Beginner Bass Guitars and Essential Gear for Kids & Teens… Wishlist Suggestions
Have a child interested in taking up the bass? Check out these beginner bass guitars + essential gear to help them get started.
I was chatting with my brother on the phone the other day and he mentioned that he was getting one of my teenage nephews a bass for Christmas. The young man is currently showing great interest and my brother and I both believe in cultivating musical abilities.
This conversation made me remember how clueless I was when getting our son started on saxophone, as it is not my own instrument of choice. It would have been great if we could have had a list of everything we would need to get him started on the right track.
This article contains a list of suggestions to help you in navigating gear if your child is asking for a bass guitar.
Once you start looking, you will most likely be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possibilities to choose from! I have tried to narrow this list down to more budget-friendly options, but still with decent quality and reliability to make the process easier.
One of the main considerations is that most children who start playing a musical instrument either change their minds as to what they want to play or quit altogether.
The delicate balance is finding a combination of a cost-effective rig but also one that sounds good and encourages them to go to the next level.
Even if your youngster doesn’t pursue a career in music, it has been shown that children benefit greatly from a musical education.
Another consideration you will want to keep in mind is what kind of music they want to play and their personality. Face it, they already are seeing themselves performing and want to look cool for their friends, so it is important to take that into account as well.
Now, I am aware that there are “Bass Starter kits” out there but I find them to be wanting in one way or another. They do make it easier, but the goal here is to facilitate the musical growth environment and I think they could be better.
Here is my list of bass gear if I were going to put together a bass starter package for my child:
(Prices are valid at the time of writing and are subject to change)
4-STRING BASSES (Under $200)
TIP: 4-string basses are the most common. And as the neck is narrower, it can be easier to learn/manage for those just getting started.
- Ibanez Gio GSR100EX Bass Guitar – [VIEW] $199.99
This is a very simple but effective member of the Soudgear Series basses. The Oil finish won’t show dings and dents as much as a glossy one, The slim neck will work great for smaller hands but this still has a full-length scale.
- Jackson Spectra JS2 Bass Guitar – [VIEW] $199.99
Here we have a metallic blue finish, full-scale jazz bass with a slim neck profile, and jumbo frets. This one sports a gloss finish.
- Squier Mini Precision Electric Bass – [VIEW] $149.99
This is a good choice for the smaller players as it is about 3/4 the size of the full-scale models. You can’t go wrong with a P-bass with a split single coil pickup.
TIP: A strap that is 3 inches wide or more helps to better distribute bass weight.
- D’Addario 3″ Padded Woven Bass Guitar Strap – [VIEW] $16.99
- Levy’s M26PD-BLK Top Grain Leather Guitar Strap – [VIEW] $29.99
- Gruv Gear SoloStrap Neo – 4″-wide Neoprene Guitar Strap – [VIEW] $64.99
TIP: These make carrying a bass easy as they can be worn in backpack style.
- Gator Economy Gig Bag – [VIEW] $29.99
- Fender FBSS-610 Short-scale Bass Gig Bag – [VIEW] $59.99
- Ibanez PowerPad Designer IBB541 Electric Bass Gig Bag – [VIEW] $99.99
TIP: Should be at least 10 feet long and keep in mind where the output is located in case you need to choose a right-angled version.
- D’Addario PW-CGTPRO-10 Classic Pro Straight to Straight Instrument Cable – [VIEW] $14.99
- Pro Co EGL-10 Excellines Straight to Right Angle Instrument Cable – [VIEW] $13.99
- Fender 0990820092 Deluxe Series Straight to Straight Instrument Cable – [VIEW] $27.99
Want to know more about bass cables? Check out this article on Bass Musician: Opening a Can of Worms… 5 Bass Players Take on 15 Instrument Cables For An Unscientific Analysis
TIP: The bass will have a set on when you purchase, but having a fresh set can enhance the experience enormously.
- Fender 7250M Nickel Plated Steel Long Scale Bass Guitar Strings – .045-.105 Medium – [VIEW] $13.25
- DR Strings MR-45 Hi-Beam Stainless Steel Bass Guitar Strings – .045-.105 Medium – [VIEW] $19.99
- D’Addario EXL170 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings – .045-.100 Regular Light Long Scale – [VIEW] $21.99
There is a LOT more to strings than meets the eye! Have a look at the following Bass Musician articles for more information on bass strings: All About Roundwound Strings | All About Flatwound Strings | Cool ‘How to’ – Changing Strings On a Sadowsky Bass | Bass Health – Things to Think About When Adding Strings
TIP: Playing in tune makes it so much better for everyone!
- Snark SN-1X Guitar and Bass Tuner – [VIEW] $13.89
- D’Addario PW-CT-17CBK Eclipse Cello/Bass Tuner – [VIEW] $14.99
- Korg AW-LT100B Clip-on Bass Tuner – [VIEW] $29.99
TIP: Start with at least a 10-watt practice amp. If they decide to play in public you will have to figure out how much air you want to push.
- Positive Grid Spark Mini Portable Combo Amp – [VIEW] $229.00
This little guy doesn’t take up much space and has a ton of features to offer >>> check out our review here
- Fender Rumble 25 1×8″ 25-watt Bass Combo Amp – [VIEW] $77.99
- Hartke HD15 1×6.5″ 15-watt Bass Combo Amp – [VIEW] $129.99
TIP: A decent pair of headphones will let them hear themselves clearly and spare the rest of the family.
- Samson SR550 Closed-back Studio Headphones – [VIEW] $39.99
- JBL Lifestyle Tune 500 Wired On-ear Headphone with 1-Button Remote/Mic – [VIEW] $24.95
- Sennheiser HD400S Folding Closed-back Headphones with Smart Remote – [VIEW] $49.95
TIP: Makes it easy to remember to practice if your student can see their bass all the time.
- Gator Frameworks GFW-GTR-1000 Single Guitar Stand – [VIEW] $16.98
- Hercules Stands GS200B EZ Pack Guitar Stand – [VIEW] $23.49
- Fender Universal A-frame Electric Stand – [VIEW] $59.99
TIP: I HIGHLY suggest looking for a teacher in your local area to help your child get started with the best habits from the beginning… it can be hard to ‘un-learn’ bad habits!
- If looking for an easy book to get them started, check out Hal Leonard’s Essential Elements for Band – Electric Bass Book 1 with EEi – [VIEW] $12.99
All items in this article are currently available at Sweetwater.com