Category Archives for Guitar

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Bass Guitars You Can Buy in 2018

If you’re a bass player, you know the struggle of being constantly overlooked in favor of the lead guitar player. However, the bass is crucial in a band and having a good guitar will allow you to shine even if you can’t exactly play it with your teeth while kneeling and throwing up horn signs with your arms.

Playing the bass is tricky and requires a great feeling for rhythm and timing, but you’ll be able to manage it if you have the best bass guitar around. Today I’ll tell you how to get one and review the best ones on the market. So, let’s get this party started!

Which is the Best Bass Guitar Brand?

Before you even start looking at the guitars you need to know which brand you want to buy from, right? So, which one is the best?

Sorry to disappoint you but, strictly speaking, I don’t think there’s one, singular “best” brand out there – it simply doesn’t exist. There are good brands and bad brands, yes, but I can’t single out one as the best. Each brand offers something unique and something different, so it’s up to you to consider what you need and pick the best brand for you.

To help you choose, I’ll give you some info on some of the top brands and a few of their good and bad points.

Fender

 is a household name at this point, the legendary manufacturer who made the guitars for made bass guitars for some of the most accomplished guitarists of almost any genre.

Their best instruments are passive four-stringed guitars, but they do have five-string instruments as well.

Squier

is a subsidiary of Fender, but their guitars are different enough to deserve a section all about them. They specialize in making beginner instruments that cost less, aren’t quite as high-quality but are easy to play and, most of all, affordable. They also make some professional-level instruments as well.

If you’re a beginner though, you will want to take a look at this brand. Intermediate players on a budget should take a look at their guitars as well.

Ibanez

is the brand of choice for most metal guitarists, though their guitars have also found their way into pop and jazz bands. They’re a long-standing Japanese company that started out copying other brands but developed their own identity.

If you’re a metal musician or a beginner looking to start a metal band, you should consider Ibanez guitars as your choice.

Ibanez

 is not as well-known as Fender, but they have also been there since the beginning of rock music as we know it today. Plenty of legendary musicians have used their guitars and for a good reason – they make exceptional instruments that look great.

If you want a well-made, professional-level guitar, you’ll get one right here.

Yamaha

makes almost every instrument imaginable, so it’s no wonder they also make bass guitars. Their beginner offerings have been stellar in recent years – well-made, easy to pick up and play while remaining affordable. They also have some professional-level offerings in their lineup which won’t disappoint.

Overall, they have one of the largest catalogs out of all brands, and they make reliable gear. Take a look at them no matter what kind of bass guitar you want – they might have it.

Gibson

manufactures high-end guitars that look great, perform well and last for decades. Their products cost a lot, but if you’re looking for cool-looking guitars that play just as well as they look, you’ll find that at Gibson. It’s no wonder they are one of the top choices among rock bands.

Lakland

is a relatively new American company but one that has already made a name for itself. They offer high-quality guitars on the level of Fender while also having a lot of great beginner offerings in their lineup. Their guitars are particularly good for jazz musicians – if you’re one of them, check this company out.

Schester

is the ultimate choice for musicians on a budget. If you want great guitars that won’t set you back too much, you’ve got them right here. It’s the reason they’ve become one of the top choices for startup metal and rock bands. Their Stiletto series is a definite standout.

Those are just some of the top brands out there, but I’m sure you’ll find at least one that makes guitars you will like.

How to Pick the Right Bass Guitar

Not even the best of the best are quite sure how to pick the right guitar – they just go by feel and even then they sometimes fail. So, what can you do as a lesser player or even a beginner? Well, get yourself well-informed, first and foremost.

In this section I’ll tell you what you need to consider when picking the best bass guitar for you – I hope it helps.

The Tonewood Used in the Construction

Bass guitars can be made from many different materials, but the material used to make the body is arguably the most important factor. It greatly influences the sound of the instrument, and it should be an important factor when you choose your bass guitar.

Aghatis

 is wood commonly used to make starter bass guitars due to how inexpensive it is. It emphasizes the midrange tones over the upper ones.

