If you are looking to learn to play bass, your research has probably shown you the variety of bass guitars available. This article will help you understand the benefits and challenges of learning different kinds of bass guitars.
Most people, including myself, who wish to learn the bass guitar have at least the basic knowledge of playing guitar. So, your previous experience will influence how difficult learning bass is for you. If you can play scales, chords, leads, etc., on a guitar, you’ll find playing bass pretty much the same, with the only differences being the scale length and string thickness.
Should I learn 4, 5, or 6 string bass?
If you aren’t experienced in playing guitars, learn the 4-string bass guitar first. However, if you play guitar, a 4-string will feel nearly the same as it follows the same tuning of the first four strings of a guitar. Similarly, a 5-string should be pretty familiar, whereas a 6-strings neck feels very wide.
I recommend a 4-string bass guitar to a beginner because they generally help keep things simple. If you have a bass guitar with five or six strings, the proclivity to play busier passages and too many low notes can overwhelm a mix. Furthermore, only a few genres use these unusual string counts. So, if you wish to play pop songs or general rock pieces, a 4-string bass will provide more bass guitar variety, cheaper strings, more tutorials, and a cleaner sound, thanks to the lack of an extra strings’ buzz.
However, bands like Alice In Chains, Slipknot, Megadeth, Fear Factory, etc., have used 5-string bass guitars in some of their songs. So, if you intend to play metal or hard rock songs on the bass guitar you are purchasing, you should opt for a 5-string. I wouldn’t recommend 6-string bass guitars to start learning because they feel way different.
A 4-string bass is the most comfortable to play, thanks to a narrow fretboard and wide string spacings.
A 5-string bass adds a string to a 4-string, and that results in either a wide fretboard or a narrow string spacing. Either add a strange feel when switching from a 4-string.
A 6-string bass will have a wider fretboard and narrow string spacing, making it the most different and arguably difficult. You will need to practice to get used to it.
Weight & Size
4-string basses are the lightest among the three.
5-string basses are slightly heavier than 4-string ones.
A 6-string bass can be heavier than a 4-string by over a third of its weight.
A 4-string bass has the most limited range. It starts from a low E and usually ends at a high F in standard tuning on a 22 fret bass guitar.
A 5-string bass extends either the low end to a low B with a B string or the high end to a high Bb at the 22nd fret thanks to an additional C string.
A 6-string adds a low B string and a high C string, giving it the most range among the three. Further, you’ll often find more than 24 frets on such basses.
When playing a note on a 4-string bass, you only have to mute the other three strings.
A 5-string bass guitar requires you to mute four strings when playing a note. And the extra low string is often unused. So, muting will require strange hand positions from both your fretting and picking hands.
A 6-string bass has even more strings to mute, which can be very challenging for beginners.
A 4-string bass guitar will be the cheapest thanks to higher demand and mass production.
A 5-string bass guitar is moderately famous. So, the price difference from a 4-string is reasonable.
A 6-string is the rarest and the most expensive. You might also have difficulty finding strings for such basses locally.
4-String Bass Guitars
Is it easier to play a 4-string bass?
4-string bass guitars are easier to learn and play because of their narrower necks and wider string spaces. Similarly, they are lighter than other types of bass guitars, making them physically easier to handle. They are also easier to maintain as you can easily find replacement parts and accessories.
Are 4-string bass guitars worth learning? Are They Good For Beginners?
Learning 4-string bass guitars lets you easily translate your skill to a regular acoustic or electric guitar because they have similar tuning. Similarly, there are more tutorials on 4-string bass guitars, which will help you master the instrument quicker. So, they should be a beginner’s first choice.
From playing scales to ensuring the open strings are quiet, everything becomes simpler with 4-string bass guitars. If you are new to playing stringed instruments, you may have issues keeping your unused strings from buzzing and making noise. Clean picking is easier when you don’t have to worry about too many extra strings. So, learning with 4-string bass guitars helps you avoid frustration in your earlier days. Furthermore, since the standard tuning is the same as the first four guitar strings, you can transfer the skill you learn to other kinds of bass guitars or regular guitars.
