Basses find their place in genres across the musical spectrum. Though perhaps not the most flashy instrument, the bass guitar is a staple in a lot of the music we listen to and cherish.
Because this instrument is so important, the market has brought forth many different brands and a great variety of basses.
Though there are plenty of factors more important than the brand name, knowing the top brands to look out for can be useful in finding your bass (and at the very least for a conversation with other bassists and guitarists). In this article, we’ll have a look at what I believe to be the best electric bass brands on the market.
The top 13 best bass guitar brands in the world are:
- Ernie Ball Music Man
Of course, any “best of” list is subjective by nature. I’ve done my best to make this as objective as possible. I’ve included not only my own bias but also the opinions of others (in real life; in online forums, and by which brands professionals use). I’ve also taken into account the number of models and the objective nature of the models in each brand.
We’ll get into each of these brands in greater detail to explain why they made this list. I’ll also include one or two flagship (or otherwise noteworthy) basses for each brand along with a link to their official website and a bit of the company history.
Let’s start out with the obvious choice: Fender. Whether it’s a P Bass, a J Bass, a Mustang or a Jaguar, these iconic bass guitars are easily among the best in the world. Fender has, for a long time, been a go-to brand for guitars and bass guitars alike and this is apparent if you’ve ever played a well-tuned Fender bass.
These basses can be heard around the world in the hands of professionals and amateurs alike. Whether it’s a practice room, a recording studio or a sold-out arena, Fender basses are right at home, ready to perform. These iconic instruments have inspired countless musicians to learn bass and create beautiful music.
Fender was founded by none other than the legendary Leo Fender (who also founded Music Man and G&L) and has a rich history of inventiveness and creativity to draw up when producing its world-class basses. Note that both Music Man and G&L have also made this list.
With plenty of critically acclaimed instruments, Fender has become a household name among all musicians and not just bass players. The company continues to build upon its legacy as one of the greatest electric bass brands in the world.
Notable Bass: Precision Bass (link to check it out at Fender)
Notable Bass: Jazz Bass (link to check it out at Fender)
Fender is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top Best Bass Guitar Amplifier Brands In The World
• Top Best Electric Guitar Brands In The World
• Top Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use
• Top Best Guitar Amplifier Brands In The World
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation started out as “Fender’s Radio Service”, founded in 1938 by Clarence Leonidas Fender in Fullerton, California. In 1946, the company had its name changed to Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Fender began producing guitar pedals in 1954 with their first volume pedal. Today, the company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
Official Website: fender.com
Parent Company: Servco Pacific
Next up is Ibanez, a Japanese brand that produces superb bass guitars across all price ranges. Whether you’re just learning or you’re driving a stadium full of subwoofers, Ibanez will have a perfect option for you.
Ibanez has come a long way since its inception and is continuously getting better. The company has a solid blueprint of what goes into a world-class bass and improves upon this knowledge with each new model.
With high-quality components and well-thought-out designs, Ibanez basses are sure to deliver. The best part is that the brand offers models in lower price ranges so that most people can enjoy their instruments without spending over their budget.
Notable Bass: SR4600 Prestige (link to check it out at Ibanez)
Ibanez is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Electric Guitar Brands In The World.
Hoshino Gakki (founded 1908 by Matsujiro Hoshino) founded Ibanez in 1957 in Nagoya, Japan, where the company remains headquartered today.
Official Website: ibanez.com
Parent Company: Hoshino Gakki
Rickenbacker is a household name among bass players with a wide range of excellent bass guitars to choose from.
This company has a long history of producing world-class instruments and the diverse sounds of Rickenbacker basses can be heard around the world on recordings and in person.
Like the brand’s guitars, Rickenbacker basses feature some cool and unique designs that allow them to stand out among the crowd. This isn’t only true of the bass form factors but also of the overall performance of the instrument.
Expert craftsmanship and superb creativity go into each and every Rickenback design and the quality of the basses puts this brand on the list without a doubt.
Notable Bass: Model 4003 (link to check it out at Rickenbacker)
Rickenbacker is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Electric Guitar Brands In The World.
Rickenbacker was founded as the “Ro-Pat-In Corporation” in 1931 by Adolph Rickenbacker and George Beauchamp in Los Angeles, California, USA. The company is headquartered in Santa Ana, California, USA.
Official Website: rickenbacker.com
Ernie Ball Music Man
Music Man, like the aforementioned Fender, was founded (in part) by the legendary inventor Leo Fender. Enough said. I could end this brand’s description here.
The company was off to a strong start, producing exceptional instruments. A decade after its founding, Music Man was acquired by Ernie Ball, which continued to build the brand to the point where it is today.
Like Rickenbacker, the Music Man basses feature creative designs in form and electronics. These basses are certainly something special.
On top of cool designs, Music Man’s basses sound absolutely incredible. They’re built by masters and are among the best hand-crafted instruments available. From the initial design to the body, neck, electronics and setup, Music Man basses are among the best of the best.
