Best Acoustic Bass Guitar

Sometimes you just need the full, natural sound of an acoustic bass guitar to complete a song. Acoustic basses aren't quite as commonplace as electric bass guitars, but they're ideal for bluegrass, folk, and other acoustic genres. In this article, we've gathered together our pics for the best acoustic bass guitar.

Our Top 12 Picks for Best Acoustic Bass Guitar

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Fender

Kingman Bass V2

Cell

Ibanez

PCBE12MH

Cell

Taylor

GS Mini-e Maple Bass

Cell

Breedlove

Solo Jumbo Bass CE

Cell

Guild

B-140E

Cell

Martin

BC-16E

Cell

Ibanez

AVNB2E

Cell

Cordoba

Mini II Bass EB-E

Cell

Guild

Jumbo Junior

Cell

Traveler Guitar

Redlands Concert Acoustic

Cell

Fender

CB-60SCE

Cell

ESP

LTD TL-5SM

Cell

Fender Kingman Bass V2 -- Best Unusual Design

Important Features

  • Scalloped X bracing offers a clear yet resonant tone
  • Quality Fishman Presys+ electronics make it easy to plug in and play
  • Solid Sitka spruce top is responsive and improves tonally over time
  • Laminated mahogany back and sides are durable and provide a solid sonic foundation

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Walnut fingerboard and bridge give it an elegant look
  • NuBone nut and saddle support richer tone
  • It comes with a gig bag
  • The unique finish is ideal for players who want to stand out

Cons

  • Some players might prefer a more traditional-looking acoustic bass
  • It may be out of the price range for some bassists

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

You've heard of Fender's legendary electric basses, but the Kingman bass is a great way to get Fender bass tone in an acoustic package. The first thing you'll notice about this bass is its unique color -- like many of Fender's California Series guitars, this one has a Strat-style headstock, and it's finished in striking black with a contrasting gold pickguard.

The body style is similar to that of a grand concert guitar, and the Venetian cutaway gives you easy fret access. The slim, jazz-bass style neck is slim enough to be comfortably playable, and the onboard Fishman Presys+ preamp system gives you a great amplified tone.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best acoustic-electric bass when it comes to alternative designs, and we give it four out of five stars.

Ibanez PCBE12MH -- Best Budget Option

Important Features

  • Grand concert body is comfortable to play sitting or standing
  • All sapele body has both midrange punch and top-end sparkle
  • X-bracing provides stability and supports a balanced tone
  • Included electronics make performing easy

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The maple neck is playable and resists warping
  • Open-pore natural finish gives it a distinctive rustic look
  • Onboard electronics include a tuner
  • Nandu fingerboard looks a bit like rosewood

Cons

  • When not amplified, it's somewhat quiet
  • Some buyers have complained about sharp fret edges

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Ibanez is fairly well known for making some of the best acoustic and electric guitars for beginners. This budget-minded acoustic-electric bass is ideal for new players or for experienced players who want to play a little bass in their spare time. The body is all laminated sapele, but laminated wood is pretty much what you'd expect in this price range. However, it has a beautiful and rustic-looking open-pore natural finish.

It also comes with an Ibanez AEQ202T preamp with an undersaddle pickup. The onboard preamp has a two-band EQ with bass and treble controls, and it also has an onboard tuner, which is a great convenience feature. An abalone rosette is a surprising high-end touch.

Our Star Rating

We think this acoustic-electric bass is the best budget option on the list. We give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Bass -- Best Short-Scale Bass

Important Features

  • Solid spruce top and layered maple back and sides give you a great balance of warmth and projection
  • Grand Symphony body style is comfortable to hold and play
  • Top-notch electronics make it stage-ready
  • The hard rock maple neck is slim enough to play comfortably

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The onboard preamp has volume and tone controls along with a tuner
  • Two-prong bridge pins help keep strings stable
  • Figured maple back and sides offer visual interest
  • NuBone nut and micarta saddle-support greater tuning stability

Cons

  • Some players may prefer a longer scale length
  • It may be a bit expensive for some players

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

For some players, the best acoustic bass is also travel-ready. This beautiful little bass guitar is the bass version of Taylor's GS Mini-E. And with a scale length of just 23.5", it's more manageable for smaller players. The top is solid Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are made of eye-catching layered figured maple. The Taylor GS Mini-E acoustic bass is also stage-ready. It comes with Taylor's remarkable ES-B electronics. This system uses a behind-the-saddle pickup as opposed to an undersaddle one. Since the pickup isn't compressed, you get a live sound that's much more authentic.

