Is Bass Cheaper Than Guitar?

photo of a bass guitarist on the left and guitar player on the right

Certain instruments can be more expensive than others. There can also be a lot of accessories which as a beginner you may not be aware that you need. Bass guitars and regular guitars have some unique differences, so today I will explain whether a bass guitar is cheaper than a regular guitar.

An acoustic bass and acoustic regular guitar cost the same at about $100 for the cheapest models. But, low-end electric bass guitars are about half the cost of low-end electric guitars. A low-end electric bass guitar can be as cheap as $75.00, whereas, the cheapest electric guitar is $150.00. 

In this article, I will go into more detail about what a beginner bass guitar player should spend on a bass or regular guitar. As well as, provide a price comparison of the leading guitar and bass guitar brands to show how cheap or expensive bass and regular guitars are.

Side by side price comparison of bass and regular guitars

Now, let’s look at a side-by-side comparison of the price of regular guitars and bass guitars. Here’s a really good table I put together that shows how much each type of guitar costs. It covers acoustic bass, electric bass, acoustic guitar, and electric guitars. I’ve provided a total of the available models based on how much they cost.

PriceElectric bassAcoustic bassElectric guitarAcoustic guitar
$100 to $2003117355
$200 to $3004199076
$300 to $5009220285190
$500 to $7509712443190
$750 to $1000107647774
*Data from

From the table above you can see that there are plenty of bass guitars and regular guitars to choose from at each price range. Except for acoustic bass guitars. Which have significantly fewer models compared to electric bass, electric guitar, and acoustic guitars.

And overall, they cost the same. They both start at the very low end, and at about $100 and get as expensive as $1000 or more. I’ve done some additional research looking around for the cheapest electric bass, and have found that you can buy them for as cheap as $75.00. 

But, I haven’t been able to find an electric guitar for cheaper than about $150.00. Therefore, at the very low-end bass guitars are cheaper. 

How Much Should My First Bass Cost (and First Guitar)

Generally, when starting out you should get the cheapest bass guitar or regular within reason unless you’re sure you really like guitar. If you’ve been playing your friend’s bass guitar or regular guitar. Or a bass guitar or regular guitar at your church or similar and you really like it, then you can get a guitar or bass that is a few steps up from the cheapest models.

Before getting into the ins and outs, here’s a really good table that summarises what price bass or regular guitar you should get and when, and shows that for you first bass or guitar you should get 

Type of bass or guitarWhen it makes sense to get it
Low-end (cheapest and slightly above) $75.00 to $350.00Your first bass or guitarIt’s a spare/secondary bass or guitar for travel
Mid-range $350 to $1000If you’re sure you really like playing bass or guitarYou’ve been playing bass or guitar for 3 to 6 months or more and want something betterYou don’t mind keeping it or reselling it if you find you don’t like guitar or bass
High end (most expensive) $1000+You will generally know when it makes sense to get an expensive guitarMost of the time you have been playing guitar for a year or more, or like to buy high quality things right off the bat.

Some people wonder whether playing bass is harder than playing guitar. I provided a detailed analysis and reasons why one is easier than another in this article about which is harder guitar or bass.

How Expensive is a Good Bass

It’s generally true that you get what you pay for. But, there are some exceptions, so I thought I’d explain how much a decent bass guitar costs, and how much you should spend on a bass guitar.

In general, a good bass costs over $400. A cheap bass guitar under about $400 typically doesn’t have a clear tone and doesn’t have good sustain at the low and high ends of the range. They also tend to have a metallic and/or dull quality to the tone which doesn’t sound as good.

The metallic tone is difficult to describe but is definitely noticeable if you compare two bass guitars side by side at different price ranges. Another way to describe it is that a cheap bass guitar sounds a bit ‘tinny’ or has a ‘twang’ to it. Here’s a good video that shows a side by side comparison so you can hear the difference:

If you don’t have much experience playing bass guitar you may not be able to hear the difference. But, if you’ve been playing for a while, say 1 month or more you can definitely hear that a mid-range priced bass guitar sounds A LOT better. It has a fuller, more resonant tone that is more pleasing to the ear.

I also did an analysis of the difference in sound quality between regular guitars at different prices, and put it together in this article about how much a good guitar costs.

How Much Money Does a Bass Guitar Cost?

The main factors to decide how much you should spend on a bass are the sound quality, how long you’ve been playing bass, and whether it will be your primary performance bass, or if it’s a travel bass that you don’t mind getting damaged. With all of this in mind, how much does a bass guitar cost?

An electric or acoustic bass costs $75 to $100 and up. The more money you spend on a bass guitar generally the better the sound quality. But, each bass guitar is unique and has a unique tone, even among bass guitars at the same price. So, it’s best to hear it before you buy it.

You can find certain bass guitars have a MUCH better tone at the same price point. For example, if you compare two bass guitars that both cost $200 you can find that one sounds much better than the other. 

For some reason or another the way it was made, or just random luck makes some bass guitars at the same price produce a far better tone than others that cost the same.

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