Bass Guitar Buyers Guide

Bass Guitar Buyers Guide

Great, so you fancy laying down some funky bass lines on a bass guitar! Now you just need to choose which style of bass you want to play!
Great, so you fancy laying down some funky bass lines on a bass guitar! Now you just need to choose which style of bass you want to play! Here at Guitarbitz, we offer some of the main styles that have always been around and some more modern designs.
The two iconic styles would be the Precision Bass Guitar and the Jazz Bass Guitar. These have slight differences which may influence your choice so read below and see which one you think would be the best bass for you.

Precision Bass

The Precision Bass, the most classic, standard electric bass guitar going! Virtually unchanged since its launch in 1951, you can guarantee this type will deliver a solid tone every time. The P-Bass is the easiest bass to operate with just two controls and one pickup. They tend to be quite heavy as they are bigger than 6-string guitars but that all helps when it comes to a large, thumping sound.

Why should you buy a Precision Bass? Well, if you want things to be ultra-simple and classic then this is the obvious choice. It was a smooth tone that has been used on countless records in the past. So, a true icon. To choose though, it's best to compare it to the Jazz Bass.

When comparing this to a Jazz bass (below) the neck of the P-Bass is fatter and it's wider at the first fret of the guitar. Some say that Jazz basses are easier to play so if you have small hands or are younger then maybe you should consider a Jazz style instead. If you have normal to large-sized hands then the big neck feels great and makes the instrument feel substantial.

Key Specs:
34" Scale length (Length of neck)
9.5" Radius (Curved fingerboard)
41.3 mm Width at Nut (Wide neck)
20 Frets
Single Pickup
1 Master Tone
Passive Pickup




Jazz Bass 

The Jazz Bass, another classic made by Fender in 1960. This instrument is slightly more advanced and modern than the P-Bass and you can get a bigger array of sounds out of it, it's more versatile. It's called the Jazz bass but it's not just for Jazz playing styles! It still is, to this day, one of the most popular choices for bass players playing Blues, Rock, Jazz, Country, Slap, Funk and so many more styles!

Thanks to its slimmer neck and nut design it's much easier than the P-Bass to reach those notes around the 1st fret. It feels quite a bit more comfortable if you have small hands. Another difference is the body shape, it's more angled where the P-bass is a bit boxier. Also, you've got two pickups each of which has their volume control which allows you to blend between the two for a huge range of possible tones.

Why should you buy a Jazz Bass? If you need a bit more versatility and want to be able to explore more sounds from your bass then that's one reason to go for this over the Precision. The body shape, as mentioned above, is different so which shape do you prefer? Generally, the Jazz is slightly easier to play so that could be a factor to consider.

Key Specs:
34" Scale length (Length of neck)
10-14" Radius (Compound, Curved to flat fingerboard)
38.1 mm Width at Nut (Skinny width neck)
21 Frets
Dual Pickup 
2 Tones (One for each pickup)
Passive and Active Pickups (Huge tonal options)



Rock / Metal Bass 

Moving on from the classics we now go into what we describe as Rock Bass Guitars. These are bass guitars that are much more modern and are made to be very versatile. This style tends to be a lot lighter and much easier to play as the design is focused on playability. They also give you more options when it comes to sound. There are more controls which allow you to get your tone just right. This style of bass is used by more Metal & Hard Rock players are they are much easier to play.

When it comes down to purchasing your first bass, it's down to you, go and try these different styles and see which one suits you best. You never know until you try!

Specs range from bass to bass. Tend to be active, long scale, yet slim neck width.



Short-Scale Bass

At first glance these may seem a little odd and you may think they're only aimed at beginners or younger players. But we strongly urge you to try one out before making your mind up. These basses are some of the comfiest to play thanks to their frets being closer together, they won't break your back and you wont smack it on every door frame if you like carrying it on your back. Thanks to their smaller neck, they have less tension on the strings making them easier to play and this also gives them a warmer deeper tone.

Key Specs:
30" Scale length (Short neck)
9.5" Radius (Curved fingerboard)
38.1 mm Width at Nut (Skinny width neck)
19 Frets
Dual Pickup (Lots of tones)
1 Master Tone
Passive Pickups (No battery)


Music Man Bass

One of the most iconic Music Man Basses is the StingRay, they were the first brand to introduce active electronics 3 band equalisation. Giving unbelievable control and boost possibilities to customise your tone in new ways, straight from the bass. The hum-bucker may be one of the best sounding pickups available giving incredible warmth and clarity.

Key Specs:
34" Scale length (Length of neck)
11" Radius (Flat fingerboard)
63.5 mm Width at Nut (Wide neck)
21 Frets
Single Pickup 
3 Band EQ (Lots of control)
Active Pickups (Higher output/ runs on batteries)


There are, of course, many more styles of bass guitar available on the market. Have a browse at our Bass Guitar Department to see it in its entirety.

We also offer Bass Guitar Starter Packages which are the perfect way to begin learning the bass. We offer both Jazz and Precision styles as well as other alternatives. At around £200 they come with everything you need to get playing some great bass lines in no time at all!

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