Top 7 Best 5 String Bass under $500 in 2023 (All Budgets Guide)

best 5 string bass under $500 - blog cover

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The bass guitar, also known as an electric bass, is the instrument’s lowest-pitched member. It’s a plucked string instrument with a longer neck and scale length, and commonly four to six strings or courses, similar in look and structure to an electric or acoustic guitar.

The five-string bass is the most prominent type of bass guitar. A low-B string is common on five-string basses, expanding the instrument’s lower range. Five-string instruments with a high C-string, which extends the higher range, are less frequent.

Source: Picture of Yamaha TRBX305 taken while testing the guitar

I tested 11 guitars and decided that this Yamaha TRBX305 is best 5 string bass under $500 for most uses.


So, how do you decide which cheap 5 string bass is the best for you?
There are a plethora of bass guitars which makes it a bit difficult to choose from.

Fortunately, we’ve already done the legwork for you. We’ve looked for the best bass guitars available which are affordable and go on with all playing styles. We’ve selected the best cheap 5 string bass from Fender, Yamaha, and other brands, all of which provide good playability and exceptional value in their respective price ranges.

Here are the 7 best 5 string bass under $500 that are comfortable, attractive, and sound amazing.

Readers also liked: 7 Popular Types Of Bass Guitars – Explained | Ultimate Guide

Top 7 Best 5 string bass under $500

Popular choice

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True Music Helper Rating - 4.8/5

The Yamaha TRBX300 is based on a single core philosophy: performance. The active circuitry in the Performance EQ gives quick access to carefully dialed-in stage-ready tones with the expressive control. It’s perfectly balanced, and an ultra-comfortable solid mahogany body provides the best tonal base. It sounds excellent, feels fantastic, and looks incredible.


  • Sculpted solid mahogany body
  • 5-pc maple/mahogany laminated construction
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Maple neck

How does it sound?
TRBX350 has a clear, brief – tone. Yamaha added a pair of custom-designed M3 humbucking pickups to the TRBX305 5-string bass. These guitars have bigger pole pieces and ceramic magnets for a powerful tone with outstanding depth and definition and no hum. The Performance EQ 5-way switch has optimised EQ settings for a variety of playing styles, including slap, pick, fingerstyle, and solo bass.

How does it feel?
The Yamaha TRBX305 is a mass-optimized 3D design that achieves the best blend of tone and comfort. With a 5-pc maple/mahogany laminated construction for great stability and tone, the neck shape is ultra-comfortable. The model features a small 5 string nut width that allows for quick, comfortable playability in any style.


  • Excellent playability
  • Fantastic tone
  • Affordable
  • Superb built quality


  • No mid-EQ

Best Pick

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True Music Helper Rating - 4.7/5

In a “top hits” selection of models that are pleasant on the eyes and ears, simple to play, and impossible to put down, the Squier Classic Vibe retains the authenticity of original Fender designs. It has a vintage-style bridge with slotted barrel saddles for firm string stability, as well as a sleek, ergonomic “C”-shaped neck profile with an easy-to-play 9.5″ radius fingerboard with narrow-tall frets. For an old-school vibe, this Squier model also has 1970s-inspired headstock markings, rich-looking nickel-plated hardware, and a smooth vintage-tint gloss neck finish.


  • 100% designed by Fender
  • Vintage-tinted gloss neck finish
  • Nickel-plated hardware
  • Right hand orientation

How does it sound?
Fender Classic Vibe produces a powerful, expressive tone, this model utilises Fender-designed alnico single-coil pickups with ’70s spacing. The instrument’s robust nickel-plated hardware gives it a deep, rich retro aesthetic.

How does it feel?
These vintage-style tuning devices have a classic appearance and deliver rock-solid tuning stability and smooth movement. For a pleasant playing feel. This instrument has a comfortable “C”-shaped neck profile. It truly gives the feel of the best 5 string bass for the price.


  • Highly durable
  • Great playability
  • Left handed version is also available
  • Legendary tone and sound


  • Premium price for premium guitar

Value for Money

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True Music Helper Rating - 4.5/5

GSRs have the slickness, comfort, tone, and playability that Sound gear is known for. On all GSR200 versions, a PHAT II active bass boost provides extra low-end power. GSR provides well-known Sound Gear pro comfort and playability at “entry-level” rates. GSR basses are the most affordable 5- and 6-string basses available from any major brand thus making it the best 5 string bass in budget.


  • Comfortable Poplar Body
  • Buttery Maple Neck
  • DXH-5 Neck
  • Bridge Pickups

How does it sound?
The Ibanez 5 String GSR205BK provides a lot of control over the sound contour of your output with the Ibanez GRS205. The active bass boost will give you a little extra tonal girth when you need it. 

How does it feel?
The Ibanez GRS205 has a pleasant and attractive asymmetrical form with a deep cutaway for easy access to the higher frets while resting securely on your body.

This GSR bass has a warm and resonating poplar body in a stylish and comfortable shape, a snappy GRS5 maple neck, a smooth jatoba fingerboard, 22 medium frets with close action, a confident B15 bridge, and a sonically articulate pair of DXH-5 pickups, all modelled after Ibanez’s SR 5-string bass.


  • B string that provides extra bass qualities
  • Value for money
  • Sounds fantastic


  • Onboard tuner might be inaccurate sometimes

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True Music Helper Rating - 4.3/5

The Sterling’s body lines are traditional and appealing: Its iconic teardrop pickguard, traditional control layout, and a variety of superb finishes give you the freedom to express oneself the way you desire. It’s not only affordable, but it’s also fantastic: Ray5 is a better choice and an amazing value for players of any expertise level. This guitar has a superior structure that allows you to play it for extended periods of time. This guitar’s robust wooden construction assures long-term durability and sustain.


  • Solid hardwood bodies
  • 34″ full-scale maple necks
  • Medium jumbo frets
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Easy access truss rod adjuster

How does it sound?
The maple wood neck of this instrument is expertly crafted, resulting in a brilliant tone output with greater clarity. This also gives the guitar sounds more punch. The Sterling SUB Ray5 delivers a wide range of tones, from bright and lively funk and pop. It’s also works as a gut-wrenching rock and metal bass guitar.

How does it feel?
The bolt super high neck design allows for effortless playability and long-term durability. This guitar’s fretboard is made from carefully chosen rosewood, which is valued for its smooth feel. It gives just the perfect look and feel of the best affordable 5 string bass. This guitar comes with a big, heavy-duty bass bridge with complete adjustability that increases playability and sustain.


  • Sounds like a full-fat StingRay
  • Easy playability
  • Amazing built quality


  • Quality not as refined as the more pricey options

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True Music Helper Rating - 3.7/5

Bass players now have a contemporary option owing to the Ibanez Soundgear range. Ibanez is continually striving to meet the broader demands of a range of players, at a variety of budgets, as a result of its ongoing popularity. It boasts a smooth, fast neck, a light body, and electronics that are ideally suited. It is one of the best choice for an inexpensive 5 string bass.


  • Mahogany body maple neck
  • Compact, contoured body and slim neck profile
  • DXH-5N neck and DXH-5B bridge pickups
  • Phat II EQ with active bass boost
  • 22 medium frets

How does it sound?
A guitar does not have to be pricey to sound great. The GIO range was designed for players that want Ibanez quality at a lower price. They not only look and sound better than anything else in their price bracket, but they also go through the same rigorous testing, setup, and guarantee as the other costly models.

How does it feel?
The Ibanez GSR205B 5-string bass has a beautiful appearance, a big, powerful tone, and excellent playability. It has a small mahogany body with a thin neck profile for excellent playing comfort and speed. The active Phat II bass boost gives the sound more girth. The Ibanez GSR205B Bass will keep the band rocking all night.


  • Very girthy sound produced by active Phat II bass boost pick ups
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Great quality


  • Some players reported that the strings rattle against the frets a bit

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True Music Helper Rating - 4.1/5

The newest bass guitar in Yamaha’s renowned BB series combines the series’ legendary tone and build quality in a smaller body with even better playability. It features a firmer 6-bolt mitre neck joint for improved stability, and custom-wound pickups that achieve higher output gain while maintaining the classic BB voicing.


  • Solid alder Body
  • Custom V3 pickups (Ceramic)
  • Vintage style Bridge
  • Lightweight open gear tuners

How does it sound?
A pickup with a ceramic magnet that produces a clear, well-defined sound. For varied sound sculpting, the new BB models include one tone control and two volume control knobs.

How does it feel?
The New BB basses have a slim neck, which improves playability and feel for modern and traditional players alike. Lighter tuners provide a better balance and enhance the entire feel, making them a great match for the new BB’s smaller, lighter body


  • Lightweight
  • Vintage style
  • Enhanced playability
  • Affordable


  • No notable cons

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True Music Helper Rating - 4.0/5

The Affinity Series Jazz Bass V (five-string) is a minimal alternative of the world-famous Fender Jazz Bass. It has the style and tone that everyone recognises. The rosewood fingerboard adds a charming aesthetic touch to the robust one-piece maple neck, which improves vibration transmission from the strings.


  • “C”-shaped maple neck
  • 21-fret fingerboard
  • Vintage-inspired hardtail bridge
  • Right hand orientation

How does it sound?
The Jazz Bass V single-coil pickups are meant to deliver a modern tone and performance to 5-string basses, with a guttural midrange and singing high end. These pickups were voiced in-house at Fender and offer a thick, articulate tone suitable for a broad range of styles.

How does it feel?
The “C”-shaped profile of the Fender Squier produces a slim, comfortable, and easy-to-play neck. These vintage-style tuning equipment have a classic appearance and deliver precise tuning.


  • Thin & lightweight body
  • Fantastic quality
  • Value for money
  • Beautiful sleek tone, a warm tone
  • Excellent finishing


  • Takes a couple of tries to help it stay in tune
  • Not made from best quality materials

How we Pick & Test our Guitars

I have been playing bass for years and I’ve also played around on a 5 string bass from time-to-time.  For this test particularly I was playing some chords and bass solos on each of these guitars. My criteria while creating this of guitars list were:

  • Good 5 string bass that are under $500
  • Have a good built quality and tone
  • Popular brands like Fender or Yamaha
  • Available on renowned marketplaces with a good return policy

During the test, I would play genres like metal/hard rock and try to improvise solos. I would make a note of the easy of playing and amount of stress on my fingers.

These 11 guitars felt like they had all the qualities including a lightweight body and elegant looks. So, I did further research to create pros and cons lists right after the selection.

Small disclaimer: I can bet my money on these guitars sound great over all but I also recommend going down to a local music shop and testing it out yourself because guitars aren’t one-size-fits-all, you might find out a guitar that fits your needs better.

What is the difference between: 4 string bass and 5 string bass?

The major difference between a 5-string bass over a 4-string is the additional low range provided by the fifth string. In comparison to 4 strings, it lets the player use lower notes and has more options for scales, arpeggios, and chords.

A four-string bass guitar has four normal bass strings that are one octave lower than a conventional guitar’s four lowest strings. To enhance the tonal range of the instrument, a 5 string bass guitar adds one string, either at the lower or upper end of the four regular bass guitar strings.

What is the best way to tune a 5 string bass guitar?

The most common tuning scheme for a five-string guitar is B E A D G. This provides a low B string as well as five more notes that a 4 can’t reach (Eb, D, Db, C and B).

E A D G C is another technique to tune a 5-string bass. Instead of the low B, you’ll get an extra high string. This tuning allows you to access higher notes in each position, which is useful for a variety of chord voicings, melodies, and soloing.

In conclusion

The Yamaha TRBX305 is an excellent premium choice 5 string bass guitar for players of all skill levels. It’s the one of the best guitars in this list of basses under $500 as it combines all of the features you’re looking for.

The Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 70’s Jazz Bass V string has a wonderful tone and high-end characteristics. Fender is dedicated to creating high-quality guitars with a distinct appearance and feel, making it the best pick on this list.

The Ibanez GSR205BK is a five-string guitar that combines comfort, tone, and playability. In terms of value.

This list of the “7 Best 5 String Bass Under $500” will help you choose the right guitar for you. When choosing the best cheap 5 string bass guitar, I analysed a variety of variables, including comfort, and, most importantly, sound. I put this together because I want to provide the greatest alternatives for all of the readers. So I really hope you find exactly what you are looking for!

Keep strumming…

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

Hello! I am Sarah and I've been a bass player for as long as I remember. I picked up my first bass at age 7 and have never let go of it ever since. I've been a part of 3 bands and currently play for a band called ‘Neptune Nerds’. I love to talk about bass and share my experience with these instruments!

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