Bass for metal

How to Choose the Best Bass for Metal: Ultimate Guide

Choosing the best bass for metal can be a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider and you don’t want to regret your choice later on. 

When it comes to bass guitars, there are a lot of options. If you’re in the market for one, choosing the right instrument can be difficult. 

Not all bass guitars are created equal! There’s a huge range of features and price points out there, so how do you know which is best for your metal head needs?

We all know that playing an instrument is fun and rewarding, but it also requires a lot of time and effort. You don’t want to waste your valuable practice hours trying out different instruments just because you couldn’t find the perfect one in time. 

Best Bass for Metal 

At Guitar Exclusive, we are here to help! 

This guide will walk you through every step of choosing the right bass guitar for metal music so that you can focus on what really matters – practicing! 

By following this guide, we are certain that you will end up with an instrument that not only sounds good but feels great as well!

We will help you navigate through everything that makes up a great metal bass guitar so that you can find exactly what fits your needs as well as your budget.

We hope you enjoy our picks. 

Best Overall 

Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass, Maple Neck, Olympic White with Stripe

The Fender Steve Harris Precision Bass in Olympic White is part of the Fender `70s Legends Limited Edition. 

This signature model is named after one of the most renowned heavy metal bass players ever from the legendary band Iron Maiden

This distinctive finish graphic is paired with precision electronics and hardware to create a formidable bass for seasoned pros that needs no introduction. 

The short-scale neck provides excellent register, tonal clarity, and comfortable access even over prolonged periods.

A bass with the signature “C” neck and Rot Flat Wound strings for that modern smooth tone. The peace of mind is in your purchase with the included Fender Deluxe gig bag and quality warranty package. 

You will get to play for hours uninterrupted by stiffness, a result of the modern C shape neck profile on this instrument. 

Whether you are looking for classic or down-to-earth tones, this precision bass can provide them all with ease thanks to the added rotary speaker (humbucking pickup) design.

You really can’t go wrong with the Steve Harris signature Precision Bass.

Based on this “number one” player’s guitar, this bass sports voluminous amounts of glistening white over its tasteful West Ham United F.C.-themed striped gloss rosette while a mirrored pickguard looks at you with just as much style as the body design itself thanks to hidden control access ports that don’t need heavy-handed violence to be revealed.

Pros

Pros:

  • Steve Harris signature model. 
  • Clean white gloss finish with pinstriping. 
  • 20 jumbo frets. 
  • Seymour Duncan pickups. 
  • Comes with Fender Deluxe Gig Bag.
  • Features a modern “C” shape neck for easy playability. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Only available in Olympic White. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Budget 

Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 Electric Bass in Transparent Black

The StingRay Ray4 electric bass is the cousin of the Music Man StingRay 4. It has active electronics, low-noise hum bucking pickups, rock-solid hardware and a simple, uncluttered look that is instantly recognizable and respected. 

With its signature teardrop pickguard, control layout and finish choices to choose from you can find your own way to stand out on stage or jams with this much loved instrument.

At an entry level price point, the Ray4 bass delivers a pro-level sound and feel. 

The active preamp features individual volume controls for each string with high and low cut/boost. The fully adjustable bridge offers unparalleled levels of comfort while playing. The transparent black finish is sleek, stylish, and METAL!!!!

The Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray4 bass guitar was designed for ease of play, comfort, and durability. The bolt-on maple neck’s shallow “C” profile is easy to get around on, while the tinted body shows off your workmanship. 

With a pair of low-noise humbucking pickups backed by a 2 band EQ you can dial in just the sound you want for any playing situation. 

With chrome hardware including heavy duty die cast machine heads to keep tuning in check there’s no denying that this is one handsome instrument!

Pros

Pros:

  • Super affordable price. 
  • Cousin of the famous Music Man StingRay 4.
  • Low noise hum bucking pickups. 
  • Build durable and made to last. 
  • 2-band EQ
  • Adjustable fixed bridge. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Action may need to be adjusted. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Under $1000

Schecter Stiletto Custom-4 Electric Bass Guitar – Red Satin

The Schecter Hellraiser Extreme 4 String Bass Guitar offers phenomenal tone, a fast neck, hot EMG pick-ups, thunderous low end and a snappy high-end. 

It features a mahogany body with figured maple top and rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets.

This 4-string bass guitar has an awesome easy to play feel to meet your heavy metal needs! 

The S-Tek Bridge with String Through Body allows better individual string pressure that produces clear, defined tones throughout your entire range of playing. 

EMG HZ Pickups are a perfect blend of classic sound and modern output. Black hardware means everything is understated plus offset dots inlay make this instrument look badass!

The Schecter Hellraiser Extreme has been a long-time favorite bass guitar at the heart of any rock, metal and alternative performer’s arsenal. 

It features tremendous tone, a fast neck, hot EMG pickups and thunderous low end! Those are great ingredients for a metal bass! 

Pros

Pros:

  • Maple top and rosewood fretboard. 
  • Comes with Scheter tuning machines. 
  • 2 band EQ. 
  • Mahogany body.
  • Great tone and fast playing neck. 
  • S-Tek bridge. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Truss rod may need to be adjusted. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Under $500

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar Weathered Black SR300E

Ibanez basses are a fantastic way to add versatility and oomph to your low-end lineup. Clear of bulky electronics, these 4-string models are downright lovely to play and great for metal—thanks in large part to their resonant mahogany body and Maple neck. 

You’ll find high-brightness chrome hardware on board (including the die-cast tuners), and four powerful Ibanez Single Coil pickups offer an astounding range of tone.

 And the party doesn’t stop there! A 3-way selector switch yields three distinct voice for this model.

The Ibanez SR300E has a power tap switch to let you have three tonal personalities. The pickups are dual coil, and stainless steel pole pieces offer a higher output, clarity, and fullness.

Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar offers a power packed design, along with high performance components. 

The SR4 5-piece Maple/Walnut neck has medium frets for smooth playability, and the instrument’s unique pickup configuration supplies an arsenal of sonic possibilities.

The Single Bridge is crafted from lightweight aluminum and provides mighty sustain without weighing you down while on stage or in rehearsals.

Pros

Pros:

  • Sleek weathered black finish. 
  • Smooth, fast neck. 
  • Lightweight body. 
  • Dual coil pickups. 
  • 3 band EQ. 
  • Cosmo black hardware. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • May need a proper set up. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Jazz Bass for Metal 

Fender Player Jazz Electric Bass Guitar 

The Fender Player Jazz Electric Bass Guitar takes the classic J-style bass, with its offset waist that hugs every inch of your body, and updates it for today’s modern player. 

Featuring a Maple fingerboard and vintage tinted gloss neck finish to be more comfortable to those who play seated or standing. 

The Player Series upgrades include two Player Series single-coil pickups (neck & bridge) that are punchy and pump out solid tone perfect for funk or soul, 2 volume controls; master tone control make this instrument versatile as can be. 

Featuring a body with gloss finish, the Fender Player Jazz Bass guitar also has two player series single-coil jazz bass pickups, as well as two volume controls and master tone control. 

It also comes equipped with a 9.5- radius neck profile making it ideal for fingerpicking styles to result in smooth action across the entire length of the fretboard. 

The blend of modern techniques and traditional design make this an excellent choice for any bassist looking to get their hands on one of the most iconic electric setups on stage or in the studio.

With the “Modern C”-shaped neck, playing runs easy with an even response across the fingerboard. The alder body has gloss finish that you can show off your artistry on, as well as two player series single-coil bass pickups and to volume controls plus master tone control.

Pros

Pros:

  • Slim and fast action C-profile neck. 
  • Featuring 2 player series Alnico 5 single-coil pickups. 
  • Two volume controls and a master tone control. 
  • 4-saddle vintage bridge. 
  • Alder body wood. 
  • Durable and reliable. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Heavy weighted bass. Which may be uncomfortable while standing. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Best Five String Bass for Metal 

Schecter Stiletto Extreme-5 Bass Guitar

Schecter has a reputation for producing high-quality, distinctive guitars and the Schecter Stiletto Extreme-5 string bass guitar is not an exception. 

This beautiful 5 string bass guitar delivers that classic, unmistakable Schecter sound we all know and love with its mahogany body and figured maple top paired with the powerful 24-jumbo fret rosewood fingerboard. 

If you feel more comfortable playing with your thumb on the low end of the neck then this is perfect for you – it’s also great if you play in drop C tuning which again is great for heavy metal! 

This Schecter delivers with the world-renowned Schecter sound with a mahogany body and maple neck, 2 Schecter bass pickups, an inlaid “stylish” black pickguard, and see thru black finish. You’ll grab some attention playing this beauty!

The Stiletto is an aggressively styled, fast playing bass instrument that isn’t afraid of a little attitude. Fitted with deep resonant lows and dark overtones, this stiletto model was crafted to be the ultimate arsenal in your gigging artillery. 

A magnetic full range humbucking pickup adds another bold dimension to its fat tone while EQ controls give you complete control of every element of the sound. 

The Graph Tech Tusq nut; Diamond Active pickups; Diamond Bass Bridge make it easy when it comes to setting your baseline volumes and overall tones. 

