Looking to buy a new bass but don’t want or need an amp to go with it? An acoustic bass may be for you.
While not as popular as their electric brethren, acoustic basses are great because they can be heard without amplification. That’s great for when you’re just practicing around the house, or jamming with friends playing other acoustic instruments.
Even if you don’t want to go totally “unplugged,” don’t worry – most acoustic basses come equipped with electronics to plug into any PA or amplifier.
Since there aren’t as many popular acoustic basses as electric basses, you may be wondering where to start. Well, you’re in the right place.
We’ve compiled the 10 best acoustic bass guitars on the market for every budget and style. We’ll explore each bass in-depth, focusing on key factors like build quality and playability.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
The Best Acoustic Bass Guitars
- Ibanez AEB10E – Editor’s Choice
- Fender CB-60SCE – Best for Beginners
- Ibanez PNB14E – Budget Pick
- Dean EABC Cutaway – Best Under $300
- Fender Kingman Bass V2 – Best Value
- Guild B-240E – Best Under $500
- Takamine GB72CE – Premium Pick
- Cordoba Mini II Bass MH-E – Best for Small Hands
- Kala U-Bass – Best Travel Bass
- Ibanez AEB105E – Best 5-String
Ibanez AEB10E – The Best Acoustic Bass Overall
For a great all-around acoustic bass, you can’t go wrong with the Ibanez AEB10E. Ibanez is known for making solid bass instruments, and the AEB10E is no exception.
The AEB10E begins with a great base of mahogany back, neck and sides. This is capped with a spruce top, along with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. This combination of tonewoods gives you a warm, full sound with a rich low end. Rosewood fingerboards are also a classic choice for great playability.
Since this is an acoustic/electric bass, we have to give some special attention to its electronics. The AEB10E comes equipped with a Fishman Sonicore pickup along with a SST preamp that provides punchy amplified tones. Fishman is the standard in acoustic electronics, so that’s definitely a great addition at this price point. The preamp gives you control over the EQ, along with an onboard tuner.
Other great features of the AEB10E include pearl dot inlays on the fretboard, die-cast chrome tuners, and a beautiful inlay around the soundhole.
The AEB10E would be a great instrument for those looking for a solid acoustic/electric bass. For under $400, it’s a good quality bass with high quality Fishman electronics. Everyone from beginner to intermediate to pro should find something they enjoy with this bass. For those reasons, it’s our Editor’s Pick.
- Fishman Sonicore pickup
- Good tonewoods
- Some fret buzz reported
- Prone to feedback
Fender CB-60SCE – Best Acoustic Bass for Beginners
If you’re just starting out and are looking to buy your first acoustic bass, the Fender CB-60SCE would make a great choice.
Fender is probably the most popular brand for guitars and basses in the world, so it’s no surprise to find them here. With the CB-60SCE you get all the quality you’d expect from the Fender name, at a great price.
The CB-60SCE features a spruce top with mahogany back, neck and sides. This classic tonewood combination produces a warm and balanced tone. A walnut fingerboard with rolled edges is also great for comfort and playability.
One reason the CB-60SCE is great for beginners is its concert-sized body. This reduced body size makes it easier for smaller people to grasp, while still producing a full sound. The CB-60SCE also features a slim taper and open cutaway to make getting up and down the fretboard a breeze.
Another great feature of the CB-60SCE is its electronics. It comes equipped with Fishman’s Classic Design pickup/preamp system. This system gives you 2-band EQ, along with a volume control and onboard tuner. For a bass under $350, having Fishman electronics is definitely a plus.
The CB-60SCE would be a solid choice for beginners, or smaller-sized individuals who don’t want to play a full-sized acoustic bass. Its concert-sized body and easy-to-play shape make it a fun instrument to learn and grow on.
- Easy to play, Concert body
- Fishman electronics
- Plastic nut
- Doesn’t come with gig bag
Ibanez PNB14E – Best Cheap Acoustic Bass
If you’re looking for a solid acoustic/electric bass on a budget, the Ibanez PNB14E may be your best bet.
The first thing you’ll notice about the PNB14E is that it’s a tiny instrument. Parlor-sized guitars were popular before World War II and have recently experienced a revival. Perhaps that’s because the smaller scale makes it much easier to play for those with smaller hands and bodies. It also makes a great travel guitar.
The top, back and sides of the PNB14E are all made of okoume. This is a naturally warm wood that delivers well-balanced tone at a great value. A maple neck with a laurel fingerboard offers easy playability in a compact package.
The PNB14E also comes equipped with quality Ibanez electronics, complete with its AEQ-2T preamp. This preamp gives you access to volume, 2-band EQ and an onboard tuner.
