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Bass on a Budget: 14 Basses Under $500

Last year around this time, we published Bass on a Budget: 12 Basses Under $500 – a roundup of basses released through the first half of 2012, with a street price of $500 or less.

Time to do it again. Here are 14 basses we’ve covered in the year since then with price tags of $500 or less.

As we said last time: This is not a “best bass under $500” list – we don’t like those lists much anyway. We’ll leave that up to you decide.

Of course, if you have any experience or feedback on any of these basses, we always love hearing from you. Just drop a note in the comments.

Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Series

Sterling By Music Man S.U.B. Ray4 Bass

Sterling by Music Man’s S.U.B. line of basses are designed to make Music Man designs available at more affordable pricing. The line includes the Ray4 and Ray5, which are cousins to the Music Man Stingray 4 and 5 basses.

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Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass and Telecaster Bass Special

Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass

Squier beefed up their Vintage Modified series last year with the introduction of the Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass and the Vintage Modified Telecaster Bass Special. The new models feature classic body and headstock shapes as well as a medium 32˝ scale.

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Epiphone Tobias-Designed Toby Deluxe-V Bass Guitar

Epiphone Toby Deluxe-V Bass

Epiphone’s Toby Deluxe-V is a 5-string version of the bass originally designed by Michael Tobias. The instrument shares many of the same features of the last year’s reintroduced Toby Deluxe IV, including an asymmetrical neck profile, Tobias SCR and SCT split humbucker pickups, and the Active Tonexpressor Bass Enhancement control.

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Ibanez SR256 6-String Bass

Ibanez SR256 6-String Bass

Ibanez’s SR series got a little bigger with the addition of the SR256PW, a 6-string bass with active electronics and a price most can reach. Offered in Pearl White, the bass is built with a mahogany body and a bolt-on 3-piece maple neck. The rosewood fingerboard has pearl dot inlays as position markers.

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Jackson JS2 Kelly Bird IV Bass

Jackson JS2 Kelly Bird IV

David Ellefson developed the Kelly Bird basses with Jackson to combine the elements of a classic bass style he sported during Megadeth’s “Countdown to Extinction” tour with the company’s Kelly guitar model. Jackson introduced them as part of their JS Series. Available in Burnt Cherry Sunburst and Matte Black finishes, the Jackson JS2 Kelly Bird IV is built with a basswood body, bolt-on maple neck, and a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard with block inlays. The fingerboard also features Jackson’s compound radius.

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Vox Apache Series Bass Guitars

Vox Apache I Bass - 3-tone sunburst

Vox expanded their bass lineup in 2012 with the Apache series of basses, which pick up where their predecessors from the ’60s left off. The new travel instruments are separated by body shape, as the Apache 1 Bass features Vox’s classic Teardrop shape while the Apache 2 Bass features their Phantom body style.

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Squier Chris Aiken Signature Precision Bass

Squier Chris Aiken Signature Precision Bass

Squier introduced the Chris Aiken Signature Precision Bass in October, which the Strung Out bassist helped design. Finished in white, the bass has a mirrored acrylic pickguard and white binding and pearloid block inlays in the 20-fret maple fingerboard. The pickup is a Duncan Designed PB-105 which is controlled with a single volume knob. Aiken’s signature and Strung Out’s “Astrolux” logo are on the headstock.

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Ibanez IJXB150B Jumpstart Electric Bass Package

Ibanez IJXB150B Jumpstart Electric Bass Package

Ibanez has everything covered for a beginner with their IJXB150B Jumpstart Bass Package. The package includes a GSR190 bass, bass amp, gig bag, tuner, stand, cable, accessories pouch and a card good for online lessons.

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Ibanez 5-String Mikro Bass

Ibanez 5-String Mikro Bass

Ibanez expanded their GSR Mikro bass with the addition of this 5-string model late last year. Sporting a 28.6˝ scale, the company explains the GSRM25 is perfectly suited for young students as well as adult players who prefer a short scale.

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Dean Edge Basses with EMG Pickups

Dean Edge 4 Bass with EMG's

Dean introduced a new variant of their flagship Edge series of basses at the 2013 Winter NAMM show. The new Edge 4 bass distinguishes itself from the pack with upgraded electronics including a pair of active EMG pickups.

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Jackson Dave Ellefson Signature Kelly Bird Bass

Jackson Dave Ellefson Signature Kelly Bird Bass

Jackson expanded on the Kelly Bird basses with a signature model for the guy who helped design them, David Ellefson. The 4-string signature bass stands out with the Megadeth bassist’s signature red pinstripe finish over its modern body shape.

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ESP LTD FB-204 to Frank Bello Signature Series

ESP Frank Bello LTD FB-204 Signature Bass

ESP’s Frank Bello LTD Signature line of basses got a new addition in March with the announcement of the FB-204. The FB-204 is an entry level model with bolt-on construction and a black satin finish to suit the Anthrax bassist’s style.

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Epiphone Limited Edition TV Pelham Blue Bass Collection

Epiphone Limited Edition TV Pelham Blue EB-3 Bass

Back in April, Epiphone is paid tribute to the old school with a limited edition of six of their models in TV Pelham Blue, a color finish that was first introduced in the ’60s. The color was offered as a custom option in its heyday and as such is rare to find on vintage instruments.

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Squier Affinity Series Precision Bass PJ Model

Squier Affinity Series PJ Bass

Squier added to their Affinity Series this year with a new Precision Bass PJ model. Building on a traditional P-bass style, the new bass includes a single-coil Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge position for further tonal variety. Other new features include a two-color headstock logo and a three-ply black/white/black pickguard.

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