10 Of The Best Bass Guitar Brands In The World

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

A good song must have great rhythm and harmony. Not many people realize that the bass guitar plays an important role in providing these two.

This is why bass guitarists will want the best instrument. It will ensure the powerful, deep bass tone is perfect and resonates well in listeners’ ears. But where can you get the perfect bass guitar?

To assist you, we have listed 10 of the best bass guitar brands in the world. Read on to learn about them!

1. Fender

Perhaps the most iconic of all guitar and bass guitar brands, Fender started making electric guitars in the early 1950s. However, it became increasingly apparent that these instruments were drowning out the upright basses in the band.

The company’s founder, Leo Fender, who didn’t even play guitar, tried to remedy this and came up with the bass guitar. Fender is now best known for its Precision (the first Fender bass guitar model ever) and Jazz basses.

Indeed, Fenders might be the most recognizable electric basses of all. That’s not just because of their singular appearance but also the growling, chest-rumbling tones they put out there.

2. Warwick

Compared to Fender, Warwick basses are the new kids on the block, having started production in the 1980s. Still, that doesn’t detract from their playability and great sound.

The company started out after WWII making violins, but once the in-house luthiers started building electric guitars, those quickly became best-sellers. Since then, they’ve been selling solid and well-performing bass guitars, both electric and acoustic.

For those on a tight budget but still want the best, consider their RockBass series. Intermediate and pros might want their Pro series, and for those who want something to suit very specific taste needs and style, Warwick offers custom-made guitars.

3. Ernie Ball Music Man

Co-created by Leo Fender, the Ernie Ball Music Man company started manufacturing basses in the 1980s. Their bass guitars are well-known in the music industry to produce high-quality instruments, even though they are mass-produced in an assembly line.

A favorite would be their Stingray series. Powerful and classic, it is notable for having lots of oomph with emphatic lo-mid timbre.

Not quite convinced? Well, many legendary artists were. Mark King from Level 42, by many accounts the Thumbmaster, plays on a Music Man bass, as does Linkin Park’s Dave Farrell.

4. Rickenbacker

Adolph Rickenbacker and George Beauchamp started Rickenbacker, but they take credit for something much bigger than one guitar maker: they invented the electric guitar.

In 1920, musician Beauchamp needed a louder guitar for the Vaudeville shows he played, and machinist Rickenbacker designed and made the parts. The result changed music history.

While the brand’s guitars are famous, their electric basses have a distinct look and sound that are instantly identifiable. The 4003 model line is a popular choice and might be recognizable if you’ve ever watched Geddy Lee of Rush play one.

5. Höfner

German brand Höfner is perhaps most associated with Sir Paul McCartney, the iconic former Beatle bassist. In particular, that violin-looking bass he played with the Beatles? It was a Höfner.

The hollow body (complete with F-holes) makes for a bass that looks and sounds pretty distinctive. Its tone is a woofy, almost overdriven one, and bass players who know what they’re listening for can tell a Höfner by ear.

Sir Paul’s Höfner was a 500/1 model, though many others are available. McCartney was a lefty, and the signature symmetrical look of Höfner bass guitars doesn’t make it look odd compared to having cutaways of other guitar designs on the opposite side.

6. Gibson

Perhaps better known for their world-famous Les Paul guitars, Gibson nonetheless makes some pretty shin-kicking basses too.

During the 1950s, Gibson produced hollow-body guitars and began making similarly styled basses. In fact, the company’s designers were so committed to the upright bass that the original Gibson EB bass, in 1953, had an extendable pole on the end so you could play it standing up like a double bass.

The company has never really stopped experimenting, which has led Gibson to have no one specific model associated with it. Still, Gibson has an enduring reputation for delivering quality products thanks to its long-term investment in research and development.

7. Schecter

David Schecter started out repairing guitars, eventually built one from scratch, and caught people’s attention. In the 1980s, Schecter was custom-making high-quality guitars but couldn’t keep up with the growing demand.

Several corporate sales later, the brand emerged as a high-end bass guitar manufacturer. You’ll find this brand is one of the pricier on the market, reflected in models like the Stiletto Studio-4, but you’ll understand the price once you play one.

Some of the most well-regarded bassists in the music industry already use a Stiletto, including dUg Pinnick from King’s X, Freeze from Morris Day and the Time, and the Cure’s Simon Gallup.

8. Washburn

Beginning in the 19th century, Washburn was building guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Almost 100 years later, the company made its first electric guitar in the 1970s.

While some big names like Dimebag Darrel shredded on one, the company is perhaps best known for its acoustic instruments—bass guitar included.

Washburn’s acoustic-electric bass, the AB5K, is a classic in its own right. Its electronics are top-notch, and it’s a well-made instrument with a well-rounded, powerful sound.

Not interested in acoustic? Their electric bass models feature deep, resonating tones and excellent quality craftsmanship shown in the wood-finish design.

9. Ibanez

Like Gibson, Ibanez is well-known for its guitars. Unlike Gibson, early Ibanez instruments were of low quality. The 1960s brought change to the company, and their standards for production increased as well, paving the way for the brand to become one of the best.

When Ibanez started making electric bass guitars, it was with the same mindset—to make a quality instrument in various styles that people could afford to buy.

As a result, Ibanez basses are unique with many varied designs to choose from—hollow bodies, full electrics, and a dizzying array of pickup configurations. Moreover, there isn’t a signature “Ibanez sound” either, making this company somewhat chameleonic.

10. Squier

Squier, created as the V. C. Squier Company, sold strings for instruments like the violin in the early 20th century. In the 1960s, Fender acquired the company and eventually shut it down.

Then came the 1980s and the growing demand for affordable instruments. In response, Fender resurrected the Squier name and put it on a line of the company’s guitars and basses that wouldn’t break the bank.

Squier basses come in the same models as Fenders—Precision, Jazz, and the like—but they are made in Asia with less expensive materials. The result is a relatively budget-accessible Precision that plays much like its high-dollar counterpart from Fender proper.

Despite being a subsidiary, Squier does not produce knock-offs of Fender. Rather, they produce quality entry-level instruments for many budding players, distinct from their parent company.

Summing Up Our List Of Bass Guitar Brands

There are so many great luthiers out there building basses. These ten brands represent some of the very best ones. If you’re just beginning your search for a bass, this list is an excellent place to start.

We hope our list has helped you find a bass guitar that matches your style. If it has, let us know—we’d love to learn about your experience!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.