Acoustic bass guitars (also known as “EAB” for electric-acoustic bass) are great for being able to pick up and play at home since you don’t need an amplifier.
The lightweight nature of it also means you won’t have to lug around your heavy electric bass to open mic nights or acoustic shows.
Being able to instantly switch from fully acoustic to electric-acoustic by plugging in means you will have more versatility and options if you decide to play in a venue or just jam at home with an amp.
Short on time? Based on our extensive research and testing, our choice for best acoustic bass guitar under $500 is the Ibanez PCBE12MH for its low-cost, great construction, and warm tone.
With an acoustic bass you get a round, warm sound that is close to that of an upright bass. Whether you are into country, folk, classic rock, or any other soft style of music, an acoustic bass guitar will probably fit in a bit better than its fully electric brother.
Let’s take a look at some of the best options out there!
Best Acoustic Bass Guitars Under $500
Ibanez PCBE12MH 4-String Acoustic Bass Guitar
The Ibanez Acoustic Bass is a very well-priced option if you are looking for something on a budget. It sounds incredible and can easily hold a candle up to some of the more pricey acoustic basses out there.
It features a slightly small grand-concert style body and has a beautiful open pore mahogany look.
Other than the mahogany body there is a rosewood fingerboard and a built-in pickup so you can plug in and play through an amp if desired.
On the pre-amp you get controls for master volume, treble, bass, and even a built-in tuner. The tuner also mutes the output at the same time which is great for making sure that everybody doesn’t have to hear you tuning up on stage.
The all-mahogany body gives it a very warm and balanced tone that’s great for playing in the studio, on stage, or just at home.
Just all around it’s a fantastic acoustic bass and if you read any of the reviews out there they will tell you the same thing.
If you want to give yourself a little upgrade for playing gigs or recording, the first thing you’ll want to do is change out the strings and possibly replace the stock pickup. They aren't the best out there, but you can’t really expect that for what you are paying here.
Gold Tone Mbass-25 25-Inch Scale MicroBass Guitar
Despite looking like a toy, the Gold Tone MicroBass is far from it. Imagine being able to capture the sound of an upright bass and put it in a 25 inch package that weighs just 3.2 pounds.
Based on Taylor ¾” scale acoustic guitar, it comes in at 25 ½” and is close to that of a standard acoustic guitar.
When mini acoustic bass guitars were first introduced they were quite uncomfortable. Luckily the ergo-glide top with rounded back make it a joy to hold and play in any position.
I would describe the sound as big, warm, and round - very close to that of an upright bass. This is mostly thanks to the Aquila synthetic strings that are custom for this guitar. They have a distinct “thump” to them, while at the same time not feeling too floppy like strings tend to be on short scale basses.
The built-in piezo pickup sounds great, and is powered by 2 CR2032 3V lithium batteries.
On the preamp you get controls for bass, treble, and a built-in tuner - just like on the Ibanez above. Having access to EQ controls is really great since you can choose to go for a low boomy tone, or a defined pop.
The mahogany back, sides, and neck really let this thing sing in a warm/round voice, and the rosewood fingerboard is easy to navigate.
Installation and tuning guides are available on the manufacturers website.
One thing to note is that since the strings are custom made for the MicroBass, you can only get them through Gold Tone or an authorized Gold Tone dealer. Also one downside to the synthetic strings is that they tend to get a little sticky, but a little baby powder on your fingers does the trick just fine.
It really is a joy to play, and with an instrument as small as this it’s super easy to transport. It might look small, but plug this guitar into an amp and you’ll be shocked as to how huge it can sound.
Best Choice Products Electric Acoustic Bass Guitar
If you are looking for an electric-acoustic bass to just chuck around and not worry too much about, this shortscale 30” bass is it.
It’s definitely not the best acoustic bass guitar out there, but for the price it’s really hard to pass up. This isn’t something you would ever gig with, but for just having something around your bedroom to practice on it’s a good option.
It has a built-in volume control, 4-band equalizer, an adjustable truss rod, and you can choose from any of 3 colors - black, blue, and tan.
I’d say you should definitely throw on a pair of new strings if you get this one. That in addition to a proper setup on it will make a huge difference in the sound.
As long as you don’t have any really high expectations going into this purchase (you get what you pay for after all), I think you’ll enjoy having this around when you decide to pick it up and practice from time to time. It’s by far the cheapest acoustic bass I’ve come across so if you don’t have much to spend I would definitely consider it.
Dean EAB FL Acoustic-Electric Bass Fretless Guitar
If you are looking for a fretless acoustic-electric bass this is pretty much your best bet unless you have a very deep wallet.
With a 34” scale neck it’s one of the larger acoustic basses, and because of this it sounds huge when unplugged - something most acoustic basses struggle with.
Even though it’s fretless, there are lines to mark where each of the frets are which makes it very useful for people switching to a fretless bass guitar for the first time.
Like most acoustic basses it has a mahogany body and rosewood fingerboard which help with adding warmth to the tone. Dean active pre-amp electronics come stock, and they do the part well when you hook up to an amp or PA system. The pickup is extremely sensitive, so every little harmonic is picked up with ease.
There’s a built in tuner and EQ as well, so finding your perfect tone shouldn’t be too difficult.
Like most other low-cost guitars it’s probably best to change out the strings as soon as you get it though.
How Do You Play An Acoustic Bass Guitar?
Playing an acoustic bass is a mix between playing an electric bass and an acoustic guitar. There are a few similarities and differences with each.
It’s very much like an electric bass in how you hold it and play it. You’ll want to still use a good 2 finger alternating technique for plucking the strings.
Your thumb placement on your picking hand will differ, however. Instead of resting it on the pickup you are going to either rest it on the top string, on the body of the guitar itself, or just float your hand out in space while you pluck.
It can feel a little bit harder to play on an acoustic bass at first, but stick with it and it will get easier. It is really great to practice on since it will feel much easier when switching back to a regular electric bass.
How Do You Tune An Acoustic Bass?
Luckily you can tune your acoustic bass exactly the same way you would tune your electric bass!
The standard tuning is E, A, D, G - although you can always change it around and do something like a dropped tuning if needed.