9 Outstanding Bass Guitars Under $1000 – Basses Pushing Premium!

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Last Updated: May-07-2019
In the most recent revisit to this article, we decided it was time to increase the number of basses in our chart. So we didn’t remove anything, but added two newer models – both with vintage feels. The intriguing Hagstrom H8II-TSB Retroscape made its debut, as did the the cool Ibanez SRH500F Fretless.

For a bassist, there’s no better feeling than having a decent budget to spend on your next instrument. One thousand bucks? Yeah, that’s a pretty great budget!

While you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a bass, this sub-$1,000 price range allows you to find the perfect instrument. Something that offers a professional performance, allowing you to gig or record with full confidence in your bass.

Today we are checking out some of the best bass guitars in this price range. We’ve highlighted a collection of the most popular models on the market, as well as a handful of our personal favorites.

Whether your taste is conservative, or you like something a little more unconventional, our choices cover a wide spectrum. Let’s dive in!

Top 9 Best Bass Guitars Under $1000:

Image Bass Guitar / Rating Summary Check Price
+ - Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special

Total of 4.78/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

Versatile and toneful – a modern classic from Fender.

+ - Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4 Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4

Total of 4.92/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

Impressive bass that delivers on all fronts with a lot of success.

+ - Hagstrom H8II-TSB Retroscape Hagstrom H8II-TSB Retroscape

Total of 4.70/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Vintage reissue with modern upgrades – a sure recipe for a great bass.

+ - Ibanez SR800 Ibanez SR800

Total of 4.90/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

True performer from Ibanez that brings great versatility and quality of tone.

+ - Yamaha BB734A Yamaha BB734A

Total of 4.85/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

An active BB bass with huge tonal variety.

+ - Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass

Total of 4.90/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

A classic precision bass with a bit of that signature Harris twist.

+ - Ibanez SRH500F Bass Ibanez SRH500F Bass

Total of 4.33/5   4.3 out of 5 stars

A gorgeous vintage fretless bass with an organic sound.

+ - Sterling by Music Man RAY34-HB Sterling by Music Man RAY34-HB

Total of 4.82/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

A solid, stage-worthy StingRay-inspired bass from Sterling.

+ - Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass

Total of 4.74/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Fender’s elegant Jazz Bass that sounds as good as it looks!

Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special

Fender Deluxe P-Bass Special

Body And Neck:4.5 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.9 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars

If you’re going premium, and the price tag is not important, you can’t go wrong with this wonderful Deluxe Active P Bass Special from Fender. Retailing at under $1000, this bass is one of the best on the market.

With classic Fender styling, there’s a solid alder P Bass body with an easy to play satin-finished modern C-shaped maple Jazz neck – making one hell of a hybrid.

As for sound and control, this is as versatile as its build, with two toneful vintage noiseless pickups – a Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge, with a Precision Bass pickup in the middle.With advanced controls, this bass is perfect for quickly changing between styles on stage or in the studio. Check out the full review of this excellent bass.

Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4

Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4

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

While we have already covered some of their more affordable models in our special segment that covers the top beginner basses, Schecter’s top tier bass guitars have shown to be a true force to be reckoned with in these past several years.

Hellraiser Extreme 4 is an absolute beast that packs a mean punch and looks incredible on top of that. What you’re looking at here is top tier build quality combined with set of EMG active pickups that bring on the thunder. Mahogany body, quilted maple top, white binding – it’s all there. In terms of tone, you can count on a wide range of options as the EMGs are reinforced by a pretty capable EQ section.

Some would say that this is a metal bass more than anything else, but the scope of genres you can play with this thing goes way beyond metal alone. With that said, when it’s time to speed things up and headbang, Schecter Hellraiser Extreme 4 is more than ready to back you up. When you step away and look at this bass guitar from a distance, you quickly realize just how capable of an instrument it really is.

Hagstrom H8II-TSB Retroscape

Hagstrom H8II-TSB Retroscape

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

Vintage vibe meets modern day jive – welcome to the Hagstrom H8II-TSB Retroscape! Featuring a distinctive look that heralds back to the original 1960’s release, the H8-II also takes advantage of some modern technology to bring you square into the present day.

A selection of excellent tonewoods coupled with some unique Hagstrom features results in a smooth, well rounded 8-string bass with great tone. It’s certainly reminiscent of the ‘Hagstrom tone’ that was a calling card back in their heyday.

Pickups, sliders, and knobs – oh my! The electronics on the H8II gives you numerous options to craft your tone, and the high-quality hardware makes a great impression as well. You can check out more details in our full review.

Ibanez SR800

Ibanez SR800

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

Ibanez is a brand that has a respectable presence in the entry level range of the bass guitar market. They make one of the best beginner bass guitars you can find at the moment, which you can read more about in our special piece.

However, their higher end stuff is where the real Ibanez potential is seen. Ibanez SR800 offers a perfect combination of great materials, incredibly attractive design and naturally, impressive performance. We are talking about a professional grade bass guitar that sports all the right components to produce level of tone you deserve.

These come with a set of Bartolini MK1 pickups and a flexible Ibanez three-band EQ. Body is a mahogany design that carries a poplar burl top, while the neck is a multi-ply piece made of Jatoba and Bubunga. The whole guitar has that exotic feel to it. However, Ibanez SR800 is not only about looks. This bad boy delivers one of the most expressive tones you can hope to work with. There’s lots of definition, range and warmth once you flip that switch. For the price, it’s among the most best you can find at the moment, and among the most unique as well.

