WE UNCOVER THE TOP 9 BEST JAZZ BASS GUITARS FOR JAZZ MUSICIANS OF ALL LEVELS. WITH OFFERINGS FROM FENDER, IBANEZ, SANDBERG AND MORE.
When you’re on the hunt for the best jazz bass guitar to suit your style and your unique needs, there’s a huge amount of options out there. So today, we’re going to take a look at what we feel are the best Jazz bass guitars money can buy – and no we’re not JUST going to be using the Fender Jazz bass, but looking at a wide range including options from Fender, Ibanez, Eastcoast and many more.
Whether you’re a Sting fan, Marcus Miller enthusiast, Tal Wilkenfeld appreciator or student of the great Jaco Pastorius, you’ll find a bass guitar here that’ll help you get the sound you need. Presenting, the top 9 Best Jazz Bass Guitars:
1. EASTCOAST GB200 BASS GUITAR
For beginner jazz bass players, the Eastcoast GB200 Bass Guitar, pictured here in a Black Satin finish and maple neck is a fantastic choice. Taking inspiration from the coveted Jazz bass shape, the GB200 bass here offers a solid starting point for new bass players at a budget-friendly price tag. At just over £200, you have a solid bass to get to grips with those walking patterns and melodic minor scales (good luck!) and a reliable workhorse that offers great playability and a versatile sound through 2x lush single-coil J-Style pickups. You have 2 x Volume and 1 x Tone control knobs so you can easily dial in your ideal sound and mix it up on the fly, too.
The lightweight Ash body is resonant and the hard Maple bolt-on neck with Maple fretboard is comfortable to play – something that can mean the difference between staying with the bass guitar and giving up too early. This is budget-friendly, comfortable and sounds great. Whether you’re a beginner or need another bass as a spare for stage and studio, this is one of the best jazz bass guitars for the money.
2. Ibanez SR375EF-BBT 5-String Fretless Bass Brown Burst
Well, we can’t talk about the best jazz bass guitars without including A) an Ibanez, and B) a 5 string bass – that would be like listening to Rush without Geddy Lee – just silly! The Ibanez SR375EF-BBT 5-String Fretless Bass Brown Burst is a beautifully designed powerhouse of bass tone ready to be unleashed upon the world – it basically sounds fantastic and feels even better! Those who like a vast amount of control over their sound will love this Jazz bass guitar as you have independent volume and control knobs for each pickup and the ability to use the 3-way Power Tap switch to split the humbuckers – you won’t run out of tonal options! The fretless SR5 5-piece Maple/Rosewood neck is extremely comfortable to play and allows you to glide beautifully between notes and achieve that uninterrupted transition whilst you play. The added B 5th string ensures you have extra space when those runs get super low! A great option for intermediates and professional level players that won’t break the bank.
3. Squier Classic Vibe Jazz Bass 60s Jazz Bass Laurel FB Black
The Squier Classic Vibe Jazz Bass 60s Jazz Bass Laurel FB Black is not only one of the best jazz bass guitars ever made, but we think it’s one of the best bass guitars ever made – period. From beginners to professional level recording artists, this jazz bass is loved by all thanks to its superb quality sound courtesy of its Fender-designed alnico pickups and slim neck which gets slimmer towards the nut and fatter towards the bridge for added comfort and speed. The poplar body construction provides a huge amount of brightness and snap to your tone and brings a superior articulation to your playing – every note will be heard loud and clear.
The Jazz bass shape is, of course, a very comfortable shape to play with whether you’re stood up or sitting down and iconic in its own right. If you do decide that you want to make the ultimate leap and go straight for the highly professional, “you’ll never need another bass again” option, then we also recommend the Fender versions of the Jazz Bass which this is modelled on.
The Ibanez SR500E Bass Guitar, Brown Mahogany has been one of the most highly valued among jazz bassists here at PMT, and with good reason. This bass is easily a contender for best jazz bass guitar thanks to its beautiful tonewoods, lush, versatile pickups and ergonomic design that allows players of all levels and styles to enjoy this instrument for hours on end. Everything about this guitar screams class, from the natural Mahogany finish, to the neck end truss rod cover all the way to the black matte hardware, giving this a chic, vintage appeal.
This bass guitar sounds and plays as good as it looks thanks to the sleek, modern body curves, elegant tonewoods and versatile low-end tone. This offers a more comfortable playing experience and ensures bass players of all levels and styles of playing, whether you hold the bass guitar high or hang it low will be able to sit or stand comfortably. A super fast Jatoba/Walnut Neck offers great playability. This chimes with how Ibanez SR Basses are notoriously fast to play, serving well for modern metal and heavy rock players. When coupled with flat wound strings as intended, the Ibanez Bass gives off a sound that is similar to an upright bass – its all that fantastic, articulate upright bass sound in a more convenient guitar shape.
If you want something hardworking, easy to move around and a bass guitar that combines the best of Fenders bass offerings into one beautiful bass guitar, then the Fender Mustang Bass PJ should be on your ‘Must Try’ list. We think this is one of the best jazz bass guitars in terms of price, playability and versatility – an unbeatable combination! This particular model, the Fender Mustang Bass PJ, MN Sienna Sunburst is great addition to the Fender offset series of guitars and a faithful recreation of the shape originally introduced back in 1964. The smaller scale body of 30” may take a little getting used to as regular bass guitars come in a 34” scale length, but you’ll find you have easier and smoother access to all frets. This also provides a tonal difference with a tighter top end, more pronounced low end and a scoop in the mid-range.