Pros

Pros:

  • 24 jumbo frets. 
  • Great for fast and aggressive play. 
  • Deep low tones perfect for heavy music. 
  • Great mid range sound. 
  • Mahogany body with maple top.
  • Great look for metal! 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Only one color option. 

VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here at Guitar Exclusive, we are excited to share some of the most common questions and answers that other metal musicians have frequently asked.

Is a jazz bass good for metal?

A lot of metal guitarists have been asking themselves if Jazz bass guitars are good for Heavy Metal.

The answer is yes! 

A great example would be the Fender Jazz Bass. 

It’s not just for jazz musicians anymore, and it can actually give you some really interesting sounds that are perfect for your next metal song.

Plus, as an added bonus, a Fender Jazz Bass looks awesome! 

How important is the bass guitar in metal music?

Metal music is a genre that has been around for decades and will live on for many more. 

The bass guitar is often overlooked as being a major instrument in the metal genre. 

However, many musicians believe that without the bass guitar, there would be no metal music at all! 

The sound of the bass guitar can make or break a song. It’s important to understand how to use it for your own songs.

It’s not uncommon to hear a guitarist say that they’re only interested in playing lead and rhythm parts or just play rhythm all together because they don’t want to learn how to play the bass. 

The truth is that without a good bassist there would be no groove or power behind the music which would make it sound like “just noise”.

Without any low end frequencies what kind of difference do you think this would make? 

One example can be found in Metallica’s song “Master of Puppets.” 

Can you play metal on an acoustic bass guitar?

The answer is yes. However, you are going to experience some limitations as you will not be able to achieve certain sounds. 

In fact, if you grow accustomed to playing metal on an acoustic then you will probably have an easier time switching over to an electric bass when ready. 

If you’d like more information on acoustic bass guitars, check our or article right here: Best Acoustic Bass Guitars! 

What bass strings are best for metal?

As we know, heavy metal relies heavily on the driving bass to create its sound. 

Since you will be playing low notes and chords, generating the rhythmic foundation of heavy metal music, it’s important to find the right strings for your instrument and style.

The most popular strings for heavy metal bass guitars include:

– Stainless steel roundwound strings 

– Nickel plated steel roundsounds 

– Half roundsounds 

– Flatwounds

We would suggest a great place to start would be with the Erine Ball Regular Slinky or the GHS Bass Boomers which is a signature set from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

You can try out a couple of different gauges to get the feel for what will eventually work best.  

Is it best to play bass with your fingers or a pick?

It’s like asking which is better, apples or oranges? The answer really depends on the person and how comfortable they feel when playing.  

Some people may have stronger fingers than their hands and vice versa, so they need to adjust accordingly.

Some bass players might find that using a pick is more beneficial because it allows them to focus on other aspects of playing such as tone control and speed without worrying about how hard they are pressing down with their finger tips. 

However, if you’re just starting out, you may want to start off by learning with your fingers first before switching over to a pick. 

There are some pros and cons for each option, but it largely comes down to personal preference. 

Perhaps eventually learning both may be a good option. Sometimes songs will be best suited for playing with a pick such as those thrashy metal songs. 

Maybe the slower and sludgy Black Sabbath style tunes would work with your fingers. 

The heavier the metal gets the more control you want over your ability to hit those low end notes and for them to be pronounced and ring out. 

Is a precision or jazz bass better for playing heavy metal?

Precision Bass guitars are typically used by more traditional rock bands to play ballads. However, they also work well with heavier styles like hard rock and punk because it has a thicker tone than a jazz bass. 

Jazz Basses have thinner strings which allow them to be played faster than precision basses, making them perfect for playing fast riffs in heavy metal songs. 

Some will say that a precision bass can’t be used for heavy stuff like Iron Maiden…..then again we just reviewed a signature model from the bass player of Iron Maiden!!!!!

Conclusion 

In conclusion, If you’re looking for a bass guitar that will help you play metal, the list above is for you.  

Whether your budget is $1000, $500, or less, there is something for everyone!

The best bass guitar for metal is the one that meets your needs and wants!

A bass guitar can be used in a variety of genres, but it belongs to the metal genre when you need an instrument with a deep, heavy sound.

 Bass guitars are not only made to play notes; they also produce the low end sound that creates the foundation of most metal songs. 

You could go on endlessly about different types of pickups and what kind of strings work best for this type of music. At some point you’ll find yourself asking which instrument would suit your musical style better?

That is why this list was compiled and really tried to deliver the nuts and bolts for you. 

If you’re looking to play metal, a good bass guitar can make all the difference. If you’re new to playing the instrument and don’t want to spend too much money, we strongly feel the options above will help you with your decision. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article today. Remember to not only rock hard but to HAVE FUN!!!

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *