Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Bass Guitar
Squier Affinity PJ Bass Guitar Pack
Squier By Fender Bronco Bass Guitar
Table of Contents
Learning how to play any instrument at a young age is exciting, and the bass guitar may be a great choice for someone just starting out their music journey. There are a ton of different bass guitar options available for kids, with some being smaller at 3/4 size (same as a short scale) to fit a small hands and some just being the coolest looking bass guitars around!
As far as choosing an all-in-one option, a good ‘starter pack’ offers the best overall value. For example, the Squier Affinity PJ Bass Pack which came in as my premium pick. But Squier isn’t the only one who makes guitars to offer these bargain bass packs. They may not all feature a smaller scale bass, but they do include many of the accessories that you’d need (such as a strap, strings, an instrument cord, and an amp).
With all of the different models it can be hard to pick which one is the ‘right’ one. I’ve taken a look at 8 of the best kid’s bass guitars and starter packs on the market today.
Let’s take a look and see which one may be the best for a budding, young musician.
The Best Kid Bass Guitars:
Squier Affinity PJ Bass Guitar Pack with Fender Rumble 15G Amp
This impressive starter pack from Squier certainly deserves the top spot on my list. You will find just about everything that you need to start thumping, all at a price point that is even more awesome.
You certainly will get a lot of bang for the buck here. The Squier Affinity line of guitars is well known for giving you really good quality without taking a lot out of your wallet. No, it’s not a short-scale bass, but there’s no denying that it’s a very well built beginner’s model that checks all the boxes while giving you that classic Fender vibe.
But that’s not all you get. The included 15 watt Rumble amp has more than enough horsepower to shake the walls, and it sounds pretty doggone good while doing so.
Also included is a strap, a 1/4″ cable, and a gig bag. While there are a few other things I would have liked to see included (such as a tuner and some picks), I can’t deny that the Squier Affinity PJ Guitar Pack may be one of the best launch pads to playing the bass that I have come across.
Dean Custom Zone Bass
If you’re a child, sometimes flashy can be the name of the game, right? I’d say you won’t get much flashier than the Dean Custom Zone Bass.
There’s a bit of a tradeoff here. It’s a full size bass, but it just looks so cool that anyone may be tempted to grow into it. The Custom Zone is certainly eye catching, mostly because almost the entire bass is one solid color – the fretboard and body included.
So what’s the big deal about that? Well, it’s not every day that you see a Fluorescent Pink or a Nuclear Green bass. Heck, these things would light up a dark room all by themselves…
Here’s what makes a good thing even better – the instrument itself is actually very well made. It features a basswood body and a maple neck, just as you may find on higher end models. On top of that, the very capable hardware is all black as well, adding to the overall visual effect.
So if you are looking for something that’s ‘not your ordinary’ bass guitar, then the Dean Custom Zone may be just the answer.
Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Short-Scale Bass Guitar
Sometimes a ‘youth bass’ can be a little too ‘kidsy’, if you get my drift (‘Hello Kitty’ guitars come to mind). That’s not the case with the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro series. Here you’ll find an instrument that has some pro level features in a bass that’s designed to be more compact – perfect for the smaller frame of a child.
Take a look at some more expensive guitars (either bass or a standard six string), and you’ll see many of the same things – an agathis body, a maple neck with a jatoba fretboard, individually voiced pickups, a fully adjustable bridge, and smooth tuners.
OK – so it’s a great instrument that in no way could be considered a ‘toy’.
Did I also mention that it comes in your choice of 9 great looking finishes? You can get everything from a traditional sunburst to something more eye catching like Metallic Purple.
Good features, great looks, and a short scale bass that should fit kids of all ages like a glove – that’s the Ibanez GSRM20.
Cordoba Mini ll Bass Guitar MH-E
Not all basses that may be right for a child are electric models. A little hunting around will bubble up some nice acoustic smaller size bass models as well (which, by the way, means ‘no amp required’). The Cordoba Mini II is a well crafted instrument that gives the benefits of an acoustic bass in a compact design.