For under $250, the PNB14E is a very solid instrument. It would be a great bass for beginners, those with smaller hands, or people looking for a great travel bass on a budget. Its electronics make it easy to bring to an open mic or a coffee shop gig where you might not want to lug your full, more expensive rig.
- Parlor size
- Solid tonewoods and electronics
- Strings a little loose
- Plastic nut and saddle
Dean EABC Cutaway – Best Acoustic Bass Under $300
If you’re looking for a full-sized acoustic bass that punches above its price, look no further than the Dean EABC Cutaway.
The EABC Cutaway uses a 34” scale that produces a fuller and deeper tone than much more expensive instruments. With its select spruce top and mahogany back, sides and neck, the EABC Cutaway definitely produces a big, traditional acoustic sound.
As the name implies, the EABC Cutaway features an open cutaway for easier access to higher frets. A rosewood fingerboard gives you smooth playability up and down the neck.
The EABC Cutaway also features Dean electronics for plugging into a PA or bass amp. The preamp gives you 3-band EQ, volume and phase switch, as well as an onboard tuner. For under $300, that’s a nice option to have.
Other notable features of the EABC Cutaway are its abalone soundhole inlay and multi-ply binding. Die-cast chrome tuners are also used.
The EABC Cutaway would make a great instrument for those looking to get the full-bodied sound of an acoustic bass for an affordable price. If you normally play electric bass and are looking for a different option, the EABC Cutaway is definitely a solid choice. For this price, you get a full and deep tone with the option of plugging in for an even bigger sound.
- Big body, full sound
- Cheaper electronics
- Some fret buzz
Fender Kingman Bass V2 – Best Value Acoustic Bass
If you’re searching for a quality acoustic/electric bass that gives you the best overall bang for your buck, the Fender Kingman Bass V2 is tough to beat.
The Kingman employs a solid base of tonewoods, from laminated mahogany back and sides to a solid spruce top. This combination gives you excellent low-end with a well-balanced midrange.
The Kingman also features a mahogany neck with a walnut fingerboard for easy, smooth playability. Another great part of its build quality is the Kingman’s scalloped X-bracing. A walnut bridge is also a nice touch.
For its pickup system, the Kingman uses Fishman Presys+ electronics . The preamp gives you volume and 3-band EQ, as well as controls for Notch, Brilliance and Phase. These controls allow you to fine-tune your sound in ways you don’t find in lesser quality instruments.
Other great enhancements to the Kingman include a synthetic bone saddle, as well as a GraphTech NuBone nut. These materials are not only built tough – they also help ensure great string balance and tuning stability.
The Fender Kingman Bass V2 would be a great option for intermediate to pro-level gigging musicians. For under $600, you are getting a really solid, well-made instrument built for years of use. The extra options in its Fishman preamp will allow you to dial in the perfect tone for any live environment. Its all-black finish is also a classic look that would be at home on any stage.
- Expanded preamp controls
- Solid build quality
- High quality components for price
- For this price, case would be better than gig bag
Guild B-240E – Best Acoustic Bass Under $500
If you’re looking for a great bass under half a grand, the Guild B-240E is definitely tough to top.
Guild has been building well-crafted acoustic instruments for decades, and the B-240E carries on that tradition. With its jumbo body and concert shape, the B-240E sounds nice and fully unamplified. Layered mahogany back and sides combine with a solid sitka spruce top for a warm and balanced tone.
For playability, the B-240E offers a Pau Ferro fingerboard that makes it easy to play fast and smooth up and down the neck. The slim C-shape mahogany neck is also super comfortable.
The B-240E is also a great live instrument. For electronics, it employs the Fishman Sonotone pickup system. The Sonotone’s discreet design means that you don’t have to worry about having a bulky preamp on the side of your bass. Instead, the system mounts inside your soundhole, providing great sound without cutting a hole into your instrument.
Other great features of the B-240E include a bone nut and saddle, which are rare upgrades for this price point. A vintage correct pickguard and headstock inlay add a classy touch to the overall look.
The B-240E would be a great choice for someone looking for the best acoustic/electric bass they can buy under $500. Its jumbo size ensures a huge sound, while the slim C-shape neck offers a comfortable playing experience. Additions like the discreet Fishman Sonotone preamp and bone materials make this bass an incredible value for the money.
- Discreet Fishman preamp
- Comfortable to play
- Jumbo body may be bulky for some
Takamine GB72CE – Best Premium Acoustic Bass
If you’ve got a bit more money to spend and are looking for a more premium option, check out the Takamine GB72CE.
Takamine is certainly known for making great acoustic instruments, and the GB72CE is no exception. It’s made of flame maple on the back and sides, with a solid spruce top. The GB72CE also uses quartersawn-X-bracing for extra sturdy build quality.
The GB72CE also features a maple neck with a 16”-radius rosewood fingerboard for extra fast fretting. A dovetail neck-joint and Venetian cutaway offer comfortable playability and access to higher frets.
