Best Bass Under $1000

Updated on April 21, 2016
Guitar Gopher profile image

Guitar Gopher is a guitarist and bassist with over 30 years of experience as a musician.

Warwick Rockbass instruments are some of the best bass guitars for under $1000.
Warwick Rockbass instruments are some of the best bass guitars for under $1000.

Top Bass Guitars

A bassist looking for a the best bass under $1000 has a lot of options, but that doesn’t mean the choice is easy. Different woods, pickups, electronics and other features means there are an array of different tones out there to choose from, from dark and resonant to bright and funky.

If you’re ready to spend a grand on a bass you probably know a good instrument when you see one, and you know your own style and preferences. But you probably could use a little help to sort through your options.

On this page you’ll find some of the best 4-string bass guitars for under $1000, from some of the top bass brands in the world. I’ve done my best to research the top options, break down their specs and give a little insight into each instrument.

If I were looking for a new bass guitar for under a grand, this would be my short list.

Take some time to look through the different instruments and compare them, and evaluate them against your needs as a bassist.

Hopefully this will be helpful to you as you search for your new bass. With 30 years of playing behind me I have my own theories for sure, but when you’re trying to make a big decision like this one sometimes it helps to have another point of view.

You’ll cherish your bass for the rest of your playing career so choose wisely.

Let’s look at some gear!

Warwick Rockbass Corvette $$

Warwick is a premiere name in the bass guitar world, and if you’ve ever played one you know why. Problem is, a Warwick bass made in Germany will push you way over your thousand-dollar spending limit. A few years ago Warwick decided it wasn’t fair that only those with big bank accounts got to have all the fun and the introduced their Rockbass lineup.

These are great basses with a few cut corners and there are several models under $1000. The Corvette has always been my favorite bass in the Warwick lineup, and here’s an affordable model with two thick humbuckers.

Body: Ash

Neck: Maple with Ekanga veneer stripes

Fingerboard: Rosewood, 24-fret

Pickups: Passive MEC MM-Style pickups

Electronics: Passive electronics, two volume controls with push/pull for selecting pickup mode, Tone control.

Bridge: Two-piece Warwick

Additional Features: Bolt-on neck, 34-inch scale, Chrome hardware.

My Thoughts: I’ve owned a couple of Warwick Corvettes, and they were both incredible instruments. Of course they were German-made, but if you want to grab something with the Warwick name on it without killing your budget their Rockbass lineup is your ticket.

It's also worth noting there are 5-string models, and models with active electronics that are similar to the this one.

Hear the Rockbass Corvette $$

Fender American Special Precision Bass

If you hope and dream of landing an American-made Fender Precision Bass it’s not likely anything else will do. But if you only have a thousand dollars to spend you might be out of luck. Of course you can go with a Mexican-made Fender. These are great instruments for the money, and many gigging musicians employ them quite happily.

Or, you can check out the American Special Series. These are real American-made Fender bass guitars with a few budget-friendly components to bring the cost down to a more reasonable level. The American Special series of basses and guitars have really opened the door for musicians who never though they could afford an American-made Fender.

Body: Alder with gloss urethane finish.

Neck: Maple

Fingerboard: Rosewood, 20-fret fretboard.

Pickups: Vintage-style split Fender Precision Bass Pickups.

Electronics: Passive electronics with one volume and one tone control; Fender’s Greasebucket Tone Circuit.

Bridge: Vintage-style bridge.

Additional Features: Chrome Hardware, Open-gear Tuners, Slim-profile Neck, 34-inch scale, Gloss Urethane finish.

My Thoughts: I’ve been a Steve Harris fan ever since I can remember, so of course that makes me a fan of the Fender Precision Bass. To me this is the ultimate rock and roll bass, with the punch and power to stand out even in aggressive music.

Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade you know Schecter makes great stuff. But most of the glory goes to their guitar lineup, and deservedly so. Models like their C-1 Hellraiser electric guitar have really captured the guitar public’s attention with awesome tone and good looks.

Well, there’s a Hellraiser Bass too, and it’s deserving of some attention of its own. The Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4 Bass is a great looking instrument with some serious specs you might not expect in a bass of this price. It has the look of a bass made for heavy music, but the Hellraiser Extreme-4 can handle anything you throw at it. Rock bassists will love it. Everyone else might fear it a little.

Body: Mahogany with Quilted Maple Top

Neck: Multi-laminate Maple/Walnut; Neck-Thru construction with Ultra Access

Fingerboard: Ebony, 24-fret

Pickups: EMG 35TW

Electronics: Two volume controls with coil taps; Three-band EMG Active EQ

Bridge: Option: String-thru or Top-load

Additional Features: MOP Gothic Cross Inlays and binding, Grover Tuners, 34-inch scale, Black Chrome Hardware.

