The Best Acoustic Bass Guitars (2023)
Sometimes you just can’t beat the classical vibe of an acoustic guitar. They sound great, they’re lighter and cheaper than electric guitars, you’re not tethered to an amp, and there are a lot of playing techniques that only work on an acoustic instrument. For some reason, acoustic bass guitars are much less common than electric bass guitars. You really have to go on a safari if you want to find an acoustic bass to supply the rhythm section to your rock band. We want to save you all that trouble, and that’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best acoustic bass guitars on the market. You’ll be grooving and slapping that bass without an amp in no time.
Carry on reading to see our full list of the best acoustic bass guitars, followed by a recap breaking down what makes each product on our list stand out.
What Should You Look For in an Acoustic Bass Guitar?
If you’re buying your first bass, then you probably don’t really know what to look for in the best products. We’ve made this list of criteria to help you know what to expect moving forward. We also hope that this will allow you to conduct your own research. Even if you’re a slapping pro, it might help you to see what our criteria are. This way, you can understand how we came to our conclusions, and you can decide whether or not you agree or disagree. And with that, here are the criteria we used to find the best acoustic bass guitars on the market.
Criteria #1: Sound Quality
This one is pretty obvious. The most important aspect of any musical instrument, with bass guitars being no exception, is the sound quality. No matter how good you are, nobody wants to hear you jam on a bass that sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Obviously, it’s a little hard to judge sound quality without actually playing an instrument, but we’re going to do our best. We’re going to analyze reviews and describe the material the guitar is made of so that you have the best idea possible of what you’re buying.
Criteria #2: Design
Part of the “design” criterion will literally just be looking nice. You don’t want to carry around a bass guitar that looks like you pulled it out of the dumpster. But in addition to pretty instruments – a nice body, fancy tuning pegs, maybe even flashy inlays – we’re looking for basses that feature a design that will maximize your potential. Some of this will be personal preference. I can’t stand any bass or guitar without a cutaway body and at least 22 frets, but some features, like good action and durability, will be more objective. We’re going to try and find the best acoustic bass guitar on the market that has both the objective traits we’re looking for and the subjective traits of your dream instrument. A musician is only as good as their instrument.
Criteria #3: Size
Just like our previous criterion, the size criterion is largely subjective. There is some objectivity…a bass that’s too small is too useless, and a bass that’s much too large is just annoying. But for the most part, this will be entirely up to your preference. I can’t pretend to know exactly what you’re looking for, but we’ll make sure to include the exact measurements of every product on our list so that you can know exactly what to expect from any bass guitar we show you that manages to catch your eye. Bigger isn’t always better, but size does matter.
Criteria #4: Price
We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Acoustic Bass Guitars
We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best acoustic bass guitars” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised. We’ll also make sure to include a wide variety of products that covers different niches and price points. Finally, we’ll take the time to mention any important features that didn’t fit squarely into our above-mentioned criteria. This way, everyone can find the perfect product that will satisfy their needs and their budget.
And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best acoustic bass guitars available in 2021.
#1: Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass (Best Value – All-Purpose)
If you’ve ever so much as held a guitar before, you’re probably pretty familiar with the Fender brand. Fender is one of the biggest and most popular distributors of stringed instruments, and they make excellent products for beginners and professionals alike. That means it should come as no surprise to see the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass as the first product on our list.
This acoustic bass comes with a flame maple body that features a beautiful sunburst finish which is sure to both sound great and look great. The 20-fret laurel fretboard is a classic darker color and features beautiful reverse dot and bar inlays that are a nice twist on the boring old style. The body of the guitar boasts a cutaway design that will let you easily reach every fret on the neck, so this bass gives you the full spectrum of sound, and you can even get a little fancy and solo on it.
Like most acoustic basses these days, the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass is an acoustic-electric bass, and it’s backed up by the Fishman preamp that features simple knobs for volume, bass, and treble. The preamp also boasts a built-in tuner and a battery gauge, which makes it perfect for performers and beginners alike.
