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The Best Short-Scale Bass Guitars Under $500: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Short-Scale Basses

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that’s easy to play, with ergonomic benefits and enriched fundamental tones, short-scale basses could be the perfect choice for you. They’re also a popular choice for younger students and musicians with smaller hands.

The evolution of short-scale basses has seen them grow in popularity to the point where they are now used by professionals across a wide range of musical genres, from rock and jazz to country and R&B. In this article, we’ll explore the best short-scale basses under $500, which offer great value without breaking your budget.

We’ll start with our top pick, the Ibanez SRMD205, before diving into other noteworthy models.

Ibanez SRMD205 – Best Overall

The Ibanez SRMD205 is our top pick for the best short-scale bass under $500. Designed for both beginners and professionals, this bass offers the perfect combination of comfort, versatility, and affordability.

At a 5-string medium-scale length, the SRMD205 features a bolt-on maple neck and a poplar body with a satin finish. The gloss polyurethane finish adds to its overall durability and appeal.

The bass also includes a hum-canceling Dynamix P-Style split single-coil pickup and a Dynamix J-Style single-coil pickup for a broad range of tonal possibilities. The active 2-band EQ allows you to adjust your sound to match your desired playing style.

One of the best things about this bass is its diversity of tonal possibilities. Whether you’re looking for classic R&B-type sounds or something more punchy and thick, the SRMD205 accommodates any musical style with ease.

Its original classic-looking design is also a plus, turning heads with its visual appeal. Overall, the Ibanez SRMD205 stands out as the best overall short-scale bass under $500.

Its value proposition and reliable sound make it a great buy for both beginners and professionals alike.

Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang Bass – Best Vintage Look

If you’re looking for a more vintage-inspired bass guitar, the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang Bass is an excellent choice. This neck-through-body bass features a C-shaped maple neck with a 30″ scale length and a poplar body with a gloss finish.

The Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang Bass includes a set of vintage-style single-coil Mustang Bass pickups that deliver a range of vintage-style tones that are rich and warm. The bass also comes with a 4-saddle bridge system that allows players to adjust intonation and string height to their liking.

With its unique visual appeal and classic tones, the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang Bass is a great choice for musicians looking to get that vintage sound.

Epiphone EB-0 – Best for Rock and Blues

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that’s perfect for rock and blues music, the Epiphone EB-0 is an excellent choice. This bass guitar features a mahogany body, a bolt-on mahogany neck, and a rosewood fingerboard.

The EB-0 includes a Sidewinder humbucking pickup that delivers thunderous lows and punchy mids, making it perfect for rock and blues music. The bass also features a simple volume and tone control, allowing for easy sound adjustment.

With its classic look and powerful sound, the Epiphone EB-0 is a great choice for musicians who want to rock out.

Fender Mustang PJ Bass – Best for Versatility

The Fender Mustang PJ Bass is a versatile short-scale bass that is perfect for musicians who play a variety of musical styles. This bass guitar features a 30″ scale length, a C-shaped maple neck, and a pau ferro fingerboard.

The Mustang PJ Bass includes a split-coil P Bass pickup and a single-coil J Bass pickup, which provide a wide range of tones that can accommodate any playing style. The bass also includes a 9.5″ radius fingerboard with medium jumbo frets, allowing for comfortable playability.

Overall, the Fender Mustang PJ Bass is one of the best short-scale basses under $500 for its versatility and reliable sound.

Hofner HCT-SHB-BK Shorty Bass – Best Lightweight Bass

The Hofner HCT-SHB-BK Shorty Bass is a lightweight and portable bass guitar that is perfect for musicians on the go. This bass guitar features a 30″ scale length, a maple neck, and a basswood body.

The Shorty Bass includes a Hofner humbucking pickup that delivers a rich and warm tone, as well as a volume and tone control for easy sound adjustment. The bass also includes a truss rod for easy neck adjustment.

With its lightweight and compact design, the Hofner HCT-SHB-BK Shorty Bass is a great choice for musicians who want to take their music on the go.

Conclusion

Overall, short-scale bass guitars offer a range of benefits, including easy playability, ergonomic benefits, and enriched fundamental tones. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, there is a short-scale bass guitar under $500 that can accommodate your playing style and budget.

Our top pick, the Ibanez SRMD205, is an excellent choice for its value proposition and reliable sound. However, all of the short-scale basses we’ve reviewed have something unique to offer, from vintage-inspired tones to lightweight and portable designs.

Find the short-scale bass guitar that best matches your needs and musical style and start playing today.

Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass – Premium Option

If you’re looking for a short-scale bass guitar that embodies vintage style and premium craftsmanship, the Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass is a great option to consider. Modeled after the original Mustang bass that was first introduced by Fender in the late 1960s, this bass guitar features a 30 scale C-shaped maple neck with an Indian laurel fretboard, a bone nut, and a basswood and nato body.

One of the key features of the Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass is its Alnico magnet split single-coil pickup. This pickup delivers a warm and punchy sound that can cut through any mix.

The bass also includes a volume and tone control, allowing you to adjust your sound to match your playing style. Aside from its sound, the Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass also boasts a timeless design that has remained hip throughout the years.