Basswood

makes the guitar quite versatile since it’s soft and absorbs most of the vibrations. It is ideal for more complex playing due to having shorter sustain.

Maplewood

is dense which leads to guitars made from it having a crisp and bright tone as well as a clarity that makes it sound great on recordings. It’s not as good in a live setting, but it still sounds decent.

Mahagony

guitars sound fuller than most others and they emphasize the lower register due to its low resonance. You’ll find this material commonly used in some more expensive guitars.

Alder/Ash

guitars sound fuller than most others and they emphasize the lower register due to its low resonance. You’ll find this material commonly used in some more expensive guitars.

There are guitars out there made from other, rarer or more expensive woods, like ebony, but this is most of what you need to know. Also – avoid guitars with synthetic bodies, it nearly never works, and they sound awful.

The Number of Strings

The most common number of strings you’ll find in a bass guitar is four. I find that most players swear by that. However, that is not the be-all-end-all – there are bass guitars with five or six strings as well.

The four string models are common for a reason – they’re easier to play, and four strings is more than enough for most music genres. However, if you’re looking to play something out of the ordinary, having only those four strings will limit you.

Five-string models offer you the option of having a lower B which is essential for jazz and useful for both rock and metal. Six-strings add even more range with a high C string on them – if you want to play some experimental jazz or be a bass soloist, this is probably the best choice. It offers much more versatility than having five or four strings.

These two options are much harder to play though, so you shouldn’t pick them as a beginner. Once you’ve mastered the four-string bass though – why not give them a shot?

Electric or Acoustic?

Most of the bass guitars out there nowadays are electric ones. When people think of bass guitars, this is what most of them will imagine. They are versatile and easier to use but do require electricity and a bass amplifier to get going.

Acoustic bass guitars are rarer these days, but they require nothing but your hands. They offer a more natural feel and a deeper sound. They are harder to play, and you might struggle if you never played an acoustic guitar.

Hybrid basses also exist – they are rare though. They are hollow, and you can play them as either acoustic or electric, but they sound like a mix between the two.

The 5 Best Bass Guitars You Can Buy Right Now

Squier by Fender 310902558 Bronco Bass – A Small but Powerful Beginner Bass

This is a beginner bass with a scale of 30, making it ideal for people with smaller hands or children. Despite being a beginner instrument, it’s no slouch, and it offers a great looking Agathis body with a rich sound and a few great features like the 2-saddle chrome bridge.

It’ also got easy volume and tone control and tuning it up is a simple thing to do – even a child can tune it up. The sound is great and crisp without only minimal distortions. If you’re not an expert, you won’t be able to tell it apart from a professional instrument.

Sadly, it’s not as durable as you would at expect, to the point that it is not uncommon for it to be damaged during shipping. It’s also a bit too heavy for a beginner guitar, so watch out if you’re buying it for your kid.

PROS

Good beginner bass at a great price

Easy to tune up

Sounds and looks great

The size is perfect for smaller hands

CONS

A bit too heavy for a beginner instrument

Quite flimsy

Ibanez PCBE12MHOPN – Beauty and Versatility in One Package

Unlike the other instruments on the list, this is an acoustic bass, making it significantly different in both sound and handling from the other ones. It doesn’t make it less exceptional though, and it’s a great instrument that’s easy to pick up and play.

It’s got a solid and superb construction, combining mahogany for the body with maple for the neck. It’s all finished off by rosewood fretboards. It has a dark and rich sound to it with a variable tone so you can play it in a wide variety of styles. However, don’t be too aggressive with it or you will have problems – you have to play it lightly.

Playing it is easy, and it’s quite a light guitar so nearly anyone can hold it without issues. It does have some trouble staying in tune, but if you play it lighter than an electric bass, it will sound great.

It’s a beautiful and highly affordable instrument fit for beginners and more experienced players alike.