The Mini II has a body that’s made with mahogany for the back, sides, and the neck as well. That’s a body configuration that you’ll find in many full sized guitars. It sounds great all on its own, but it does come with a built in pickup just in case you do want to plug in and crank it up.
At first glance it might look like a ukulele, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually a little bigger than a uke, and there’s really nothing ‘ukulele’ about it – the Mini II is all bass guitar, all the time.
Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet Bass Guitar
Some of the best kid bass guitars are the ones that are smaller versions of classic designs. That’s the case with the Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet Bass.
The G2220 gives off the same vintage mojo as that of its bigger brother line of Electromatic guitars.
The G2220 comes loaded with two Gretsch humbucking pickups into its basswood body, and it has a maple neck with a walnut fingerboard.
The hardware is comparable with most any full size bass as well, with an adjustable bridge and sealed die cast tuners.
It may be a small size bass (and great for kids starting out), but that doesn’t mean that the G2220 doesn’t pack a hefty punch. The sound is rich and full, and the playability is smooth and comfortable.
The G2220 Electromatic is a solid choice for a small scale bass that delivers the goods, all the way from the looks to the impressive tone.
Squier by Fender Bronco Bass
Similar to the Squier Affinity PJ Bass we took a look at earlier, you’ll find the same level of quality with the Squier Affinity Bronco model. The Bronco doesn’t come as part of a starter pack, but you certainly shouldn’t let that keep it out of your consideration.
As with the PJ model, the Bronco has a level of quality that’s pretty amazing given the price. It also is a short scale model, meaning it may be more comfortable for a young player to start out with.
There aren’t many bells and whistles here, but you really don’t need them.
The Bronco has one single coil pickup along with a master volume and tone control. The hardware isn’t perfect, but you really can’t expect it to be at this level. The tuners are sealed, but having more adjustability on the bridge would be a nice feature.
But let’s face facts – most youngsters just starting out aren’t really going to notice details like that on their guitars. For what it was intended to be, the Squier Affinity Bronco meets the mark. It’s a great option for a small starter size bass that isn’t very expensive.
Hofner Ignition Series Vintage Violin Bass
It’s sad that many kids these days have no clue who Paul McCartney is.
For those kids that are hip enough to know who The Beatles are, then the Hofner Ignition Vintage is an epic kid’s bass to grab ahold of. It’s a faithful reproduction of the one that Mr. McCartney made famous, all in a small scale model that may be perfect for a younger one’s smaller hands.
With the Ignition you’ll find pretty much the same feature set as you will on the ‘real deal’ model. It has a spruce top with flamed maple for the back and sides, and a multi ply neck for strength with a rosewood fingerboard.
The electronics are similar as well, with two pickups that are adjusted by a vintage style Hofner control panel. That means a single volume knob for each pickup along with three slider switches for overall tone adjustments.
Yes – the Hofner Ignition Vintage Violin Bass may cost a little more than most of the others on the list. But I’m here to tell you that it’s a great price for a well-built bass that not only plays and sounds great, but has an iconic vibe to it as well.
Ibanez TMB30 Electric Bass Guitar
Wrapping things up, let’s take a look at the Ibanez TMB30. It’s another model in their cherished line of guitars that could be considered a mid-to-upper level instrument – all disguised as a small youth sized bass.
Yes, the TMB30 has the 30” scale length that most short scale basses has. Yes, it could be a great choice for a child just starting out, or even a more experienced bassist that just wants something a little smaller than a full size instrument.
And…yes – it has many of the features that are found on higher end guitars.
The TMB30 has a poplar body and a maple neck capped with a jatoba fretboard with simple dot markers. The hardware sports a fully adjustable B10 bridge along with vintage style open gear tuners.
The Dynamax pickups are configured with a split single coil for the middle and a regular single coil for the bridge. Controlling the tone is simple, with each pickup having its own volume knob and an overall tone control.
The feature set is there, and the price is right. With the TMB30, you may find a shorter scale bass guitar that has a performance level much larger than its physical size.