Our top-ranked acoustic bass guitar features a medium-sized frame, and on top of everything, the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass is one the cheapest acoustic basses out there. Its price and performance combine to make it fantastic for beginners and pros, and it’s just about the best value out there. This all came together to make the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass an easy choice to be our number one best acoustic bass guitar.
#2: Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar (Best Overall Acoustic Bass Guitar)
If you’re a diehard amateur bass player or a bonafide professional concert performer, you’re probably less concerned with getting the best deal for your dollar, and more concerned with getting the best instrument, full stop. That means that, while it earned our number one spot, the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass might not be the best acoustic bass guitar for you. If you’re looking to splurge on something that will really bring your performances to life, then you might be more interested in the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar.
This Martin acoustic bass is one of the best acoustic bass guitars out there, no qualifiers. We’re not going to sugarcoat it. This thing costs a fortune. But if your livelihood depends on it, the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar just might be worth the money. Here are the big selling points that will convince you to invest in your music career by purchasing the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: 23 Frets
Whether you’re talking about acoustic basses or electric basses, these 4-string guitars are designed to play, well, the bass notes. This means that most bass guitars usually don’t have as many frets as the typical 6-string, because you’re probably going to stick to the lower frets anyway. Of course, the best music is made by pushing boundaries and mashing genres, and plenty of the funkier bassists out there will want a longer neck that lets them get creative and show off their chops. Thankfully for those people, the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar’s ebony fretboard boasts 23 frets – just one short of two full octaves. Plus, the Sitka spruce body features a cutaway design, so you’ll be able to easily play on every single one of those extra frets. The Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar is the best acoustic bass guitar for anyone who wants to reach those higher notes and stretch into the sound range of a standard guitar.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Built to Last
If you’re shelling out all this money for a top-tier, professional-grade acoustic bass, you probably want to make sure it won’t break on you. Luckily, thanks to the Sitka spruce front and rosewood back, the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar is an acoustic bass that can last through the ages. If you really stick to it and keep rocking out into your later years, this bass just might end up paying for itself from the money it saves you. If you’re looking for an acoustic bass to be your last acoustic bass, then it’s worth it to pay for the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar so you can skip any thoughts of ever needing a replacement.
The Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar has more to offer than just a long neck and durable design. This acoustic bass earned praise for its tone thanks to the fine craftsmanship and wood choice. Plus, the minimalist design with a tan body and no-inlays fretboard is sure to please musicians who have become tired of the flashy style that’s becoming more popular.
Finally, the Fishman Matrix V built-in preamp has been praised for providing the volume boost you’ll need without muddying up the sound quality at all. Just as with our number one pick, the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar has a medium-sized body that will fit comfortably in most players’ hands, and it features a 34-inch scale length.
If you’re a beginner or even a more intermediate hobbyist, then you should probably save your money and pass on this premium-grade bass. But if you’re trying to break out into the limelight, the Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar might just be the acoustic bass that brings you to stardom.
#3: Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar (Best Smaller Bass Guitar)
For a lot of reasons that we’ll get into later, acoustic basses just run bigger than acoustic guitars. But don’t worry, you’re not stuck out of the loop if you have smaller hands but still want to provide some thumping bass rhythms. The Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar – which is featured on just about every list of the best acoustic bass guitars out there – is the best option out there for anyone who wants something a little less bulky.
Our 3rd-ranked acoustic bass guitar has a frame of 18 x 7 x 45 inches, and I don’t think you need a ruler to tell you that’s pretty small. But the Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar isn’t just small; this beautiful guitar features a classic ebony fingerboard with dot inlays with a marble pickguard, and it manages to produce a loud sound despite its smaller body. On top of that, it features excellent onboard electronics.
Other than the small size, the finish is definitely what stands out to me about this mini acoustic bass guitar. There’s just something so sleek and appealing about the all-maple body that’s hard to beat. With no awkward joints or junctures, this is one of the nicest guitars on the market, no question about it.
The only real flaw with the Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is that it’s definitely on the expensive side of things, but it doesn’t approach the “professionals only” price range of our previous Martin acoustic bass guitar. Of course, due to its small size, it also only has 20 frets.