Remarkably, the Taylor GS Mini-E comes with D'Addario strings that were custom-designed for it. They feature a nylon core wrapped with phosphor bronze. A slick, beautiful ebony fingerboard and ebony bridge make the Taylor GS Mini-E stand out if you're looking for a high-quality acoustic bass.

Our Star Rating

We think the Taylor GS Mini-E is the best short-scale. We give it five out of five stars.

Breedlove Solo Jumbo Bass CE -- Best All-Around

Important Features

  • Slim-C neck, striped ebony fingerboard, and cutaway body make it supremely playable
  • Cedar top gives your playing a defined attack
  • The jumbo body is loud enough to be heard when playing in groups
  • Side monitor soundhole makes it easier to hear yourself play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Abalone rosette adds a touch of sparkle
  • L.R. Baggs electronics give you high-quality live sound
  • Genuine bone nut and saddle increase sustain and support tuning stability
  • The slim-C neck is extremely playable

Cons

  • It may be at too high a price point for some players
  • The neck is nato, which doesn't add a whole lot of sonic character

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Sometimes, you come across an acoustic bass guitar that incorporates truly remarkable design elements. This jumbo acoustic bass from Breedlove has a side monitor soundhole, a crucial feature if you play in groups or ensembles. The side monitor soundhole is essentially a second, smaller soundhole on the side of the bass. It directs some sound to your ears, acting like an all-acoustic monitor. And if you want to play plugged in, simply cover it with the included cover.

The Solo Jumbo Bass CE has a solid red cedar top for a great balance of warmth and sparkle. And the rosewood-like tonal elegance of ovangkol makes it one of the best acoustic bass guitars for just about any genre. Plus, it comes with some of the best available electronics -- the LR Baggs EAS VTC system.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best all-around acoustic bass on the list. We give it five out of five stars.

Guild B-140E -- Best Value All-Solid Acoustic Bass

Important Features

  • Spruce and mahogany build gives it a classic, high-quality tone and the great acoustic guitar looks
  • Genuine bone nut and saddle enhance tone and support tuning stability
  • Rosewood fingerboard on the C-shaped mahogany neck is highly playable
  • Fishman Sonitone BT-1 piezo pickup gives you quality live sound

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's made of all solid wood
  • The concert-style body is comfortable to play sitting or standing
  • Full 34" scale length gives you plenty of room
  • Guild Modern closed-gear tuners minimize tuning issues

Cons

  • Fishman Sonitone isn't the best electronics system out there
  • It may be too expensive for some players

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you think all solid acoustic bass guitars are prohibitively expensive, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the Guild B-140E. This concert-body acoustic bass has classic good looks and a classic tone to match. With a solid spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides, it delivers a perfectly balanced tone with just enough punch. The rosewood fingerboard is beautiful and playable, and the mahogany neck warms up the tone even further.

If you want to plug in and play, this acoustic-electric bass guitar comes with the Fishman Sonitone BT-1 system. Rather than having an onboard preamp that's easily visible on the side of the guitar, this system has rotary controls for volume and tone for easy, quick tone shaping. And a unique bracing pattern makes it exceptionally resonant -- it features Guild's OX bracing on top and scalloped bracing on the back.

Our Star Rating

We think this one is the best value acoustic bass made of all solid wood on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Martin BC-16E -- Best High-End Model

Important Features

  • The cutaway body offers unfettered fret access
  • Forward-shifted X bracing gives you an even greater bass response than standard X bracing
  • It comes with a Plek setup for low, playable action
  • It's made with all solid spruce and rosewood for a responsive, detailed tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fishman Matrix VT is one of the best preamp systems for acoustic-electric bass
  • The ebony fingerboard is slick and playable
  • Select hardwood neck has a slim profile for playing speed and comfort
  • It delivers an exceptionally balanced, rich tone

Cons

  • It only comes with a softshell case, which is surprising for the price
  • As one of the most expensive acoustic bass guitars we found, it may be out of reach for some

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Martin's legendary acoustic guitars are known for their pronounced bottom end, so you might imagine that a Martin acoustic bass would be exceptional. The Martin BC-16E certainly is. The acoustic bass guitar is made of the classic combination of solid Sitka spruce and solid East Indian rosewood. This is a combination that gives you the tight low-end rosewood is known for along with the incredible responsiveness of Sitka spruce. And like most high-end Martins, it comes with an ebony fingerboard and bridge.

Some of Martin's best acoustic guitars come without electronics, but this acoustic bass comes with some of the best in the business -- the Fishman Matrix VT Enhance system. This way, you get high-fidelity plugged-in sound. But even when playing unplugged, the forward-shifted X bracing gives you an even more pronounced bass response.

Our Star Rating

We think this acoustic bass is the best high-end option on the list, and we give it five out of five stars.

Ibanez AVNB2E -- Best Parlor-Style Bass

Important Features

  • The unique parlor-style body is ideal for folk music or for any player who prefers a smaller instrument
  • Mahogany neck warms up the tone and is incredibly playable
  • The Fishman Sonicore preamp system includes a convenient onboard tuner
  • The solid spruce top gives you a wonderfully responsive tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Given its great build quality, it's an excellent value
  • The vintage aesthetic will appeal to many players
  • Two-band EQ includes bass and treble controls
  • It offers a great balance of focused sound and resonance

Cons

  • The parlor body shape may not be ideal for playing acoustically with other instruments
  • Laminated sides and back don't sound quite as good as solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

You've heard of parlor guitars, but you might be surprised to see this parlor-style acoustic bass guitar. A smaller bass like this one has all the sonic benefits of a parlor acoustic guitar, too -- its projection is excellent, and its focused sound can really cut through a mix. Plus, its smaller body is comfortable for kids and smaller adults to play with. It comes with a solid spruce top whose tone only improves with time, and the laminated mahogany back and sides add just enough punch. X-bracing strikes the perfect balance between resonance and soundboard stability.

A slim, playable mahogany neck is topped with a beautiful ovangkol fingerboard, and there's an ovangkol bridge to match. The bone nut and saddle help create a quality, vintage-inspired tone. And if you want to play live, the Fishman Sonicore preamp system makes it easy to do so.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best acoustic bass with a parlor body shape on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Cordoba Mini II Bass EB-E -- Best for Kids

Important Features

  • Mini body and short scale makes it the best acoustic bass guitar for kids or for travel
  • Mahogany C-shaped neck with composite fingerboard is slim and playable
  • Onboard electronics come with a three-band EQ, which is rare at this price point
  • Simple dot inlays and abalone rosette give it an understated yet beautiful look

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Though it's affordable, it's a very well made acoustic bass guitar
  • The small size makes it easier for smaller people to play
  • High-quality electronics make it a great option for gigging
  • Solid top only improves tonally over time

Cons

  • Some players may prefer a full-sized acoustic bass guitar
  • Laminated back and sides don't have the same sound as solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

The longer scale length of an acoustic bass guitar can make it difficult for kids and smaller adults to play. This mini acoustic bass from Cordoba has a scale length of just under 23", making it an excellent option if your child wants to learn the bass guitar. This one is unique in that it's made with traditional Spanish fan bracing, which is often used on classical guitars. This pattern supports both resonance and responsiveness.

