The bass playing friend and bandmate I had once upon a time was definitely one of the greatest reasons that I kept playing and trying to be part of a musical group for as many years as I did. We had a friendship, yes, and a band induced camaraderie unlike any other, but also we had a rivalry. This rivalry was the result of, one could say, of all the time we spent together, trying to get better at what we loved doing. Watching one get better drove the other to get better. He learned to slap and pull the strings of the bass, I learned how to sing. Then I learned how to growl and scream (you know, that sound that metalheads make when they want to scare the christian grannies of the teenage listeners) and he started playing faster. I learned the guitar solo to a song and he learned the bass lines to the other. It was like a constant attempt to best the other that translated into almost everything we did. Even during lunch breaks we would have a competition (unofficial) of who could be cooler by being first out of the school grounds, smoking cigarettes. It was a horrible place to be that was, in a way, a lot of fun. Then, one day, I decided to buy an electric guitar to replace my acoustic. This was a grave mistake because once again, this set us both off, onto a long journey of finding the best, slightly more expensive, instrument. I was looking for the best guitar under 500, he was looking for the best bass guitar under 500. An arduous journey that put a strain on my psyche for about a month.
Top 5 Best Bass Guitars Under 500
Once upon about 60 years ago, the world of culture was ruled by a very specific caste of people, chosen for their creativity and capability to produce the exceptional. They spent their days writing, painting, designing and creating and spent their night partying at bars where the best jazz music played. The caste was collectively referred to as the beatniks and they influenced the world in a lot of ways. Trying to cater to the tastes of these men and women the musical instrument designers of the time created styles specific to the beatniks. So many years later and guitars are still being influenced by those designs, with the Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass 1977 model takes the elements of vintage so adored in their time and slaps it onto itself. Still the design remains mainstream, as the vintage elements are combined with elements popular in the modern world. The result is an outstanding guitar with a sound that will challenge any beginner or professional to play at their best.
When a man who makes a name of legend for himself through automotive design decides to create a guitar, strange things happen. The guitar starts to look like something you would not expect of a musical instrument, a fresh breath in the world of tired and overused designs. When the guitar is brought back into production with a gothic twist for those of us who love the black in their lives, this fresh breath becomes a mountain breeze blowing you away. The erratic, strange design and the dark finish are further emphasized with this bass guitar’s propensity towards emphasizing the lower register and dark tones. Perfect for the death metal or goth metal musician looking for an upgrade from their very first guitar, or even for a beginner. The true beauty of the instrument blossoms in the hands of a professional though, bringing out the true versatility that the instrument is capable of.
The omen in Harry Potter was a large dog that forebode the death of the beloved character. Haunted by the dog Harry goes through the year fearful and doubtful of his future, until, at one point he discovers that the omen was actually none other than his long lost and loving godfather. The Schecter Omen Extreme 4 string bass guitar relates to that situation – named after something bad, the guitar is a lot of formidable good in a beautiful package with a terrifying name. The design of this instrument is something out of a dream, not in the sense of weird, but in the sense of something you would dream about having. Whether red or black, the flamed maple of the wood looks like it would have been drawn by one of the many action painters with an eye for passion and beauty. The electric bass guitar sounds amazing, with a beautiful spread of strong sound across the full range of tones, with the lowest sounding like the growl of the Grim, strong and penetrating through the heart. This is a beautiful instrument for a price that might seem just as unreal as the guitar itself.
Tradition is a hard thing to beat, especially when tradition has dictated the creation of some of the most beautiful instruments to ever exist. The rounded body, long neck and slim feel all are a part of the traditional aesthetic of the Hofner HOF-HI-CB-SB 4 string bass guitar, one of the more affordable and pleasing bass guitars on the list. Despite its traditional look, the guitar is anything but old in the way it is made or the way it plays and sounds. A sturdy design that takes hints from the past and builds upon them and adding modern touches, resulting in something superior both to the old and new. It is bulky, but it looks graceful and is much lighter than expected, making it a comfortable instrument to play, a requirement for any beginner player. It has a versatile sound that plays just as well in the upper register as it does in the lower register, perfect for beginner and professional alike.
I have said it many times and I will say it again – there is beauty in simplicity that can hardly be surpassed by the overdone and over designed. It is possible to have an enticing character whether you look simple or outstanding, whether you are bedazzled or murky. Character is a quality that attracts attention without having to rely on flash and as a result is very important in your instrument. So how is character made? Well, the formula is simple – style+substance=character. The thing is, despite the simplicity of the formula, even the slightest mistake in one of the variables will result in no character. The ESP LTD B-204SM NS Spalted maple bass fulfills this formula extremely well. Simple but charming design on top of an outstanding sound make this one of the best bass guitars under 500 you could ever lay your hands on.
The best part of buying a slightly more expensive bass guitar is not the actual drastic increase in quality, though there is some, but the fact that you have finally committed enough to the instrument that you know you want to invest more than just the minimal amount in it. Which is why it is so much more important that you know what you are investing into. A commitment to the instrument means dedication to good sound and good music, which does not come solely from the skills practiced on your first bass guitar. A good quality instrument will be able to assist you in sounding superior to anyone else in the industry of the instrument. Choose wisely.
While I might be blaming the competitive nature of the friendship that me and the bass man had at the type for the psychological pressure I was experiencing, the truth is slightly different. You see when competition gets too intense, one side tends to get a little more demotivated than the other. I had been the demotivated side at the time. You see, while my friend dived head first into his favorite instrument, I had instead decided to spread myself thin over many. I tried singing, playing the guitar, picked up the basics of the bass, dabbled with drumming and so many other things. I got reliable in most, but I was not amazing at any one thing. This resulted me in feeling bad about the fact that I had a hard time keeping up with any one of my band mates in anything. It was imperative for me to find the perfect guitar, or be further disappointed in myself. So I spent a month looking for it, and so did my friend keep looking for his perfect instrument. It was easier this time – we had scoured the world for the best bass guitar once already. To find the best bass guitar under 500 or a plain electric guitar for the same price did not seem like an insurmountable challenge. It turned out that the bass guitar was easier to find. The bass man found the one three weeks in, leaving me to think that I would be searching for my guitar alone forever (teenage me was dramatic). He was a better friend than he was a competitor though. Once he had his instrument he switched his attention to helping me and eventually helped me find a guitar too. I found out that even though I was the jack of all trades of the band, I was also a valued friend, and though my confidence was still low, I was happy to have a friend like him.