Reviews Of The Top Bass Guitars Under $1000 – What To Buy?

If you are looking to purchase a bass guitar that will last you for life, a bass that won’t require any critical upgrade to achieve a certain tone you imagined – a bonafide pro instrument if you will – we say that one can be acquired for a price of just under $1000.

In this league, you can rest assured that you won’t get a bad instrument, but you still have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to get more than a plain good and solid bass. To fetch a GREAT bass at this price, you will have to do a bit of digging and jot down your needs and preferences. Luckily for you, a string of top-notch items is out there, and we did our best to single them all out.

We kept the sound quality and value for money as No. 1 criteria, but also watched out for durability, quality build, reliability, and if possible – a pinch of those sexy looks. Our quest yielded plenty of items, all of which have been presented in the chart below for your viewing convenience. Additionally, we took the liberty of presenting some additional info we thought you might find useful. Read on for more.

Fender Active Jazz Bass Review – A bass you can’t go wrong with

For the listed price, which is typically around $800, this is one of the best deals you can find. As long as you are in need of a high quality low-end tone that is driven by strong basses, this is one of the picks you cannot go wrong with. This is a very responsive bass that really presents the true finesse and color of that unique tone all of us have engraved on our fingers. This is pro stuff, better step your game up!

2 ESP LTD B-206SMNS Bass Review – A progressive 6-sting beast

ESP LTD B-206SMNS Bass Review – A progressive 6-sting beast

For the listed price, which goes as low as $550 from the right retailer, this bass is a genuine bargain. This is a pro tool and something you can consider your top-level purchase. The sound, the looks and the vibe are all there. Playing longer gigs will be a bit of a physical exercise, but probably nothing you can't handle. If you are in need of a bass that's well above the level of beginner and in the "under $1000" domain, featuring a strong sound that can cut through any mix with a distinctive low-end. Good stuff!

3 Epiphone Thunderbird Classic Bass Review – A timeless classic of the four-string realm

Epiphone Thunderbird Classic Bass Review – A timeless classic of the four-string realm

Overall, this is a mean rock machine. If you were to ask us "What is the best bass guitar for rock music?" there's a very solid chance that the Epiphone Thunderbird Classic would be the item we'd single out, or at least one of the top picks for sure. It has all the features any rock bassist would want, and it's capable of delivering both the old-school vibe and the more modern, crunch- and bass-driven type of groove. It works great when combined both with finger playing and with a pick. Note that this is pretty much a rock-only type of instrument; so if you're not a rock player, there's plenty of fish left in the sea, feel free to browse around. But if you are a rocker, this is the one you need!

4 Ibanez ATK800E Premium Bass Review – Just wow

Ibanez ATK800E Premium Bass Review – Just wow

We are looking at one of the most versatile bass guitars on the market at the moment. The sonic scope of this Ibanez is absolutely through the roof, and while we can jot down a few down sides - most notably the heavy body – the instrument still gets nothing but thumbs up from us. The versatility and sound quality are worth much more than the listed price tag, and we firmly believe that this is a bass that any seasoned professional musician can use on daily basis. If you were to ask us which are the cheapest bass guitars that sound high-end and entirely worthy of pros, the ATK800 would most likely be among the top picks.

5 Washburn T25NMK Taurus Bass Review – A beast with five horns

Washburn T25NMK Taurus Bass Review – A beast with five horns

In a nutshell, this is a very nice deal. The Taurus brings forth everything we like about passive basses, and that's no mean feat. It is very expressive, resonant, warm, and has a rich low end. The sonic strength is at a high level by passive standards, and the looks are nothing short of gorgeous. Among the top things we like, we'd single out the aforementioned passive-pickup goodies and a design that strongly exceeded our expectations both in terms of looks and ergonomics. This is one of those instruments that just push you to play them for hours, and how can that possibly be a bad thing?

6 Ibanez SR505BM Bass Review – A smooth 5-string criminal

Ibanez SR505BM Bass Review – A smooth 5-string criminal

Seeing that this fella can be yours for as low as $700 from the right retailed, the manufacturer locked in a good deal here. Key words here are light weight, versatility, and strong active bass punch. If those are high on your list of requests, feel free to add this bad boy to your list of potential purchases. As long as you are looking for a pro-level bass at under $1000, you really can't make a bad decision with the SR505BM. Good stuff, a major thumbs up from here!

7 Schecter 2852 Session RIOT-4 Review – Bass guitar that can do it all

Schecter 2852 Session RIOT-4 Review – Bass guitar that can do it all

What we are looking here is killer bargain, and a living proof that modern basses can ride with the best of the old-school instruments that shaped the music of the 20th century. You don't have to get a custom built $5,000 beast to match the sound of classic Fender P- or J-bass, this Schecter will do just fine in our opinion. You get high built quality, you get very high versatility, and you get a distinctive sonic attack. Not much more we could ask for, all we can do is give this bad boy a thumbs up!

8 Peavey Millennium 5-String Review – A bass that can play anything

Peavey Millennium 5-String Review – A bass that can play anything

Thus, in a nutshell, we are looking at a good bass. It can match any style you want, and while we recommend hooking it up with a stronger amp or a nice little pedal for more guitar-heavy genres, the fact remains that the Millennium is a versatile beast. It is as reliable as a bass can get, and has one of the lowest levels of complaints according to a variety of instrument retailers. Feel free to further test the grounds and see if this is the bass that will suit all your needs, but you can take our word for it when we say that this is an instrument you cannot regret buying. Thumbs up from here!

