Best Beginner Bass for Metal

Which of the reviewed basses on the site would you recommend if Metal was exclusively going to be played? (Sabbath, Maiden, Metallica etc.) Thanks.


Two of the three you listed - Steve Harris of Iron Maiden & Geezer Butler of Sabbath - play P-basses. That is the classic metal sound, as well as the classic punk sound, and the classic Motown sound. Hard to go wrong there.


Harris and Geezer use a P Bass. Robert Trujillo uses a Jazz bass. Frank Bello of Anthrax and Duff McKeegan use PJ basses, Dave Ellefson uses dual humbuckers

I see a lot of Jazz style basses on stage with metal bands these days.

With a multi effects pedal you can get the sound you want. Get the best quality bass you can afford, put chrome wounds on it, add some distortion, you’re metal AF


@Ferchcore Welcome to the BassBuzz forum!

:rofl: :joy: :rofl: Yep! This.

All kinds of basses have been used for metal. My jazz bass with a Bass Tube Screamer distortion sounds absolutely bad ass. But that was for the sound I heard in my head. What you hear in your head could be very different.

When looking for a bass you want three things; Look, Feel, and Sound. Once you get that right, then you find your distortion sound.

Start with cranking up the Gain on your amplifier. If you can’t get enough metal out of that, then you would want to start looking at distortion pedals.

Darkglass Electronics make distortion pedals for bass that are widely loved for their metal sounds.


I would look at Spector, Warwick, LTD, Schecter or Ibanez basses for metal (people recommend Yamaha and Sire too). Probably best to look for a bass with an active pre-amp built in.

Also check out the pickups which is built in the bass. For example humbuckers have a different sound than single coils.

Personally I would just go for any bass that looks metal af :metal: :laughing:


Last year, when I got myself my first (and only) bass, I also used Joshs reviews here as a guide.
I decided on the Yamaha TRBX304. Some part of this decision was that all three testers had that one as their second choice.

But, to be perfectly honest, I guess the main driver in choosing that bass was that of all the basses they tested, I liked the looks of that one the most.


The best bass is the one you will want to pick up and play any time you walk by it or think about it. It doesn’t matter whether the driver is the look, sound or feel, or any combination of the three, so long as you want to keep coming back to it to play.


That was me with my first bass.
I just wanted something that looked cool.

The sound of Sabbath and Maiden (from the bass) is really different from Burton-era Metallica, which is really different from Newstead Metallica, which is different from Trujillo-Metallica.

When I did the beginner bass blindfold shoot-out with Josh I really dug a few of those beginner basses - might be worth checking out those videos.
Here’s the wrap up (where Josh kicks my favorite bass out of the ‘best bass’ running)!


Yep, I watched all those videos which were great. Which of those reviewed would be your favorite for an all-round Metal bass then?


Do you like classic 70’s/80’s metal, or do you want to do more modern sounds as well?

If you’re all about vintage metal, I’d go for something with P-bass style pickups (something that looks like this:)
P-bass style pickups:

Does’t have to be that bass - but the pickup style and placement will get you the early Sabbath and Maiden vibes.
Alas, we didn’t review a decent P-bass in that video. If you were to get one, I’d look at the Yamahas or the Fender Squier line. Squier is putting out some killer models. I love the Vintage Classic Vibe series… a bit pricey, but super slick. The Affinity PJ would be cool too.

If you are more into more modern metal (where the bass tone get’s more aggressive, more treble-y and more picked rather than played finger style) I’d go with something with more aggressive pickups and with a J-bass style pickup set up.
From the reviews we did, I’d recommend the Yamaha.
It had big beefy pickups and had a nice, clean modern sound.

The Squier Vintage Modified J was also rad - not as aggressive as the Yamaha, but it would maybe be able to split the difference between aggressive and vintage?


I just picked up a Squier Classic Vibe 70s P bass used in excellent condition, through in a Geezer Butler pickup, and for $300+ dollars have a great sounding bass.


I got a cheap Donner P-clone and threw on some SS flats and set the action really low, so it clanks nicely. As soon as they arrive, it’s getting Steve Harris pickups. When I crank the treble on the amp, it is a fair (amateur) approximation of the SH and GB sounds.


Thanks for your time! That was very helpful input.


Indeed. I love my Squier Vintage Modified Jazz. I replaced the pickups with Tom Brantley Geddy Lee pickups and swapped out all the wiring in one go with a Lindey Fralin pre-wired control plate, which ditches the questionable Indonesian electronics for braided wiring, CTS pots & a Switchcraft output jack. I was going to do more, but now can’t find a reason to. It plays great, the frets are properly dressed, it’s resonant as hell and stays in tune no matter how many times the dogs knock it off the couch. I would happily walk into a metal gig with this bass.


My first bass was the Yamaha in the review (TRBX304) and it’s a fantastic bass to start out with. Lots of good metal potential.


My little Gio is still a solid go-to for making heavy metal sounds. It’s just got that kind of tone and my fingers find the neck easy to play in a speedy fashion.

Sometimes it’s about the things you can make your fingers do, rather than the types of things the bass can do, and I really think some of the entry-level basses that are easier to play could be great fits for that reason.


Yeah for sure. Especially for an entry level bass, playability should matter a lot more than anything else.