Notable Bass: StingRay Special (link to check it out at Music Man)
Music Man is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Electric Guitar Brands In The World.
Music Man was founded in 1974 by Forrest White, Tom Walker and Leo Fender (the founder of Fender) in Fullerton, California, USA. The company was acquired by Ernie Ball in 1984 and is now headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California, USA.
Music Man (Ernie Ball) owns the following guitar brands:
Official Website: music-man.com
Parent Company: Ernie Ball
Alembic may not be the most famous name in music instruments but it’s a well-respected one in bass circles. This family-oriented company is comprised of a small team of experts dedicated to pushing boundaries in custom builds of musical instruments.
Though Alembic guitars, preamps, pickups, strings and more, it’s the company’s basses that often get the most attention. Attention and adoration enough to land on this list!
Alembic offers an impressive line of bass guitars each with options for customization. With Alembic, you’ll have the opportunity to order something truly unique to you and your playing.
These basses are flashy in appearance and back up their look with magnificent sound quality, optimal playability and superior performance over long periods of time.
Notable Bass: Series II (link to check it out at Alembic)
Alembic Inc. was founded in 1969 by Owsley Stanley in Novato, California, USA and was incorporated in 1970 by Ron Wickersham, Rick Turner and Bob Matthews. The company is headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, USA.
Official Website: alembic.com
Kiesel Guitars (formerly Carvin) is yet another superb bass guitar brand. This California-based company has been making a name for itself (as Kiesel, Carvin and now Kiesel again) as one of the best guitar manufacturers in the world but is also the maker of several world-class bass guitars.
Kiesel draws upon a rich history of master guitar making and innovation to design and produce awesome bass guitars. Basses that easily outperform their counterparts in the same price range.
This company is able to bring the prices of their basses down by following a direct sales approach. In doing so, Kiesel can offer its incredible instruments to bassists at a very reasonable price, given the quality of the instruments.
If you’re serious about playing bass, Kiesel is certainly a brand worth checking out.
Notable Bass: LB70 (link to check it out at Kiesel)
Kiesel is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Electric Guitar Brands In The World.
Lowell Kiesel founded the L. C. Kiesel Company in San Diego, California, USA in 1946. After a few changes of location, the company name was changed to “Carvin Corporation”. In 2015, Carvin Corporation split its business units, and Kiesel Guitars was founded to take over the guitar and bass manufacturing. The company is headquartered in Escondido, California, USA.
Official Website: kieselguitars.com
Schecter is another excellent California-based brand that produces world-class bass guitars.
Since the mid-1970s, Schecter Guitar Research has been making its name as one of the world’s premier guitar companies. The brand’s basses are equally if not more impressive than the guitars, which is a huge statement.
Schecter is regularly mentioned in debates about the best bass guitars and it’s no wonder. Bassists who play Schecter tend to love Schecters. Superb craftsmanship and forward thinking produces the types of basses that people don’t want to put down. Schecter is a company that has mastered the art of crafting high-end basses.
On top of all that, these basses are versatile and sound amazing across all genres. Regardless of your musical inclinations and playing style, a Schecter bass would be a fantastic choice.
Notable Bass: Stiletto Studio (link to check it out at Schecter)
Schecter is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Electric Guitar Brands In The World.
Schecter Guitar Research was founded 1976 by David Schecter, Herschel Blankenship and Shel Horlick in Van Nuys, California, USA. In 1983, the company was acquired by a group of Texan investors and moved to Texas. The company went under in 1987 but the brand name was quickly purchased by the Japanese Hisatake Shibuya. Today. the company is headquartered in Burbank, California, USA.
Schecter owns the following brands:
• Foxgear Pedals
• Baroni Lab Pedals
• Wylde Audio
• Guru Pedals
Official Website: schecterguitars.com
Parent Company: Hisatake Shibuya
Warwick is a name that comes up often enough when discussing the best bass guitars. This German manufacturer is an innovator in the field of bass design and certainly produces some of the world’s best.
From adjustable nuts to specialized necks and frets, Warwick has come up with innovative and unique designs to improve their instruments.
In addition to the forward thinking and inventiveness fostered by Warwick, the company has a rich history to draw from. Though the company was founded in 1982 by Hans-Pater Wilfer, the full story goes back to Framus, which was founded by Hans-Pater’s father in 1946 and was one of the most important guitar manufacturers in Europe for some time.
With so much knowledge, dedication and resources, it’s no wonder Warwick basses are among the best in the world. Play one and you’ll immediately know it for yourself.
Warwick owns the following bass brands:
Warwick was founded in 1982 by Hans-Pater Wilfer in Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany. Today, the company headquarters is in Markneukirchen, Germany.
Official Website: warwickbass.com
G&L was founded by none other than the legendary inventor Leo Fender (also the founder of Fender and Music Man) and marked the final chapter of Leo’s illustrious career.
