The Clear Winner of Best bass guitar under $1000

The Clear Winner of Best bass guitar under $1000

If you’re fortunate enough to have a budget of a grand to work with when deciding on your new instrument, you have quite a bit quality options out there that bring together high-end craftsmanship with beautiful aesthetics and tremendous tonal versatility.

Out of all my years of playing bass and teaching students that opt for an axe in this price range, I can safely recommend these tremendously high-quality basses. In all the cases, I have had lots of time to sit down and get familiar with the tones and hardware. In all cases, I also conducted a detailed analysis of what other customers thought who have played the bass in the long term.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best bass guitars under a $1000. We’ll explore some of the most relevant specs, how these basses look, play, and sound, and end with our final recommendation. Let’s get to it!

1. Yamaha BB734A

Yamaha instruments are world-renowned for their quality craftsmanship and excellent sound without breaking the bank. The Yamaha BB734A is made in Indonesia and is part of the BB series of active bass guitars. The BB series has a legendary reputation among beginners and touring professionals alike. The BB734A is a truly powerful version of a classic bass, perfect for any hobbyist, studio player, or stage performer.

Specs at a glance:

  • Alder/Maple/Alder body construction
  • 6-bolt Milter Neck Joint
  • 5-piece Maple/Mahogany neck
  • 3-band active EQ with active preamp
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Lightweight open gear tuners
  • 4 strings and 21 frets
  • 34” scale length

How it looks

This exceptionally well-made BB bass guitar features an Alder/Maple/Alder multi-laminated body construction. The center of the body is made of maple, which enhances the stiffness of the body and brings out a well-developed mid-range sound to cut through the mix of other instruments. The Dark Coffee Sunburst comes in a beautiful gloss polyurethane finish. The 3Ply Black pickguard gives the bass a great, modern look alongside the rich Coffee Sunburst body.

How it plays

Out of the dozens of basses I’ve played this year, I was surprised by how remarkably well this one sits on the shoulder. The comfortable, sleek body shape  The 5-piece mahogany neck is solid and thick, with 21 well-rounded frets. It feels incredibly stable overall and the bolt-on construction allows you to remove the neck if any problems were ever to arise.

How it sounds

The hard maple body center creates a more uniform transmission of vibrations from the body to the neck. This creates a great sustain and satisfyingly deep resonance that you won’t find in lower-end basses.

Looking at the active electronics, there is a single coil sitting at the bridge position and a split-coil at the neck position. The YGD Custom V7 Alnico V P/J pickup setup is versatile, letting you craft a variety of tones depending on your unique playing style. There is a small switch to the right of the Vintage Plus bridge that lets you engage either an active or passive circuit. This feature is super helpful if the battery were to ever die while you are playing (there is an LED to indicate battery life, by the way).

Near the switch, you can find a master volume control, a pickup blend control, and 3-band EQ controls for ultimate versatility to craft literally hundreds of unique tones. This bass could conjure heavy rock or metal tones, or with a little adjustment, some warm, smooth jazz.

If you want to hear a demo of how this bass sounds, be sure to give this video a watch:

What we liked:

  • Amazing tonal versatility thanks to the active electronics
  • Beautiful finish, with many other available options such as Translucent Black
  • Comfortable and well-balanced body shape
  • Comes with a high-quality gig bag

What we disliked:

  • Maybe a bit pricey for beginner hobbyist players

 2. Fender Player Precision Electric Bass

The Fender Player Precision brings to the table the classic P bass design, sound, and feel. Part of the Fender Player Series, this bass is made with authentic, high-quality materials and flaunts that unique, vintage look that Fender is known for.

