11 Best Bass for Metal in 2021 (Latest Guide) – Our picks of Bass Guitars for Metal

Note: Here I have listed 11 of the best bass for metal that I have personally tried and tested. The article also contains detailed information along with relevant cons that will help you conveniently compare and select the most suitable model based on your needs.

Best Bass For Metal - blog cover

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Our top 3 Picks

4.8/5
  • Hum free crushing output
  • Best tonal transfer and maximum resonation
  • Free Fender Deluxe Gig Bag

4.7/5
  • Killer hardtail bridge system
  • Extremely comfortable to play
  • Affordable
  • Eye-catching details

4.5/5
  • Five-piece neck for fast playing
  • Features like 24XJ-fret & SB-4 pickups
  • Great for beginner or professional both

Choosing the best bass for metal is a very tricky process. Given the intricacy of the genre and the amount of variations available, it’s quite difficult task to choose the best bass guitar for metal. And if you still want the perfect bass for metal, it becomes essential to look for the features that give you an edge over other bass guitars for the perfect heavy sound and a body that provides awesome playability – also something that is light and comfortable to give you room to perform on stage. 

You also need to make sure that the body and neck of the guitar are made with high-quality material and various other things. The active bass guitars for the metal have an onboard preamp. Whereas the passive guitar can produce output from the pickups on its own. Therefore, you need to choose between the two according to your needs to get the perfect bass.

Make sure that your bass includes EQ controls. These controls help the guitarist in properly shaping the tone to get the best performance. Also, don’t forget to check the size of the guitar and the thickness of its neck, as these two factors play a significant role in deciding its playability. 

When looking for the ultimate best metal bass guitar, you must emphasize a multiscale fretboard. These fretboards are visible as the top, and bottom strings are of different lengths. This helps the guitar improve the intonation and optimize the tension of the strings to achieve maximum durability. 

That should give you a general idea of what you should be looking for while purchasing your next brutal music buddy – Keeping these points in mind I have selected 11 of the best basses for the metal in the market right now. They have all the features I have talked about in the above paragraphs. Let’s get started!

11 Best bass guitar for metal of all time

True Music Helper Rating - 4.8/5
4.8/5

The Squier by Fender Mini Precision Bass uses maple and basswood for its back and alder for its body. The neck part of the guitar has a modern c-shape profile. The guitar has a unique look via soccer team logo graphics and side paint schemes.

How does it sound?
The guitar has nickel and steel strings which produce a full-bodied sound. The sound produced by them is smoother to feel. The use of steel strings makes the guitar better-suited for metal. The guitar has an S pickup configuration. You also get a Fender Deluxe Gig Bag with this guitar. 

How does it feel?
The guitar has a C-shaped neck profile to provide the best comfort when you are playing it. The guitar’s body and back are alders, maple, and basswood, making it lightweight and effortlessly playable. 

Pros

  • Hum free crushing output by Seymour Duncan split P Pickup
  • Hi-mass bridge for tonal transfer and maximum resonation
  • Free Fender Deluxe Gig Bag

Cons

  • A fat strap is required for more comfortability

True Music Helper Rating - 4.7/5
4.7/5

The Squier by Fender Affinity Series PJ uses basswood for its back and poplar wood for its body. The neck of the guitar has a C-shape profile and a 4-saddle bridge for solid string stability. It also has vintage-style open-gear tuning machines to get smooth and accurate tuning.  

How does it sound?
PJ pickup configuration to get a tonally versatile combination of pummeling. It has alloy steel strings which are best for playing metal, country, or any other type of music. It also has a single-coil J Bass bridge pickup to get a wide variety of tones. 

How does it feel?
It has a C-shaped neck profile to provide the best comfort. It has an Indian laurel fingerboard for fast playability and stellar response. It has 20 medium-jumbo frets to provide added playing comfort. It also helps to reduce finger fatigue and produce a wonderful tone.

Pros

  • Hardtail bridge system
  • Alloy steel strings
  • Three-ply pickguard and eye-catching details

Cons

  • Need some adjustments before playing

True Music Helper Rating - 4.5/5
4.5/5

The 3 ESP B 204SM Spalted uses maple and basswood for its back and Swamp Ash for its body. The neck part of the guitar has a five-piece neck made of maple or Rosewood and a 24XJ-fret Rosewood fingerboard. It has a standard strap button with an extra thin U-neck contour.

How does it sound?
The guitar has SB-4 pickups and an ABQ-3 3-Band Active EQ, which provides versatility to tackle any style. The spalted top on an Ash body helps the guitar to produce punchy and dynamic tones easily. This guitar is suitable for anyone, whether you are a beginner or a professional. 

How does it feel?
The neck feels thin and fast, which makes it very easy on the fingers. The guitar’s build is well balanced and sits on the shoulder comfortably, provided you have a wide strap of decent quality.

Pros

  • Five-piece neck for fast playing
  • 24XJ-fret for versatility
  • SB-4 pickups for great playability

Cons

  • Needs professional setup to correct the intonation

True Music Helper Rating - 4.3/5
4.3/5

The ESP LTD F-205 uses mahogany wood for its back and body. It has an SB-5N designed neck made of maple. It also has a Roasted Jatoba FretboardESP made of maple. 

How does it sound?
The guitar has an Active ABQ-3 3-Band EQLTD BB-605 Bridge and LTD Tuners to produce and control a wide range of tunes. Its ESP Designed SB pickups with active 3-band EQ can handle the heaviest music styles like down-tuned progressive metal. 

How does it feel?
The guitar has a body made of mahogany which makes it lightweight and comfortable. The guitar also has a thin U-shaped neck which adds to its comfortability. It is a five-string guitar with a Black Satin finish, perfect for musicians who want a high-quality instrument at a budget price.  

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Lowest price with the highest quality
  • Mahogany body with black satin finish

Cons

  • No notable con

True Music Helper Rating - 3.7/5
3.7/5

The Schecter Hellraiser Extreme uses Ebony for its back and has a wooden body. The neck part of the guitar is made of maple and a fretboard made of Ebony. The guitar has an H pickup configuration. 

How does it sound?
It has EMG pickup combinations to deliver a vibrant tone. The range of sounds produced by its pickup is consequently greater. The ebony fingerboards with a variety of bridge configurations help to enhance your style. 

How does it feel?
The Ebony back and wooden body make this guitar lightweight, elegant, beautiful, stylish, and strong. It has superior quality pickups which feel and look fantastic.

Pros

  • EMG pickup combinations
  • Enhances your style
  • 34-inch scale length

Cons

  • There are guitars on this list with better fretboards

True Music Helper Rating - 4.1/5
4.1/5

The Ibanez SR300E uses maple and Agathisfor its back. This is a four-string guitar with bolts on its neck. The fretboard of this guitar is made of Rosewood and has an adjustable bridge system. 

How does it sound?
The four-string guitar can switch in any tone for any genre. It has a range of complex electric jazz to raging metal. The guitar has a B100 adjustable bridge with 19mm string spacing which helps to keep the tuning stable. 

How does it feel?
It has a thin and fast neck which increases its comfortability while you are playing it. The thinner neck helps you to move through the frets easily. It has a 3-band active EQ so that you can easily control the different varieties of tone.

Pros

  • Thin and fast maple neck
  • A warm tone with great sustainability
  • 24 medium frets

Cons

  • Requires a little practice to handle as a beginner

True Music Helper Rating - 4.0/5
4/5

The ESP LTD B-204SM uses basswood for its back and swamp ash for its body. It is a four-string guitar with a fixed bridge system. The fretboard is made of Rosewood, and the guitar has an H pickup configuration.

How does it sound?
The guitar can produce punchy and dynamic tones with the help of its beautiful Spalted Maple top on an Ash body. This wood combination also helps the guitar to provide wonderful clarity and resonance. Its SB-4 pickups and ABQ-3 3-Band Active EQ help to provide great versatility to the guitar. 

How does it feel?
The five-piece maple/Rosewood neck and a 24XJ-fret Rosewood fingerboard help the guitarist play any tune with utmost ease and comfort. Its bolt-on construction helps make it well balanced and provides great stability when you play it.

Pros

  • Natural Satin finish
  • Comfortable fretboard system
  • ABQ-3 3-Band Active EQ

Cons

  • Minor adjustments required for correct intonation

True Music Helper Rating - 3.9/5
3.9/5

The Ibanez SR505BM Soundgear 5-String Bass, Mahogany uses mahogany and basswood for its back and mahogany for its body. It is a five-string guitar with an Accu Cast B25 bridge system. The neck part of the guitar is made with Bubinga. 

How does it sound?
Its EQB-IIIS 3-Band EQ will help you to get a variety of bass. The guitar has a Cosmo Black Hardware that allows you to play it well at mid-frequency. Its rosewood fretboard gives you a rich sound and consistent tone. 

How does it feel?
It has a smooth and speedy SR5 5-Piece neck made with Bubinga. The body and back of the guitar made with mahogany and basswood make it lightweight and comfortable.

Pros

  • SR5 5-Piece Bubinga neck
  • Best sound sustainability
  • EQB-IIIS 3-Band EQ

Cons

  • Adjustment of EQ is required

True Music Helper Rating - 3.9/5
3.9/5

The Jackson JS Series Spectra Bass JS3 uses basswood for its back and poplar wood for its body. It is a four-string bass guitar with a bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement and scarfs joint. The guitar has a 24-fret laurel fingerboard with 3-Band EQ and volume control system. 

How does it sound?
The Spectra Bass JS3 makes it an instrument with versatile style and enormous sound. Its medium output humbucking pickups provide you with the ability to play funk, hard rock or gospel, etc., and music.  

How does it feel?
Its bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement and scarf joint makes it fast and easy to play with. The basswood and poplar wood used for its body makes it lightweight and add to its comfortability.

Pros

  • Best coil-split pickup
  • 3-Band EQ and volume control system
  • Flexible to move around

Cons

  • None

True Music Helper Rating - 3.7/5
3.7/5

The Schecter 5 String Stiletto Studio-5 FF is a five-string guitar that uses Ebony for its back and mahogany for its body. The neck part of the guitar is made with maple. The fretboard material used is Ebony and has an H pickup configuration. It also has an individually adjustable bridge system. 

How does it sound?
The guitar has an EMG 40 Hz pickup set and master volume to produce a variety of tones. Its mahogany body and EMG pickups are capable of delivering a rich and commanding tone. It has a three-band EQ which will provide you with precise tone management. 

How does it feel?
It has a thin and smooth maple neck to provide you with an effortless play. It has a varied scale length to create tension across its strings and makes the tuning more stable and accurate. 

Pros

  • Multiply neck for best comfortability
  • Great bass at this price
  • EMG pickup and three bands EQ

Cons

  • No protective plastic except on pickups

True Music Helper Rating - 3.7/5
3.7/5

The Ibanez SRMS805 is a five-string bass guitar that uses mahogany for its back and its body. It has a Humbucker pickup configuration with a mahogany fretboard. The neck of the guitar is made of walnut wood. 

How does it sound?
The fret to bridge distance enhances the tone of the guitar and makes it a better-sounding bass. Its multiscale base helps to provide better tension on each of its strings. Its mini bridge section provides excellent intonation and superior string vibration transference to the guitar. 

How does it feel?
Its multiscale neck and mahogany body make it supremely lightweight, almost like a feather compared to other bass guitars. Its walnut wood neck helps to facilitate a quick and comfortable playing action. The slant of its multiscale allows the guitarist to play at different hand angles.

Pros

  • Beautiful design with a premium look
  • Humbucker pickup configuration
  • Multiscale neck for best performance

Cons

  • Stock strings can be improved

 Therefore, these are the best bass for metal which have all the qualities you would want in your guitar. They are best for their lightweight back and body, thin and fast neck, premium finish, etc., various things. These guitars are the best choice for any artist if they want a high-quality instrument at the best price. 

What's Better - 4 string or five-string Bass for Metal?

One of the most prudent decisions you would have to make while getting your bass to play metal is purchasing a four-string or a five-string bass guitar. 

Let us understand this by seeing the features of both four-string and five-string guitars:

Four-string guitars

  1. Comfortable and easier to play
  2. It works great with no mods
  3. Prefer four-string guitar if you want to use 120 gauge string for the B string
  4. Buy a 35-inch scale with four strings to hold lower tunings better

Five-string guitars

  1. Little expensive than four-string guitars
  2. More versatile due to an extra string
  3. Better for fast or technical stuff because of closer strings
  4. You don’t have to change anything when switching between strings B to E

Generally, four-string guitars are easier to play. The reason for this is that the strings of this guitar tend to be slightly apart, and its neck is often of a convenient size. However, to pick the right bass for metal, an additional fifth string can be precious. The reason is that it will help you to reach notes that, in other cases, would require de-tuning of your bass to reach.

This is the prominent reason why many heavy metal bass guitar options would be more of 5 string models. But, four-string guitars are also perfectly viable. If you are already familiar with either a 4 or 5 string bass guitar, it will cause unnecessary problems if you switch to the other one. At last, the decision depends on you. 

What are the best bass strings for metal?

When I talk about modern rock music and hefty metal, bass guitars are essential instruments. Sometimes you may feel that the bass isn’t very powerful and is sounding kind of muddy and weak. Nowadays, to play heavy metal and rock music, you need a potent bass tone that will help you cut through the mix, hold up the guitar’s low-end foundation, and become a competitive guitarist when someone talks about heavy metal bass tone.

If your bass guitar is not delivering you the bass tone you desire, then there is a high chance that you need a new bass string. After acquiring the right guitar, you must have the best bass strings. So, let us see what will be the best strings for your bass guitar in various cases:

  1. If you need a string gauge sound: Thicker strings will be suitable for covering the bass frequencies in your songs. However, if you want a thinner sounding low end, you should have a lighter gauge string.
  2. If you need a string gauge for tuning: If you are the one who does drop tuning or has lower tuned bass strings for a standard low E tuning, then you will need a correct string gauge to support it. You should have thick bass strings for holding the low note down so that it doesn’t fluctuate.
  3. String gauge for beginners: Lighter gauge strings are always recommended as they are easier to play for beginners when compared to higher gauge strings. When you are learning to play the bass guitar, initially, your fingers will hurt. Having a lighter gauge will make it easy for you to fret.
  4. Strings for modern metal tone: You should have steel strings for modern metal. In today’s generation, most bass guitar tones have to cut through in, even in the higher frequencies. These higher frequencies help you to growl and get that high-end clarity to distort.
  5. Strings for old-school metal tone: Steel bass strings can give you an old-school tone, but nickel strings will be the best ones for you. They have a less excited high-end and a smooth, warm tone. It will help you in holding a consistent tight low end.

Beyond these cases, if you need a super bright string, you should go for steel bass strings. Whereas nickel bass strings are better for warmer tones.

Other than choosing the best strings for your guitar, you should also focus on its maintenance. It would help if you emphasized changing the strings according to various situations as mentioned below.

  1. For recording: You should change your bass strings as soon as the sound starts becoming a little warmer. Suppose you can change the strings every day if you are recording every day.
  2. For gigs: You don’t need to change the strings as long as you have a bright tone. As in gigs you play for just a few hours every day, you may change them after 3 to 7 days.
  3. For practice: You can afford to change the strings for up to 1 year when doing practice. Until the bass tone produced by your guitar inspires you to play every day, there is no need to change the strings. 

As we all know, playing a metal bass guitar is all about power and aggression. Therefore, if you want to be robust and get a modern heavy metal bass tone, you should steel strings and a plectrum to play it hard. However, you can choose the strings from the various available options according to your needs. 

What is the best bass amp for metal?

We all know that heavy metal is the most demanding genre in music, especially for bassists. The amplifier in the guitar helps create a more sustained guitar tone. It also helps to facilitate guitar feedback effects. Therefore, the amp you choose plays the most crucial role in contributing to the music. It depends upon you whether you should go for a head and cab setup or a combo amp.  

Here is a list of some of the best amplifiers that you can have for your guitar to get the best performance:

  • Fender Rumble 15: It is a very reliable home practice amp. It is lightweight, super affordable, and has a great Fender tone. It has a ¼ inch jack input socket, ¼ inch jack headphone socket, and a ⅛ aux. The weight of this amp is 7.26 kg and is ideal for beginners as well as professionals.
  • Warwick Gnome Head: It is an ultimate pint-sized gig companion. It is extremely light and produces light and punchy tones. It has a ¼ inch jack input socket, ¼ inch jack headphone socket, ¼ inch speaker, and XLR line out. The weight of this amp is 0.96 kg and is a little bare as compared to others. 
  • Blackstar Unity 30: This amp is capable of producing a booming low-end tone. It has a built-in chorus or compression and XLR line out with ground lift. It has a ¼ inch jack input socket, MP3/line-in, and XLR + ¼ inch line-out. The weight of this amp is 10 kg, and you don’t look anywhere else if you are looking for an amplifier for a gig.

Other than this, many other amplifiers can give you the best performance, like TC Electronic Thrust BQ500, Orange Crush 50, Trace Elliot Elf, Markbass Little arcus 800, etc. You can choose one of these based on your requirements.

In conclusion

Till now, you know the 11 best basses for metal mentioned above in the article, what is better- 4 string or five-string guitar, best bass strings, and the best amp for metal. 

All of this will surely help you in getting the best bass for metal. You need to go thoroughly with every bass guitar mentioned in the article and analyze the best one that serves your purpose and is within your budget. Focus on the guitar which is the most comfortable for you and whose bass gives you the inspiration to play every day. 

Cedric Philips

Cedric Philips

Hey there, I am Cedric and I've been playing guitar professionally for 9+ years. I also work in a music shop so I can get my hands on a lot of different guitars. And so, I like to share my take on these fantastic instruments here. Cheers!

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