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Are you a bassist that is considering upgrading their bass for something a little more professional? There isn’t a better time to have such a thought, as more basses are available today than ever before.
Some people might find this number of options to be incredibly overwhelming. It’s a good possibility that you might not have the time to try every bass guitar under the sun.
To help narrow your research to a focus, consider giving the following bass guitars a try.
Fender Player Precision Bass – Best Overall
This Leo Fender design emerged in the 1950s and forever changed the course of music. The Player Precision Bass offers relatively affordable access to this tradition, allowing you to add to the legacy.
In its construction, the Player Precision Bass features an Alder body with a Maple neck. This neck features a C-shape design with modern embellishments designed to suit today’s styles of music.
A massive list of classic Fender colors is offered here, including:
- 3-tone sunburst
- Polar white
- Capri orange
When purchasing, you’ll have the option to choose between a Maple or Pau Ferro fretboard. Regardless of choice, the Player Precision Bass comes with 20 frets accommodated by dot inlays.
For hardware, the Player Precision Bass has items and materials such as:
- Synthetic bone nut
- Open-gear tuners
- 4-saddle bridge
Of course, the Precision Bass is known best for its extremely versatile range of tones. This offering from Fender’s Player Series is no exception, featuring a Player Series Alnico V Precision split single-coil pickup.
For tone controls, this model keeps it simple and sticks with tradition. You’ll have a knob for tone as well as a separate knob for volume control.
If you’re curious about how the Player Precision Bass might fit in your hands, consider the following measurements:
- 34” scale length
- 9.5” fretboard radius
- 1.625” nut width
What’s So Great About The Fender Player Precision Bass?
Many people consider the Precision Bass to be the absolute gold standard by which other basses are measured. Because of this, the P-Bass has enjoyed a long and healthy relevance amongst musicians, no matter the genre.
In fact, there’s a good possibility that, more often than not, you’re hearing a Precision Bass on the radio. And, if not, it is probably at least inspired or influenced by the instrument in some manner.
So, what then, makes this offering from Fender’s Player Series so special? Well, for starters, it is the most affordable entry into the universe of Fender basses.
Because of this, it is made in Mexico, which accounts for its affordable price. Any other Fender outside of the Player Series will likely be beyond the $1000 budget level.
However, aside from a few miles between the US and Mexico factories, there isn’t much difference in quality. Sure, the expensive models do have a good share of luxurious touches, but this bass is nothing to sneeze at.
Rather, what you’re getting is the absolute standard Precision Bass without any extra frills. This is the winning combination that has been on too many gold records to count.
And, for the most part, you’re not going to find much to complain about with this bass. You’ll know as soon as you plug it in where all of those iconic tones you love actually come from.
Who knows, this sort of discovery could spark you to journey down a new path of musical self-discovery. That kind of inspiration just can’t be bought in a store.
Plus, not only do you get this bass in its iconic configuration, but you get some great color options, too.
This is a bass guitar you’ll have no issues with on the stage or in the recording studio.
Ibanez Standard BTB746 – Best Premium
Let’s not beat around the bush here, the Standard BTB746 is an absolute beast of a bass guitar. This isn't like your typical modular bass guitar design with a bolt-on neck joint.
To begin with, the Standard BTB746 features a neck-thru-body construction, featuring a 5-piece Maple/Walnut neck. For the body itself, the Standard BTB746 features Okoume and Ash on the wing, with Walnut used for the top.
That might sound a little confusing, but the bass itself looks as if it fits together like a perfect puzzle. It also provides a healthy dose of resonance to the bass itself during play.
Jatoba is used for the Standard BTB746’s fretboard, offering 24 frets across its range. Interestingly enough, the bass also includes an extra fret at the “0th” position for extra performance options.
The Standard BTB746 is stocked with a pair of BH2 humbuckers designed by Bartolini. These are incredibly complex, and pair well with the range of controls found on the bass, which includes:
- Master volume knob
- 3-band EQ
- Balancer knob
- 3-way midrange switch for tonal focus selector
Ibanez didn’t skimp on the hardware either, equipped the Standard BTB746 with:
- Plastic nut
- Machine head tuners
- Mono-rail V bridge
For an idea of how the bass might feel to you, consider the following measurements:
- 35” scale length
- 37.4” fretboard radius
- 2.12” nut width
What’s So Great About The Ibanez Standard BTB746?
If you’re a bass player that exudes a high level of technical prowess, you’ll love the Standard BTB746. When Ibanez made this, it was as if they tried to conquer Mt. Everest itself in terms of its capability.
This bass guitar has everything that a versatile bassist could ever need for their arsenal. For starters, the playability of this bass is absolutely off of the charts.
It might seem silly that the Standard BTB746 has a fret at the “0th” spot. Typically, this was usually only seen on extremely cheap guitars of poor craftsmanship.
However, the “0th” fret opens up a new door for playing possibilities. No longer will you need to worry about that ringing open string if you don’t want to.
The inclusion of Bartolini pickups makes this bass an absolute must-have for the right kind of player. Ibanez made sure to provide all of the tone control possibilities a bassist could ever need.
For instance, the 3-way switch can quickly change the entire mood of the bass’s sound. This focuses the tone in a specific EQ range to bring out different characteristics.
Of course, probably the most obvious thing about the Standard BTB746 is its astonishing aesthetics. This bass looks like it was built to win wars and explore space, all within the same time continuum.
The neck-thru design really does add quite the delectable aesthetic touch, both on the front and back. Ibanez did a great job pairing the wood characteristics and elevating them with a Walnut top.
However, the neck-thru design is also perfect for those who like to feel their bass vibrate with each note. Some people think this gives the player a closer physical connection to the music itself.
This is a heavy bass, but is incredibly well-balanced and won’t neck dive.
Yamaha BB734A – Best Budget
Are you looking for a bass that provides a fantastic sense of versatility without spending your whole budget? A bass like the Yamaha BB734A (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is going to be right up your alley.
The BB734A’s body features a 3-piece design, sandwiching a slab of Maple between 2-pieces of Alder. This provides quite a bit of resonance to the bass and comes in the colors of:
- Translucent matte black
- Dark coffee sunburst
Yamaha has taken a similar approach with the neck, which has a 5-piece construction featuring Maple and Mahogany. Again, this increases the resonance while also providing a degree of durability and resiliency, especially for those lower tunings.
The neck itself is quite slim and any player that needs performance and comfort will feel at home. This neck profile allows for easier navigation to any of the 21 frets on the Rosewood fretboard.
Yamaha has gone the extra mile with regard to the hardware, which includes:
- Tusq nut
- Vintage-style bridge on a steel backplate, supporting a string-through design
- Convertible brass saddles for each string
- Open-gear tuners
If it seems like Yamaha hit a grand slam with the BB734A, wait until you hear its pickups. This bass takes the best of both worlds with regard to Precision and Jazz Bass inspirations, featuring
- VSP7n Alnico V split-coil (neck position, replicating the P-Bass)
- VSC7b Alnico V single-coil (bridge position, replicating the J-Bass)
Yamaha has also stocked the BB734A with controls galore, including knobs for:
- 3-band EQ (knob per band)
- Master volume
- Pickup balance
- 2-way switch for either active or passive pickup use
It should be comfortable for most players, featuring a:
- 34” scale length
- 10” fretboard radius
- 1.57” nut width
What’s So Great About The Yamaha BB734A?
For decades, Fender ruled the industry with regard to its instruments being used on a massively-widespread level. While there’s definitely a good reason for this, mentalities started to shift in the 1970s.
All of the sudden, bassists were seen using a much wider variety of bass guitars from different manufacturers. Yamaha’s Broad Bass is a model lineup that really started to gain adoption in the later 1970s.
And, as you likely know, it takes something incredibly special to be able to dethrone a musical king. In some ways, Yamaha’s BB series provided much more versatility than the standard Fender classics.
For instance, the idea of including both P and J-style pickups means you won’t need to choose between them. And while you can probably find a vintage model quite affordably, this model is built for the modern player.
The BB734A improves upon the bass’s electronics significantly, expanding the range of possible tones. Even the neck joint has been improved to a 6-bolt mortise joint to provide better sustain to the instrument.
Compared to other basses, the BB734A has quite a bit to offer and is more affordable than most. You probably won’t regret not spending your entire budget if you go with this model.
Plus, this is the only model in this article that includes a gig bag.
What To Look For When Buying A Bass Guitar Under $1000
Spending $1000 on a bass is a big step for somebody that’s never spent that much on one before. Such a decision is liable to keep one up at night, pondering the many variables and worrying about their choices.
The simple truth of the matter is that $1000 is a lot of money to spend. Any sane person will want to make sure that their hard-earned money is being spent in the best way possible.
Unfortunately, everyone has their own individual tastes, preferences, and playing styles. This means that there isn’t exactly a blanketing rule that applies to each individual.
With that being said, keep the following information in mind and you’ll be guided to the right choice. This will enable you to form your own opinions, finding a bass that is most appropriate and fitting for you.