- Narrow Neck
The fewer strings you have, the narrower the neck of the guitar will be. So, a 4-string bass guitar feels very lithe and ideal for people with unpracticed hands. Similarly, they are also a great fit for people who have smaller hands or shorter fingers. And if you are a young person who has yet to grow fully (or a parent of such), a 4-string bass guitar can help you learn almost every skill necessary to play other kinds of bass guitars.
A 4-string bass guitar is almost always lighter than a 5-string or a 6-string. While the weight may not differ greatly, the lack of extra weight is super helpful when performing live. Granted, not everyone plays live often, but it’s a feature worth considering anyhow. Similarly, I recommend a 4-string bass for children or younger people as the weight is easier to handle.
Whether we are talking about bass guitar models or pickups or strings, you’ll find more variety in the 4-string lineup. While more and more brands are making 5-string and 6-string bass guitars, the 4-string instruments still outnumber the other kinds by a huge margin. So, unless you are satisfied with stock or limited hardware, you’ll want to opt for a 4-string so that you can upgrade your bass guitar with better pickups and bridges.
However, I don’t mean that there are no good pickups or bridges for other kinds of bass guitars. Contrariwise, most named brands provide a 5-string or 6-string variation of their hardware. Still, you may find exceptions or end up paying extra for such parts.
Using a 4-string bass guitar with standard tuning means having a bass guitar that matches most tutorials and friends on guitar forums. So, if you are a beginner or an intermediate player without a tutor, having a standard bass guitar means you can learn guitar tabs, staff notation and have an easier time learning from YouTube videos. Sure, most 5-string bass guitars are similar to 4-strings, but they can still make things confusing when learning.
If you compare a 4-string bass guitar with a 5-string model that has similar pickups, building material, and playability, you will always find that a 4-string is cheaper. Obviously, the reason is that the more strings you add, the more materials you will need to build the instrument. Still, even though it’s just a matter of adding a little more wood and an extra magnet, the manufacturer loses the benefit of mass production. Therefore, a 4-string bass guitar can often be significantly cheaper.
- Limited Range
The lowest note a 4-string bass guitar in standard tuning can take is an E. So, suppose you want to play the E note in a non-open position or the D In that case, your only option is to retune the thickest string a whole step below the standard tuning. Unfortunately, retuning your string can be harmful to your string, and it also ruins compatibility with guitar tabs or staves.
- More Movement
Sure, a 4-string makes playing bass less complicated, but it also means you will have to master the fretboard much better. When you have a limited number of strings, you will have to move your hands up and down the fretboard more. With more strings, you can play lower or higher notes without moving much from a specific position.
- Limited Genres
Most guitarists and bassists idolize bands and players. If playing genres like metal, hard rock, and grunge is essential to you, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a 4-string bass guitar. For one, it will keep such genres completely out of reach in standard tuning. Secondly, even if you switch to Drop-D tuning (where the thickest string is tuned to D instead of E), you will have trouble learning from tablatures, staves, or tutorial videos.
5-String Bass Guitars
Is it hard to play a 5-string bass?
A 5-string bass guitar brings some complexities when playing most genres. You won’t play the extra string all the time. So, when playing pick or slap bass, you will need to palm-mute the thickest string to avoid rumbles. Similarly, such bass guitars feel heftier and have narrow string spaces or wider necks.
Are 5-string bass guitars worth learning?
5-string bass guitars are worth learning if you intend to play metal and hard rock or songs that use such bass guitars. Furthermore, the extra low bass is apt for contemporary bass-heavy music. And they also allow you to play a non-open low E note and slides.
- Better Positions
When playing a 5-string bass guitar, you’ll notice that now you have to rethink the way you approach your instrument completely. A 4-string bass guitar has specific shapes that help you take notes from a scale easier. And if you wanted to take some high notes, you had no choice but to move your hand down the frets. Conversely, a 5-string bass guitar allows you to take the same notes in the traditional positions and completely new positions that don’t involve a lot of hand movements. It helps keep your playing effective, rapid, and clean.