If you’re taken by this Taylor Guitars acoustic bass guitar but don’t like the smaller size, you can always check out the rest of Taylor’s catalog. And if you want something smaller that still sounds great (and loud), then you’ll definitely want to buy the Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar.
#4: Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar (Best Low Cost)
I’ve bought a lot of cheap instruments in my life worried they were too good to be true. And, honestly, most of the time, they were. But the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar is the real deal, and honestly, there’s something comforting about the fact that, though it’s one of the cheapest acoustic basses out there, it doesn’t quite reach the unrealistic territory.
Reviewers have painted the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar in a positive light as a “no-frills” acoustic bass guitar, and there’s definitely something nice about the “Keep It Simple Stupid” approach. This is doubly true if you’re a beginner or just a bassist on a budget who doesn’t want to spend a ton of money on the fancy bells and whistles.
The Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar features a spruce top that offers both durability and resonant sound quality, plus it has a cutaway body and 22 frets so even beginners can access the full musical spectrum right away. The built-in Fishman preamp includes a tuner, so you beginners will have an easier time learning their way around their new instrument, and you’ll hopefully manage to not pop as many strings as I did when I first started.
The cheapest acoustic bass guitar on our list has measurements of 45.5 x 17.75 x 7 inches, a scale length of 32 inches, and a weight of just 11 pounds. It also features a beautiful sleek black body with an ebony fingerboard and classic dot inlays. The all-mahogany build is sweet and simple, which probably contributed to the cheap price of the Feacoustic bass Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar.
I could go on and on about this acoustic bass guitar, but you probably get the point by now – the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar is the ideal, affordable, jack of all trades and master of none. If you’re trying to find a cheap acoustic bass, then the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar is the best acoustic bass guitar for you. It can also make a great gift for anyone in your life who expressed an interest in picking up a bass guitar.
#5: Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar (Best Jumbo Bass)
We already showed you the Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar, and now, for all of the bigger folks out there, or just anyone who wants a big acoustic bass, there’s the Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar.
This is one of the best acoustic bass guitars on the market, and it’s particularly great for anyone who wants to get nice and loud without leaning on the built-in preamp. This spruce-topped jumbo bass has a scale length of 34 inches and full measurements of 50 x 7 x 21 inches, but despite its large size, the Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar weighs only 8.85 pounds. That mitigates a lot of the cons that come with a larger instrument, though there are still some bass players that will find this Takamine jumbo acoustic bass to be a bit unwieldy.
The Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar has 21 frets to give you decent command of almost two octaves per string. As far as aesthetics go, it has a beautiful sunburst design that includes the sides of the guitar. The top is made from spruce while the bottom is made from maple. Finally, the Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar comes equipped with the TK-40B preamp system, which has been praised for its stage-ready volume and sound quality.
The last acoustic bass on our list comes with a price tag that falls pretty firmly in the intermediate range. It’s not exactly baby’s first acoustic bass, but anyone who’s gotten their feet wet will understand that this is pretty much what acoustic basses go for.
Remember – with acoustic basses, size matters. A larger acoustic bass means louder volume. So if you want to be able to make the room shake without plugging into an amp, then the Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is the best acoustic bass guitar for you.
Acoustic Bass FAQs
We’ve officially finished showing you actual acoustic basses, but I’m sure you still have some questions that you want to get off your chest. Especially if you’re buying your first acoustic bass, we understand that you won’t know everything just yet, and it’s our job to make sure you know as much as possible and to at least cover the basics. For that reason, we’ve added this FAQ section to our article to make sure that we send you on your way with all the information you need to make the best purchase based on your wants and needs. Keep reading to have your pressing questions answered so you can go ahead and buy the acoustic bass of your dreams.
Are Acoustic Bass Guitars Worse Than Electric Bass Guitars?
The short and simple answer is “no.” It’s largely a matter of taste, which will mostly depend on your genre of choice. An electric bass is much better if you’re going to be playing metal or heavier rock, while an acoustic bass is fantastic for a folksy or bluegrass style. Of course, there’s a whole subgenre just reaching its peak now of percussive-style guitar playing that’s only really possible on an acoustic instrument. You know your musical taste better than I do, and I’m sure you’ll be able to decide if an acoustic bass is the right choice for you or if you’re better off going with an electric bass.