PROS

Variable tone

Light and easy to play

Superb and beautiful construction

It’s a highly affordable instrument

CONS

It has trouble staying in tune

You have to play it lightly

Dean E09M Edge – Well-made and Superbly Easy to Play

This is a 34-inch basswood instrument with a maple neck, a rosewood fretboard and a vintage style to it. To be honest, I think it looks a bit drab but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the instrument just plays marvelously. It has a nice, soft sound that’s crisp and well-intonated.

Tuning this instrument is quite easy through the Diecast Dean tuners, and the intonation can be adjusted so you can play a wide variety of styles with it.

Like the entire Edge series from the Dean brand, this guitar is light and comfortable to hold, more than most others. Even with the longer neck, it will be good for beginners or those with smaller hands.

The only thing making playing harder is the fact that it has only one passive pickup, though you can add more as well as an active pickup if you need it.

PROS

Adjustable intonation

Easy tuning

The sound is awesome

The price is affordable to anyone

CONS

It looks quite bland

Only one passive pickup

Silvertone LB11 – A Gorgeous Guitar with Essential Accessories

This is not just a guitar; it’s a whole package that will help you get started with playing bass. It comes at a supremely affordable price considering everything you get with the guitar – a BAX bass amp, strings, neck strap, picks, a cable, a carry bag, a digital tuner and a few smaller extras.

But, how’s the guitar itself? Well, it looks cool in its cobalt blue color, the body is made of good-quality ash while the 34-inch neck is made out of maple. It sounds awesome once you get to playing it, though you might need to replace the amp and the strings included – they are not of the best quality.

Overall, it’s just a great beginner bass and an amazing deal for the price. If you’re just starting out with playing the bass guitar, this one along with all the extras will help you a lot.

PROS

Great for a beginner with lots of cool extras

Highly affordable price

The sound is awesome

Awesome looking bass

CONS

The amp has some distortion

The strings will need replacing

Fender Standard Precision Electric Bass Guitar – A High-quality Bass Fit for Pros and Beginners Alike

As with most Fender products, this is a high-quality instrument made to fit its purpose almost to perfection. It has a great look, it plays well, and it has a ton of additional features.

Among those features is a push-pull switch located in the tone knob which you can use to achieve a single-coil chime. The guitar does have only a single coil but its split into two, providing a smooth tone. The pickups also sound great with almost any amplifier, even a cheap one. The sound is choppy, bright and vibrant.

Even if you don’t care about all the advanced feature, this instrument is easy to use and tune, so it can fit even a beginner. The price tag is a bit higher, but it is worth the cost.

The only major downside is the flimsiness of the materials. It’s still a nice guitar but not as durable as you would expect from a Fender product.

PROS

Superb, modern coil design for a nice tone

Easy to tune and play

Good for both beginners and pros

Versatile

CONS

The cost is a bit high

Not as durable as you would expect from Fender

My Pick for the Best Guitar

As I said when it came to brands – there’s just no way to pick one as the best out of all. It’s all a matter of taste and what you need out of your instrument. So, this is just my personal judgment and not an absolute truth, but I think that the Fender bass wins out today.

It’s just a great guitar for almost any skill level, it plays like a dream and looks like a dreamboat. It’s not as durable as I thought it would be but it’s still a kickass bass, and you can’t go wrong with it.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Would you pick a different guitar? Sound off in the comments, and I hope I’ll see you next time as well.

How to play Guitar – Beginner’s Guide

No matter your current age or occupation, learning to play a new instrument is always rewarding. The guitar is a very popular instrument, and while many have a desire to learn, often they give up because the learning gets too demanding for them.

Don’t let this discourage you; I will give you a simple guide which you can overcome very quickly and grow from it. You will learn everything a beginner needs to know without paying for a guitar instructor or beginner guitar classes. All you need is a desire to learn and the determination to become a guitarist.

Buying your first guitar

Before we get started with basic lessons, first you need to get yourself a guitar. While browsing guitars, you can choose whichever you want based on your personal preference. But, there are some important factors you need to consider.


Pay attention to:

  • Guitar’s price
  • Guitar’s style
  • Your size and age
  • The condition of the guitar
  • Where you’re buying it

Where to get it

Since you’re new to all of this, avoid the flea market, yard sales, and pawn shops. Used guitars should be purchased by people who have plenty of experience with guitars. Beginners are easily tricked; you might end up buying an overpriced guitar that has a lot of wear and tear.