Yamaha BB734A

Yamaha BB734A

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

The BB734A is one of the higher-end models in Yamaha’s coveted BB Series and it proves well worthy of its sub-$1000 price tag, with big tonal versatility and sensational comfort.

With two sophisticated finishes to choose between, the BB734A sports a well-contoured body made of alder and maple, with a five-piece maple/mahogany neck that features a super-sturdy construction and slim profile for modern playability.

As we highlight in the full review of the BB734A, it’s voiced by two YGD Custom V7 pickups at the bridge and neck, with 3-band EQ and simple switching between active and passive circuits. For everything from modern metal to smooth jazz, the BB734A is an excellent choice.

Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass

Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass

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

Fender Precision series have been the go to choice for a number of popular bass players throughout the last half of the century. However, rarely is there anyone you can associate with this classic bass more than Steve Harris.

What we have here is a Steve Harris signature series Precision bass that features some unique components and brings you an aesthetic worthy of the name it bears. Aside from the obvious West Ham United sticker, Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass is interesting because it sports a Seymour Duncan® SPB-4 pickup which is also Harris’ signature model.

If you are a fan of Iron Maiden or simply like Steve’s bass tone, this bass guitar is the easiest way to get it. When you are not playing any of the dozens of popular Iron Maiden songs, this particular P Bass plays and sounds as good as any other from the family. It’s definitely not a restricted to metal only.

Ibanez SRH500F Bass

Ibanez SRH500F Bass

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.5 out of 5 stars
Value:4 out of 5 stars

The Ibanez SRH500F is a 4-string, fretless, semi-hollow body bass with some creative design aspects. A deep neck joint allows for easier access to the higher frets, while a custom elbow cutout provides greater playing comfort. Neither of these come at the cost of style – it's a beautiful bass.

Being a semi-hollow body bass means it comes with a sound you won't hear from solid body instruments. It's rich, lush and natural – as we explain in our full Ibanez SRH500F review.

Everything about this bass is very purposeful. It isn't limited, but it sticks to the essentials only and everything fits together very well. The piezo pickup and body combine beautifully for a truly organic sound. Very nice indeed.

Sterling by Music Man RAY34-HB

Sterling by Music Man RAY34-HB

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

Another superb bass to make this list is Sterling’s RAY34, which shows off an iconic no-nonsense design and advanced features. The iconic style we mention is, of course, cut from the same cloth as Music Man’s original StingRay, featuring a well-contoured body made of solid swamp ash with a natural finish and a black oval pickguard.

Playability is fantastic, with a 21-fret maple neck that’s bolted on using six bolts instead of the traditional four, which hugely increases the sustain on offer. The tone is very stage-worthy and is provided by just a single Sterling-designed passive humbucker.

Still, the versatility is surprisingly great with several active EQ controls. You can read more about the RAY34 from Sterling in the full review.

Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass

Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass

Body And Neck:4.9 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

Fender bring some elegance to this premium category, with their dark and delicious Aerodyne Jazz Bass. With the classic Jazz Bass double-cutaway shape, this Aerodyne features a solid basswood body with an all-black urethane finish and cream side binding.

Very minimalist. It plays like a dream thanks to the satin-finished maple neck, with a comfortable C shape, rosewood fretboard and 20 medium jumbo frets. There’s nothing groundbreaking when it comes to hardware – the single-coil Jazz Bass bridge pickup and Precision Bass middle split single-coil are the highlights, although the smoked-chrome control knobs are very tasteful.

As we highlight in our complete Fender Aerodyne Jazz Bass review, it sounds as good as it looks, and offers excellent value.

What to Expect From a $1,000 Bass?

Spending up to a grand on a bass guitar isn’t a lifechanging amount, although having a $1,000 bass can change your life!

If you have been playing a bass that falls into a lower price category up until now, moving onto a bass in this price range can give you a few surprises. Good surprises.

For example, the overall choice of design is bordering on premium, with some exotic tonewoods and finishes, as well as some distinctive signature models. In general, the pickups are high-end, controls are versatile, bridges are impressive, and tuners are precise and stable. And this is just the start!

While we wouldn’t recommend a beginner shop in this category (unless money really isn’t an object), this range is great for experienced bassists looking for a new bass to take to the stage, or for intermediate players looking for an upgrade.

The Final Word

As you have seen in this article, finding a solid bass guitar for under $1,000 isn’t that tough. The choice is incredible and most of them will deliver a top-quality performance, whether you are a gigging bassist, recording a new track, or simply jamming with some pals at home. Of course, there are a few duds out there, so be careful when shopping as always.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for a good 5-string bass, you won’t find them here – you should check out our chart on the best 5-string basses for sensible recommendations spanning all price categories.

We hope this chart has offered you some guidance and inspiration ahead of your next purchase. Good luck and see you again soon!


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Comments

  1. ProdigalBassman says

    I owned an Aerodyne for a short while. Very nice feel, great looks, but like most single coil pups that bridge pickup hummed too much around fluorescent lights for my liking. But obviously a lot of people live with them.

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