What is the difference between a bass and a guitar?
Actually, there are plenty of differences between the two. That’s because each instrument has a completely different purpose.
Amount of strings
The first difference – and the most obvious – is that bass guitars has only four strings while ‘standard’ guitars have six. These four strings are a lot thicker. That’s because the whole point of a bass is to deliver notes with a much lower frequency than that you get from a guitar. A bass is where you get that thump and rumble that holds down the bottom end.
The strings on the bass guitar are usually tuned (low to high) as E, A, D, and G. The bottom four strings on a guitar are tuned in the same way. What makes the bass different here is that, while they are the same notes, they are tuned one octave lower. This is what gives that low end that you can only get from a bass guitar.
Generally larger size (well...not always)
Bass guitars are usually quite a bit larger than guitars, but they usually have to be. That all comes down to a matter of physics. In order for a bass to be comfortable, play smoothly, and sound as good as it can, the overall length is bigger.
But here’s where a good 3/4 size bass guitar is different. Kids start out having smaller hands and arms so may not be able to handle the expanded size of a standard bass. With a short scale bass, they are designed in a different way to still give the same performance while being a smaller instrument.
What should you look for when buying a bass guitar for kids?
There are a few factors worth considering, but generally speaking, the idea is to keep up the motivation and enjoyment of learning to play above all else.
It’s easy to play
At the early stages of learning to play the bass (or guitar for that matter), you really don’t know what makes a ‘good’ one from a ‘bad’ one. That type of opinion comes with experience.
But one thing is for sure. If a bass isn’t comfortable to play then it’s easy to lose interest really quick. Kids struggle enough with their fingers hurting until they grow some good calluses, so having a bass that’s hard to play can make things even less appealing.
Most beginners bass guitars that you’ll find today have a quality level that is much better than it was in the past. Back in the day it wasn’t unusual to have strings that were so high off the neck that it could be a real pain to fret notes properly. That isn’t the case so much anymore. It should be pretty easy to find one that plays smoothly.
String action is just one part of playability, The body size and shape should be a good fit for a youth’s body as well. It should feel good either sitting down or standing up, and it shouldn’t be too big for them to handle.
It sounds good
How well a child’s bass sounds might not be as important at the beginning as it will be once they get more into playing. At this point you just have to be sure that the overall tone is good and well defined. That means not sounding too muddy or mushy. It also means that the notes ring out clearly without fretting out at any place on the neck.
Looks are important
This one isn’t really a ‘must have’, to be honest. But let’s face it – when you’re a teenager it’s really cool to have an instrument that just looks awesome! And it may sound a little silly, but if someone is all geeked out about how their bass looks, then they may be more excited to play it (and that’s even true for us adults, right?)
And, as we all know, practice is the key to learning. Anything that can motivate a kid to play is a good thing in my opinion. If all it takes to get someone to put some playing time in a great looking bass, then I’m all for it!
What is the best way for kids to learn how to play the bass?
Yeah – learning to play the bass can be one of the coolest things a kid can do. But I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Heck, even many adults can struggle with it! It’s almost like learning a second language. There are some basic things that anyone wanting to learn how to play the bass needs to think about, no matter how old they are.
There are countless resources online for learning. Many of the ones that are geared towards beginners are great for kids as well, as they tend to keep things simple. A bunch of little successes eventually add up, for sure. Keep at it and one day you’ll realize that you’re actually a bass player!
The biggest piece of advice I can give here is to not try to take on too much too soon. Kids (and a lot of adults I know) tend to have very short attention spans. Taking things bit by bit at a slower pace may be the right way to go.
In my opinion, the one of the best kid’s bass guitars is the Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro, especially as it will fit comfortably in the hands younger kids and adults alike. My premium pick is the Squier PJ starter kit, perfect for older kids and an absolute bargain when you include all the accessories.
So what do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions about what you think are the best kid bass guitars you’ve seen out there.
Leaving your comments below would be, well, pretty cool!