Lightweight Bass Guitar

Whether you're a bassist who gigs regularly or someone who just enjoys playing at home, playing a heavy bass can start to weigh on your body over time. Especially if you're playing long sets, a heavy bass can start to cause shoulder fatigue and other issues.

Thankfully, there are some lighter basses out there. In this article, we've gathered together our top suggestions for players looking for a lightweight bass.

Our Top Picks: The Best Lightweight Bass Guitars

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Epiphone

Viola Bass

Cell

Ibanez

Artcore AFB200

Cell

Lakland

Skyline Hollowbody-30

Cell

Fender

American Professional II Precision Bass

Cell

Ernie Ball Music Man

Bongo 4

Cell

Ibanez

miKro GSRM20

Cell

Traveler Guitar

Ultra-Light Bass

Cell

Fender

75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass

Cell

Yamaha

TRBX174EW

Cell

Epiphone Viola Bass -- Best Unusual Design

Important Features

  • Maple neck with rosewood fingerboard is comfortable to play
  • All-maple body projects well and imparts some crispness to your sound
  • Individual volume controls for each pickup lets you shape your sound
  • Vintage-inspired humbuckers give it an authentic sound

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's affordable and an excellent value
  • Easily-recognizable shape appeals to many players
  • Mini humbuckers resist noise in your signal chain
  • Flame maple top and trapeze tailpiece add some pizazz

Cons

  • Some players may not like the laminated body
  • Some buyers have said it arrives with high action

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Whether you're a fan of the Beatles or not, you'll probably like the rich, warm sound of a violin bass guitar. This one from Epiphone lets you get that same sound for an outstanding price.

This lightweight bass has an all-laminate body made of maple, and the flame maple top is enhanced by a vintage sunburst finish. The NYR and NYT mini-humbuckers are designed to have a similar sound to the Hofner bass used by the Beatles, and the set neck helps increase sustain. A relatively shorter 30.5" scale length helps keep it lightweight and easy to play for kids or smaller adults.

Our Star Rating

We think this lightweight bass has the best unusual design on the list, and we give it four out of five stars.

Ibanez Artcore AFB200 -- Best Hollowbody

Important Features

  • Archtop hollow body gives you a warmer tone than you'd get with a typical electric bass
  • Three-piece mahogany and maple neck is slim and comfortable to play
  • The classy, vintage-inspired look makes it a great choice for almost any venue
  • A fairly short 30.3" scale length makes it manageable even for smaller players

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • A fully hollow body makes it one of the best lightweight bass guitars
  • Laurel fretboard is comfortable to play
  • Dual humbuckers give it a fat, warm tone
  • The cutaway design makes it easy to play

Cons

  • The hollow body may cause some feedback issues when played through effects
  • Some players may prefer a solid-top instrument

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you want an ultra light bass for gigs, a hollowbody just might be your answer. This Ibanez bass has the big body of an acoustic guitar and the quality humbucker pickups of an electric guitar. The body is all laminated maple for projection and durability. The Artcore Bass neck profile and cutaway make it comfortable to play. It sounds a little like an acoustic bass guitar, but it's a lot more portable than an upright bass would be.

This affordable bass comes with a set of the Ibanez Classic Elite bass humbuckers. While these aren't top-of-the-line pickups, they capture the warm, round, acoustic-like sound of this remarkable bass.

Our Star Rating

We think this lightweight bass is the best hollowbody on the list. We give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Lakland Skyline Hollowbody-30 -- Most Versatile

Important Features

  • Offset doublecut body with unique f-hole makes it a standout design
  • The combination of mahogany and maple delivers the perfect balance of warmth and clarity
  • Two vintage-style single-coil pickups can handle almost any genre.
  • J-taper maple neck has a familiar and fast feel

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight, short-scale bass guitar design makes it great for smaller players
  • Versatile pickups let you access a wealth of tones
  • Distinctive body shape makes it a standout on stage
  • Independent volume controls for each pickup give you more control over your sound

Cons

  • It may be out of the price range of some bassists
  • If you play with a lot of effects, you might prefer to use humbuckers

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Hollowbody instruments are some of the best lightweight bass guitars out there. This beautiful and distinctive bass from Lakland is ready to tackle just about any genre you throw at it. Its carved maple top delivers projection and clarity while the mahogany back and sides add extraordinary warmth. The Hollowbody-30 also stands out because of its pickups -- it comes with vintage-style single coils instead of humbuckers. These pickups are capable of delivering deep, growling lows and well-defined highs.

This lightweight bass is also designed to be highly playable. The doublecut body gives you excellent fret access, and the J taper neck is slim enough to be fast when you need it to be. An Indian laurel fingerboard is easy on your fingers, and the short scale 30" scale length makes it easier to manage than a full-size bass guitar.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best lightweight bass for players who want to explore multiple genres. We give it four out of five stars.