Takamine has always made great acoustic/electric guitars for live performance. The GB72CE employs TK-40B preamp for its plugged-in sound. This preamp sports a 3-band EQ with gain and mid-shift controls, and a bass-boost switch. All of this extra control ensures a smooth live sound.
The GB72CE also features abalone rosette, a rosewood headcap, pearl dot fingerboard inlays, and a gloss finish. The nut and saddle are made of synthetic bone, a more premium material.
The GB72CE is a great choice for the touring musician looking to add a reliable acoustic/electric bass to his or her arsenal. With its higher quality components, it’s a step up from most of the basses listed here. But at under $700, it’s still an affordable bass you won’t be afraid to take on the road.
- More premium tonewoods and build quality
- Increased preamp controls
- Onboard tuner not totally reliable
Cordoba Mini II Bass MH-E – Best Acoustic Bass for Small Hands
For someone with smaller hands and fingers, playing bass can seem imposing. The heavier strings combined with a longer scale length can be enough to steer some players away from the instrument. That’s where the Cordoba Mini II Bass MH-E comes in.
The MH-E is a smaller-sized bass with a shorter scale length and fingerboard width, making it much easier for smaller hands to wrap around. With its parlor-style shape, the MH-E feels more like a smaller travel guitar. But have no doubt – this is a quality instrument.
The MH-E is made from mahogany all the way through, with a composite fingerboard. Its C-neck shape makes it easy to play, and the 22.875” scale length ensures there are no crazy stretches for smaller fingers.
Onboard Cordoba electronics give you a 3-band EQ and volume control. This makes it a great “grab-and-go” bass for any gig, big or small.
Other cool features of the MH-E are its Nu-bone nut and saddle, solid materials for a guitar at this price point.
For under $250, the MH-E makes a great acoustic/electric bass for anyone just starting out, looking for a travel bass, or just a fun new instrument to have around. And, of course, it’s also great for anyone with smaller hands!
- Small size; great for small hands
- Affordable, with electronics
- Some set-up issues
Kala U-Bass – Best Acoustic Bass for Travel
If you’ve ever tried to travel with an instrument, you know that space is at a premium. For those times when you just want something smaller along to jam with, the Kala U-Bass is a great option.
Size is definitely not an issue with the Kala U-bass – it’s small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane! Its overall length is less than 30 inches, with a 20.375” scale-length and 16 frets. It’s basically the size of a ukulele.
Don’t let the small size fool you, though. The Kala U-bass is definitely a top-notch instrument capable of big acoustic bass tone. Part of this comes from its use of Exotic Mahogany for the entire body. A walnut fingerboard combines with the mahogany to produce a dark, warm tone with smooth playability.
Another cool feature of the U-bass is its use of polyurethane strings. These large-diameter but lightweight strings give the instrument a unique feel and sound reminiscent of an upright bass.
To top it all off, the U-bass includes Kala custom electronics with an active 3-band EQ to really shape your tone live. An onboard tuner is also included.
The Kala U-bass would make a great choice for anyone looking for a quality travel bass. Its unique woody tone would also make a great instrument for those looking to incorporate the tones of an upright bass without the steep learning curve, size and cost of those gigantic instruments. And at under $400, it’s a great value as well.
- Ultra-small size
- Unique woody tones
- Active EQ
- May be too small, tough to get used to
- Some quality control issues
Ibanez AEB105E – Best 5-String Acoustic Bass
So far, we’ve featured traditional 4-string basses. But what if you’re a 5-string player and want to add an acoustic bass to your collection? Get ready for the Ibanez AEB105E.
The AEB105E gets its name in part from its AEB-style body, which offers the comfortable feel of a regular guitar. That’s important because sometimes adding a 5th string to a bass can be a bit of an adjustment for some players.
With its spruce top, sapele back and sides, and maple neck, the AEB105E definitely has its share of fine tonewoods for a warm low-end and punchy midrange. Its bridge and fingerboard are made of purpleheart, which adds to the warm quality while retaining a smooth feel.
Like all the acoustic basses on this list, the AEB105E comes equipped with electronics. Ibanez its own AEQ-SP2 preamp to control the Fishman Sonicore pickup. This preamp comes with volume and 2-band EQ, as well as a tuner.
For under $400, the AEB105E would be a great choice for anyone looking for a 5-string acoustic/electric bass. It’s an affordable option with plenty of amenities like a bone nut and saddle, as well as a Fishman pickup. Its body also offers a comfortable style for playing with the added string. For the price, you can’t go wrong.
- AEB-style body, 5 strings
- Good quality components for price
- Traditional bassists may want bigger size, feel
How to Choose The Best Acoustic Bass Guitar – Buyer’s Guide
So now that we’ve looked at each acoustic bass in-depth, here are some other factors to consider before buying.
