Bass guitars. You can’t have a rock band without bass guitar. It’s not only rock band that needs a bass guitar. Almost any modern music band requires having a bass guitar.
If you’re up for playing a bass guitar, congratulations. But you may have noticed one thing. Bass guitars are usually more expensive than regular guitars. Why is that so?
Are bass guitars expensive? And, if so, why is that the case?
Bass guitar is usually more expensive than regular guitars because the production of one bass guitar requires more raw materials. Also, regular guitars sell more than bass guitars. Therefore, profit margins are not big enough, so companies are compelled to raise a price for bass guitars.
Why Are Bass Strings More Expensive?
One of the reasons why bass guitars are generally more expensive is because materials that assemble the bass guitar cost more.
Bass strings are perfect example.
Bass strings are wider and heavier than regular guitar strings. Therefore, more material is needed for making one bass string than it’s needed for a regular guitar string. Consequently, bass strings are more expensive than regular guitar strings.
Just so you get a rough picture, here’s a fun fact. A thinnest bass string, G string, have more material in itself than all six of regular guitar strings combined.
The core of each bass string is much thicker than the core of a regular bass string. Not only that, but it consequently requires more wounding on it.
Also, as strings get thicker, the process of production gets slightly more complex. Think about three thinnest strings of a regular guitar. High E, B and G. They are not wounded. They are just plain cores.
On the other hand, every bass guitar string has to be wounded with steel or nickel.
Bass strings also tend to last longer than regular guitar strings, so there’s one positive thing in this story.
Check out the article from this page about cleaning bass strings if you’re interested:
Now, let’s compare the prices. Let’s take the example of some great, high quality bass guitar strings brand.
GHS Bass (link to Amazon) strings cost around 21 bucks. Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers use those!
Of course, there are cheaper brands out there, but these are by far the best, according to reviews from customers.
Now, let’s take the example of some high quality guitar strings.
Elixir strings cost around 14 bucks. So there’s the difference.
Another reason why bass guitars are more expensive is because of truss rods. Truss rod provides a counter tension to neck.
Strings exert tension to neck. In order to maintain balance and stability, counter tension is needed. Truss rods have the role of providing that counter tension.
Now, what does it have to do with the cost? Well, if we compare tensions caused by regular, guitar strings and bass guitar strings, we’ll see the significant difference.
Bass strings exert significantly bigger overall tension for a neck than regular guitar strings do. Therefore, the truss rod needs to be more solid.
Therefore, the production of a bass guitar truss rod cost more.
You can see the difference in tension with a Stringjoy String Tension Calculator. There you can play with different presets and options, just to see the difference.
Here, take a look at the picture below.
As you can see, the overall tension caused by strings on an electric guitar is around 114.5 lbs. Of course, the tension varies with every guitar, because the strings may differ by their gauge, type, scale length can differ also, and so on.
Now, take a look what does calculator have to say about bass strings tension.
As you can see, the overall tension produced by bass strings is around 164 lbs. Keep in mind that there are less strings on a regular bass!
You can also see that bass guitars have longer scale length, so that plays the part also.
How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Bass Guitar?
There is no exact answer to that question. Bass guitar price ranges from 80 to thousands of dollars.
Squier bass guitar costs 200 bucks. I’m taking this example because this bass guitar is fairly good deal for a beginner.
Personally, I haven’t played it, but from what I can read from customer reviews, this guitar is perfect for beginners. Also, keep in mind that an expensive bass guitar that costs few thousands of dollars is just a little better than this one.
Anyway, if you’re interested, you can check the details on Amazon, and customer reviews as well, here.
Of course, there are other great bass guitars out there. For example, Ibanez GSRM20BS is a great deal. It’s a bit more expensive, though. 180 bucks.
But it’s also a beautiful one, with its sunburst brown color. See more on Amazon, here.
What Is The Most Expensive Bass Guitar?
The most expensive bass guitar is made by German luthier Jens Ritter. It’s called Ritter Royal Flora Aurum. It costs around 250 000 $.
Now, that’s crazy.
Anyway, you can hear how it sounds like in this video.
How Much Should I Spend On a Bass Guitar?
If you’re looking for a bass guitar, you certainly asked yourself this question. However, the answer depends on a few factors.
First, are you a beginner, intermediate or a professional bass player?
If you’re a beginner, you may want to buy some cheaper bass guitar. There’s a good reason for it. You don’t want to risk. Who knows, you may be bored by a bass guitar after a few weeks?
It’s absolutely possible. Now, imagine getting yourself an expensive bass guitar, just to find a week later you’re not interested anymore!
Therefore, if you’re a beginner, don’t spend more than a few hundred dollars on a bass guitar.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced bass player, you perhaps want to get yourself some higher quality bass. Those are certainly more expensive.
And one more thing. Set up your budget. Don’t go over it. In today’s unstable world economy, it is important to be responsible with your finances.
OK, let’s recap this article. Why are bass guitars more expensive than regular ones?
As it’s been already described above, it’s because of few reasons.
- bass strings
Bass strings are thicker and heavier than regular ones. Therefore, production of those is slightly more complex. Also, to produce a bass string, you need more raw material.
- string tension and truss rod
Bass strings exert stronger tension on neck. Therefore, a truss rod has to be more solid and stable. Hence, the production of it is again, more complex and requires more material and time.
- selling on market
It is a fact that less people play bass guitar than regular guitar. Market of bass guitars is smaller. Profit margins coming from bass guitar is not as big as it is with regular guitars. That’s why companies raise the price.
I hope this article gave you some insights and valuable information about this subject. If that’s the case, I’m more than happy about it.
Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles on this page.
Cheers, and rock on!