Bass Type & Style
It sounds pretty obvious, but you’re first going to need to decide on the type of bass you’re looking for. For those that don’t know, basses come in both electric and acoustic varieties.
Acoustic basses share a similar build as an acoustic guitar, with a longer scale length for bass notes. These provide portability, often with electric capabilities, but do not sound like electric basses.
With that being said, electric basses are maybe a bit more versatile in terms of playability overall. Electric basses have their own distinct sound as well, which is easily identifiable in most recorded music.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a rough idea of what bass design styles you’re most drawn toward. However, you should keep your expectations open and don’t let your aesthetic preferences dictate your purchase.
Along with the type of bass you’re looking for, you’ll need to decide how many strings you want. The standard norm for bass guitars is 4 strings, but you’ll often find models with 5, 6, 7, and beyond.
Generally, the bigger your budget, the more strings you can likely afford to have on your bass. However, more strings aren’t necessarily good or bad, it just depends on your playing style and preference.
If you’re not sure, give each a try and see which one facilitates your playing the best.
Pickups & Tone
The bass’s sound is going to be crucial in determining whether it fits the style of music you’re playing. So, it’s best to have a rough idea of the kind of musical situations you’ll be using the bass.
While basses produce low pitches, the actual character of the pitches themselves can vary drastically between models. Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- Do you prefer something that has a round bottom with a presence in the mid-range?
- What do you prefer most, warmth or brightness?
- Are you playing the bass with a pick or with your fingers?
- Will you be using any pedals with the bass?
Go to an actual store and try the bass out for yourself to hear exactly how it sounds. If necessary (and possible), bring your entire rig to generate the best reflection of reality for each instrument.
Basses come with both single-coil pickups and humbuckers, and each has its own sound. For those that need increased output and headroom, active pickups utilize a battery and are common in basses.
When you’re at the music shop, you’re able to hold the bass in your hands and inspect every millimeter. You’ll want to keep in mind that individual basses from the same model line can vary in quality.
Take your time to make sure that all things are in working order. Inspect the bass to be sure there is nothing you aren’t aware of, such as anything cosmetic or otherwise.
Just because a brand has a reputation doesn't mean they are exempt from making mistakes. However, in any case, most issues can be easily fixed with a professional setup.
Generally, the $1000 range is ideal for those who use the instrument to make money via performances. In this range, some might wonder whether it’s worth financing the bass over a year or two.
This splits the cost into monthly payments, often with no interest. However, you are committing to a contract that could have consequences if you miss a payment.
If you opt for a 2-year financing deal, you’re giving yourself 24 opportunities to make a mistake. This could increase the interest rate significantly, so always read the fine print on any such contractual agreement.
However, if you’re using the bass to make money, you could guarantee it pays for itself with consistent gigs. Nevertheless, it's much easier and less stressful to buy the bass outright, to begin with.
If the decision itself keeps you up at night, or you’re second-guessing, maybe you should reconsider. You might ask yourself whether spending less is more comfortable, or whether you need a new bass at all.
Best Brands For Bass Guitars Under $1000
If you’re shopping for a bass with a $1000 budget, chances are likely that you’re familiar with different brands. At least, that would be the most ideal scenario, as experience and familiarity come with time.
However, if you aren’t exactly certain which bass guitar is right for you, consider looking at the bigger brands. The following brands have stellar reputations, producing instruments that raise the bar for what is considered a “standard” bass.
Fender is an American company that is undoubtedly one of the most iconic guitar brands in the entire world. The company is known primarily for its electric guitars and amplifiers.
However, any seasoned bass player knows that Fender essentially created the gold standard of bass instruments. Fender’s Precision and Jazz basses can be heard in some of the most influential recorded music of all time.
Ibanez is a Japanese company that originally imported/exported guitars in the 1930s before starting production on its own instruments. By the glory days of rock and roll in the 1970s, Ibanez had gained a massive reputation among musicians.
Today, players of all types seek out Ibanez when they need an instrument filled with innovation and designed for technique. Many world-renowned musicians have endorsed Ibanez instruments as their mainstay bass and/or guitar.
Best Bass Guitars For Under $1000, Final Thoughts
Music just wouldn’t be the same if not for the steady undercurrent of the groove provided by the bass. When a bassist truly connects with their instrument on a soul level, great things are undoubtedly going to result.
If you have a budget of $1000, you have access to some of the best bass guitars on the market. Take the time to try these bass guitars and you’re bound to form a soul bond with your new bass.