Materials & Build Quality
Build quality and materials will vary from instrument to instrument, depending on price and where the instrument is made.
While it’s not an absolute rule, the more expensive instrument will generally have better build quality and components than the more affordable instrument.
Our premium option, the Takamine GB72CE, uses flame maple and solid spruce with quartersawn-X-bracing. It also has higher quality electronics and hardware.
On the lower end, the Ibanez PNB14E employs a more affordable okoume wood, with cheaper electronics. It’s by no means a low-quality instrument, but at this price point some costs must be cut with materials and manufacturing.
Most of these basses are great for beginner to intermediate players, or more experienced players looking for a cool travel bass. Some of them may not be built to last a lifetime, but all of them should provide several years of enjoyment.
When buying any instrument, body shape is an important factor to consider.
Your preferred body style probably will be dictated by your own body shape. A lot of players gravitate toward bass instead of guitar because they are bigger and have larger hands and fingers. For those players, a jumbo style like the Dean EABC Cutaway or the Guild B-240E may be perfect.
On the other end of the spectrum, those with smaller bodies and hands will love a parlor-style bass like the Ibanez PNB14E, or the extra-small Kala U-bass. For all those in-between, something like the Fender Kingman Bass V2 would be perfect.
Beyond size, there are other factors to consider, like cutaways. The Takamine GB72CE and Dean EABC Cutaway both have this feature, which allows you to reach the higher frets a bit easier. Since bass is not typically a solo instrument, however, this may not be a huge deal for some players.
How an instrument plays is one of the most important factors in deciding whether or not it’s “your thing.”
The Ibanez AEB105E is a 5-string bass, which can take some adjustment, but they employ an AEB body shape to help compensate for that.
The Guild B-240E uses a Pau Ferro fingerboard with a Slim C-shape neck for extra comfort and smooth playability.
The smaller scale of the Kula U-bass will obviously be a different experience than the much longer 34” scale of the Dean EABC Cutaway.
Ultimately, playability is largely a personal preference, so whenever possible try to play as many instruments as you can to find out what you like.
If you don’t like the way an instrument sounds, there’s not much point in playing it.
While all of these instruments will sound generally like an acoustic bass, there are some key differences. A larger bass like the Guild B-240E will produce a deep and fuller tone, generally. A parlor-style bass like the Ibanez PNB14E may not be able to match the Guild in fullness, but it may cut through a mix better.
The Kula U-bass is known for its “woody” tone that more closely resembles an upright bass. If you’re into jazz and blues, that may be the sound you’re looking for. Rock players may prefer something like the Fender Kingman Bass V2.
Electronics play a key role in how an instrument sounds plugged in, as well. While all of these instruments include pickup systems, some are more advanced than others. The Takamine GB72CE preamp gives you 3-band EQ with gain and mid-shift controls, and a bass-boost switch. Others simply give you 2-band EQ and a volume control.
How much tone-shaping control you will need will probably be dictated by often you plan to perform live. If you’re a regular gigging musician, you’ll want the most options available to make sure you can shape your sound to fit any room. If you’re mainly a bedroom player, the simpler options are probably the best way to “plug and play.”
The instrument we usually end up buying is the one that best fits our budget. Within this list, there are options for almost any budget.
For beginners, something like the Fender CB-60SCE or the Ibanez PNB14E would be ideal. Both are under $350 and will be solid instruments to grow with.
If you’ve got a little more to spend and have been playing a few years, the Ibanez AEB10E or Guild B-240E might be the way to go. These instruments are more in the $400 to $500 range, and both would be great options to gig with.
Our most premium option, the Takamine GB72CE, is still under $700 and would be a great choice for touring musicians. It would also make a great studio instrument with its tone-shaping options.
With all of these basses being under $1,000, there’s something here for players from every skill-level and price-bracket. Choose what’s best for your budget!
Recap of the Best Acoustic Bass Guitars
|Acoustic Bass Guitar||Award|
|Ibanez AEB10E||Editor’s Choice|
|Fender CB-60SCE||Best for Beginners|
|Ibanez PNB14E||Budget Pick|
|Dean EABC Cutaway||Best Under $300|
|Fender Kingman Bass V2||Best Value|
|Guild B-240E||Best Under $500|
|Takamine GB72CE||Premium Pick|
|Cordoba Mini II Bass MH-E||Best for Small Hands|
|Kala U-Bass||Best Travel Bass|
|Ibanez AEB105E||Best 5-String|
Acoustic bass is definitely its own thing, and these are 10 of the best. Hopefully this article has helped you narrow down your choices significantly. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, big or small, rich or poor, there’s an acoustic bass for you. Whichever way you decide to go, have fun exploring the low end!