6 Affordable Bass Guitars Under $200 For Enthusiasts On A Budget

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Last Updated: June-22-2017
This important budget price range deserved a bit of a revamp, although the majority of affordable basses on our chart stood the test of time. However we changed the more dated Peavey Milestone with the awesome Dean Custom Zone Bass, which is one of the most eye-catching basses on the market today.

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 6 Best Cheap Bass Guitars Under $200:

ImageBass Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Epiphone “Toby” Standard IV Epiphone “Toby” Standard IV

Total of 4.90/5   4.90 Stars

Great bass guitar that brings that trademark Epiphone performance on a budget.

+ - Ibanez GSRM20 Ibanez GSRM20

Total of 4.86/5   4.86 Stars

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

+ - Yamaha TRBX174 Yamaha TRBX174

Total of 4.90/5   4.90 Stars

A no-nonsense package that focuses on delivering core performance and playing comfort.

+ - Dean Custom Zone Bass Dean Custom Zone Bass

Total of 4.76/5   4.76 Stars

A real eye-catcher, this vibrant Dean bass offers superb value.

+ - Squier by Fender Vintage SS Modified Special Jaguar Squier by Fender Vintage SS Modified Special Jaguar

Total of 4.90/5   4.90 Stars

Impressive combination of style and performance in a classic Fender style package.

+ - Dean E09M Edge Dean E09M Edge

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

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

Epiphone “Toby” Standard IV

Epiphone “Toby” Standard IV

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Electronics:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:5 Stars

The first bass on our list is barely outside of our budget, but it would simply be a mistake not to include it here. Epiphone has been producing some of the best entry level bass guitars you could find on the market for decades. Toby Standard IV is just another one in this long series. What you see here is a very slick bass that features a compact radiata body, inspired by the work of Michael Tobias.

Even though it looks somewhat unusual, this bass is definitely among the lighter and more comfortable ones to play in this price range. The neck is an asymmetrical design that also follows the comfort theme. In terms of electronics, you have a set of TBR Dual Rail and TBT Dual Rail humbuckers at the neck and bridge respectively. These are controlled by a master volume, blend, bass and treble cut controls. For what is essentially an entry level bass guitar, Epiphone “Toby” Standard IV sure packs a lot of heat, and style.

Ibanez GSRM20

Ibanez GSRM20

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Electronics:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars

Next bass guitar we want to show you is a very special little axe from Ibanez. This brand is known for making some of the most capable basses in general, so seeing a good affordable model is not that surprising. This is one of their short scale models which have swept the market like a forest fire. In many ways, this bass is very similar to their GSR200 model, only it comes with a shorter neck. What are the benefits of such design? Well, first and foremost, it’s much easier to play, both for beginners and those who have smaller hands.

While it might feel like you’re losing something by having a few inches cut off from the scale, the fact is that the difference is marginal at best. This bass guitar plays and sounds pretty much like any other bass. Build quality is more than decent, sporting a nice combination of Agathis body and a standard maple neck. hardware is solid and holds the tuning just fine, while the pickups give you a decent range of tones to play with. Another great thing about short scale bass guitars is the fact that you can hit those deeper notes and make them ring out with a lot of girth thanks to the lower string tension required. At the end of the day, there are really no drawbacks to this type of bass.

Yamaha TRBX174

Yamaha TRBX174

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Electronics:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Yamaha may not be as present in the electric guitar field so much, but they sure know how to make solid bass guitars. Case in point – Yamaha TRBX174. This is a no-thrills, no-nonsense model that was designed around delivering the best core performance for the money. We’re happy to say that Yamaha nailed it completely. Featuring the standard TRBX body made of alder, and a solid maple neck, this bass guitar is all business.

The electronics come in form of a standard precision setup with an additional jazz style single coil at the bridge location. Together, these pups offer a great combination of thump and smoothness that gives the TRBX174 a whole lot of range. In terms of beginner bass guitars, this Yamaha is up there with the greats, often considered to be the hidden marble in this segment of the market. On that note, TRBX174 is easily comparable to bass guitars found in the $300 range. To find which models we’re talking about, check out our rundown for this segment of the market.

Dean Custom Zone Bass

Dean Custom Zone Bass

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Time to get the sunglasses out! Dean’s Custom Zone Bass is out to make a statement, with three eye-popping color choices – Nuclear Green, Fluorescent Pink, and Fluorescent Yellow. Vibrant colors aside it’s an excellent bass that punches well above its weight in the budget market. It features a double-cutaway basswood body, with a bolt-on C-shaped maple neck, a painted maple fretboard and 20 easily-accessible frets. There’s just one pickup – a stock Precision-style bass pickup in the middle position, with an individual volume and tone control. As we mention in our complete review of the Dean Custom Zone Bass it sounds pretty good considering the price, and feels comfortable, fast and fun to play, whatever your style.

Squier by Fender Vintage SS Modified Special Jaguar

Squier by Fender Vintage SS Modified Special Jaguar

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Electronics:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:5 Stars

Aside from having an unusually complicated name, this Squier creation is definitely among the most exceptional bass guitars you can get within the $200 range. It brings a lot of impressive features along with that classic Fender vibe. If you haven’t noticed already, this is a short scale model. Hence the SS designation. Squier really did a number on it when it comes to appearances as this is by far one of the best looking entry level bass guitars on the market. Aside from looking like a million bucks, Jaguar also performs great.

With a standard Jazz Bass pickup configuration that is enriched by a single coil pup at the bridge, you can count on dialing in a wide range of tones. Short scale makes is much easier to play for beginners and those who have smaller hands, without sacrificing anything in the realm of tone. If you are a diehard Fender fan but still can’t afford to invest in an original Jazz Bass, this Squier is definitely something you might want to look into.

Dean E09M Edge

Dean E09M Edge

Body And Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 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.

Conclusion

The bass guitars on this page may be a small fraction of what’s actually out there in this affordable sub-$200 market, but they represent the best value and most popular choices on the market today.

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

Whether you’re a conservative bassist looking for a Fender-style bass, or you are in the market for something more exciting – such as the Dean Custom Zone Bass – these six basses should have you covered. Best of luck on your hunt for a cheap guitar!


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