My Thoughts: Every Schecter bass (or guitar) I’ve ever touched has felt like a high-quality piece of gear. This company, somehow, always add more to their instruments than the price would indicate. For metal and rock players, a Schecter bass is a great choice.

Fender American Special Jazz Bass

Like the Fender Precision Bass, the Fender Jazz is a classic instrument cherished by legions of bassists who won’t trust any other brand name with their tone. Also like the Precision Bass, an American Standard Jazz Bass can push you over your thousand dollar limit.

But the American Special Fender Jazz Bass offers the opportunity for players who don’t feel like plunking down the cash on an American Standard Jazz Bass to own a real American-made Fender. You can mod it and feel a little less guilty than you would have if you had taken a soldering iron to your American Standard baby.

Or, with such great sound and appointments you may be very happy with it as it is. The Fender American Special Jazz is possibly the best bass guitar under $1000, along with its brother, the P-Bass.

Body: Alder with gloss Urethane finish

Neck: Maple

Fingerboard: 20-fret rosewood fingerboard.

Pickups: Two Standard Vintage Alnico Fender Single Coil Jazz pickups.

Electronics: Fender Greasebucket Tone Circuit. Two volume and one tone control.

Bridge: 4-Saddle Vintage-Style Bridge with Single Groove Saddles

Additional Features: Chrome Hardware, Open-gear Tuners, Slim-profile Neck, 34-inch scale, Gloss Urethane finish.

My Thoughts: When it comes to tone shaping in a passive bass it’s tough to beat the Fender Jazz. Where the Precision Bass is more of an implement of massive rock power, the Jazz Bass has the subtlety and nuance to go from rock to smooth jazz with the twist of a couple of knobs. I’ve always loved the Jazz Bass sound.

Ibanez SR 800

The Ibanez Soundgear Series has been around a long time, and has made its mark in just about every style of music. Metal and jazz bassists particularly love Soundgear basses for their slick necks and powerful tone-shaping tools. There are SR basses for beginners all the way up to seasoned pros, and the SR800 is your best bet if you have a thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket.

This bass doesn’t just look incredible, but also sounds as good as it looks. It’s tough to beat such high-quality appointments and tonewoods in a bass in this price range, but Ibanez does it again and again. This is why they have become one of the top names in the bass guitar world.

Body: Mahogany with Poplar Burl top.

Neck: 5-piece Jatoba/Bubinga.

Fingerboard: Rosewood, 24-frets, with Abalone inlays.

Pickups: Bartolini MK-1 neck and bridge pickups.

Electronics: EQB-IIIS 3-band EQ with mid frequency switch

Bridge: Accu-cast B300

Additional Features: Gold hardware, 34-inch scale, extended neck joint.

My Thoughts: Back when I played bass in metal and hardcore bands, the Ibanez Soundgear Series got it done for me. The power is really in the tone shaping, but also in the woods and design. Soundgear basses are legendary, and among the best choices for rock and metal players.

How to Choose Your New Bass

These bass guitars are only five of the amazing options out there, but they’re definitely at the top of the heap. The Fender basses are classic designs with passive pickups and a sound that has stood the test of time since the creation of the first electric bass guitar.

Schecter Hellrasier Extreme 4: A Top Bass Under $1000
Schecter Hellrasier Extreme 4: A Top Bass Under $1000

Warwick makes incredible instruments, and their Rockbass lineup lives up to their name. Ibanez gives you much more than you’d expect in a bass of this price, and Schecter are proving themselves as one of the best newer guitar companies in the world.

It’s almost as though you can’t go wrong! Ultimately, if comes down to you and what you need out of your instrument. A metal player may not be happy with a Fender Jazz Bass. A country musician may not be feeling it with the Schecter. Match your needs with the abilities of the bass and you have a winner.

Good luck in your decision, and hope you found this article on the best bass guitars under $1000 helpful.

Best Bass Guitar Under $1000

Which of the above bass guitars impresses you the most?

See results

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        gonx 8 months ago

        Great article, just what I needed to read.

      • Guitar Gopher profile image

        Guitar Gopher 3 years ago

        I agree they are worth mentioning here, John! I love the StingRay design and those Sterling versions are pretty good quality for the cash.

      • profile image

        John 3 years ago

        I'll add to this top the Sterling by music man Ray 35, 34 and SB14 basses.... they are amazing for the price, as the same way than the Spector Legend Series (around 700 Bucks)