 Specs at a glance:

  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Maple fingerboard
  • Alnico V split-coil middle pickup
  • 1 master volume and 1 master tone knob
  • Vintage Buttercream with a gloss finish
  • Fender standard open-gear tuners
  • 4-string bass with 20 frets
  • 34” scale length

How it looks

Everything about this bass guitars screams classic Fender. Sitting on the headstock is an authentic Fender logo. The authentic “F” stamped chrome neck plate is a nice addition on the backside of the body. Overall, looking at the classic precision body shape with its Buttercream color, white pickguard, and the gloss finish is like a visual time machine to the 1950s.

How it plays

This bass really combines a vintage look and sound with a modern, highly comfortable playing experience. The maple neck is amazingly smooth. It has a “Modern C”-shaped neck with a 9.5” radius fingerboard. This sleek feature makes it easy to move around the fingerboard and lends itself well to virtually every playing style. The durable materials and tonewoods Fender used in this bass will last you a lifetime, even with some wear and tear from touring.

How it sounds

The body is constructed out of Alder, which is well-known for its bright, resonant, and well-balanced tone. This bass truly shines in the upper mid-range, where it can easily cut through the mix. I was also impressed by its great, rich sustain and sharp attack.

Additionally, the 4-saddle standard bridge is excellent quality, supporting both great sustain and perfect intonation. The master volume and tone controls let you sculpt the legendary Fender tone produced by the Alnico V pickups. Players of jazz, funk, or rock will especially appreciate its scooped mid-range and rich treble.

To hear the Fender Player Precision Bass in action, check this video out:

What we liked:

  • Maple neck and fingerboard are highly comfortable
  • Seven colors available
  • Beautiful vintage look with classic Fender design
  • Great sound with tons of tonal styling available from the electronics
  • Right hand and left-hand orientation available

What we disliked:

  • Doesn’t come with a case
  • Some reviewers had to have an initial setup and adjustment performed

3. Yamaha TRBX604

Yamaha is at it again with the TRBX604. Made in Indonesia, this great bass is the perfect combination of advanced design, high-end craftsmanship, and advanced Yamaha engineering. It is part of the 600 series from Yamaha’s TRBX line, which is widely praised for their outstanding tone, comfort, and looks.

Specs at a glance:

  • Alder/Maple-laminated body
  • 5-piece bolt-on Maple/Mahogany-laminate neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Satin matte finish
  • YGD H5 pickups
  • 3-band active/passive preamp
  • 4-string or 5-string with 24 frets
  • 34” scale length

How it looks

The timeless 3-D sculpted body is made out of Alder/Maple-laminate with an attractive satin matte finish. It has a beautiful flame maple top, and the sculpted design exposes the layers of the wood in a very unique manner. The maple-laminate neck features two pieces of thin mahogany that run down the entire length to the headstock. On top of the neck sits a smooth Rosewood fingerboard fretboard. The slick headstock matches the flamed maple veneer, with an authentic Yamaha logo at the top. The black chrome finish on the hardware looks very classy.

How it plays

Out of all the bases in this price range I have played, this one takes the cake in terms of the comfortable ergonomics and sheer playability. The modern, three-dimensional design is mass optimized and feels great either sitting downplaying on the knee or standing up while performing. The “C”-shaped neck is contoured to be slim and highly comfortable. The nut width is slimmer than most basses, coming in around 1 1/2″ (38mm) for fast, comfortable playability. There is a clear, straight string pull from the nut to the tuning machines, ensuring this bass will stay in tune for a very long time.

Lower down, the refined neck joint balances vibration transfer and strength well, while simultaneously allowing easy access to the upper frets. The die-cast bridge is high mass and extremely durable and easily adjustable.