- Extension: Lower Notes
Most 5-string bass guitars add a lower B string above the traditional E. This extra string allows you to play the lower E note in a closed position. Furthermore, you can slide to the E note, which is impossible to replicate on 4-string bass guitars. And of course, you can play all the notes between B and E. With modern music like a trap, hip-hop, pop, RnB, and EDM prioritizing bass so much you can use the lower notes to make your basslines thicker. Of course, you’ll also notice a scale change (usually 35”) to accommodate the lower string, which can make the feel of the bass guitar significantly different.
- Extension: Higher Notes
Similar to my previous point, some bass guitars add a higher C string after the traditional G. These bass guitars are perfect if you often play bass solos with a lot of higher notes. Having an extra C string lets you reach all the high notes, for which you had to move your hands on a 4-string bass guitar.
Metal, hard rock, and many other genres use 5-string bass guitars, especially those with a lower B. So, owning one would make such genres and hit songs from them accessible to you. Furthermore, I find a 5-string bass guitar excellent for adding new sounds to traditional genres like pop and rock ballads.
- Relatively Easier
Compared to a 6-string bass guitar, a 5-string is much easier to master. While the instrument’s feel differs from one model to another, you can generally expect to learn a 5-string easily if you are familiar with a 4-string bass guitar. Furthermore, if you fingerpick, you will naturally rest your thumb on the thickest string, making it easier to mute the low B when unrequired. Contrariwise, a 6-string requires you to mind two additional strings instead of only one.
- Added Complexity
Playing a 5-string bass guitar requires you to think about the potential low-end rumble at all times. The extra low-end can be a serious trouble-maker that causes strange distortion. While fingerpicking takes the issue away slightly, as I mentioned earlier, you still need to be careful when you move your picking hand. Furthermore, if you use a pick or play slap bass, the risk of a relentless open B drone rises even higher. One neat trick is to use your fretting hand’s thumb to mute the extra string, which, sadly, also takes a lot of getting used to.
- Hardware Requirements
Owning a 5-string bass guitar isn’t enough to play thunderous low end, especially when performing live. You will also require an amp and cabinet sufficiently powerful and large enough to handle the extra-low sounds. Without a capable amp, you won’t be able to hear the low notes clearly, hindering practice sessions. Moreover, if you do purchase such an amp, note that lower frequencies travel farther and possibly through your cantankerous neighbor’s walls!
And that reminds me of stage performances. As you know, low frequencies have longer and slower wavelengths. So, you will want to stand a bit further away from your monitoring speaker on stage than usual. It will help you listen to the low notes more clearer. But don’t worry; the low notes will carry well across the audience.
Most 5-string bass guitars use a 35” scale length, which is an inch longer than the standard 34” scale length on 4-string bass guitars. The longer scale length helps keep the lowest B string taut. However, it also increases the tension on the rest of the strings, making the feel of the bass guitar strangely tight and rigid.
Fortunately, a few models use fanned frets alongside multiple scale lengths to help keep the tension familiar throughout the strings. But you will need to pay a fair bit higher to get such features. Further, not all bass guitars provide this variation. So, you’re most likely stuck with a longer scale length.
Undoubtedly, the extra B string needs space on the fretboard. So, manufacturers will either widen the fretboard by about 10mm or make the space between each string narrower while keeping the fretboard the same. I prefer the prior option because at least the strings other than the extra B will feel familiar.
Nonetheless, the change will make the neck curvature, thickness, and even the instrument’s weight feel different. If you are used to a 4-string, getting familiar with 5-string bass guitars can take a while. Additionally, even if you are used to a 5-string bass guitar, the next model you buy might use a different approach by narrowing the string space instead of widening the fretboard.
6-String Bass Guitars
Is it easier to play a 6-string bass?
Having more strings means you will have to keep track of more open strings, which can ring out and cause rumblings and noises. So, a 6-string bass guitar is the most challenging to keep the sound clean. Similarly, the neck gets wider while the string space gets narrower, adding difficulty in playing.
