Beginner bass players or more experienced players wanting a cheapo/backup bass would most likely be more inclined to go used, but for £72.99 delivered in two days you can’t say no I guess, if you’re that lazy. Well, I know some magazines and reviews give a star rating but I don’t think it’s possible to judge the sound with stars – all I’ll say is that this bass sounds great now, with good strings it has all the snap and clank I like from a Precision. You could say it’s a little ‘poky’ sounding, but it has a really nice character and I really do like the treble response of that pickup. I now have a super playable and excellent sounding bass which is great to look at, comfortable, light and CHEAP! I definitely recommend that you buy one if you’re confident with doing setups or just want to have a play around – even for the painted body alone you can’t say fairer than the price. Others have pointed out how these basses could be the ideal testbed for modifying, but personally I think it’s just great fun playing such a cheap and cheerful instrument.
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Otherwise it seems to be cut just right and functional enough. Someone new to playing bass may not have much money to spend, not knowing whether they’ll play for long, and with so many other demands on finances – so one might assume a cheap bass is the way to go. I’m going to argue this can be the case, but with some exceptions.
No list like this could be complete without the connoisseur of the catalog, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. A rummage through bass guitar collection might find a cornucopia of Custom Kraft hollowbodies and other OOP oddities from the likes of Höfner, Teisco, Harmony and Silvertone in amongst the Gretsches and Guilds. Billie Joe Armstrong is like any number of punks who were given a cheap-o Superstrat as a kid and then radicalized it through adulthood, pummeling it mercilessly and ultimately modifying it with a proper humbucker and making it your number one.
In the spirit of cheapness, Harley Benton does a version for under $200. Do you need an expensive electric guitar to write and perform great music? Now, to answer this question, ideally we would gather a Live Aid’s worth of musicians in an aircraft hanger, position an over-sized condenser mic in the middle of them, and have them shout “No! ExcellentThis product is in “”like new”” condition and shows little to no signs of use.
I’ve a Harley Benton here that retails not far north of a hundred quid. I’ve changed the strings and can’t put it down, it’s not just ‘good for a cheapy’, it’s a properly useful instrument. A classic ‘bent tin’ affair, with five bolts at the back but also an extra two at the front corners. The saddles are free to move side to side of course, but once strings are under tension it’s stable enough. Adjusting the intonation was fine, but as mentioned I did have to file down the string slot on the G string as those barrel saddles are quite tall – but I’ve had to do that on all sorts of basses, not just cheap ones.
Like many on this list, Parton is partial to customizing and playing cheap guitars, and her Mitchell MM100 certainly wasn’t the first sub-$100 six-string she’s taken to the stage. In the past, she’s been spotted with a bedazzled Samick Greg Bennett Malibu Series Strat-style guitar – another wallet-friendly example that can be copped for around $85, minus the flashy rhinestone finish. There is an inherent difficulty in defining what counts as cheap. That’s just a paradox of retail economics that we’re going to have to live with here. I’d imagine these prices are mainly aimed at home studio warriors or guitar players who want to dabble in bass a little bit without too much effort or cost.