How it sounds

The Alder body offers a punchy, well-balanced tone across the bass, mid, and treble. The YGD H5 pickups create a rich, clean tone with enormous flexibility thanks to the electronics on-board. It features a flexible active/passive circuit toggled by a switch. Other controls include a master volume, a master tone while in passive mode, a neck/bridge pickup balancer, and a bass-mid-treble boost/cut while in active mode. Taken together, these all make for an extremely versatile tone that anyone of any playing style would appreciate. To hear this awesome bass in action, check out this video:

What we liked:

  • Awesome value for the price
  • Beautiful flamed maple sculpted body looks great
  • Ultimate tonal versatility thanks to the active electronics
  • 4-string or 5-string versions available
  • Extremely comfortable to play

What we disliked:

  • Some customers report fret buzz that required an initial adjustment
  • Active electronics burn through the battery life quickly

  4. Schecter Stiletto Custom-4 Electric Bass

The Schecter Stiletto Custom-4 Electric Bass is part of the highly reputable Stiletto Series offered by Schecter. The Stiletto series features modern styling such as the double-cutaway body and, of course, premium Schecter craftsmanship. The Custom-4 is made in Indonesia and builds on the concept of the earlier Stiletto Studio model, adding a new flashy natural satin finish and gold hardware. Overall, you will be hard-pressed to find a better quality bass in this price range. For this reason, it is a great choice for beginners, professionals, and everyone in between.

Specs at a glance:

  • Mahogany body
  • Flamed Maple with Walnut top
  • Maple/Walnut Multi-ply neck
  • EMG neck and bridge humbucker pickups
  • Master volume/blend/2-band EMG active E/Q
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Natural Satin finish
  • 34” scale length
  • 24 X-Jumbo frets

How it looks

Right out of the box this bass is a truly beautiful sight to behold. The Flamed Maple/Walnut top has a flashy light, natural grain brought to life by the natural satin finish. As you move towards the contoured edges, you find the darker wood of the mahogany body that looks incredibly stunning.

The satin gold hardware found on the S-tek bridge, electronics knobs and metal knurled tuners give this bass a very up-scale, classy look. The offset Pearloid dot inlays on the 24-fret rosewood fingerboard looks highly attractive as well.

How it plays

This bass has great action out of the box, with absolutely no initial setup required. I was surprised by how lightweight the bass is, which makes it an ideal choice for performers who might be standing for hours.

The thru-neck construction allows for an efficient string vibrational transfer to the body. The six-bolt neck joint gives the neck a very sturdy feeling. The large, gold-plated S-Tek bridge delivers near-perfect intonation with zero string “cross-talk”. The rosewood fingerboard is very smooth to play and the 16” fingerboard radius adds some extra comfort.

How it sounds

This bass has a truly powerful sound with a deeply resonant low end and a punchy high end. The passive EMG HZ humbuckers on the bridge and neck position are the heart and soul of the sound. They provide a dark, rich tone with its dual-coil design. The active electronics feature a master volume, tone, and 12dB bass/treble cut/boost which let you further dial in the tone.

This video is a good demonstration of what this bass is capable of:


 

What we liked:

  • Fantastic value at its price point
  • Gorgeous body design is sure to turn heads while performing
  • Lightweight design is perfect for performers
  • Great action, feels very comfortable to play
  • Comes in a left-handed orientation

What we disliked:

  • Case sold separately
  • Not as much tonal versatility as active pickups

5. Washburn T24NMK Taurus 4-String Electric Bass Guitar

Founded in 1883, Washburn is an American manufacturer of guitars, mandolins, and other stringed instruments. The Washburn Taurus series of electric bass guitars balance professional craftsmanship with affordability. This bass won a Bass Player Magazine Editor’s Choice award for its unparalleled construction. It features high-quality tonewoods, a beautiful finish, and outstanding components. For this reason, this bass can easily hold its own as a main bass for a touring professional. I would compare it to the Ernie Ball Music Man bass in terms of quality and tone.

