Let’s face it - guitars can be heavy. After standing up with one for long periods of time you can end up with back pain, shoulder pain, along with a bucket-list of other problems. Or maybe you are just looking for something a bit easier to lug around from place to place.
With the average electric bass guitar weighing around 10 lbs, we are going to aim for something closer to 6-7 lbs to take the pressure off your back. Luckily, there are a few great sounding guitars that fit into this lightweight category perfectly.
If you don’t feel like reading the whole list, my top pick for the best lightweight bass guitar is the Fender Aerodyne 4-String Jazz Bass. Coming in at about 7 pounds, this guitar is highly regarded by many bassists, and it looks and sounds beautiful.
Here’s the full list:
1. Traveler Guitar TB-4P
This is a seriously cool bass, and one of the most portable bass guitars around. It weighs in at 6.5 pounds and can actually fit into the overhead bin for most standard airlines.
The Traveler TB-4P comes with a built-in headphone amp and an aux-input for plugging in things like an mp3 player, so traveling with it is perfect since you don’t need to lug around an amplifier.
The In-Body tuning system it uses means that there’s no need for a headstock, and the body of the guitar is extremely ergonomic. It’s a very smart design and gives the guitar a unique look. It still has a full 32” neck, but its just 22% shorter and 25% lighter than most other bass guitars, so you’ll be right at home playing it.
There are 4 different channels you can choose from - clean, boost, overdrive and distortion tones. The Duncan MM-101 pickup provides a full bodied tone and delivers tons of low-end for all your bass playing needs.
As most of the reviews out there can attest to, if you close your eyes you’ll have a hard time believing you aren’t playing a full-sized professional bass guitar.
2. Fender Aerodyne 4-String Jazz Bass
The Aerodyne Jazz Bass was first introduced by Fender in winter 2003.
It weighs about 7 pounds, versus the 10 pounds of the standard Jazz Bass. It's also slimmer than the traditional Jazz Bass body due to its unusual 39 inch top radius that is unique to the Aerodyne series.
It has a bound basswood body, maple neck with a “C” profile, and 7.25” radius rosewood fingerboard with 20 medium-jumbo frets. It also comes with a Standard Single-Coil Jazz Bass and Standard Split Single-Coil Precision Bass pickups, and the controls are top-mounted.
It's a very well-rounded guitar, and it's an especially good guitar for funk.
The Aerodyne has a very clean look to is due to the lack of a pickguard and fretboard inlays. The top has a cream binding which is a great accent to the all black body.
All in all, it’s a great blend between the classic Precision and Jazz Fender guitars with the addition of being easy on your back, and it’s my choice for the best lightweight bass guitar for the money.
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3. Danelectro '58 Longhorn Bass
One of the most unique looking bass guitars around, the Longhorn is a great short-scale bass with double cutaways and a lightweight laminate construction. It comes it around 6 pounds and is very easy to pick up and play for long periods of time.
The Danelectro brand has had its fair share of ups and downs. They resurfaced in the 90’s, with the ‘58 Longhorn reissue popping up in 1998. It slightly differs from the original ‘58, as it comes with slightly more spread apart pickups, an adjustable truss rod and plastic knobs.
The Longhorn has been played by some rock legends such as The Who's John Entwistle, so you can trust that the quality of sound and construction is top-notch.
The sounds produced are very rich for such a lightweight body and short scale, and the fact that you have tone and volume controls for each individual pickup means that you can come up with every variation of tone you could ask for. It projects sound well and has excellent note clarity in all frequencies, especially in the low-end.
4. Ibanez SR505 5-String Bass
The most sexy looking bass on this list in my opinion, the Ibanez SR505 is a very fast and comfortable playing bass guitar and it weighs just over 7 pounds.
The Soundgear (SR) series made its first debut about 30 years ago with the aim of replacing the popular RB "Roadstar II Bass" series. The whole idea of the SR was to make a thin, fast, and smooth playing professional bass guitar that is still affordable for most people. The thin body and redesigned neck-joint gave way to a lightweight guitar with tons of sustain and stability.
It features a 5-piece jatoba/bubinga neck, lightweight mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard, and dual Bartolini MK1-5 pickups along with a 3-band EQ.
It has a slim neck and a pretty low action compared to most bass guitars, so if you are a fan of slapping and popping this should be right up your alley.
This is a very well-rated bass online, so I suggest going through and reading some reviews to see what other people are saying. Hint - They all say it sounds amazing!
5. Hofner Ignition Series Violin Bass
Fans of Paul McCartney and The Beatles will recognize this guitar instantly. It’s a hollow-bodied guitar weighing at around 6.9 pounds that was first introduced in the 1950’s. It wasn’t until the 60’s though when McCartney brought it into the limelight and propelled it into fame.
There are basically 3 price points when it comes to to the Hofner:
This one (the Ignition) is made in Asia using Asian parts, and it is the cheapest. The next step up is the Contemporary series - a more expensive version made in Asia but with German electronics. And the most expensive is the fully German-made version.
The Ignition version is constructed the same way as its German cousins and uses the same type of wood.
Since this bass has high resemblance of a double bass with it’s design and hollow body, there is a nice low end thud when it comes to the string attack and the body resonates way more than a traditional solid-body electric bass.
Keep in mind that this bass isn’t made to “cut through” the rest of the music like some guitars out there. It’s designed with a very warm and round tone, so it fits in very well with some softer styles of music like folk, indie, and jazz.
6. Epiphone Allen Woody Limited Edition Bass
Allen Woody was the iconic bassist behind the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule before he passed away in 2000. He eventually teamed up with Epiphone to create this beautiful guitar.
The short scale neck on this bass runs at 30”, so between that and the semi-hollow body it really cuts down on the weight bringing it to around 7.5 pounds.
Mini-humbucking pickups provide an aggressive but warm tone which perfectly replicates Woody’s tone and feel.
The single-cutaway maple top with gold hardware is a beautiful sight. The body is constructed of mahogany, as well as the neck which is covered in rosewood for a very fast playing experience.
Unfortunately, Woody passed away before this guitar was released, but his legacy lives on and now everybody can get a feel for what such a legendary bass player had his hands on.
Conclusion - Best Lightweight Bass Guitar
Playing bass is fun, but protecting your body is more important. If you are having any kind of pain in your body because of the weight of your guitar you should stop immediately, reassess, and potentially invest in one of the lightweight bass guitars on this list.
Playing with pain is never a good idea and it’s a sure way to cut your guitar playing career short.
It seems like short scale bass guitars and hollowbody options cut down on the weight considerably, so look for those kind of things when hunting for your next bass. As a bonus, traveling around with it will be easier.
Lightweight short scale bass guitars are also great for kids to learn on, so be sure to check out our article on the best bass guitars for kids while you are at it. Who knows - you might find a cheap option on there you like for yourself!
One last important thing to take note of is your posture when playing. Having all that weight on your back while you are hunched over is not going to be kind to your spine. Make sure to sit up proper and keep that back straight!