Even though it's a small acoustic bass guitar, the Mini II has an excellent build quality. The top is solid spruce, and the back and sides are made of beautiful striped ebony. A beautiful abalone rosette is another nice visual touch. And Cordoba onboard electronics come with a three-band EQ and an onboard tuner.

Our Star Rating

We think this is one of the best acoustic bass guitars for kids, and we give it four out of five stars.

Guild Jumbo Junior -- Most Like an Upright Bass

Important Features

  • The arched back makes it a very deep-sounding acoustic bass guitar
  • Active electronics give you plenty of plugged-in volumes
  • A smaller jumbo body is comfortable for most people to play
  • Maple neck and body offer a sharp, well-defined attack

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's surprisingly affordable for being so well-made
  • Scalloped bracing makes it incredibly resonant
  • It sounds a lot like an upright acoustic bass
  • High-quality electronics make it a great choice for performance

Cons

  • The laminated back and sides don't have the best acoustic tone
  • Some players may prefer a larger-bodied acoustic bass guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

When it comes to tone, some players think the best acoustic bass guitars are the ones that sound the most like upright bass. And while you can't get that exact sound out of an acoustic bass guitar, the Guild Jumbo Junior gets pretty close. Part of that is due to the fact that this mini-jumbo bass has a maple back and sides like many upright basses. It has a highly responsive solid spruce top. While the sides and back are laminated, the Jumbo Junior has an arched back that really makes a difference when it comes to low-end thump.

And while this acoustic bass guitar sounds great unplugged, it also comes with the Guild AP-1 active electronics system. A maple neck and ebony fingerboard make it incredibly playable, too.

Our Star Rating

We think this is one of the best acoustic bass guitars if you're looking for something that sounds like an upright bass. We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

Traveler Guitar Redlands Concert Acoustic -- Most Comfortable to Play

Important Features

  • Koa and mahogany build give it a warm tone with a present top end
  • Shadow electronics enhance low end and include a headphone jack
  • A beveled shoulder helps keep you comfortable while playing
  • Striped ebony fingerboard, maple binding, and abalone rosette make it a visual standout

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • For a small acoustic bass guitar, it has a remarkably full tone
  • Three-band EQis ideal for shaping live sound
  • Gold die-cast tuners maintain tuning stability
  • Genuine bone nut and saddle support richer tone

Cons

  • It doesn't have a solid top
  • Some players may prefer larger acoustic bass guitars

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

This one is one of the best acoustic bass guitars if you travel frequently. Its 23.25" scale makes it easy to take along. But even though it has a compact body, this little acoustic bass delivers a remarkably full tone. Part of that is thanks to the included Shadow electronics, which are engineered to further enhance the instrument's low end.

The Redlands is made of all laminated woods -- a koa top and mahogany sides and back. The all-laminate construction means it resists temperature and humidity changes, making it a great instrument for travel. Its beveled cutaway and beveled shoulder make it incredibly comfortable to play, too.

Our Star Rating

We think this is one of the best acoustic bass guitars when it comes to playing comfort. We give it three and a half out of five stars.

Fender CB-60SCE -- Best Playability

Important Features

  • Fishman Classic Design preamp includes a two-band EQ and a tuner
  • The full-scale design makes it a great acoustic bass for those wanting a full-sized instrument
  • Easy-to-Play neck profile with rolled walnut fretboard edges is ideal for new players
  • Solid top and scalloped bracing deliver remarkably good tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Among acoustic bass guitars we've found, it's one of the best values
  • The concert-sized body strikes a balance between tone and playing comfort
  • Mahogany neck warms up the tone
  • It's very affordable

Cons

  • Included electronics aren't as good as some of the other options on the list
  • Laminated back and sides don't have the same sound as solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Fender makes some of the best acoustic bass guitars for beginners, and many of these affordable models are still incredibly playable. The Fender CB-60SCE has rolled walnut fretboard edges that make playing especially easy for new bassists. The mahogany neck also has a slim-taper profile that helps reduce hand fatigue, and a Venetian cutaway offers easy fret access.