Your safest bet is to go to the nearest music shop and get yourself a brand new instrument. You can even buy it online, but use only the trusted sources and be sure that the shop has a good return policy.

How much will it cost

The price tags of guitars can vary a lot. The prices go as high as $1000 and beyond, but most agree that a good quality guitar is between $300 and $500.

This sounds a bit much for a start, doesn’t it? Don’t worry; there are plenty of good quality guitars for just a couple hundred of bucks.

There are plenty of package options as well, these are good beginner options since they include everything you need to get you started, and they are often offered at a discount too.

Three types of guitar

It’s up to you to decide which type of guitar you want to play. You can choose from classical, electric and acoustic. My advice to everyone who is just starting is to learn how to play the acoustic guitar first. Classical guitar has a wide neck which can be pretty hard for newcomers.

Especially for the younger players, since they have smaller hands. Electric guitars are not that hard to learn, but they require a lot of additional equipment, amplifier at least, which raises the cost significantly.

Acoustic guitars are affordable and don’t require additional equipment, which makes them the best choice for beginners.

Checking the guitar’s condition

If you have a really limited budget, and you want to get a used guitar, you should know at least few pointers how to inspect it properly. I wouldn’t recommend at all that you go on a search for a guitar that has some mileage on it, but if you have to, at least I can help you a bit.

Take the guitar in your hands to inspect it. Take a look at its neck and run your hand slowly up and down, and I don’t mean that you should check the strings, but the back part. The surface should be smooth with no sharp edges.

Now turn it over and check the heel. The heel is the below the neck, where it meets the body. If the guitar is in fair condition, it shouldn’t have any cracks between the neck and the heel.

Now check the front. Inspect the bridge, grab a pick and run it between the bridge and the body. It shouldn’t have any gaps. The only thing left to check is the guitar’s string height. Press down on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fret.

You should be able to do it with minimal force applied. Now come to the 12th fret and press the strings down, the distance between the top of fret and the bottom of the string shouldn’t be more than 3 times. If it’s 5 times the distance, the neck of the guitar might be warped, or the bridge might be too high.

First things first

The first lesson we need to cover is how to hold the guitar properly. I don’t know do you have any experience with guitars, so we will start from the beginning. Right off the bat, you should also learn three basic numbering systems.

How to hold it

The first lesson we need to cover is how to hold the guitar properly. I don’t know do you have any experience with guitars, so we will start from the beginning. Right off the bat, you should also learn three basic numbering systems.

Numbering systems

There are 3 numbering systems for frets, fingers, and strings.

Frets

are the metal strips that lay on the neck of the guitar. If you’re right-handed the one that’s farthest to your left is the first one. The one next to it is the second one etc. Even though this is extremely simple, it’s important that you understand it before you start practicing chords.

Fingers 

have a very simple numbering system. The index finger is the 1st one, the middle one is the 2nd, the ring finger is the 3rd, and the pinky is 4th. Also very simple, but very important to remember, so you will know where to put your fingers in order to make a chord.

Strings 

are the last numbering system. The thinnest string is the 1st one, and the fattest one is the 6th. Maybe the easiest numbering system to remember.

Basic Strumming

Now it’s time for you to get to know the guitar pick and the strumming technique.

How to choose a pick

Since you’re just beginning to use one, I would suggest that you get a standard medium thickness pick. Start with that one, and go from that point as you prefer, you can try thinner or thicker later on. You can play without one if you want to, in that case, you can make the motions with your thumb and index finger.

How to hold the pick

The way you hold a pick depends on your preference, grab it with your thumb and your index finger in a way that feels the most natural to you. Hold it firm, but stay relaxed, if that makes sense to you. A lot of new players have the difficulty with holding the pick if you notice that you can hold it, include your middle finger in the grip.

That way you will have the stability you need, and eventually, you will be able to hold the pick using only two fingers. Try different grips and keep the one that feels the best for you.

Strumming technique

Before we start with the strumming technique, I would like to tell you few things that will help you at the start. Remember not to use only your elbow in the motion; you should use your wrist and the elbow simultaneously. Your hand should be relaxed, but you should hold the pick firmly.

Try a few downstrokes. They are easier, and you will start to get the feeling how you should strum. Downstrokes don’t require a lot of practice and time, and as soon as you get the feeling how you should strum, we can move on to upstrokes.

Upstrokes could be pretty demanding for you right now. But, you can make them seem a bit easier by following these tips:

  • Don’t strum through all the strings. Not even if the chord requires them. Most players go only through the top three strings.
  • Use as much as the pick you need to get the desired volume. But, if you use too much of it, you might have trouble pushing it through all the strings.

Relax and try few upstrokes and keep the things above in your mind.

When you overcome upstrokes, it’s time for you to learn the counting. Majority of the song is in 4-4 time. That means there are 4 beats for each music measure. You might saw a drummer count “1-2-3-4”, those numbers are the beat.

Try strumming while counting “1-2-3-4” out loud. Strum with downstrokes on “1” each time you count. That way you’re strumming whole notes. If you try strumming on every number, you will be strumming quarter notes.

Chord Shapes

The easiest chord shapes are E-Minor and D2, but I will tell you about a couple more. Before you start learning chords, make sure your guitar is in tune.

C Major

  • Put the first finger on the 2nd string at the 1st fret. Your middle finger should be at the 2nd fret, and the ring finger should be on the 5th string at the 3rd fret.
  • Let the 1st and 2nd strings be open.
  • check
    Strum the bottom 5 strings, that’s C-chord for you!

D Major

  • Put the first finger on the 3rd string at the 2nd fret, and your fourth finger should be on the 2nd string at the 3rd  fret position.
  • Let the 4th string be open.
  • check
    Strum the bottom 4 strings.
  • check
    Listen to the sound that is D-chord.

D2 Major

  • Put your index finger on the second fret of the third string, and your third finger on the third fret of the second string.
  • Strum all strings and you will hear the D2-chord!

E-Minor

  • Put your middle finger on the 5th string at the 2nd fret, and your ring finger on the 4thstring at the 2nd fret.
  • Leave all other strings open.
  • check
    Strum all the strings and you got yourself E-minor chord!

G Major

  • Put your middle finger on the 5th string at the 2nd fret, your ring finger on the 6th string at the 3rd fret, and your pinky on the 1st string at the 3rd fret. This one might be a bit tricky.
  • Leave other strings open.
  • check
    Strum all the strings and you will get the tone of the G-chord!

How to make those chords clean

If you’re having trouble making these chords sound clear, try pulling your elbow a bit closer to your body. Now your hand should be in a better position. You can even try sitting on a footstool or standing and carrying the guitar on a strap. These positions should make the guitar stand higher and give you the ability to reach the notes correctly.

Smooth chord transitioning

Almost every new player finds the changing of chords extremely challenging. You can change the chords smoothly by following these two tips:

  • Try to remember the shapes of the chords, this way you will know how to create the shape instantly and transition smoothly. The time you spend memorizing the chord shapes will mean less time spent frustrated when you can’t transition smoothly.
  • Before you need to switch to another chord, try to visualize it, think about how it looks and how it feels, this way you will anticipate it and make the change much faster and natural.

Playing your first song

Now to put everything we went through to work is to play an actual song. The only thing left for you to learn to play music is chord progressions. A chord progression is an order of chords that you play together to form a song.

I got a simple song for you that involves only two chords. Play in E-minor for one “1-2-3-4” measure, and then play D2 chord “1-2-3-4” for one measure. Count out loud and strum each chord on “1”.

Congratulations! You played your first song!

In conclusion

And that’s it; you learned everything you need to call yourself a rising guitar player! From this point onward you should progress to more complicated songs and overcome them one by one. Remember that practice makes perfect, and playing the guitar is all about practice.

If you truly want to be a good guitar player, don’t neglect it, and keep on practicing!