Best Acoustic Bass Guitars – Reviewed, Tried and Tested

best acoustic bass

When you think of a bass guitar, you will probably think of a classic bass such as a fender jazz bass, being played through an amp. Bass guitars don’t have to be electric though, and we’ve made a guide to review the best acoustic bass guitars, great for practicing without an amplifier, busking and other performances and much more. There are many benefits to an acoustic bass, and more and more bassists are adding one to their arsenal.

We’re also looking at the best electro-acoustic bass guitars in this article, which are designed to give the best of both worlds, and a rich, acoustic sound which can be amplified on a stage with ease as well. Win/Win.

At a Glance:

Full reviews of lots of great basses can be found further down this article, but for a quick answer, you can check out our recommended guitar, the Fender Kingman.

With Fishman electronics, an exceptional tone when played acoustically or via an amplifier and a wonderful, comfortable playing experience, the Fender Kingman is a brilliant model for intermediates and professional bassists.

Fender CB-100CE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Bass Review

Fender is a brand we associate with guitars and bass guitars, so it is only right that some of their offerings make the list. The CB-100CE isn’t the most expensive bass guitar, and though it is mass produced, it is very well made. The good quality, laminated wood and the accuracy of the build show the quality that is in Fender’s modern products and what we have come to expect from the brand.

The lovely solid mahogany neck is inspired by the Fender jazz bass we’ve come to know and love, and it is incredibly nice to play with a smooth finish and comfortable playing position.

The look of this bass guitar is pretty cool. Both the cutaway design and the beautiful mahogany wood, combined with the iconic Fender logo mean this is a relatively simple but very classy looking acoustic bass. The body is very thin and elegant for an acoustic bass and it is so light to pick up and start playing.

The CB-100CE is an acoustic-electric so you can amplify it to your heart’s content, it has great quality pickups and a clear sound, with a bright tone. A simple three-way EQ is built in to allow you to alter the tone to your own needs.

Overall, the Fender CB-100CE is a very affordable and value for money acoustic bass with a lot of very favorable reviews, The tone is great whether being played acoustic or plugged into an amplifier and let’s face it, we know Fender is going to provide when it comes to guitars.

Dean EAB Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar Review

Dean may not be quite the well-known brand Fender is, but they have a large range of bass guitars. Their offering in the world of Acoustic-Electric bass guitars has impressive features and is both versatile and very good for beginners. At a price tag which certainly isn’t huge (by musical standards), it has a lot of reliability and quality.

The tone of this guitar is great, and is able to produce a deeper, richer sound than a lot of the other basses in the price range or even costing a lot more money! The mahogany neck and body have a lovely feel to them, especially at the price tag. When amplified it performs well too and gives an excellent option.

The vast majority of reviews we’ve seen for this product are in agreement that it is very good value for money and has a good tone and build quality. It should be remembered that this is a little more of a beginner model, so it may not be as great as some of its competitors, but if you’re looking for the cheapest acoustic or acoustic-electric bass that has a good sound to it, this could be one of the names you find yourself looking at.

Ibanez AEB5EBK Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar

Another acoustic electric offering here, this time from Ibanez, a prolific manufacturer of guitars, basses and even effects pedals and more. The body is a bit thicker than a lot of the other acoustic models on the market which gives us more of a thick, full tone, which is a real plus point.

Ibanez is perhaps best known for their electric guitars, and as you may expect from the brand, their pickups are great, and when this is amplified it creates a nice, punchy tone. It only has a two-band EQ which isn’t the best, and three to five bands would give a little more control, but there is still plenty you can do with the sound, which is already rich and punchy.

In terms of looks, many people are drawn to the Ibanez AEB5EBK due to the black finish and agathis back and sides, as well as the beautiful rosewood fretboard. It is certainly different to the other options we’ve mentioned in terms of looks and maybe more to some bassists preference as it looks less like an acoustic guitar.

Fender Acoustic Guitars California KINGMAN BASS Review

Another Fender option, think of this as an upgrade on the CB-100CE, something of a big brother! The look and feel of the guitar, light and rich, are amazing and ooze quality.

  • Comes with a hard shell carry case for safety.
  • Truss rod to adjust the neck to your own preference for playing.
  • Spruce top and mahogany body give this a rich tone and amazing projection.
  • Quality pre-amp with a built in electronic tuner and controls over EQ.

Considering the fact that this is a light and thin model, the projection is fantastic, meaning this is a really loud option even when it isn’t plugged in to an amp. It comes with the classic, iconic fender jazz style headstock, gloss finish and has been produced with amazing craftsmanship. The vast majority of reviews we’ve looked at, as well as our own, are immensely positive, and there are a lot of people who are very happy with the feel and sound of the Fender Kingman bass. Being able to feel like you’re playing something of an acoustic version of the iconic jazz bass that Fender are so well known for is a huge advantage and not one the competitors can offer.

Another really impressive offering with the Kingman is the electric features, it has a good quality EQ and amazing pickups with an onboard preamp and a tuner for your convenience. All in all, this definitely deserves its place on the list of the best electric acoustic bass guitars.

To hear it in action, check out the video below.

Electric Acoustic Bass Guitar (Best Choice Products)

The only acoustic bass guitar to make our list that isn’t from a big name brand, but in all honesty, we wanted to provide a cheaper option. It is tough to find an electric acoustic bass under $200, let alone one under $100, but if you’re a beginner or are just wanting to buy an acoustic bass for a bit of fun or to play around the house, then you might not want to spend much. At the time of writing this, this is a relatively affordable model which is of a decent build quality. Are you going to headline Glastonbury playing it? No, but that doesn’t mean it is without merits.