Fender American Professional II Precision Bass -- Best Playability

Important Features

  • Full-size scale, the 4-string design gives you maximal range to work with
  • High-end appointments like a bone nut and lightweight, vintage-style tuners make it an excellent value
  • It's probably the best lightweight bass when it comes to balance
  • Split-coil pickup gives you the best of both single-coil and humbucker P-bass tones

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's an updated take on a classic design
  • Rosewood fingerboard with rolled edges is very comfortable to play
  • Alder body delivers a classic, balanced tone
  • It comes with a molded hardshell case

Cons

  • Some players may prefer a lighter short-scale bass guitar
  • It may be out of the price range of some players

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

The Precision bass guitar, or P-bass, is one of the earliest bass guitar designs. This P-bass combines classic design elements with modern playability features. At the heart of this bass guitar is the V-Mod II split-coil pickup. This design includes two single-coil pickups with some overlap, so you get both single-coil and humbucker tones. The result is a spectacularly versatile, classic-sounding P-bass.

This Precision bass is also incredibly playable. It features a - 63 profile slim-C neck with a satin finish for an incredibly fast feel. Rolled fretboard edges and a sculpted heel make playing as easy and comfortable as possible. And while it comes in many colors, this unique and stunning Mercury finish is a real standout.

Our Star Rating

We think this Precision bass has the best playability on the list, and we give it 5 out of five stars.

Ernie Ball Music Man Bongo 4 -- Best Features

Important Features

  • Slim maple neck with ebony fingerboard is highly playable
  • 4-string, full-scale bass design is one of the lighter ones on our list
  • Unique onboard active preamp gives you the unprecedented tone-shaping ability
  • Stealth Black finish with custom half-moon inlays make it a visual standout

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Basswood design makes it an especially light bass
  • 5-bolt neck attachment ensures that it stays in place
  • Neodymium humbuckers deliver distinctive, especially fat tone
  • Full 34" scale length gives you plenty of low end

Cons

  • This electric bass guitar might be lighter if it was a short scale design
  • Some players regard basswood as a poor tonewood, so they may not like this instrument

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Some of the best lightweight bass guitars are made using a full-scale design, and the Bongo 4-string bass is an excellent example. This especially light electric bass is made of basswood, and it has an onboard active preamp with a four-band EQ -- a truly unique feature. Basswood is sometimes used in low-end basses, but some manufacturers find that its tonal properties suit their high-end models as well. Music Man neodymium humbuckers deliver an incredibly thick tone.

The Bongo bass guitar has an unusual design with a double-cutaway body and sculpted neck joint for incredible playability. And the signature Music Man truss rod adjustment wheel makes adjustments a breeze.

Our Star Rating

We think this 4-string bass guitar is the best lightweight bass when it comes to special features. We give it five out of five stars.

Ibanez miKro GSRM20 -- Best Mini Electric Bass

Important Features

  • Dynamix P- and J-style pickups deliver a versatile tone
  • Mini poplar build makes it one of the most lightweight bass guitars on the list
  • Walnut flat finish gives it a distinctive and high-end look
  • Individual volume controls let you blend your pickup outputs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's very affordable
  • Its mini design makes it an especially lightweight bass
  • 28.6" scale length is ideal for kids and smaller adults
  • Two different pickups make this 4-string bass especially versatile

Cons

  • Poplar is generally used as an inexpensive mahogany substitute
  • These pickups aren't as clear-sounding as some higher-end options

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

You may have heard of Ibanez's miKro electric guitars. This lightweight short-scale bass guitar is ideal for travelers, children, or smaller players who just want something more manageable. This affordable 4-string is surprisingly tonally versatile -- it has one P-bass and one J-bass style pickup.

The miKro is one of the most lightweight bass options on our list. It has a scaled-down body, and the body is also made of poplar, a lightweight wood that still delivers decent sustain. A slim-profile maple neck is ideal for players with smaller hands.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best mini lightweight bass guitar on the list. We give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Bass -- Best for Travel

Important Features

  • Very small body makes it the lightest bass guitar on the list
  • Unique in-body tuners eliminate the need for a headstock
  • Undersaddle piezo pickup delivers stellar amplified tone
  • It's small enough that you can easily take it along when you travel

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • This bass guitar weighs less than four pounds
  • Detachable arm and leg rests mean it's still comfortable to play
  • Slim maple neck feels just like that of a traditional 4-string bass
  • Given its sound quality, it's very affordable

Cons

  • If you don't travel often, you might prefer the look and feel of a full-size bass guitar
  • Piezo pickup will have a different sound than either humbucker or single coil pickups

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Most of the lightweight bass guitars we've covered so far have been traditional instruments. However, this Traveler Guitar bass doesn't have much of a body, so it's easily the lightest bass guitar on the list. The shorter 30" scale length means it takes up less space when you travel, and the very small East American hard maple body is just big enough to impart some crisp character to its sound.