But why is it one of the best Jazz bass guitars? Well, the PJ pickup configuration includes a huge range of tone. You have a Vintage Style split single-coil Precision Bass pickup in the middle pickup position and a Vintage Style single-coil Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge pickup position for tonal variety. The cool part is, you can select either of the pickups individually or combine the two via the three-way pickup selector switch. This means you can go from, smooth, subtle bass runs and beef it up when you need to by combining the pickups whenever the song calls for it. Premium quality tonewoods such as a Maple fretboard, alder body and maple neck all ensure a resonant and articulate tone whilst high quality hardware such as a four-saddle hardtail bridge and open gear tuners provide solid intonation and tuning. A great jazz bass guitar for professionals at a beginner price point.
6. IBANEZ SR405EQM 5-STRING BASS GUITAR
Well, we can't have a Jazz bass blog without a 5 string bass! So, next up we have the Ibanez SR405EQM 5-String Bass Guitar pictured here in Dragon Eye Burst which is not only one of the best jazz basses available, but one that could easily pick up an award for coolest looking bass of all time! We’ll get to the sound of it in just a moment, but just look at that stunning Quilted Maple top, finished with a Dragon Eye Burst colouring! Amazing!
There’s a tonal reason for this though as the Quilted maple Top with Mahogany body provides the snap and articulation you need for notes to stand out whilst the mahogany body ensures the low end and depth is intact – something you’ll appreciate when using the 5th string. Players of all genres, not just Jazz will also enjoy the sonic qualities of the PowerSpan Dual Coil pickups with split-coil design. These have been installed in both the neck and bridge positions to provide a wide frequency range with enhanced definition – every note will be heard. The equal response of the pickups also eliminates the hum you might get from single coils, which is especially useful when you split the humbuckers. A smooth and fast neck, a lightweight body and stunning electronics are a recipe for a lush playing experience. But seriously, look at that wood grain!
Well, we can’t have a best jazz bass guitar blog without arguably the best jazz bass guitar ever made, can we?! Eagle eyes, will notice there are two of theseFender Jazz basses in this list (three if you count the squire) but with good reason. First up we have the Fender Player Jazz Bass pictured here with Maple Neck and Black finish. The Fender Jazz Bass is one of the most iconic bass guitars in musical history responsible for changing the way we hear music and shaping the disco movement! This lives up to its name, providing Jazz players with a brighter and richer midrange compared to a precision model and superb playability.
Produced at the Fender factory in Baja California, Mexico, by expert luthiers and replacing the Mexican Standard guitars, the Fender Player Jazz Bass is a more moderately priced option for those keen on the Fender Jazz bass, but on a lower budget – however, don’t think for a second that this is anything less than world-class quality. The Standard single-coil Bass Pickup at the Bridge and Single-Coil Bass Pickup at the Neck provides superior tones, super smooth rich low end and a bite and growl at the top end when you need it. The alder body, maple neck and the modern upgrades such as “C” shape neck all add to the resonance and comfortable playing experience.
Designed for performance and tonal versatility, the Sandberg California TM4 Bass Guitar Ash Body Natural Finish Maple Neck is one of the best Jazz basses from the coveted name in bass guitar manufacturing. Sandberg bass guitars are renowned for their quality, providing players with custom model basses that they can gig with for a lifetime. Like every Sandberg bass, this has been entirely put together by hand by the luthiers at Sandberg to offer an incredible playing and sounding bass guitar.
This particular model is from the highly regarded TM4 series which features a familiar offset-waisted body crafted from a highly resonant and rich European Ash tonewood. We think this is one of the best Jazz bass guitars thanks to the beautifully versatile Delano pickups in a TM (Single Coil/Humbucker) configuration. This combination of a single coil and humbucker gives bass players a lot of tonal options as the single coil is based on the classic Jazz bass pickups of the 60s and 70s whilst the M series humbucker is reminiscent of the Stingray style humbucker. The humbucker can also be split at the flick of a switch offering up some extra voicing options. A beautiful Jazz bass guitar full of pro level appointments and hand finished quality construction processes.
Last but by no means least, we have the ultimate choice in Jazz basses – the Fender American Ultra Jazz Bass. The Fender American Ultra Jazz Bass Guitar, MN, Texas Tea is an incredible bass guitar designed for the consummate professionals out there and those in need of one bass guitar to “rule them all”… This modern take on the classic Jazz bass takes all the iconic design features of the original guitars from the late 60s yet adds a touch of modernisation for today's musicians. Fear not – the playability and response is still there and the coveted jazz bass sound is intact, it’s just been honed to provide a more enjoyable and reliable experience.
You have two all-new Ultra Noiseless Single Coil J-Bass pickups to sculpt your sound with allowing you to enjoy the crispy clean clears and huge overdriven tones all noise-free, which is essential for live and studio performance. However, it’s the newly redesigned 18-volt preamp on-board that gigging musicians will appreciate as this allows you to go from smooth and clean tones to chest-rattling, thumping tone and increasing headroom at the flick of 2-Way Mini Toggle Switch. The playability of the Jazz bass has also been improved, something that gigging bass players will enjoy. The American Ultra neck features a new modern "D" profile shape, and is capped with a super-fast-playing 10"-14" compound-radius Maple fingerboard. This allows for better access to the higher frets and a more relaxed feel towards the nut. You’ll enjoy playing this even after many hours on stage or in the studio.