There are huge differences between acoustic and electric guitars. The major differences are weight and tone. Your kid might be able to handle various types of acoustic guitars since they are lightweight, at least not as heavy as certain electric guitars. But you just can’t pick any bass guitar for your kid.
Since bass guitars are usually larger and heavier in weight, there is a lot to consider when choosing a bass guitar for beginners kid. However, this guide is all about helping you to choose the right bass guitar. We have described all the main factors that parents should take into consideration before buying a bass guitar for their kid.
So without any further ado, let’s dive into the buying guide!
The very first thing you should take into consideration before buying a bass guitar for your child is the budget. Do not go for an expensive bass guitar on the first purchase. Not only for the reason that this is new for the child and they aren’t sure if they’ll enjoy it yet, but also because high-end bass models come with a lot of functions which can be hard on a beginner bass guitarist.
There are a lot of affordable beginner bass guitars available. Try your best to choose from something in the $200-$300 range. Once you see your kid has improved a lot, then go for a higher-end bass guitar model.
There are a few types of bass bodies that differ from each other in size, weight, and sound. Among all of them, the most popular and highly used types are the solid body bass and hollow body bass.
Solid-body bass guitars are the most famous and they are used in both high-end and cheap quality guitars. In high-end expensive models, they are made of maple, swamp ash, mahogany, and alder woods. These woods are highly durable and deliver good vibration. In cheaper models, they are made of softer woods, or laminated woodpiles or pressed woods. There are even some bass guitars that are made of plastic solid-body.
On the other hand, hollow body basses are like acoustic guitars but they use the exact magnetic pickups as solid bodies. Hollow body basses are mostly used by folk or jazz players. In other words, hollow body basses are for quieter music that requires a little acoustic tone. Compared to the solid body, hollow body basses are lightweight.
The bass guitar’s bridge is where all the strings are terminated, from where the vibration gets transferred to the body and creates music. Through which the strings pass from front to back is called the bridge saddle, which can be moved up or down in order to adjust the action. The bridge is a very important part of any guitar.
When choosing a beginner bass guitar you would want to choose a bass guitar that is equipped with a good bridge. Now how would you identify that? Good bridges are made of brass and they are usually chrome or nickel silver plated. Bridges that have more weight are also preferred since they will anchor the strings nicely and will deliver more vibration.
There are normally three different bridges found in basses:
- Through body
- Through bridge
- Tailpiece combination and bridge
What are pickups? Not only bass guitars, but every electric guitar comes with pickups. They are basically electromagnetic devices that capture the sound produced from the vibration of the strings and convert the vibration to the electro signal. Many bass guitars come with two pickup sets that provide a good tone range. Pickups that are very close to the fretboard deliver a smooth low-end tone. And pickups that are closer to the bridge deliver an edgy mid-end tone.
There are two common bass pickups, humbuckers, and a single-coil. Other types are just different variations of these two pickups. Single coil pickups are the simplest of each pickup and come with one coil and magnet, which is what produces a brighter sound. That being said, these pickups can be a little noisy as well.
Compared to the single-coil, humbucking pickups are quieter. However, they also come with a drawback which is, they can sound a little muddy in higher volumes.
Strings are an important factor to consider for any guitarist but for beginners, light to mid-gauge strings are fine. In the beginning, your kid won’t require a set of high-end strings. Moreover, there are bass guitars which come with four strings, some come with 6 strings and some more than that. When starting out, it goes without saying beginners should begin with a 4 string bass and work their way up from there.
As mentioned above, there are different types of bass strings, and how the bass sounds will largely depend on the string type. Not only the type, but the material used in the construction of the string also plays a huge role when it comes to tone.
Here are some highly popular string materials:
Nickel-plated steel: This is the most used bass string material and is very popular. This material is used in round wound bass strings. Nickel-plated steel-made strings are very famous for their balanced tone. From hard rock to country, these strings fit perfectly for these types of genres.
Pure nickel: If you are looking for a warmer bass tone, then pure nickel strings are what you should choose. Pure nickel strings offer a softer tone that is suitable for blues, jazz, or vintage rock genres.
Stainless steel strings: This is another highly used string material. Stainless steel delivers the brightest tone among all the strings. It makes each and every note pop and that makes these strings perfect for metal, rock and funk bassists. You are going to get great sustain as well with this string.
Copper-plated steel string: You will get the bright popping tone of stainless steel in this copper-plated steel string. These copper strings come with a thin copper coating which creates a subtle and rich acoustic tone. For jazz bassists, these kinds of strings work great. Moreover, these strings come with very low frequency.
Polymer coated: These strings are not made of polymer but they come with a polymer coating. Some manufacturers do this in order to extend the lifespan of the string. There could be a slight change in the tone due to the polymer coating.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what to look for when buying a beginner bass guitar. Although there are many different brands and models of bass guitars out there, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of what you should be looking for so that you can get the best bang for your buck.