Why Are Acoustic Bass Guitars So Rare?
After reading our last question and learning that acoustic basses are not worse than electric bass, you may be wondering why acoustic basses are so rare. The short answer is that they’re annoying and difficult to make. The reason for this is that, for an acoustic bass to get loud enough to be heard over an acoustic guitar, it needs to be very large. Of course, if it gets too big, then things get much more expensive and much more inconvenient for the bassists. This is also the main reason why pretty much every acoustic bass features electric capabilities. The purpose of the acoustic aspect is more for the acoustic sound than it is for playing without an amp.
How Should I Pick the Size of My Bass Guitar?
If you read the previous question and answer, you might be able to figure this one out on your own. Part of it will just come down to physical comfort. If you’re on the smaller side, you probably don’t want a cello-sized instrument that you need to lug around, and if you’re a bigger person, you won’t want an instrument that will feel like a kid’s toy in your hands. But there’s also the musical aspect. The bigger the instrument, the louder the volume, and this will of course also change the timbre of the sound. If you want a deep, resonating sound that isn’t reliant on an amp, you should buy a bigger bass for your acoustic instrument. Otherwise, it’s probably easiest to save yourself the trouble and go with something smaller.
Verdict: Your Best Acoustic Bass Guitars
We’re reaching the end of our list, and you’re hopefully starting to get a good idea of which of our products is best for you. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, not to worry. We don’t want to rush, and we know how important it is to make sure you’re getting the acoustic bass guitar that’s perfect for you. That’s why we’re going to recap all of our acoustic bass guitars and focus on their standout features. This way, you’ll be able to see the highlights and really know what each product has to offer for you.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass.
Fender is such a household name for a reason. The Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass features a beautiful design that any beginner will love, and you have 20 frets on a laurel fingerboard with dazzling inlays. Plus, the cutaway body makes accessing the higher notes easier than ever, and the preamp features a tuner that will help anyone just getting their feet wet.
This bass has been praised for its beautiful sound quality, and it has a medium-sized frame that should keep everyone happy. And best of all, the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass has an affordable price that’s reasonable for a beginner and cheap for any more experienced bassist. That all comes together to make the Fender-FA-450CE Acoustic Bass the best value on the market.
If you need the smallest bass possible, pick the Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar.
Basses are not small instruments by design. That goes double for acoustic basses, which need to be big enough to produce audible notes in that lower register. Thankfully, for anyone who wants something a little easier to get their arms around, the Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is nice and small.
This mini bass guitar also has a beautiful all-maple finish that will impress your friends before you even start playing. Throw in 20 frets and a cutaway frame, and you’re good to go. You also get a loud sound that defies the small size, plus you have an excellent preamp that’s received praise from all of the professional reviewers. The Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a more convenient acoustic bass.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar.
Musical instruments can feel like a daunting investment, but the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar proves it doesn’t have to be that way. This affordable Fender acoustic bass is the perfect introduction to music. It has all of the standard features you can ask for, and it boasts a great sound that will make for a satisfying beginning to your musical journey.
There’s almost nothing to say about the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar because it’s basically the default bass, but that’s very much a good thing. The Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar is as cheap as it gets while still being viable, and it’s the perfect choice for beginners or anyone who just wants a cheap spare bass for traveling or around the house. No matter what your reason for wanting to save, you can’t go wrong with this Fender bass.
We’ve shown you five fantastic acoustic bass guitars, and we’re finally ready to wrap things up. If none of the basses we’ve highlighted above are quite what you’re looking for, then you might be more interested in the durable and versatile Martin BC-16E Bass Guitar or the jumbo-sized Takamine GB72CE-BSB Jumbo Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar. You also might want to research the rest of the market, and that’s fine too.
Remember, all of our acoustic basses on our list have a standout feature that separates them from the crowd, so that’s where you’ll want to focus when you’re making your final decision. Of course, you may also want to work backward by deciding on the most important feature for you before looking at the options. No matter which approach you decide to take, we hope our list helps you make the best choice.
That’s all for now. Good luck in your musical journey, and enjoy some rocking, rumbling acoustic bass!