In terms of musical timescale, it hasn’t been that long that we have had to consider the bass guitars for kids. With the growth of jazz and blues and later skiffle, the bass was an almost overlooked instrument. Basslines were often played on a double bass or sometimes on a tuba. In fact, the tuba was a driving force behind some of the bass lines later to become standard practice.
As rock n roll emerged in its earliest forms, there were the guitar players and everyone else on stage. And tucked away at the back the double bass. Volumes were going up. Amplifying a double bass was a nightmare, and something had to happen.
People had dabbled with electric bass guitars before, but it was his Fender Precision that put an electric bass guitar in the hands of double bass players. To some, it was too much, and they stuck with their double bass and tuba. But it was here to stay, and other models followed.
Today it is big business, but the Precision is still ‘king’ in many bass players’ eyes. And of course, just as with the guitar, there are now basses for kids.
Not many young people start off on the bass guitar. Many transfer across from guitar or piano or other instruments. Some out of interest but a lot from friends’ persuasion and necessity.
So what happens when your young musician suddenly announces they want to play the bass. You need to find one. A good one, that is going to give them half a chance of learning it. So, let’s give you a hand by taking a look at some of the best Bass Guitars for Children currently available…
Top 6 Best Bass Guitars For Kids 2020 Reviews
1 Squier by Fender Bronco Bass
Fender’s Mustang bass was a popular instrument, and many were disappointed when it was discontinued. Short scaled and easy to play, it had a place in the world of bass players. We had one as a sometimes used alternative to its big Precision cousin.
Since it ceased to be, we have had two other basses that have regenerated much of what the Mustang was about. The Fender Musicmaster and the later Squier Bronco. Squier is, of course, the less expensive Fender-designed guitar made in the Far East. But, the Fender Bronco Bass is an example of how good they can be.
The Bronco draws a lot of its design from the Mustang. The shape is very similar, and the short-scale neck of 30 inches the same length and feel. It features the familiar double-cutaway body and shaped scratchplate.
The body is made from Agathis wood, which is very lightweight. The guitar only weighs nine pounds, so it is ok for young players to manage. It has an attractive black gloss polyurethane finish with the white scratchplate.
The neck is Maple, and it has a maple fingerboard. There are 19 frets. It has that great Fender ‘C’ shape neck design, which is easy to play and ideal for beginners. The neck is the traditional bolt-on design.
Up at the top, there is a very authentic looking Fender headstock with the four closed gear machine heads. Other hardware includes a very basic two saddle bridge finished in chrome and a volume and tone controls.
Of course, there is a single-coil pickup…
However, Squire have decided not to use a standard pickup but design a new one for this instrument. The tone is lacking a little in the real bottom end, but there is just about enough there if needed. The top end is sharp and crispy courtesy of the single-coil. Overall the sound is quite good for a short scale.
This is a great bass guitar to learn on and set at this price point is a super bass guitars for kids. Easy to play with an attractive build and a decent sound, it ticks all the boxes for a beginner.
- Well designed and made bass from Squier as a remake of the Mustang.
- Easy to play with good hardware and sound at an affordable price.
- Having only a two saddle bridge is the only design that could be improved and may lead to intonation problems.
2 Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar
Ibanez has a good track record for manufacturing quality guitars, and their range of basses is also very good. This compact bass is no exception. You might think that because of its smaller size, it might not be so well made as to its full-size cousins. The fact is that it is an excellent instrument.
It actually carries many of the same features. Dynamic pickups as an example, and it is the same pickup used on Ibanez’s full-size GIO bases.
It has a lightweight Poplar body that weighs only seven pounds. An easy weight for a child to manage. There are two cutaways allowing full access to the fingerboard. There is also a bevel in the design at the top of the body to comfortably rest your arm. It is given an impressive semi-sunburst finish that really shows up the grain in the wood.
Quality with the neck as well with its slimline Maple design and Rosewood fingerboard. Also, the same materials used by Ibanez on some of their full-size basses. The design offers fast and accurate playing. This makes it an easy neck for a beginner to play but also suits more experienced players as it has a fast action. The neck scale length is 28.6 inches, and it has medium frets.
The headstock is plain with just the Ibanez logo on a black finish with the four tuners. The hardware is impressive with a hardtail bridge and four saddles. The pickups are placed in mid-body style as against the one in the neck one at the bridge design. There are two volume controls and a tone control. These produce a good and powerful sound that has a decent low end for a short scale bass.
There is no doubt that this is a very good bass guitar and one that we have to recommend as a well made and well-equipped bass guitar for kids. It is also a very affordable bass and ideal for a young starter or even an improver player beginning to progress.
- A quality build with good materials and hardware.
- Nice sound and easy to play.