The G&L benefitted greatly from its founder’s great wisdom and experience and still does to this day. Leo Fender even said that G&L guitars and basses were the best instruments he ever made.
When it comes to bass guitars, G&L’s instruments are easily among the best in the world. Superb craftsmanship, easy playability and a beautiful range of tones are par for the course with these basses.
With a rich heritage and an innovative spirit, G&L continues to produce excellent basses time and time again.
Notable Bass: Tribute L-2000 (link to check it out at G&L)
G&L was founded in 1979 by Leo Fender (founder of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation), George Fullerton and Dale Hyatt in California. The company was acquired by BBE Sound, Inc. in 1991. The company is headquartered in Fullerton, California, USA.
Official Website: glguitars.com
Parent Company: BBE Sound, Inc.
Spector is one of many well-respected American companies that produce world-class basses. The design, craftsmanship and history of Spector Basses have made them one of the top choices of the world’s top bassists and amateurs alike.
Spector has had a wild history but its name as a world-renowned bass brand has made its way back to the production under the ownership of Korg USA. Today the company is made of a small team dedicated specifically to bass guitars.
These superb basses can be heard on plenty of records across a wide range of musical genres. Regardless of your style as a bassist, a Spector bass is never a bad idea.
Spector Guitars Inc. was founded in 1976 Stuart Spector and Alan Charney in Brooklyn, New York, USA. In 1985 the Spector brand was sold to Kramer Guitars but that company went bankrupt in 1990. In 1992, Stuart Spector created Stuart Spector Designs Ltd. and sold the company in 2019 to Korg USA. The company (now “Spector Musical Instruments”) is headquartered in Saugerties, New York, USA.
Official Website: spectorbass.com
Parent Company: Korg USA
Lakland is a brand known for its high-end basses. These beautiful instruments are deeply inspiring and really a joy to play. This company truly understands what goes into producing a top-level bass guitar and it shows in each and every Lakland bass.
Though outside the price range of what many beginners would consider buying, these basses are favoured by discerning players and professional artists worldwide.
The designers at Lakland invest heavily in innovation while maintaining vintage comfort in their instruments, making their basses some of the greatest on the market.
Notable Bass: USA Series 44-94 (link to check it out at Lakland)
Lakland Guitars was founded in 1994 by Dan Lakin and Hugh McFarland. In 2010, Lakland was acquired by Hanson Musical Instruments. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Official Website: lakland.com
Parent Company: Hanson Musical Instruments, Ltd.
Since its inception in the early 1980s, Fodera proved itself to be one of the most sought-after custom guitar and bass shops in the world. Their bass guitars are particularly noteworthy, giving this brand a sort of “wild card” position on this list.
The team at Fodera follow a rich heritage of aesthetics and meticulous handwork to produce some of the greatest custom basses the world has ever seen.
These high-quality instruments are crafted with the best materials and processes available, getting customers a truly unique bass with exceptional sound and playability.
If you’re after something novel and incredible (and you have the cash), then be sure to check out Fodera for your next bass guitar.
Fodera was founded in 1983 by Vinny Fodera and Joey Lauricella in Brooklyn, New York, USA, where the company is still headquartered today.
Official Website: fodera.com
Yamaha is the oldest company on this list. The Japanese multinational conglomerate is involved in several industries but is well-respected in the music/audio world.
From entry level to world-class, Yamaha has a bass for you. Yamaha has been allocating resources toward developing superb musical instruments for a long time and it shows in its line of superb bass guitars.
Sure, Yamaha may not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think of the best basses in the world (it’s certainly not the case for me). However, it’s still the case that this huge brand produces some excellent musical instruments and it’s true that bass guitars are included in this impressive catalogue. For that reason, Yamaha gets the final spot on this list of the world’s best electric bass guitar brands!
Notable Bass: BBP34 (link to check it out at Yamaha)
Yamaha is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top Best Acoustic Guitar Brands In The World
• Top Best AV Receiver Brands In The World
• Top Best DAW Control Surface Brands In The World
• Top Best Live Sound Mixing Board/Console Brands
• Top Best Mixing Board/Console Brands For Home Studios
• Top Best PA Loudspeaker Brands You Should Know And Use
• Top Best Subwoofer Brands (Car, PA, Home & Studio)
• Top Best Studio Monitor Brands You Should Know And Use
• Top Best Synthesizer Brands In The World
Yamaha Corporation was founded in 1887 as Nippon Gakki Co by Torakusu Yamaha. Today, Yamaha’s headquarters is located in Nakazawacho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan.
Official Website: yamaha.com
Past The Top 13
Of course, there are many more electric bass brands that could have broken my top 13. Since this is such a subjective premise, I figured I’d end this article with a longer list of brands that very well could replace some of my picks in my readers’ top 13 lists. I’ll add links to the website of each brand: