Picking the best bass guitar for metal can be quite daunting. After all, with plenty of variations within the genre, it can be challenging to find the perfect bass for your requirements. What might work for old-school thrash won’t always fit with down-tuned progressive technical styles, and the other way round.
In this article, we have rounded up the six best bass guitars for metal, including some genuine legends of the genre from brands such as Fender, Ibanez, and Yamaha, with a keen eye on getting the best value and tonality suitable for heavy styles.
1. Ibanez Bass Workshop SRFF805
The Ibanez Bass Workshop SRFF805 is surely one of the best deals you can get if you are searching for an excellent bass guitar for metal. It is a well-designed multi-scale bass that offers great intonation.
The 5-piece walnut/jatoba neck makes this guitar super stable and playable. Couple this with a Mono-Rail VS bridge, and you get the perfect pitch and sound from the instrument.
The tone is quite well-rounded, while the high ones are also incredibly bright. This is primarily because of the interesting tonewood combination, which comprises of polar and a mahogany top.
The SRFF805 definitely works well for all metal genres. With six strings and an extraordinary number of tonal tweaking options, there’s plenty of room for all types of tonal manipulation. You might count on classic Balancer and Volume switches, along with a 3-band EQ control. Moreover, there are two switches for EQ bypass and mid-frequency boost.
2. Fender Steve Harrison Precision
Fender’s Steve Harrison Precision bass is hands down one of the best bass guitars to have ever been created. This model is named after one of the most popular heavy metal bass players from the band Iron Maiden and has been particularly designed for playing metal.
If you enjoy Metallica’s music, you are going to love this distinct P-bass. It’s designed precisely like Harris’ regal-gloss, worn-out finished bass guitar. In fact, it even has his West Ham United crest embossed on the body.
The metal bass tone is created by a single Seymour Duncan SPB-4 signature pickup. The hot coil wind mechanics offers power in abundance with mild boosts to the mid-tones and a tight, responsive high-end.
When you play metal bass, you need a blend of long-sustained resonance with articulate, crisp strumming. Owing to the hi-mass bridge installed on this guitar, you get access to both these styles.
The guitar’s two-piece body has quite a unique appearance as well. With a pinstriped outer edge and a glossy white finish, this bass guitar for metal is super eye-catchy. The instrument’s body is built with durable maple that creates the galloping, articulate sound that Metallica’s bass lines are filled with.
3. Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 Bass Guitar
If you are looking for an economical option, you should surely check out the Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 Bass Guitar. It is one of the top metal bass options for when you need to be able to move around the fretboard quickly – partly because of the fast rosewood fingerboard and maple neck.
The Schecter Diamond pickups offer great sound clarity. It’s also worth noting that this guitar benefits from the 2-band EQ and active electronics. This configuration offers the guitar an exquisite tone while securing it from problems such as signal degradation.
Another great thing about the guitar is that it’s available in both right and left-handed options. Plus, the 4-string bass is visually appealing as well and goes well with metal bends. All in all, the Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 is a perfect pick for those who are looking for a dependable bass guitar for metal.
4. Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Electric Bass
The StingRay Ray4 Electric Bass offers rock-solid hardware, low-noise humbucking pickups, active electronics, and an uncluttered, simple look that’s instantly recognizable.
With its signature control layout, teardrop pickguard, and finish options to pick from, you can easily stand apart in jams or on stage with this guitar.
At a price of $349.99, the Music Man StingRay offers a professional level feel and sound. The active preamp features separate volume controls for every string with low and high boost/cut. The completely adjustable bridge provides unmatched comfort during playing.
The instrument was specifically designed for durability, ease, and comfort. Thanks to the bolt-on maple neck’s shallow “C” profile, it is fairly easy to get around on.
With a pair of low-noise humbucking pickups coupled with a 2-band EQ, you can create exactly the sound you need regardless of the playing situation.
5. Yamaha TRBX204
Yamaha is one of the most well-reputed brands in the business. Whether it is about basses, classic instruments, or electric guitars, the Japanese manufacturer offers top-notch quality. This especially refers to the segment of more economical instruments, where Yamaha offers perhaps the best value for money in the industry.
The Yamaha TRBX204 is no exception. The first feature that’s going to impress is the quality of build, which is pretty amazing. Plus, the overall design makes this instrument incredibly versatile. Thus, you are going to like its sound, whether it is just about metal styles or something more. The bass sounds terrific and is highly comfortable to play.
When it comes to sound features, this model depends on fairly common design solutions. It’s a 4-string bass, which comes with a popular P/J pickup combination and simple controls.
Pickups are active and work well with all types of effects. In terms of tonewood, you might count on a basswood body, which offers a balanced tone, while the rosewood fretboard makes this instrument very smooth and comfortable under fingers.
6. ESP LTD F-205
The ESP LTD F-205 body is constructed using ash with a beautiful spalted maple top. It features a 5-piece jatoba/maple neck along with a roasted jatoba fretboard. It comprises Abalone offset dots that allow you to find the way around the fretboard. The U-shaped, thin neck has 24 extra-jumbo frets that are all about speed and comfort.
The instrument’s construction is pretty innovative. The satin finish is immaculate as the frets don’t have sharp edges and are polished to be as smooth as possible. The LTD BB-605 bridge performs the job really well with excellent intonation.
The bass sounds particularly balanced, especially when amped up. This guitar is equipped with two specially-designed ESP Designed SB-5N humbuckers and a 3-band active EQ.
If you’re searching for a metal-style bass, don’t hesitate to invest in this instrument. It’s by far one of the most budget-friendly bass guitars for metal out there. From rock to technical brutal death metal, you can do everything with this guitar.
Last Few Words
Quality bass guitars for metal are difficult to come by. However, the six models listed in this article are all of high standard. Because of the occasional aggressive nature of metal bass, the most important feature you need to look for is the ease of playing.
You can improve tonal output through the use of compression or other FX medals. However, you need to make sure that the bass will not lead to any unwanted fatigue when you are playing for lengthy periods. Fortunately, all of the options listed above offer a great blend of tone and comfort.