3 Yamaha TRBX174 Bass Guitar
Yamaha are well known for the quality of their guitars. They are also well-known and respected for working with young musicians. This includes providing them with starter-level quality. This bass guitar is a very good example of Yamaha’s quality at an affordable price.
It has a Mahogany body with a double-cutaway design. The body shape also benefits from some bevels gently around the edges but also where your arm rests. The body is finished in an attractive dark wood stain that allows the grain to show through. It has a slimline Maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard and 24 frets on the short-scale neck. All frets are accessible courtesy of the deep cutaway, and there are inlay dots on the fingerboard.
Up at the top, the same dark wood stain of mahogany on the headstock as on the body and four chrome-plated tuners. The hardware is well fitted and includes a die-cast hardtail bridge. Each string has its own adjustable saddle. There are two single-coil pickups and tone control, and two volume controls finished in black.
However, its solid wood construction does mean it is a little heavy at eleven pounds.
A quality bass from a quality manufacturer with a good deep sound and plenty of power. It is easy to play and is one of the better bass guitars for kids. Set at a nice price point.
- Easy to play with good fittings and a comfortable neck.
- Affordable price.
- It might be a little heavy for some.
4 Squier by Fender Affinity Series Precision Beginner Electric Bass
As we said in our introduction, along came Leo Fender with his Precision bass. Here is a slightly scaled-down, rather less expensive version of that bass guitar. The “bass that rocks the world” as one well-known user stated. Only… not quite. More on this later.
It has an Alder body in a slightly smaller traditional design with the usual comfort bevels. And it is finished in what they call Race Red, which is actually a look-a-like of the famous Candy Apple Red of the 50s and 60s. It has a black pickguard.
Smooth, comfortable neck…
Being made of Alder makes this bass quite heavy at eleven pounds for a young player. It has a Maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. Sticking with the tradition of this iconic bass, there is a ‘C’ shaped neck. This makes it so easy to play and comfortable to move freely around the neck. There are twenty frets all accessible courtesy of the cutaway.
Up top, we have the standard Precision headstock shape with four open-geared tuners. Most things about this guitar just yell out about its history and status.
But let’s return to it being not quite a smaller Precision…
A Fender Precision is a guitar with a standard format. It has had that format for seventy years. If you start playing around with it, in our opinion, it ceases to be a Precision. The addition of a Jazz bass pick up is beyond us. Why? The Precision had a better sound than the Jazz with its passive single-coil pickup, why play games with it?
If the idea is to give you the best of both worlds, then it doesn’t work. Squier got this one wrong.
Two are sometimes not better than one…
As we said, it has a single-coil Precision pickup, placed where it should be. But there is a Jazz pickup placed at the bridge. There is a separate volume control for each pickup and a tone. The price tag is just about right, but it might be a bit pricey for some.
- Good quality build and good solid neck and easy playability.
- It doesn’t need a Jazz pickup; it’s supposed to be a Precision.
5 Hofner HOF-HI-BB-SB-O 4-String Bass Guitar
What on earth can you say about this bass guitar that hasn’t been said already? One of the images you picture in your mind of the greatest band the world will ever know. Close your eyes think Beatles, and this will be one of the things you see. To call it a bass icon doesn’t do it justice.
We can speak with some authority on this one as one of us used one for 7 or 8 years. He will say to you that for some styles of music there is absolutely nothing better. However, it is not so good for modern-day rock because of the hollow body feedback problems. But back then, it was a stunning bass.
The design is a mirror image, except this model has a fully hollow body. Finished in the ‘Violin’ style, the varnish gives it that authentic look. The woodworking on it is very good, and its back and sides are well made and crafted. Even down to the cream edging all the way around the higher and lower edges.
The authenticity in design doesn’t stop there. The famed little control panel is included. Plain, simple, and to be honest slightly vulnerable, but such an essential part of the look of the guitar. It also has a wooden bridge and a Hofner designed tailpiece. Up at the headstock is the Hofner logo and four tuners with white plastic heads.
Beautifully. A great easy shaped slimline neck and lightweight design make it so suitable for a starter. We wish we could have had one rather than the beast we learned the bass on.
Well, it won’t sound like the bass line on ‘All My Loving,’ but it is still a sweet sound that is warm and rich without too much depth. However, understandably, it is more expensive than some other starter basses.
As a best Beatles bass guitar for kids, is there anything better? Easy to play, lightweight, and is there a more famous bass guitar shape? The kids are going to love it.
- Very good recreation of a piece of bass guitar history.
- Well-made with good materials and a great sound.
- It might be a bit expensive for some as a starter instrument.
6 Oscar Schmidt 4 String OB25‑B 3/4 Size Bass
We like Oscar Schmidt guitars from previous reviews we have done. They make a decent instrument at a very good price and always give value for money. With this ¾ size bass, you don’t have to look too far to see where the design ideas come from. Everything about it says, Precision Bass.