Are 6-string bass guitars worth learning? Are They Good For Beginners?
If you are familiar with 4-string bass guitars, you can switch to a versatile 6-string to explore more genres and sounds. They allow you to play almost everything. However, they aren’t the best for beginners because they are more challenging to master and have fewer tutorials, tablatures, and staff notations.
A 6-string bass guitar provides everything a 4-string and a 5-string offers plus more. Generally, a 6-string is tuned B-E-A-D-G-C, where the middle four are the same as a 4-string, and the rest are from 5-string bass guitars. So, you can explore genres like metal, hard rock, and grunge while also playing traditional pop, rock, and jazz. Furthermore, you can incorporate solos in the middle of typical groovy basslines.
You can play the same notes in more positions than a 4-string allows, thanks to the extra two strings. For example, if you wanted to play the high D on a 4-string, you have no choice but to shift to the seventh fret. And that would make altering back to low F# involve a lot of fret-shifting.
In contrast, a 6-string would let you play both the notes staying at the second fret. Similarly, you will find positions that help you reach more notes without moving your fretting hand. It enables you to play cleaner and rapidly.
A 6-string bass guitar lets you incorporate a lot of styles and techniques on top of the traditional groove. For example, you can play melodic solos on the higher strings and chordal arpeggios. Furthermore, you can change the tuning to add additional higher notes, albeit it requires experimentation with the string thickness.
- Extended Range
As you’d expect, having extra notes at both the high and low ends allows you to explore more. However, 6-string bass guitars tend to provide more frets, many going above 24. So, you get added range on a 6-string even when compared with the traditional four strings. And more range per string equals more positions to explore.
Although it may not be an objective advantage, people often regard 6-string bass guitars as more impressive and cooler. I’ve had people tell me that bassists using 6-string automatically appear experienced and better. So, if you intend to perform on stage, it’s a valid factor to consider.
- Limited Choice
Despite the contemporary acceptance by most players and manufacturers, 6-string bass guitars are still quite rarer than their 4-string cousins. So, if you are purchasing strings, for example, you won’t have many varieties, especially when buying locally. Similarly, fewer options are available for pickups, bridges, nuts, etc.
- Open Resonance
Of the three types of bass guitars I’ve talked about, 6-string bass guitars are the most difficult to master. The two extra strings can cause a lot of sympathetic resonance and unwanted rumbles. So, you have to actively think about muting them all with either a palm mute or your fretting hand. Beginners will have difficulty keeping track of such things and end up with muddy basslines despite playing well.
- Playing Challenges
6-string bass guitars have two challenges when playing due to their build design. First, the neck of a 6-string bass guitar is wider, whereas the strings are spaced narrowly to fit the two extra strings. While it may not look like much, the wide fretboard can feel wildly different and require practice for you to get used to it. Furthermore, the design can also make switching to another kind of bass guitar that much more difficult.
Similarly, most 6-string bass guitars use a longer scale like 35” to keep the thickest string taut. However, it will cause two things: the frets will be spaced widely, and the other strings will feel tough. So, if you switch from a 4-string bass guitar, you will find the experience very different.
Finally, since 6-string bass guitars tend to be big, the weight is a lot heavier than other kinds of bass guitars. Some models are heavier by over a third of a regular 4-string bass guitar! So, if you play live often, a 6-string can be very taxing physically.
As with 5-string basses, you will require an amp and cabinet built appropriately for the extreme low end of the thick B string on a 6-string bass guitar. So, it may hinder practice sessions for beginners as such setups are loud and often expensive. Learning to monitor what you’re playing on a live performance also requires some practice.
Compared to the other bass guitar types, 6-string bass guitars are generally the most expensive unless you are satisfied with different building materials and pickups. The reasons include the additional material like wood, magnets, and pegs as well as the lesser demand. Similarly, you are less likely to find used 6-string bass guitars as they aren’t very famous.
Is Learning The Bass Easier Than The Guitar?
