When it comes to cheap jazz basses, this tone signature is the most important thing you want to find. Next priority is the build quality followed by decent materials and hardware. Is it possible for a budget guitar? Absolutely.
Today, we are going to show you our recommendations for the 4 best cheap jazz basses on the market:
Directly Cheap 4 String 46″ White Jazz J Electric Bass Guitar
Those who are going for the cheapest possible bass guitar with jazz pickups, this about as good as it gets. Directly Cheap is a generic brand, but their stuff isn’t necessarily bad. Jive bass was obviously styled after Fender’s original design, which is actually a good thing. Materials used for this model are hard to nail down, especially in terms of body tonewood.
However, the neck is a standard maple piece with a rosewood fretboard. Hardware is decent and gets the job done in a sense of retaining a chosen key. Moving on to electronics, we see a no-name set of pickups, but they retain that jazz thump many are looking for. Out of the box, Jive sounds decent. If you want the cheapest decent jazz bass you can find, this is it.
Epiphone “Toby” Standard-IV 4 String Electric Bass Guitar
Epiphone’s entry-level bass guitars were always great. Whether it is their refusal to compromise or just good craftsmanship, the results are something every bass player can appreciate. Toby Standard-IV is an awesome little bass that features a slim body made of radiata pine. Neck is a maple piece with a rosewood fretboard. Pretty standard, right? Not necessarily.
The neck profile is slimmer than usual, which allows for faster playing that doesn’t impact comfort. The hardware comes in form of a simple, flush fixed bridge that is consistent and reliable. Lastly, we have the pickups. They’ve used Tobias TBR and TBT dual humbuckers. Even though this goes against the traditional jazz ideology, the sound is there.
Overall, the entire package is spot on. Not only is this bass capable, but it just sits well in your hands. At this price, it is easily one of the best cheap jazz bass guitars period.
Squier by Fender Affinity Jazz V String Beginner Electric Bass Guitar
If you can’t go for the original Fender Jazz Bass, then the Squier has the next best thing. Their Affinity Jazz V is a very affordable version of this iconic guitar, which features authentic-feel components, decent performance, and also five strings. In terms of body style and general design, it’s a mirror image of the real thing. They have nailed the balance and overall feel of a classic Jazz bass, all while reducing the price to a point where it is more than affordable.
The Affinity Jazz V comes in a black or sunburst, while both variants feature a rosewood fretboard. Build quality and hardware are on the standard Squier level that has been proven numerous times by now, only expanded to accommodate for the extra string. When it comes time to plug this bad boy in, you will be greeted by a thumping tone of two rather authentic single coil pickups. Overall, great value for the money.
Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jazz Bass
The last bass we want to show you is definitely bending the price range we were going for. However, it absolutely deserves to be on this list. After all, the Vintage Modified Jazz Bass from Squire is cheapest authentic version of the original.
The model we have previously mentioned is pretty similar but it doesn’t follow the Jazz layout completely. This one is the real deal. We are talking a solid maple body paired with a smooth maple neck, proper hardware, and a high level of detail all around. The Vintage Modified Jazz Bass definitely looks the part, but the real question is whether it sounds as good as it looks.
Indeed, it does. The sound is taken care of by a set of Fender-designed single-coil Jazz pickups. These have proven to be much better than expected, which is something that even the owners of the actual Fender Jazz bass will tell you. Fender did an awesome job with voicing the coils and achieving that vintage vibe. The end result is a relatively affordable slap machine that captures the essence of what made Jazz basses popular in the first place. If you can take the hit of a slightly higher price tag, the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass is definitely the way to go.
The Best Cheap Jazz Bass Conclusion
The impact of jazz bass is hard to gauge considering that it was a pioneer back in its prime. Fortunately for us, we live in a time where you can get a very similar performance on a budget. The main criteria we were looking for was that authentic Jazz Bass thumping tone. If you can find that without spending a lot of money, you are already ahead.
Next, we have the other side of the equation. You will want to get something that features good build quality, solid hardware, and an overall attention to detail. Finding all three of these is where things get tricky.
Fortunately, sticking to proven brands tends to work well. The Squier (see full specs) takes the cake in this niche market, which comes as no surprise considering that they are backed by Fender. You will be hard pressed to find a brand that can deliver a proper Jazz Bass tone better than Fender. After all, it is only logical.
Models we have shown you above include models outside the Squire range. That Epiphone (see full specs) is a great compromise for those who want a Jazz tone with a bit of extra punch. On the other hand, Directly Cheap’s Jive represents the bottom limit of how cheap you can go and still get something solid. No matter which one of them you go for, you won’t be disappointed with these products, each of which can be dutifully called the best cheap jazz bass guitar.