Answered: What are the Best Reggae Bass Guitars? | Top 7 Bass Guitar for Reggae

Note: Here you will find 7 of the best reggae bass guitars that I have personally tried and tested, containing detailed information along with relevant cons that will help you conveniently compare and select the most suitable model based on your needs.

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Reggae music is known to be one of the most groovy and interesting genres. This genre captures the spiritual essence of highly talented Jamaican artists over the years and presents it in an extremely enjoyable way.

Apprehending the sound of reggae can be difficult sometimes. That’s why you need the right gear to play reggae which arises the question – What’s the best reggae bass guitar? And being a long-time fan of reggae, this question led me to write this article.

Now obviously, there various kind of bass guitar is available in the market. Some instruments give you more of an edge over others when you’re trying to provide a pure reggae flare, and the reggae bass guitars I’ve compiled in this list are no exception.

While creating this article, I kept a few points in mind that I think are essential for an optimal reggae experience. I can say the right tone equalization, perfect amp, best quality strings in the guitar, and playability are essential for doing so – and I’ve gone over all these points below. So before further ado, let’s begin –

7 Best reggae bass guitars

BEST PICK

True Music Helper Rating - 4.8/5
4.8/5

When it comes to reggae, the bass guitar is one of the most important things in any band – it provides a backbone, so to say. So choosing the best and perfect reggae bass guitar is compulsory to create an ideal gig. Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazz Bass guitar is one of the top-rated bass guitars for reggae. It is designed with a dual single-coil jazz pickup that provides a classic tone. 

The 30″ to 34″ scale length is perfect for any age player. This J bass guitar with a “C” shaped neck profile, a 4-saddle bridge for solid string stability, and a vintage-style open-gear tuning machine, and an amazing, nice string will give a perfect tuning and tone every time.

The excellent dimension of 51 X 4 X 15 inches will fit your body properly while playing.

Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazz Bass guitar comes in an ideal weight of 11 pounds and three colour variants of brown sunburst, black and slick silver.

How does it sound and feel?
Squier by Fender Affinity Series Jazz Bass guitar sounds good with proper tuning and perfect scale. The sound that it creates is warm and organic sound, perfect for the reggae genre.  It has a stunning and amazing style look that makes it noticeable every time. The only problem I faced with this guitar is that it struggled to stay in tune but that’s about it.

Who can use that guitar?
This Jazz Bass guitar is ideal for everyone and every age. Anyone can play the guitar – be it a beginner or a professional.

Pros

  • Warm & organic sound
  • Affordable
  • Ideal for both beginner and expert both

Cons

  • Hard to keep it in tune

VALUE FOR MONEY

True Music Helper Rating - 4.7/5
4.7/5

The Squier Mini Precision Bass is the perfect partner for players seeking a smaller-size instrument with classic styling and a familiar Fender tone. This guitar’s body is super thin and lightweight – ideal for a good reggae practice session or gigs.

A short-scale neck with a scale length of 28.6″ will make your playing comfortable and easy. The satin neck finish and laurel fingerboard have perfected the guitar. 

It has C -shaped profile and Squier split single-coil pickup with volume and tone controls for sonic variety. This hardtail bridge will provide solid tuning stability. The total dimension of the guitar is 39.8 X 14.9 x 4 inches.

The guitar has four nickel steel that makes your finger run comfortably on the fretboard. The guitar is available in two colour variants, black and Capri orange.

How does it sound and feel?
The Squier Mini P-Bass sounds perfect when it’s in tune. The stain finish and colour combination give it a fantastic finish. The problem arises when you come to the materials it’s made of. It’s quite an inexpensive guitar and the quality shows. It’s made from low-quality hardware and it’s not the most durable guitar.

Who can use that guitar?
This Mini Precision Bass is perfect for beginners. It has a shorter length that is also perfect for young kids and females.

Pros

  • Mini size provides great playability
  • P-bass sound in small form
  • Extremely affordable
  • Smooth short scale neck

Cons

  • Its hardware feels low quality

PREMIUM CHOICE

True Music Helper Rating - 4.5/5
4.5/5

Here’s another great bass for reggae – Fender Player Jazz guitar. It has a very versatile tone and one of the genres it caters to best is reggae – hence, it makes it to the top 3 on our list.

This guitar provides superior playability with a modern ‘C’ shaped neck with a 9.5″ inch radius and 20 medium jumbo frets. It has four saddles vintage-styled bridge for accurate intonation and easy action adjustment.

