series Ray4 Part of Ernie Ball Music Man, Sterling makes more affordable versions of classics like the StingRay, as used by players like Flea.
13 Danelectro Longhorn One of the most recognizable makers of the '60s, Danelectro often builds reissues of original designs like the always funky Longhorn.
14 Spector Performer Another higher-end maker that's started to produce beginner-oriented instruments, Spector is known for a diverse artist roster that includes Ian Hill of Judas Priest and Garry Tallent of the E Street Band.
15 G&L Tribute L-2000 Designed by Leo Fender, G&L basses like the L-2000 represent the final phase of the original bass guitar innovator's design legacy.

The Under $600 Bass Market at a Glance

Of these brands, it's easy to lump Fender and Squier together, since they are two brands within the same broader company and typically produce similar models. That said, Squier is producing specialty models more and more that are not being built by Fender.

And while makers like Warwick, Schecter, ESP LTD, and Spector are easy to lump together as primarily metal brands, a closer look at their respective catalogs show that each offers a relatively diverse range of models that cover a variety of styles. But, if you are buying for someone interested in metal, these are all obvious starting points.

What bass models do you recommend for novice players? Let us know in the comments.


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