Playing the bass for the first time focuses on single notes and timing, whereas learning guitar starts with chords and arpeggios, which are a lot more challenging for your hands and memorization. Furthermore, starting on a 4-string bass guitar instead of the daunting six strings on a guitar helps a lot.
However, playing the bass includes a variety of techniques and styles beyond the basics. For example, playing slap bass while keeping the rhythm tight and maintaining a melody requires a lot of skill. Moreover, the bass isn’t something you play alone often. So, you’ll either need jamming tracks or band members to keep yourself motivated. And lastly, bass guitars are heavier than guitars, which may be something worth considering.
With that said, a guitar isn’t the perfect instrument for beginners either. Playing your favorite song’s rhythm guitar part or lead will likely take much longer than it would for you to learn the bass part. The most time-taking part is developing callouses in your fingers that let you fret the guitar easily, which can be frustrating.
Similarly, as a beginner, you want to learn rhythm and groove well to remain in sync with the rest of the band members. Learning the bass is one of the best ways to understand rhythm, and it helps you switch to more instruments later in life.
My First Bass Guitar
When purchasing your first bass guitar, your priority should be to make sure it feels comfortable and matches your budget. While there are a variety of bass guitar models on the market, two major kinds dominate the beginner’s choice: the P-Bass and J-Bass. Both of them are designed by Fender, and either should prove ideal for learning. Let’s learn a little more about them:
- Precision Bass
The Precision Bass or P-Bass is based on the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar body. It features a 43mm wide neck, and the wideness remains constant from the nut (near the headstock) to the body. Similarly, the thickness of the neck (from the fretboard to the back of the neck) is relatively thinner. Overall, it’s somewhat more strenuous to play, but I recommend it because it forces better posture and gripping strength in your fretting hand.
Another reason why I recommend it is its simplicity. The P-Bass features only one split-coil pickup with two knobs – one for volume and one for tone. Yet, its distinctive pickup position and electronics give it a tone appropriate for any genre while helping you avoid the headache of worrying about pickups.
- Jazz Bass
On the other hand, the Jazz Bass or J-Bass is based on the Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar. It features two single-coil pickups and often three or more knobs on the pickguard. Similarly, its neck is only 38mm at the nut but becomes broad near the body. While this design makes the J-Bass relatively easier to play, it can hinder finger strength development.
Furthermore, the J-Bass’ narrower neck means the strings are closer together. It means your fingers will need to be more accurate to hit the correct string without touching the rest. So, I suggest keeping the J-Bass as a future purchase if you want to learn for now.
The following picture showcases a P-Bass split-coil pickup in the neck position and a J-Bass single-coil pickup in the bridge position:
Other than the two I’ve mentioned above, you’ll also find hybrid designs that use the P-Bass neck and the J-Bass electronics. Similarly, you might find completely different body designs with active/passive hybrid pickup setups, etc. However, I don’t recommend venturing into overly complicated ones until you’ve played and learned at least one standard model first.
Still, if you’re super curious, have a look at basses with a P-Bass neck and J-Bass body. They provide you better learning experience for your fretting hand and help develop finger strength. And at the same time, you’ll get to experiment with different pickup combinations and tweaks. However, I cannot provide an in-depth guide on these as that would be beyond the intended scope of this article.
Now, let’s have a look at three of the best bass guitars in four, five, and six-string designs available on the market for beginners. My priority will be to keep the prices affordable while making sure they don’t require any complex maintenance before you can begin learning.
3 Best 4-String Bass Guitars For Beginners
- Harley Benton PB-50
Harley Benton PB-50 comes with a basswood body, maple neck and fretboard, and a slick satin finish. The design is similar to a 1950s Fender Precision model, and its single Roswell VTN4 Vista Alnico-5 single-coil pickup gives it thick lows and a clear yet punchy mid and high-end. Further, it features volume control and tone control on the pickguard.