But don't think its small size will get in the way of playing comfort. Just like with most Traveler Guitar models, there's a detachable leg rest and armrest for playing sitting down or standing. A smooth, playable maple neck and fingerboard give you an incredibly comfortable playing experience.

Our Star Rating

This guitar offers classic Jasmine sound and playability at a great price, and we think its all-laminate build makes it the most durable full-size dreadnought on the list. We give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Fender 75th Anniversary Commemorative Jazz Bass -- Best High-End Option

Important Features

  • Two Custom Shop '60s Jazz single-coil pickups give you classic, rich bass guitar tone
  • The slim C maple neck is satin finished for great playability
  • Two-color Bourbon Burst finish goes beautifully with the all-gold hardware
  • Four-saddle HiMass Vintage bridge lets you achieve perfect intonation

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Ash body delivers a balanced, musical tone
  • Full-size bass guitar scale lets you achieve impressive lows
  • Gold hardware gives it a distinctive look
  • The sculpted heel gives you easy fret access

Cons

  • It's very expensive
  • Its longer scale means it's not quite as light as other lightweight bass guitars on the list

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

We've been through several lightweight bass guitars thus far, but we haven't yet discussed a jazz bass. The Fender Jazz Bass is one of the most popular bass guitar designs in history, and this stunning bass guitar commemorates the 75th anniversary of Fender, one of the world's largest guitar manufacturers.

Like a few other lightweight bass guitars, this jazz bass is made with tonally balanced ash. The maple neck reaches a full 34" scale length, and beautiful gold hardware gives it a regal look.

Our Star Rating

We think this remarkable bass guitar is the best high-end option on the list. We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

Yamaha TRBX174EW -- Best Beginner Option

Important Features

  • The mahogany body delivers thick, sustain-rich tone
  • Flamed mango veneer and sunburst finish give it a beautiful, stage-ready look
  • The combination of a P and a J pickup lets beginners get practice playing with both
  • Quality rosewood fretboard and slim maple neck are highly playable

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The mahogany body is a great value in a bass guitar at this price point
  • Independent volume controls for each pickup let you control your sound
  • Vintage-style tailpiece and covered tuners help maintain tuning stability
  • It's an affordable way to start learning bass guitar

Cons

  • Sound quality from the pickups isn't quite as good as that of higher-end pickups
  • Smaller players might prefer a bass guitar with a shorter scale

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

When it comes to choosing the best lightweight bass for a beginner, many bassists recommend Yamaha, a brand known for making affordable yet high-quality instruments. This bass guitar has a great-sounding mahogany body capped with a stunning flamed mango top. And like many basses made for new players, this one includes a P-style and a J-style pickup so you can figure out which style you like best.

A maple neck with rosewood fingerboard is highly playable, and the full 34" scale lets beginners get experience playing a full-size bass. And an attractive tobacco brown sunburst finish makes it look like a much more expensive bass than it is.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best bass guitar for beginners on the list, and we give it four out of five stars.

Buying Guide: How Do You Choose a Lightweight Bass?

Consider Weight Factors

Depending on the manufacturer, you may or may not be able to see how much a bass guitar weighs. But there are some factors you can look for if you want your bass to be as light as possible.

Tonewood weight

Many basses on our list are solidbodies, and a solidbody bass guitar made of heavy wood can be uncomfortable to play. Basswood is a great example of a very lightweight wood, although it's most often used on inexpensive instruments.

Alder, which is commonly used for Stratocasters, is another tonewood that's relatively lightweight. Similarly, swamp ash offers a slightly bright tone while remaining fairly light in weight.

Body style

This tip may sound obvious, but if having a light bass is very important, you may want to consider a hollow or semi-hollow model. Semi-hollow and hollow bases have some added tonal warmth and work especially well with blues or jazz. However, if you play through a lot of effects, a solidbody may be more your style.

Scale length

A short scale bass is often a little lighter than one with a standard scale length. Plus, these basses are ideal for shorter and smaller players who may have trouble reaching the low end of the fretboard on standard models.

In Conclusion

If you're searching for the best lightweight bass guitar, we think any bass on the list is a great choice. But our top selection is the Ernie Ball Music Man Bongo 4. This extra-light bass guitar stands out thanks to its incredible tone-shaping options. Its active onboard preamp includes a four-band EQ, which gives you unprecedented control over your sound. Plus, its neodymium humbuckers deliver an incredibly fat, powerful tone.

We think that the Fender American Professional II Precision Bass guitar is a worthy runner-up. After all, Fender played a crucial role in developing the electric bass as we know it today. This Precision Bass is extremely playable thanks to its '63 slim-C neck profile and rolled fretboard edges, and it delivers a powerful yet versatile tone, too.

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