It is a good bass for a young starter and especially those with hands that are a bit smaller. Sometimes spanning a full-size neck can be a problem for a young beginner. It is made of good materials with a solid Alder body with double cutaway and beveled top edge to rest your arm. It is finished in attractive glossy black and has a white scratchplate.
The neck is Maple with an Ebony fretboard. Up at the top is a very Precision looking headstock with four chrome-plated die-cast tuners. It has a hardtail bridge with four individual saddles, which is a good point for what is a budget guitar.
It has a split pickup design that is actually a humbucker, not a single-coil even though it has that authentic single-coil look about it. And delivers a lot of punch and has certain flexibility of times that the single-coils don’t give you. But it isn’t pretending to be a Precision even though it looks like one. Humbuckers then aren’t a bad choice.
From a starter point of view, a great design point is the weight. It weighs just five pounds and is easy to hold. For that reason, it is a decent beginner’s guitar for budding bass players. And certainly one of the best lightweight bass guitars for children. However, the price point on this guitar is quite expensive if you are looking for that first bass.
- Nice solid design using good materials.
- Easy playing style and lightweight for the young starter.
- Some may not want a humbucker pickup.
Forming a Band With Their Friends?
Bass is a fantastic instrument, but it’s even better when played with friends or family. So maybe your children are thinking about a band? If so, then check out our reviews of the Best Electric Guitar for Kids, the Best Acoustic Guitars for Kids, the Best Drum Set for Kids, the Best Violin for Kids, and the Best Kids Ukeleles currently available.
Best Bass Guitars For Kids Buyers Guide
Bringing Through The Next Generation
One of the important principles that any young bass player needs to understand is his or her role in the band. They are the bedrock of the sound. Its foundation. And we know what happens to a house if the foundations collapse.
You will not find a great band that hasn’t got a great bass player. You can have your lead guitar player consumed by his pedals and the drummer thrashing away, but it is the bass that holds it all together.
It is not primarily a solo instrument. Even though some frustrated ex-lead guitar players have turned it into that. Jazz is really the only medium where you will consistently see the bass taking an important solo passage. As CSN and Y sang. Teach your children well.
So what do they need to get to grips with this stunning instrument?
Bass guitars are bigger and heavier than the standard guitar. That is a problem for a young player. Size is, therefore, an important issue for anyone under about 12 or 13 (depending on their size).
The weight is what will guide you. Some we have looked at weigh as little as 5 pounds. Some up to eleven pounds. Be aware of the child’s size and maybe even test them out with something that weighs similar at home.
Easy to Play
These days most starter instruments are young player-friendly, so there isn’t usually a problem. The bass needs to be nicely balanced when they are sitting holding it. That means it isn’t neck heavy.
But it will be the neck that determines how easy it is to play. For us, the ‘C’ shape slimline neck will be the easiest for a starter to manage. Access to as many frets as possible is also an advantage.
Having decent hardware is important for a number of reasons. You will need accurate tuners that will hold the guitar in tune. In saying this, we must recognize that all student instruments are not made from the highest quality materials. But most will have a reasonable level of machine heads fitted.
The bridge is also quite important. There will be occasions when some slight adjustments might need to be made to assist in tuning. If the four stings each have their own saddle to sit on, then they can be adjusted individually. Some starter guitars do some don’t, best to have a look.
Most have the same single-coil setup, but some are fitted with two pickups, and in one case, there is a humbucker. The pickup will determine the sound the bass makes. And not just the sound, but the style.
This will be their first bass guitar in most cases, so set a budget and try not to exceed it. Most are in a similar price range. You will go out and find cheaper bass guitars, but remember they need to have a certain level of quality. A bad instrument won’t be playable, and the young player will stop before they get started, and another member of the next generation will be lost.
Another issue you might come across is that they might want a bass that looks similar to their hero’s guitar. That might be difficult to achieve in some cases, but there are some scaled-down versions of the real thing that are impressive.
Have fun choosing and start to lay the foundations.
So, What Is The Best Bass Guitars For Kids?
If we were asked to choose, what would it be? Well, we like them all. Well, not quite true, we didn’t like what Squier did to the Precision putting a Jazz pickup on it, but apart from that, we liked it.
There are some great little instruments out there. Any one of them is going to be a great little starter bass. But if we had to pick one. Just one. Then really for us, it is a bit of a no contest. It’s not cheap. It’s a bit different from the others. But it has a history, and it still sounds and plays great. Our choice for any young player would be the Hofner HOF-HI-BB-SB-O 4-String Bass Guitar.
An absolutely iconic instrument. And one of the best kids bass guitars you can buy.