As for its appearance, it has dot inlays and comes in three variations: Sunburst, Fiesta Red, and Sunburst (left-handed). It features twenty frets and a typical 34” scale length. The chrome hardtail bridge and machine heads keep the bass guitar perfectly in tune throughout a playing session without fail. It’s super impressive for the cheapest product on my list!
- Squier Affinity P Bass MN PJ
The Squier Affinity P Bass MN PJ is a P-Bass by Fender’s sister concern. It features a poplar body with a maple neck and fretboard with twenty medium-sized frets. Similarly, it has dot inlays on the fretboard and a standard 34” scale length.
Despite the name, you will find a J-Bass-style single-coil bridge pickup and a split-coil neck pickup. These provide pristine high and mid-range while keeping the bass smooth. Furthermore, two volume controls (one for each pickup) and a tone knob allow you to explore new sounds. The standard saddle bridge design makes adjusting the intonation easy and provides rock-solid tuning stability.
- Ibanez GSRM20B
The Ibanez GSRM20B goes for an Okume body with a maple neck and a New Zealand pine fretboard. The reason why I included this bass guitar on my list is for its short 28.5” scale length and medium-sized 22 frets. The short scale length makes the bass guitar feel light and pliable. Furthermore, the smaller size also means less weight, which is excellent for beginners and people with small hands.
The bass guitar features a Dynamix single-coil neck pickup and split-coil bridge pickup, which provide plenty of opportunities to explore different sounds, from classic warm sounds to growling metal bites. Furthermore, you’ll find two volume controls (one for each pickup) and a tone knob to mix and match the sounds. The B10 bridge allows easy intonation adjustment and awesome tuning stability.
3 Best 5-String Bass Guitars For Beginners
The following bass guitars have an extra B string, which is the thickest and not the high C string.
- Harley Benton PJ-75 VW
Once again, Harley Benton takes the lead as one of the best value brands with the PJ-75 model. It features an African alder body with a D-profile maple neck. The blackwood fretboard with dot inlays features twenty frets. Similarly, the scale length is a standard 34”. Overall, the build offers an excellent value for a bass guitar at this price.
Like some of the other bass guitars I’ve enlisted in this article, the Harley Benton PJ-75 also features a P-Bass-style Roswell Alnico-5 single-coil bridge pickup with a J-Bass split-coil for the neck pickup. Two volume controls and a tone knob allow you to make precise adjustments to your sound. Furthermore, the hardtail bridge with classic-style machine heads provides good tuning stability.
- Marcus Miller P7
The Marcus Miller P7 features an alder body with a bolt-on C-profile maple neck. The ebony fretboard features distinctive Pearloid block inlays and twenty medium-small-sized frets. Furthermore, it has a typical 34” scale length. The build is remarkable and feels like a far more expensive bass guitar. If you get any fret buzz, a one-time setup at a luthier should fix that.
As for the sound, you will receive a Marcus Super Precision split-coil for the neck/middle pickup and a Marcus Super Jazz single-coil for the bridge. The pickguard features a toggle switch that switches the pickups from active to passive. Note that you need to add a battery in the back compartment to use the active mode.
Furthermore, there are seven controls: volume and tone (dual pot to control each), pickup blender, treble, mid/mid-frequency (dual pot), and bass. The ample number of controls lets you generate many kinds of sounds without even touching the bass amp, making this model ideal for the experimental players.
- Squier Cont P-Bass
The Squier Cont-P Bass comes with a poplar body and C-profile roasted maple neck. The Indian laurel fretboard features twenty narrow frets and dot inlays. Similarly, the scale is 34” long. And while the neck is quite wide, the 12” radius makes the bass guitar feel familiar to anyone who’s played electric guitars.
The bass guitar employs a Squier SQR humbucker bridge pickup and an SQR split-coil neck pickup. Furthermore, four controls on the pickguard provide an ample amount of control over your sound. These include a volume, pickup blend, tone, and bass/treble boost. Alongside the vintage tuning pegs, the standard hardtails bridge ensures rock-solid tuning reliability.