Specs at a glance:

  • Solid mahogany body
  • Maple/Mahogany multi-laminate neck
  • Neck-through-body design
  • Rosewood fretboard with 24 frets
  • Natural matte color
  • Matte finish
  • Dual Washburn I style passive pickups
  • Die-cast chrome Grover tuners
  • 34” scale length

How it looks

The Washburn T24 has a modern Z-shape design with a neck-through-body mult-laminate construction. Overall, it looks highly modern and aesthetic. You can see the beautifully dark natural grain of the beautiful Mahogany body. The neck and the middle of the body are made a lighter mahogany and maple laminates that stripes through the center section. The body comes in only a natural matte color finished off with an attractive matte finish. The offset dot inlays on the 24-fret rosewood fingerboard give the bass a nice, professional look. The chrome hardware is a nice touch as well, featuring chrome diecast tuners, a hardtail chrome bridge, and 4 chrome control knobs (2 volume, 2 tone).

How it plays

This bass feels immensely comfortable either sitting downplaying or standing up. Out of the box, the action was great, the intonation was near perfect, and there wasn’t any noticeable fret buzzing. The Maple/mahogany neck with its satin finish plays very fast and gets even smoother over time. Overall, it’s a very fun bass to play and adaptable for a variety of playing styles across every skill level.

How it sounds

The Custom JJ passive pickups give this bass quite a lot of punch. The control knobs let you further dial in the tone with 2 control bass/treble knobs and 2 volume knobs. The foundation of the crisp tone is due to the solid mahogany body, which is well-known to resonant and to deliver a warm, rich, almost dark tone. The bass comes pre-loaded with a set of D’addario EXL170 light gauge strings which definitely contribute towards its great sound. This video shows what this bass is capable of:

What we liked:

  • High-quality Mahogany and Maple tonewoods look and feel great
  • Passive JJ pickups that contribute towards the punchy, crisp tone
  • Affordable bass that can easily compete with pro-level basses
  • Highly ergonomic body and smooth, fast neck
  • Stays in tune

 What we disliked:

  • One customer noted a slight fret buzz in the lower frets, but easily adjustable
  • Not quite as much tonal flexibility with the passive electronics

6. Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4 4-String Bass Guitar

The Schecter Hellraiser Extreme is a true workhorse in the Hellraiser series of basses. This bass combines an elegant, modern style with an aggressive, strong sound. This bass is manufactured in South Korea and brings to the table great tones and a striking visual appeal.

 Specs at a glance:

  • Solid mahogany body
  • Quilted Maple top
  • Maple/Walnut Multi-ply neck
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Schecter Custom String-Thru Body Bridge
  • Crimson Red Sunburst Satin Color
  • EMG 35TW active neck and bridge pickups
  • 24 X-Jumbo frets
  • 34” scale length

How it looks

This bass has a modern hard rock/metal look but without skipping a healthy dose of elegance. The solid mahogany body has an arched top construction, beautifully colored with the beautiful crimson red sunburst. A classy, grain-enhancing satin finish adds to the overall visual appeal. To top it off, an elegant white binding is placed around the edges. The headstock matches the gorgeous color of the body, decorated with high-quality black chrome metal knurled tuners. The control knobs and bridge also has a nice black chrome finish that looks great. On the 24-fret ebony fretboard, I especially love the MOP gothic crosses, which really brings to life its heavy metal style.

How it plays

This bass is truly a dream to play. Its highly ergonomic, fairly lightweight, and the neck is sturdy and smooth. Everything feels very well-balanced playing either on the knee or standing up. The neck-thru design gives you the ultimate access to the upper frets and contributes towards its great, low action.

How it sounds

This bass a deep, resonant sound that is perfect for metal or heavy rock players. The pickup controls give you tons of versatility to sculpt your unique tone depending on your unique playing style.  For the control knobs, you can work with the two-volume knobs for each separate pickup, as well as the 3-band EQ knobs. The active humbucker EMG pickups give you a rich, crisp tone with plenty of distortion. It’s no wonder why so many bassists decide to upgrade their stock pickups to this setup.

The neck-through construction allows for ease of playing, but also provides a fantastic sustain.

To power the electronics, the bass comes with a massive 18-volt battery compartment housed behind a screw plate. This battery will last much longer than other active basses in its price range.