What To Expect From A Bass In This Price Range?

Expect the best, and nothing less. By “best” we don’t of course mean a sound of a vintage $5000 instrument, but still a genuinely professional, high-quality sound with no major, or even minor flaws whatsoever.

With basses in this price range, you are essentially entering the pro league. And while you can score some killer deals close to $500, this price domain is usually an indicator that things have become serious.

We can name quite a few musicians who bought a n instrument from this realm and essentially stuck to it for a few decades. And this brings us to a major point – be careful what you choose, be very careful! While buying a good beginner bass or intermediate instrument that you don’t quite like in terms of sound is more of a minor inconvenience, buying a bass with a poor sound in your book at this range can be a bit devastating. For many folks these instruments mark a major investment and not something that can be bought every day, taking the seriousness to a new level.

So what WE expect of you is to be patient and thoroughly look through every option, unless $1000 sounds like a measly sum for some impulsive shopping. Take your time, look around, and you just might find yourself a musical partner for life.

The instrument you buy here should match pretty much everything you’ve imagined your ideal tone to be. Sure, if those expectations are way up high, you might need a few extra thousand to spend on a killer amp, but in general, don’t make any cuts in terms of sonic quality.

How Much Should You Spend On Related Gear If Your Bass Costs $1000?

Seeing that we are in the pro realm, we are guessing that you will want pro gear to accompany your bass. If you’ve reached the big boy league, you probably know the ole rule of thumb saying that you’ll spend as much money on your gear as you’ve spent on the instrument itself. The rule applies to very price range we’ve discussed, including this one.

Sure, you have the option on buying a cheap practice amp for house use and jamming on it at home, but if you’re making an investment like this, there’s a very good chance that you have live gigs and that you are accustomed to performing at least to an extent. There’s also a very good chance that you know that a good instrument is only half of the battle in acquiring a good tone, with the second half being a killer amp.

But let’s cut to the chase here! You’ll need at least $600, or preferably $800 to get a killer amp. Apart from that, you’ll need a new pack of strings, which is another $30. It’s also good to take the instrument to a pro for a proper set up, which is around $50. We’re guessing that you already have stuff like a strap, a tuner and a metronome, but in case you don’t or want to get new ones, that’s $50.
In total, we believe you’re looking at a minimum of $700 and a maximum of $1000 for all the other goods.

What Can You Get for A Little Extra

By a little extra in this domain, we’ll guess that you’re talking about $200 -$300. We can divide this one into two categories – investing a little extra into gear and investing a little extra into the instrument itself.

If you are to invest this money into the bass, one of the options is to extend the range of an instrument that piqued your attention and get a five- or six-string version, if available of course. This way, you can extend the sonic reach and possibilities of your favorite, but still retain the original sound you’re after.

As for the gear, we recommend putting all that bonus into an amp. $300 is a big difference for amplifiers and can mean a lot. It can mark a difference between an average and a killer amp, and putting all the money on one factor is hardly a mistake in our book.

What Is There for You If You Want To Spend Less

If you want to spend less money, we wholeheartedly recommend diving into the realm of Basses Under $500. In this price range, you can still buy top quality basses – although they are kinda few and far in between, they are out there.

If you don’t dive too low and stick to around $500 basses, we guarantee that you can you might be able to find some that are pretty close to the bunch listed here. Of course, you can’t find a perfect match for anyone’s taste, but a portion of you folks will be pretty pleased with some of the underdog choices we have.

What we’d like to point out is that you should NOT make budget cuts on amplifiers. You need that power and you don’t want to mess up your entire sonic attack by getting a low-power amp that can’t cover your needs during live shows.

Other Things to Consider

To sum up the tips section, we’d like to draw your attention towards two big factors:

1) Patience and thorough examination: As noted, chances are that you’ll be stuck with the bass you buy in this price range for quite a while, so you better be sure that you brought the right decision. By this point you should have a developed sense of the type of sound you like, so don’t allow your friends, bandmates or god forbid music store workers to shape your taste. Take your time, look around, read reviews, test things out if possible, and make that purchase with 100 percent certainty.

2) Gear costs as much as the instrument: If you think that you’ll get to the pro stage with just a good bass, you’re wrong. If you want to lock in a sound of your own, you can’t rely on other people’s amps anymore. You’ll need your own amp for gigs, something you’ll experiment on and get accustomed to. Only then will you truly craft that signature tone we all yearn for.

New Bass Or Used Bass?

At this price range, anything goes really. We are never that much for buying used instruments because you never know what you really get and there are no guarantees and warranties, but we also can’t deny that you can score a good deal on the second-hand market. If you are diving into used instruments, make sure to do your research at home and prepare to thoroughly inspect the instrument. Remember, that guy is looking to sell something, not to tell you what’s wrong with the bass. If you can bring along someone you consider a pro, by all means do it, as two heads are better than one.

Conclusion

Thus, in a nutshell, it is our humble opinion that the instruments listed here are worthy contestants for the flattering title of the best bass guitar under $1000. They all pack a heck of a punch for the listed price and they all have a killer value for money. Now we think it’s just a matter of you jotting down your personal needs and preferences and finding that perfect model that suits you the best. If you want to keep your eyes opened to best deals and latest discounts in the world of guitars, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter, we promise to send you nothing but the juicy goods. Feel free to browse around, that perfect bass is bound to be around here somewhere.

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