3 Best 6-String Bass Guitars For Beginners
- Harley Benton B-650 Black
With an alder body and a bolt-on maple neck, the Harley Benton B-650 is one of the most affordable bass guitars that don’t compromise quality. The neck features twenty-four frets on a black walnut fretboard with exquisite Tai Chi inlays. With a 51mm nut width, this bass guitar is very playable and provides a nice balance between a wide fretboard and narrow string spacing.
The Harley Benton B-650 employs two humbucker pickups with active preamps, which require a 9v battery in the compartment on the back. Furthermore, the tortoiseshell pickguard features four controls: pickup balance, bass, treble, and volume with push/pull function to switch between active and passive modes. These controls provide a variety of sounds that range from slapping punch to jazzy warm.
- Ibanez SR306EB-WK
The Ibanez SR306EB-WK is a gorgeous 6-string bass guitar with a Nyatoh body and a five-piece maple/walnut neck. Nyatoh wood generally means hardwood found in Southeast Asia. They are similar to mahogany in terms of resonance. Similarly, you’ll find a Jatoba fretboard with pearl dot inlays and 24 medium-sized frets. Finally, it has a standard 34” scale length.
The bass guitar employs two PowerSpan dual-coil pickups. They produce a powerful, rich tone with clear highs and thick lows. Furthermore, the pickguard features a volume, pickup balancer, bass, mid, and treble control. Similarly, it has a three-way power tap switch: Tap Mode (single-coil), Series Mode (humbucking), and Power Tap Mode (both). The first provides a punchy and nimble tone, whereas the second offers a rich, warm tone with a thick bottom. And finally, the third mode combines the clean sound of a single coil with the thick low-end of a humbucker pickup.
- Squier CV Bass VI LRL 3TS
The Squier CV Bass is most appropriate for people with small hands because of its short 28.5” scale length. The Fender Jaguar-inspired body shape makes it stand out among other bass guitars. It features a poplar body with a bolt-on maple neck. The fretboard is made of Indian laurel, and it has twenty-one narrow-tall frets with elegant Pearloid block inlays. Despite being a 6-string bass guitar, the bass guitar’s weight and design feel closer to a regular electric guitar, although the tiny 1.69” (42.8mm) nut width feels congested compared to a 4-string.
Moving to the body, you’ll find three Fender Designed single-coil pickups. And like the Fender Jaguar, there are a bunch of slide switches, including a bass-cut and a power switch for each pickup. Similarly, you’ll also find volume and tone control. The electronics circuitry offers any kind of pickup combination you want, although you can’t change the level of each pickup. Still, the bass guitar’s ability to change its tone is remarkable.
The Squier CV Bass uses a vintage-style bridge with a floating vibrato system. And although it’s not a locking design, the bridge ensures very reliable tuning stability, making this bass guitar an ideal choice for playing bass solos and incorporating different techniques in your playing without breaking the bank.
While a flashy bass guitar is very tempting, it’s best to remember that comfort and playability come first. So, to recap, I recommend starting to learn on a 4-string bass guitar with a P-Bass neck. You’ll most likely use the standard tuning of E-A-D-G, and you’ll find this exact tuning on guitars and other basses. So, what you learn on a 4-string will never go wasted.
Furthermore, you can find an impressive 4-string bass guitar at a fraction of the money that a 5-string or 6-string bass guitar would cost you, not to mention the readily available strings and accessories. So, unless you want to play Metallica songs more than anything, any bass guitar with more than four strings will likely give you more trouble than it’s worth.
However, if you are already familiar with 4-string bass guitars and are looking to purchase a new instrument, a 5-string or a 6-string could be your ideal choice. Many people prefer a 6-string bass because it “feels balanced,” unlike the odd number of strings on a 5-string bass. Conversely, others prefer a 5-string bass guitar because most people are looking for either more low notes or more high notes. And a 5-string bass solves that issue very effectively.
I hope I shared some useful knowledge in this article and helped clarify the advantages and disadvantages of each type of bass guitar. I suggest giving each type of bass guitar a try before you decide, as selecting an instrument is a very subjective choice. Until the next time, happy music-making!