Watch this video to see how this bass holds up in a jam session:

What we liked:

  • Excellent value for the price tag
  • Beautiful color and finish looks amazing
  • Exceptionally well made with great tonewood choices
  • Perfect bass for heavy rock or metal players
  • Comes in left-handed orientation

What we disliked:

  • A few players complain about fret buzz on the lower frets
  • The battery compartment is a bit difficult to access compared to other active basses
  • Gigbag sold separately

7. ESP LTD B-4E Bass Guitar, Natural Satin

The B-4E bass is part of the BB series of LTD basses from ESP. ESP first started in Tokyo, Japan in 1975 and now has a well-respected reputation across professionals of every genre. Indeed, these basses are known to be used across virtually every style of music, including metal, punk, jazz, funk, reggae, pop, and many others. This bass offers excellent active electronics and a beautiful combination of sharply contrasting tonewoods. You get the best of both worlds with this bass: great sound with tons of tonal versatility and killer aesthetics. It is well-suited for beginners, intermediates, and professionals of nearly any playing style or genre preference.

Specs at a glance:

  • Solid mahogany body
  • 5-piece Maple/Mahogany neck
  • ESP Designed SB-4 pickups
  • Active 3-band ABQ-3 EQ
  • Neck-through body construction
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Black nickel hardware
  • 24 X-Jumbo frets
  • Natural satin finish
  • 34” scale length

How it looks

One of my favorite things about the visual features of this bass is the beveled edges. This feature brings out the natural contrast between the dark mahogany body wood and the ebony top wood. The black nickel hardware looks great alongside the natural woods. The natural satin finish makes everything look shiny and very high-end.

How it plays

One of the best features that contribute to this bass’s playability is the neck design. It features an ultra-thin U-shape design that makes playing very smooth and fast. Additionally, the five-piece construction made from Mahogany and Maple ensures it will never warp and adds quite a bit of durability. On top of the neck sits an ebony fingerboard. Ebony has natural oils that add to the smooth playability, as well as adding to the overall visual appeal of the instrument. The molded nut of the guitar is made of a high-quality synthetic material called. It supports a very clean, stable sound and contributes towards the instrument’s great action.

How it sounds

This bass has a very strong high-mid range and a crisp treble but truly shines in the low-end response. The string-thru bridge gives you great sustain, a scooped midrange, and a smooth feel. The bass is equipped with passive ESP-designed SB-4 humbucker pickups on the neck and bridge. This is controlled by a 3-band active ABQ-3 EQ, master volume, and balancer for great sonic versatility. Overall, this bass is great slap bass but slightly lacks on the vintage, thick bass sound.

Check this well-made video out to learn more and hear this great bass in action:

What we liked:

  • Solid mahogany body adds to the great tone
  • Made in South Korea
  • On-board electronics gives you tons of tone-sculpting options
  • Fast and comfortable neck thanks to the thin U-shape design
  • Great features for an affordable price
  • Available in a 5-string version, called the B-5E

 What we disliked:

  • Battery compartment not very easy to access

The bottom line

Overall, I had quite a bit of fun with all of these basses. Every single one is made with premium craftsmanship, high-end visual appeal, and no shortage of great tonal flexibility. However, after taking into consideration the price, tonewoods, tonal versatility, and comfortable playability, my final recommendation will have to be the Yamaha TRBX604.

This bass guitar is absolutely perfect for players across every genre and skill level. The active electronics give you so many options to make the sound you want, and they are very intuitive to use. Of course, you’re working with high-end Yamaha craftsmanship, so this guitar will easily last you a lifetime on the road, in the studio, or just jamming as a hobbyist.

We hope this article helped you come to a conclusion on your search for the best bass guitar under $1000. Regardless of your choice, you really can’t go wrong with any of these basses!

If you are hesitating and would like to spend less check out our article: best bass guitar under $500.

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The Clear Winner of Best bass guitar under $1000
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