It has a solid mahogany body just like many of its more expensive rivals, and it also has a cool design (its available in blue which definitely provides a talking point). It is electric as well as acoustic so can be plugged in and amplified if played live or in a band. The glossy finish is great and in terms of looks this is actually pretty cool.

It isn’t fair to compare this to a $500 bass, so let’s call it what it is; a beginners acoustic bass. Beginner doesn’t mean bad though, and it is actually pretty good for those just getting started. If you’re on a budget but want something that will produce a good sound and allow you to practice your bass skills this could be an option.

Takamine PB5-ANS

Takamine is another brand we really like when it comes to acoustic instruments, and their offering in the world of acoustic bass guitars is the PB5-ANS. If you are looking for the utmost in build-quality and clarity of sound then this bass will not let you down. It is costly and aimed more at professional or touring musicians, but in terms of sound, it is hard to argue with.

Features include a cutaway design so every fret can be simply and easily reached. The CT$-DX Pickup means you can play this plugged into an amp, meaning it classes as an ‘electric-acoustic bass’. Full control of the EQ and even an inbuilt tuner make your life easier, and a rosewood fingerboard plays beautifully. Perhaps not the best acoustic bass for beginners, but if you are looking for the elite end of the market, it is worth considering.

Fender T-Bucket 300

Our list of best acoustic basses is clearly dominated by Fender, who have hit the nail on the head once again with their T-Bucket offering. Another clear and loud acoustic bass.

The T-Bucket 300 isn’t the most expensive acoustic bass, but has some features which set it apart. It boasts Fishman’s pickups and electronics, which is something a lot of the competitors under $500 can only dream of. These electronics consist of a tuner which comes built-in, volume and a three-band equalizer. These all help to get a brilliant tone when you plug the T-Bucket 300 into an amplifier.

Many acoustic-electric basses seem to have some form of compromise on tone. If the acoustic tone is great, the electric tends to be lacking, but that isn’t the case here.

The hardware and build quality of this bass is again, excellent. A mahogany neck, great tuning pegs and a standard rosewood fretboard. This is one of the laminate designs which often look a little tacky, but actually, Fender has done things right.

In terms of price and sound, I would place this somewhere in the ‘intermediate bass player’ range. If you are a total beginner or are on a budget it may be that you look for something a little cheaper. The excellent clear tone and comfort and ease when playing set the T-Bucket 300E apart.

Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Bass

We’re only human. Taylor guitars make us drool, and the GS Mini-e bass is an astounding piece of kit. It’s called Mini-e for a reason, the GS is a short scale acoustic bass which is nearly a foot shorter than some bass guitars. The brand even worked specifically with D’Addario to create specific strings for this smaller bass, which keep the low-end tone without the length.

This bass has electronics built in too, so you can plug it into an amplifier. Taylor’s own volume and tone controls as well as a tuner are built-in and work perfectly. This is something you would expect though, considering the fact that the Taylor GS Mini-E is not a cheap bass.

What we’re left with is a short, expressive and easy to play bass guitar. The fact that it is so small means it is of course easily portable, another added bonus, this is wonderful for busking and live performances as well as recording.

Made largely from Sitka Spruce, this guitar is a work of art. Its gorgeous detailing has a 1-11/16-in. nut width, Italian acrylic inlaid fretboard, 3-ring rosette and a classy matte finish.

The playing experience of the Mini-e is great fun, and we strongly recommend it for bassists who need to transport their instrument around a lot, it fits nicely in a smaller case or gig bag, and the gorgeous sound is exactly what we expect from such a well-respected and high-quality brand. If this is in your price range, we recommend taking a look.

Features To Look For in Acoustic Bass Guitars

Our criteria for the best basses center around a few different attributes and features:

  • Sound. Of course, we’re not going to make a list of the best instruments of any variety and include something that doesn’t sound good. The tone of the bass guitar is of the utmost importance when choosing which to buy.
  • Design. Let’s face it, we want something that looks cool. Guitars and bass guitars needing to look good is not a new fascination, so we’ve taken the way they look into account. Design also covers the wood and sturdiness of the guitar.
  • Loudness. Finding the loudest acoustic bass is a big deal for some, as they need something that will resonate and stand out while busking or in a band practice without having to amplify it.
  • Price and value. Music can quickly become an expensive hobby so we’ve taken the value for money into account.

Of course, an acoustic bass doesn’t have to be instead of an electric, and there’s no reason you can’t have both available to use. As well as being a lot simpler to just pick up and play (no need for amplification or effects), many acoustic basses have a really cool design and of course rich, interesting sounds which can add another dynamic to the way you play. They are popular for stripped-down acoustic sets, busking, and all sorts of other live applications.

Conclusion

Compared to the market for other types of guitar, the acoustic bass guitar market doesn’t have as much competition. That said, most of the big brands such as Fender and Ibanez have offered something to the market and there are some very good options out there at a variety of different price ranges with a lot of different features. Acoustic bass can often be overlooked, but it can be great for an unplugged session, busking, practice or even just learning how to play. As with any instrument, checking out some reviews beforehand is only sensible, and spending a bit of time researching can help you to make the right choice.

If you have any experience with acoustic bass guitars or your own preferred models, feel free to leave a comment below sharing your thoughts!

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