I’ve been playing bass badly for a little over a decade, and in that time budget options have been getting extremely competitive. With a few cheap hardware upgrades, your sub $500 bass can hold its own on stage or in the studio. The trick is to know what sound you’re going for. Here are some of my favorite bass guitars you can buy right now. Alex Kime

Sterling By Music Man SUB Ray5

The Sterling By Music Man SUB Ray5 has a lot going for it, you have simple tone controls, lots of tonal versatility and it’s super easy to play as well. It does have narrow string spacing that makes it suitable even for experts.

Höfner Ignition Violin Bass

The classic Paul McCartney bass that he doesn’t even like playing anymore. If you want something more old school and with vintage tones, this bass guitar comes in handy. It has a very distinct sound and while it’s not versatile, it will bring you the vintage appeal you want with your tunes.

Ibanez GSR MiKro

A solid-body Ibanez is always nice for crunchier metal tones, and this one is no different. You have a short neck and a rather light bass that delivers great comfort and amazing sound. It’s particularly good for beginners due to that short neck and light playstyle.

Dean E09M Edge Bass

Dean is a reputable manufacturer, and it does provide you with a pretty good value for money. This is a model made out of wood, it has a very impressive finish, and playing it can be a huge delight. You just have to check it out for yourself.

Schecter Stiletto Stealth 4

If you want something with a modern touch and a great body style, this unit can work quite well to suit your needs. It truly looks amazing, and the quality itself is among some of the best. Plus, it’s made from basswood and maple for the neck, which suits it really well.

Epiphone EB-3

This product is affordable especially for the bassists that play hard rock. It’s versatile, it has a very good build quality, and it impresses everyone with its ease of use and attention to detail. Plus, it also brings a cool retro vibe.

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II

With Gretsch G2220, you have a very good and affordable unit suitable for all kinds of rock. It helps you get the punchy midrange that a lot of people are looking for, which is something to consider here.

Washburn Taurus T24

The brand might not be as popular as others, but this model is spectacular. It looks great, it sounds amazing, and the best part is that it also has two single-coil pickups that add to the tonality and the entire experience.

G&L Tribute JB2

With the G&L Tribute JB2, you will be impressed with the solid sound, not to mention great customization. You will also like the build quality, it feels premium and certainly not cheap.

Squier Affinity Series Precision Bass PJ

You should buy this bass guitar if you’re a beginner since it has some extras too. Plus, it has a very good price, and it can be customized without a problem. It’s the ideal choice if you’re just starting out.