Best Short Scale Basses under $500 In 2021

Bass guitars are probably the most underrated guitars in the guitar family. However, what they bring to the table deserves a lot more recognition. A bass guitar adds texture and keeps the music on tempo. If you are bass guitar player, you are probably here for the long run. Having a good bass guitar is extremely important. It should be comfortable to play so that your music doesn’t lack quality.

Although, short scale bass guitars are often disregarded and not treated as good as the full scale ones. However, they do not lack quality in anyway and it is meant for players with shorter hands and even younger children. It is much easier to tune and play.

Usually bass guitars are very heavy and that turns off a lot of instrument players. Short scale bass guitars also have a distinct tune which is often sought after by musicians. 

So, why go through the trouble of being uncomfortable with the full scale bass guitars when you can easily buy a short scale one. 

Buying Guide

Before you go start looking for the options in our article, we would like you to keep some things in mind. Keep reading to find out more:

Full Scale Vs Short Scale

The scale length is the distance between the guitar’s bridge and nut. Full scale guitars are typically 34 inch in length and Short scale bass is somewhere around 30 inches. The higher the scale length will be the stronger will be the guitar’s string tension.

As you can already guess, full scale bass guitar have more string tension, clear tone than the short scale ones. However, as a beginner you want a short scale bass guitar is the best option as its more manageable. It is much easier to play and its tone is very distinctly charming.


There are hundreds of short scale bass guitar variations out there and the price range is very diverse. You can get a guitar at $200 to even $5000 or more. However, we will be covering all the short scale bass guitars under $500 here. So, pick the one that is more accommodating to your budget.


Fretboard, also known as fingerboard is usually made of rosewood, maple or ebony. You want a fretboard that will be smooth, hard and dense as the quality will remain intact for longer. It can have a flat arch or even short radius.

If you are a beginner, you need the narrow metal strips embedded on the fretboard as it will make it easier for you. You can easily know where specifically you need to play each note. So, look into this before you make a purchase.

Number of Strings

Usually, most bass guitars have 4 strings and any beginner should start with them first. They have a smaller neck and can be used for most musical styles. The five strings bass guitars have a wider neck and are mostly used for metal, hard rock and jazz music genres. The six string basses are even difficult to play as they have the widest neck and range.


The wood that is used in the build of the guitar refers as the tonewood. It can affect the tone and resonance of the sound. 

Today, we will be picking out the best short scale basses under $500 in 2021. Keep reading if you have been planning to finally get one!





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Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

C shaped neck profile

Single coil pickup

Agathis body build


Yamaha TRBX174 RM

4 string guitar

Mahogany build


Ibanez GSRM20RBM

4 string guitar

Dynamic P pickup


Sterling by Music Man StingRay

Basswood body

Ceramic humbucking picku


EpiphoneEB-0 Electric Bass Guitar

Mahogany body

Rosewood fingerboard


Gretsch G2220

Jet body shape

Basswood body top and back


1. Squier by Fender Bronco Bass

The first position for the list of best short scale basses under $500 goes to the Squier by Fender Bronco Bass. This bass guitar is designed for beginners who do not know how to tune or do not want to frequently. If you want a casual option for just starting out, it will be excellent.

It has an Agathis body with a C shaped neck. The neck’s shape gives it a vintage look and also very comfortable. The single coil pickup makes the tone full and rich sounding. You can even get to sign up on Fender Play which is an online platform to learn playing.


  • Affordable price
  • Vintage style
  • Color options


  • May need some adjustments

2. Yamaha TRBX174 RM

We have the Yamaha TRBX174 RM as the second place for the best short scale basses under $500. Yamaha needs no introduction in the instrument industry as it has been constantly delivering some of the best high quality guitars out there. This model has a Mahogany build which makes it very durable.

There is the adjustable bridge system which enables tuning stability. It has a maple neck and powerful pickup configuration. This bass guitar has 4 strings and comes in a variety of colors. So, make sure you give it a good look and choose the one you like.


  • Strong build
  • Color options
  • Good sound payoff


  • May need to buy an amplifier

3. Ibanez GSRM20RBM

The Ibanex GSRM20RBM takes the third place for the best short scale basses under $500 in 2021. It is made out of Agathis which works well enough for a beginner. The scale length is 28inches which is quite short as the average size is 30 inches However, it will be great for anyone short hands.

The fretboard is made out of rosewood which is embedded with pearl dot inlays. The pickup system is single coil at the bridge. This bass guitar will deliver a great tone so you will be enjoying playing this!


  • Lightweight
  • Great pickup response


  • Needs frequent tuning on the higher frets

4. Sterling by Music Man StingRay 

Now we have the Sterling by Music Man String Ray as the fourth choice for the best short scale basses under $500 list in 2021. This bass guitar has a solid basswood body with a comfortable neck made out of maple. The fretboard is also made with Maplewood

 This guitar comes in a mint green color with a white pickguard which looks very exquisite. The EQ panel lets you control the tone, volume and also boost frequency levels. Since it is also a 4 strings guitar, you can play this at ease as a beginner.


  • Great exterior
  • Easy tuning


  • Bit heavy

5. EpiphoneEB-0 Electric Bass Guitar

We have arrived at the fifth spot which is given to the EpiphoneEB-0 Electric Bass Guitar for the best short scale basses under $500 in 2021. The body is made out of Mahogany which means it will last a long time. The bolted neck is made out of the same wood which is praiseworthy.

The scale length is 30.5 inches that makes it easier to play. The fretboard is made out of rosewood which has pearl dot inlays. The bridge can be fully adjusted with 3 point chrome hardware. If you have been wanting a 5G bass this could be the one for you.


  • Rich tone
  • Great body build


  • Needs modifications out of the box

6. Gretsch G2220

Gretsch G2220 is placed as the sixth and last spot for the list of best short scale basses under $500 in 2021. This bass guitar has great versatility as you can play different musical genres on this one.

This guitar has a single cutaway basswood paired with a D shaped neck made out of maple wood. It has a gloss finish and the neck has 20 frets on a rosewood panel. You can easily play on this bass guitar and be satisfied as it has a clear tone. Go check this out!


  • Great exterior finish
  • Rich tonal quality


  • Average tuners

Final Words

We have come to an end for our list of the best short scale bass guitars under $500. This price range is less intimidating and you can experiment without feeling guilty of spending more. 

Hopefully, you have a clearer understanding about the different features that you should be looking and what options to look at. From here onwards it is your decision to make. So, choose wisely. If you are getting this for a beginner, make sure you know what they are comfortable with before buying. Have a nice day!

Learn About Best Left-Handed Ukulele here.

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