5 Best Affordable Bass Guitars Under $200 – Enthusiasts On A Budget

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Last Updated: May-07-2019
In our recent revisit to this page on the best cheap basses, we removed a few models that had increased in price, including the Dean Custom Zone Bass and Epiphone ‘Toby’ Standard IV. However, we added the excellent Squier Bronco Bass to the page, which moved straight to the top spot!

Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced bassist looking for a low-cost bass to add to your collection, you’ve landed on the right page!

For beginners, starting out with the bass guitar is as confusing as it is exciting. There are so many brands to choose from, and even more models. What most beginners are looking for is an affordable bass guitar that is both playable and stylish, and will last them until they develop their chops. Experienced bassists may be on the hunt for a second, third or fourth bass as something to leave around for practice, or something that offers a different style/sound on stage.

Finding a great bass with $500 in your pocket is simple; finding a great bass in this sub-$200 price range is more difficult – although not impossible. There are some excellent affordable basses out there, as we highlight on this page.

In our chart we looked to find the perfect balance of price and performance, which is something all of the models on this list have in common. There is a variety of styles, so you should easily find something that fits your personal requirements.

Let’s check out what’s in store…

Top 5 Best Cheap Bass Guitars Under $200:

ImageBass Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Squier Bronco Squier Bronco

Total of 4.05/5   4.1 out of 5 stars

A modern bass with a vintage look and budget price tag.

+ - Ibanez Talman TMB100 Ibanez Talman TMB100

Total of 4.80/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

A vintage-inspired Ibanez model with huge tone.

+ - Yamaha TRBX174EW Yamaha TRBX174EW

Total of 4.66/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Great style and playability from this affordable exotic wood bass.

+ - Ibanez GSRM20 Ibanez GSRM20

Total of 4.86/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

Short scale wonder that offers a perfect balance of comfort and performance.

+ - Dean E09M Edge Dean E09M Edge

Total of 4.78/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

One of the cheapest and most unique bass guitars on the market.

Squier Bronco

Squier Bronco

Body And Neck:4 out of 5 stars
Hardware:3.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.2 out of 5 stars
Value:4.5 out of 5 stars

The Squier Bronco is an entry level bass in price only – we can honestly say this one is greater than the sum of its parts. 

As a beginner, this bass will feel comfortable and forgiving. As a more advanced player, it's so playable that you still won't want to put it down. The short scale and C-shaped neck, along with its lightweight body, add to its playability.

It looks great with a vintage style double-cutaway agathis body, while it’s nicely voiced by one single-coil pickup. With a rich and surprisingly versatile tone, the Bronco is comfortable with jazz, funk, and rock. Check out more in our complete Squier Bronco review.

Ibanez Talman TMB100

Ibanez Talman TMB100

Body And Neck:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars

It’s time to dial up the retro, with an Ibanez classic – the Talman, reimagined in bass form. Not just any form, but a sub-$200 model that offers a surprisingly beautiful tone for a budget bass.

As we highlight in the full review of the TMB100, it sports a vintage Talman double-cutaway body made of mahogany and finished in a range of cool retro colors. The maple neck is very playable and offers a rosewood fretboard with 22 frets.

The sound is huge and versatile enough for everything from heavy rock to jazz. This comes primarily thanks to the two Dynamix single-coil pickups at the bridge and neck. Throw in some reliable hardware and you have yourself a very solid option in this cheap market.

Yamaha TRBX174EW

Yamaha TRBX174EW

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

The TRBX174EW sits at the lower end of Yamaha’s popular TRBX bass series, but this makes it the perfect prospect for beginners. The bass has a unique look, thanks to an attractive layer of exotic mango wood on the top.

The bulk of the body is made from mahogany, which is quite light and well-contoured for a comfortable feel whether standing or sitting. There’s an easy-playing bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and a full 24 frets.

As we mention in our full review of the TRBX174EW it features both a split Precision-style single-coil and a Jazz-style single-coil, with tone and volume controls, for good versatility. For a mass-produced bass it is certainly punching above its weight when it comes to craftsmanship.

Ibanez GSRM20

Ibanez GSRM20

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars

Ibanez make another appearance on this chart thanks to their GSRM20 Mikro which brings together performance and style with a very affordable price. The highlight of this bass is its beginner-friendly short scale (28.6”) design, making it slightly easier to get to grips with the maple neck. In addition to playability, it looks and sounds great.

The slender double-cutaway body is made of solid mahogany and finished with a sleek gloss in a variety of paintjobs, ranging from metallic purple to pearl white. This is loaded with a Dynamix P pickup at the neck and a Dynamix J pickup at the bridge, along with decent controls and chrome hardware.

For the wallet-friendly price, this is a winner – as we mention in the full review as we mention in the full review.

Dean E09M Edge

Dean E09M Edge

Body And Neck:4.9 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

Dean is definitely no stranger to good affordable basses. Aside from their more ‘outlandish’ models, we were really interested in finding something different. Something that offers the type of experience you don’t generally find that often. Enter Dean E09M Edge. This bass brings a combination of features you don’t often see in the entry level range, and for a good reason.

What Dean has managed to put together is usually considered impractical due to cheap components they have to use. However, Dean took it to the finish line. Here’s the rundown. A sweet looking lacquered body with a single soapbar pickup in the middle. That’s not something you see every day, that’s for sure. On that note, this bass guitar sounds great. The tricky thing is to get that single pup to cover the whole range with enough quality, while still maintaining the low cost.

While you can’t expect perfection from these guitars, Dean definitely did a good job this time. If you want something different that looks great and sound good at the same time, Dean E09M Edge is definitely worth checking out.

Are These Budget Basses Only for Beginners?

Definitely not! Intermediate and advanced players can also find great use from a sub-$200 bass guitar, considering some of the quality on offer.

Experienced bassists and even pro musicians can benefit from having a cheap bass. With no huge financial commitment, it can be a smart way to try out different pickup configuration or style of bass. It’s also useful to own an inexpensive bass to leave lying around the house or studio for when inspiration strikes.

Of course, being under $200, these models are more likely to appeal to beginners to bass. A bass in this range will usually be quite basic in terms of its tonewoods, construction, electronics and sound. This doesn’t mean bad per se – just basic. More suited to practice and jamming sessions than they are for the big stage.

The Final Word

The bass guitars on this page may be a small fraction of what’s actually out there in this affordable range, but they represent the best value and most popular choices on the market today.

As you’ve seen, while there are several different designs, electronics and woods, all of them have one thing in common – they offer a great core performance, and most of them are worthy of jamming sessions and even smaller gigs (providing you have a decent amp to play them through).

Whether you’re a conservative bassist looking for a classic model, or you are in the market for something more exciting, these basses should have you covered!


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