Even though the CB-60SCE is one of the more affordable acoustic bass guitars on the list, it has remarkably good build quality. The solid spruce top is incredibly responsive, and it will sound better with age. The laminated mahogany back and sides add more warmth to its tone. Scalloped X bracing increases resonance and Fishman Classic Design electronics let you plug in and play if needed.

Our Star Rating

We think this is one of the best acoustic bass guitars when it comes to playability, and we give it 3.5 out of five stars.

ESP LTD TL-5SM -- Best Exotic Wood Bass Guitar

Important Features

  • Stunning spalted maple top makes it a visual standout
  • Chambered, resonant body gives it a beautifully unique tone
  • The slim, fast neck makes it perfect for intricate runs
  • Onboard electronics with tuner make it a good choice for performance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's a unique and well-made instrument
  • A chambered mahogany body gives it an incredibly warm tone
  • Spalted maple gives it a visual and tonal edge
  • Grover tuners ensure incredible tuning stability

Cons

  • Inexpensive electronics mean it may not be the best choice for serious performers
  • Some players may prefer a traditional acoustic bass guitar design

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

ESP guitars are often visual standouts, and this is one of the best acoustic bass guitars when it comes to looks that we've found. This one has a semi-hollow, chambered mahogany body for exceptional resonance. The spalted maple top gives it a stunning aesthetic, and it also adds a definite crispness to its tone.

This acoustic bass has a thin U-shaped mahogany neck with a smoothly playable jatoba fretboard. The onboard Fishman Sonicore pickup makes it a stage-ready instrument, too.

Our Star Rating

We think this is one of the best acoustic bass guitars made with exotic wood. We give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Buying Guide: What Should You Look for in an Acoustic Bass?

Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric?

Unlike an electric bass guitar, you don't need to plug an acoustic bass into an amp. And if you don't intend to perform, you may not need electronics. If you do want to perform, you may find that it's easier to play with an acoustic-electric bass. However, it is possible to play an all-acoustic bass into a microphone, too.

Tonewood Selection

Tonewoods are a vital part of the build of any acoustic guitar or bass. When thinking of what tonewoods you prefer in acoustic basses, the selection process is just about the same. Here are a few common tonewoods and how they can impact the tone of a bass guitar:

  • Mahogany - Has a pronounced midrange as well as a "punchy" sound that a lot of bassists like.
  • Maple - Has excellent projection and tonal clarity.
  • Koa - Sounds a lot like mahogany, but with a little more treble presence.
  • Spruce - Produces a balanced, clear, and responsive tone.
  • Rosewood - Has a tight, defined low end and clear, sparkling highs.
  • Cedar - Produces a warmer, mellower sound than spruce.
  • Ovangkol - Sounds a little like rosewood, but with a more pronounced midrange.
  • Sapele - Sounds similar to mahogany, with more pronounced treble frequencies.

Choosing a Body Style

Just like with acoustic guitars, acoustic basses come in different body styles (although dreadnoughts are not common). Many of these basses are made using the jumbo body style. This larger body produces remarkably loud sound and offers excellent projection.

You can even find acoustic basses with a parlor body shape. This smaller body is ideal for smaller players or for any bassist who prefers a tight, focused sound. Similarly, the smaller grand concert body basses also offer focused, controlled sound with just enough overtones.

In Conclusion

We think any of the acoustic basses we've discussed would be an outstanding instrument to own. But our top bass guitar choice is the Breedlove Solo Jumbo Bass CE. This one isn't just a beautiful instrument -- its innovative side monitor soundhole makes it easy to hear yourself even in large groups, and its top-notch electronics make it an incredible performance instrument. Plus, its solid cedar top gives you a warm sound with a defined bottom end.

We think the Taylor GS Mini-E Maple bass guitar is a worthy runner-up. Its spruce and maple build delivers excellent projection, and Taylor's Expression System Baby electronics make it a great choice for gigging musicians. And lastly, if you have more to spend, the outstanding Martin BC-16E bass guitar offers incredible tone thanks to its all-solid spruce and rosewood build and world-class electronics.

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