The maple neck with a 34″ scale length is perfect for young people. The nut width of the guitar is 41.3mm, and the total dimension of the guitar is 49.5 X 15.7 X 4.4 inches.

How does it sound and look?
Fender Player Jazz Electric Bass Guitar provides fantastic musicality. This guitar is one of the player-friendly J bass guitars. The guitar is a bit costly for beginners but it is a good midrange guitar otherwise. 

Who can use that guitar?
Not the ideal choice for beginners. Someone whos an intermediate or expert can rock on the stage with this fabulous Fender.

Pros

  • Versatile tones
  • Feels great in your hands
  • Neck dimensions are spot on

Cons

  • Costly for a newbie

True Music Helper Rating - 4.3/5
4.3/5

Yes, that’s the 4th Fender in a row on this list – assure you we are not getting paid by them to promote these.

Squier by Fender Affinity Precision Bass PJ is one of the best-selling bass guitars for today’s beginners. This P/J bass guitar has an extra single-coil pickup in the bridge position. The neck of the guitar is made with maple. It also has C shaped neck to provide the guitar with an amazing finish. The fingerboard of the guitar is entirely made with rosewood.

The guitar’s scale length is 34inches, which is very comfortable to run your finger easily. The nut width of the guitar is 1.625″ with the fingerboard radius of 9.5″.

The guitar comes with controls of master tone, volume one, and volume two to give you excellent sound satisfaction. The weight of the bass guitar is 10 pounds. The total dimension of this guitar is 51 X 15 X 4 inches. That would fit your body easily.

How does it sound and feel?
Squier by Fender Affinity Precision Bass PJ gives perfect tone with the amazing deep bass sound. The look of the guitar is also stylish and modern. The fingerboard can be a little rough though. My fingers took a while to adjust to this guitar and I know my around a guitar. So I can say that this guitar isn’t gentle to your fingers, that’s for sure.

Who can use that guitar?
Squier by Fender Affinity Precision Bass PJ is suitable for beginners. A young guitar player can choose this guitar easily.

Pros

  • It is perfect for beginners
  • Amazing deep bass sound
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Poorly finished fingerboard

True Music Helper Rating - 3.7/5
3.7/5

Epiphone is one of the oldest and best brands of best guitar. Epiphone EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar is also one of their best bass guitars.  The body of the guitar is made with complete mahogany and the neck is also made with mahogany. The rosewood fretboard with dotted inlay and the perfect scale length of 30.5 inches is perfect for your musical journey.

The bridge of the guitar is adjustable.  It has a nut width of 1.5inches. The total dimension of the Epiphone EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar is 51 X 20 X 7 inches. The total weight of the guitar is 12 pounds that are easy to handle for everyone.

How does it sound and feel?
The sound of this stylish ebony-coloured Epiphone EB-0 fits into a rather narrow range. One will probably be able to get those crispy thumping vibes, but that can be fixed with a proper set of strings. A good setup is required the get an optimal sound out of this guitar.

Who can use that guitar?
Epiphone EB-0 Electric Bass Guitar is ideal for beginners. In my opinion, it’s the best bass to learn on.

Pros

  • The neck of the guitar is perfect for the short hands
  • Iconic guitar shape

Cons

  • The bridge is too close to the neck arise some problems
  • Need to be set up properly before use

True Music Helper Rating - 4.1/5
4.1/5

The black-coloured guitar with a stunning finish and amazing look is going to snatch your heart. The body of the guitar is basswood and the fretboard material of the guitar is rosewood. 

The scale length of the guitar is 30 inches which are perfect to create your magic on the fretboard.  The guitar is also has a maple neck. It is one of the best combinations with such a small body.

The width of the fretboard of this bass guitar is approx 54mm. It has also a 42mm nut width. The fretboard has side marks that make your work easy.  The total dimension of the guitar is 88.9 X 12.7 X 25.4 centimetres and it is also very lightweight, which is just 8 pounds.

How does it sound and feel?
This Hofner guitar is the perfect travel bass guitar for when you’re touring with your reggae band. It sounds really good and also has a stunning look. The problem is that it only sounds ‘good’ and not ‘great’. If you’re paying the amount that you’re paying for this guitar then you should expect a better sound – is all I have to say.

Who can use that guitar?
This guitar is perfect for any player who’s looking for great playability. It can be played by bassists of any level of expertise.

Pros

  • The size provides great playability

Cons

  • Not able to give a high-quality tone as high-quality guitar

True Music Helper Rating - 4.0/5
4/5

Steinberger XTSTD4BK1 is another popular bass guitar for reggae.  It has thru neck design that is made with a hard maple neck. The guitar also has a rosewood fretboard. The scale length of the guitar is 34 inches, which is ideal for any bass player.

The guitar comes with an adjustable bridge system. So you will easily adjust the settings. The total dimension of this Steinberger is 44 X 18 X 8 inches.

How does it sound and feel?
Steinberger XTSTD4BK1 sounds a lot like  J bass guitar – which means it sounds fantastic. It is lightweight and looks really stylish – my personal favorite is the black colour on it. The guitar mostly gets it right in a lot of aspects except for the tuners.

Who can use that guitar?
The guitar is great for beginners and intermediate players.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to adjust for any guitar player

Cons

  • The tuner of the guitar is not smooth

Should I go for 4-string or 5-string bass guitar for reggae?

The short answer is – Choose 4-strings guitar. 4 string bass guitar is ideal for reggae in most cases. The reason why reggae bassists choose 4, 5, and 6-string models is that they’re looking for more range and experiment more. The 4 strings bass guitar is one of the oldest models and more of the popular reggae songs you hear are played on a 4-string bass.

Increasing the number of strings is to add more range to the bass. A higher capacity in a bass guitar helps to play more lower-pitched notes or higher pitched notes. Also, having more strings make you able to play more notes. If you have more strings, you don’t have to shift around the neck of the bass as much.

But frankly, you don’t need to do that. One can easily pick 4-string bass guitar to get the best outcome. Also, choosing at least a medium gauge of flat wound strings will get the job done.

P or J bass for Reggae - Which one's better?

There are two kinds of popular bass guitar for reggae, one is precision bass (P-bass) guitar, and another is Jazz bass (J-bass) guitar. Both kinds of guitar are amazing in their style.

P-bass
A P-bass guitar always provides a warm and deep tone. It offers a strong tone plus simplicity, and directness. 

Most P Basses only have a volume and tone knob. The tone knob provides a vital role in creating the sound of the bass.

The P Bass may not give you as pretty sounding as a J Bass, but it shines in a band setting. It does not clash with drums or guitar tones. P bass guitar with a wider neck width of 40-42mm at the nut is popular among reggae players.

J-bass
The J Bass would be the more versatile of the 2 basses. It can give you a sweetly focused, customizable tone, depending on the type of music you are playing.

It is designed with a tone knob and 2 volume knobs for each pickup. The J Bass can play with any music. Another upside, as per many bassists, is that the J Bass has the best slap tone of all time. The J Bass has a narrower width at the nut sitting at approximately 38mm.

So the answer is – You can’t go wrong either way if you pick a P-bass or J-bass but a J-bass does sound better for the reggae genre.

What’s the Best Bass Amp for playing Reggae?

When you’re looking for a bass that’ll support your reggae needs, all you have to concentrate on is making sure that the amp is loud and has plenty of headroom and bottom end.

The amp needs to provide a deep tone without eating up a lot of power and should also have the ability to let the mids through to make each note audible and crisp. For that, the amp needs to be at least 400 watts.

To put it into simpler language, all you’re looking for is for your amp to deliver a good amount of punch and clarity above all other criteria. You can pretty much go to any music shop and plug in your guitar to see the difference. Having a great amount of headroom in the bass amp will usually do the trick.

My suggestion for a bass amp for reggae would be Hartke 410, Marshall VBA400 or Ampeg PF-500.

What kind of Bass Guitar is Best for Reggae ska dub?

Reggae ska dub also provides heart touching sound that gives a magical touch to the music. Like reggae, dub bass sounds best when plucking the notes close to the neck. The exact position to get the perfect sound will vary among bass guitars. Some famous bassists also use standard flat wound strings to get the exact sound.

While roots Reggae bass focuses on a good old-school flatwound thump, the dub is about a clear, bare-bone, long-sustained, and deep sound.

Roundwound strings are best-suited for getting Reggae ska dub bass sound. A bass with built-in low-pass filters will more easily produce a clean and powerful sound for the dub.

In conclusion

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, to create the best possible tone for reggae, bass guitar is one of the most important segments in the mix. That gives life to the rhythm and the tune for this genre. So the fact that you’re reading the article means that you want to do justice to this iconic genre and I hope I have shared the right resources and guitars with you to take the next step. 

I wish you all the best for your journey as you make your way through the reggae haze and I hope you have fun along the way!

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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