By combining vintage specifications with contemporary craftsmanship, the Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass is a great choice for musicians looking for a short-scale bass guitar that’s both stylish and affordable.

Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 – Best Budget Option

If you’re just getting started with playing bass or are looking for an affordable short-scale bass guitar, the Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 is a great budget option to consider. Despite its entry-level price point, the Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 offers competent sound and easy playability, making it a suitable option for beginners and more experienced guitar players.

The Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 features a 28.6 scale neck that fits comfortably in the hands of younger and smaller players. The neck is made of maple and is paired with a jatoba fretboard.

The bass guitar also features a poplar body, which is lightweight and easy to carry. In terms of sound, the Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 features a split Dynamix P-Style single-coil pickup and a Dynamix J-Style single-coil pickup.

The pickups deliver a punchy and versatile sound that can accommodate a wide range of musical styles. The bass guitar also includes two volume control knobs and a master tone knob, allowing you to adjust the sound to your liking.

Additionally, the Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 includes die-cast tuners and a B10 bridge, which contribute to its overall functional and reliable design. Overall, the Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 is a great budget option for musicians looking for a short-scale bass guitar that’s easy to play and offers competent sound.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitar player, the Ibanez Mikro GSRM20 can be a solid choice for you.

Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar Bass

If you’re looking for a short-scale bass guitar that’s both attractive and versatile, the

Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar Bass may be the perfect choice for you. This short-scale bass guitar is modeled after the original Fender Jaguar bass, featuring a C-shaped maple neck, Indian laurel fretboard with white pearloid blocks, and a basswood and nato body.

The

Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar Bass is a medium-scale bass, which means it’s perfect for smaller players who want a bass guitar that’s easy to play. The bass also includes a combination of Precision bass split single-coil alnico magnet pickup and Jazz bass single-coil alnico magnet pickup.

The pickups offer a wide range of tonal possibilities, allowing you to effectively combine the best of both Precision and Jazz basses. There are volume and tone controls, as well as vintage-style hardware and a real bone nut that complete the classic look.

Overall, the

Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar Bass is both versatile and stylish, and it delivers an impressive range of sounds suitable for a variety of musical genres.

Hofner Ignition Pro Violin Bass

If you’re looking for a short-scale bass guitar with a unique and iconic look, the

Hofner Ignition Pro Violin Bass is an excellent choice. Known for its completely hollow body, this bass guitar is lightweight and features a basswood body, maple neck, heat-treated jatoba fretboard, and 22 frets.

The Hofner Nickel-Plated Ignition Staple pickups deliver a distinct and unique sound that is perfect for players looking for stand-up bass tones. The pickups are complemented by a volume and tone control knob, as well as a 2-way selector switch for added versatility.

The bass guitar also includes treble and bass EQ levels, which allow you to fine-tune your tone. The violin-like shape of the

Hofner Ignition Pro Violin Bass is iconic and distinctive, giving it an instant visual appeal.

The bass guitar also includes a nickel trapeze tailpiece, wooden bridge, and nickel tuning machines, which add to its vintage look and feel. Overall, the

Hofner Ignition Pro Violin Bass is an excellent choice for musicians who want a distinctive look and a unique sound.

Its light weight and exceptional playability make it an excellent short-scale bass guitar for any player, whether a beginner or a professional.

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II

If you’re looking for a sleek-looking short-scale bass guitar that delivers warm and rich bass tones, the

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II is worth considering. With its 30.3 scale bolt-on neck, maple neck, walnut fretboard, and basswood body, this bass guitar is both lightweight and comfortable to play.

The

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II is fitted with Mini Bass Humbuckers that deliver a warm and punchy sound that can cut through any mix. The bass guitar also features a 3-way toggle switch that allows you to adjust your sound to match your playing style.

Additionally, the synthetic bone nut, die-cast tuning machines, and 4-saddle bridge add to the overall functionality and reliability of this bass guitar. One of the best things about the

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II is its tone and playability.

The warm and rich bass tones the Mini Bass Humbuckers produce make this bass guitar well-suited to a variety of musical styles. Despite its small size, the

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II delivers a big sound that is rich and full.

Overall, the

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II is a great short-scale bass guitar that’s lightweight, comfortable to play, and delivers the warm and rich bass tones that musicians love. Its sleek look is also a plus, making it a stylish addition to any musician’s collection.

In this article, we explored some of the best short-scale bass guitars available under $500, including the Ibanez SRMD205, Squier Classic Vibe Mustang Bass, Epiphone EB-0, Fender Mustang PJ Bass, Hofner HCT-SHB-BK Shorty Bass, Ibanez Mikro GSRM20,

Squier Classic Vibe Jaguar Bass, and the

Gretsch G2220 Junior Jet Bass II. These bass guitars offer easy playability, ergonomic benefits, and enriched fundamental tones.

We also discussed their unique specifications and features, including vintage-style pickups, lightweight and portable designs, and visually appealing finishes. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional musician, you can find a short-scale bass guitar that fits your playing style and budget.

These bass guitars are an excellent investment for musicians looking for a reliable and versatile instrument that delivers great sound and comfortable playability.

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