Bass guitars can be heavy beasts – they tend to be longer than regular electric guitars and are often built from the heavier hardwoods, such as mahogany. They average out at 8.5 pounds to the standard electric’s 8 pounds and the weight range is much larger – from 4.7 to 12 pounds. That means the heaviest models are almost three times as massive as the lightest!

Given that, let’s see if we can identify a few of the less back-breaking basses. After all, if you’re going to stand patiently at the back of the band while the lead guitarist steals all the limelight, the least you can be is comfortable!

Of the selection we looked out for, the standout bass was the Ibanez SR505, which both sounds and looks beautiful. Also impressive was the clever and versatile Traveler. Let’s get on the road with these great-sounding, reasonably-priced basses.

Lightweight Bass Guitars We Recommend

Ibanez SR505

Weight: 6.8 lbs
Body Type: solid
Body Material: Mahogany
Neck Material: Jatoba / Bubinga
Scale Length: 34 inches
Number of Strings: 5
Number of Frets: 24

What’s good: large range of tonality and increased scale, wonderful sound

Not so good: Not too easy for a beginner, passive pick-ups only

This Ibanez is a real beauty, with its shimmering sapphire blue finish. Unlike the other basses presented here, it’s a five-string model with each string cradled individually on the bridge, giving the SR505 maximum adjustability.

With a wider range, this is a great soloing instrument, while maintaining power in the bottom end. Five strings allow you to play much lower in various keys, creating rumbling basslines you feel as much as hear. It’s twin Bartolini passive pick-ups are popular with aficionados but it would merit pairing with a quality amplifier for added power.

The Ibanez has a long, elegantly fluted neck and the mahogany body resonates brilliantly at all frequencies. The neck is made of a blend of unusual dark and hardwoods for added durability

The sheer range you can access, together with the huge range of tonal control makes this great for funk, jazz, and psychedelic rock. Good for a beginner with a love of Stevie Wonder and an ambition to quickly progress.

Traveler Guitar TB-4 P-Bass

Weight: 8.5 pounds
Body Type: Semi-hollow
Body Material: Maple and Alder
Neck Material: Black walnut or Rosewood
Scale Length: 32 inch
Number of Strings: 4
Number of Frets: 22

What’s good: versatile, clever design and good bottom end

Not so good: unusual tuning peg location might make slap-bass difficult

For bass-players tired of having to move up to the headstock to retune, the Traveler’s unique feature is its in-bridge tuning machines. There is no headstock! This gives this guitar an unusual look and allows a long, 32-inch scale length, whilst still being a compact instrument.

It’s 6.8 lb weight and its built-in headphone amp make this a great practice instrument for taking on the road (hence its name). The amp has four modes so you can practice your tone as well as your riffs. It’s an AAA battery powered with auxiliary input, allowing you to jam along to music while playing through headphones.

The Traveler comes in a choice of black walnut or rosewood fretboard and looks a treat in its sunburst incarnation, with a building blend of maple and alder. It has a hardtail bridge, split-coil pick-up, and steel strings and is extremely convenient to use in any setting.

It has a precision bass pick-up centered on the bridge and delivers a full tone with a lot of bottom end, great for cutting through the noise of front-line guitar players. Are you ready to rumble?

Ibanez GSRM20BS Bass Guitar

Weight: 6.9 lbs
Body Type: solid
Body Material: poplar / agathis
Neck Material: Maple (rosewood fretboard)
Scale Length: 28.6 inches
Number of Strings: 4
Number of Frets: 22

What’s good: flexible pick-up set-up, great build, good sonority

Not so good: no three-way switch, tighter frets might be tough for bigger hands

The Ibanez is the bass of choice for hard rock and metal bands, due to its ability to punch through a wall of lead and rhythm guitars. It’s a well-built bass whose body is constructed from a mix of poplar and agathis (an affordable coniferous hardwood used as a mahogany alternative). The neck is in maple with a rosewood fretboard. Guitar snobs seem to look down on some of these build choices, but they keep the price down for beginners guitars and much “tonewood” snobbery seems to be spurious at best.

This instrument is a P/J (precision/jazz) hybrid bass which has the split coil of a precision bass for the bridge pick-up and a single jazz pick-up for the neck-side of the bridge. You can blend these different sounds or alternate between them, giving this guitar a lot of flexibility, whether you are sitting back in the mix or even soloing. The pick-ups are passive, however, so do make sure you have an amp with some power. One small limitation is that you can only switch between pickups by turning down the volume on one and turning up the volume on the other – there is no 3-way switch.

The model shown has a brown sunburst finish but the Ibanez comes in a range of colors and finishes. It has a slim maple neck for fast playing and a compact, lightweight body, weighing in at just 6.9 pounds. It is one of the bestselling entry-level basses available.

The angled C-shaped bridge gives easy access to the upper registers and the compact 28.6-inch neck still allows plenty of range in this four-string classic. It’s small size and weight make it ideal for a smaller or younger player.

Squier by Fender

Weight: 8.3 pounds
Body Type: solid
Body Material: Ash
Neck Material: Maple
Scale Length: 30″
Number of Strings: 4
Number of Frets: 19

What’s good: Simplicity, build quality, price, and convenience

Not so good: sound perhaps not as hefty as multiple pick-up guitars

Squier is a Chinese manufacturer of Fender-style guitars, which gives you a classic style of bass for a much lower price than a US-made Fender.

The Bronco is a single-coil pick-up model, giving a rich full sound and it has the same C-shaped profile as the Ibanez. It has a two-saddle adjustable bridge giving you a degree of freedom in altering the intonation of the individual strings.

As a bonus, the Fender Bronco comes with its own beginner’s app, to help teach you the basics of bass-playing, making this a great gift purchase.

It’s a little longer than the Ibanez, with a 30-inch scale length but has a good sturdy lightweight build of ash and maple.

The single pick-up doesn’t offer many variations in terms of sound but this is a good beginner’s instrument and is light and easy to play. It scores very highly with reviewers overall, with some quibbling about the slightly ugly tuning controls – a sure sign that there’s not much else to complain about!

Hofner HOF-HI-CB-SB

Weight: 5.1 lbs
Body Type: Hollow
Body Material: Spruce/Maple
Neck Material: Maple
Scale Length: 30″
Number of Strings: 4
Number of Frets: 22

What’s good: Lovely classic sound, great range of tone controls

Not so good: Might lack oomph, retro styling might not suit everyone

Höfner are a legendary manufacturer of basses, both acoustic and electric, going back as far as the late nineteenth century. The classic Höfner electric bass was huge in the fifties and sixties and if you want an affordable version of the bass made famous by the likes of Paul McCartney, this might be the instrument for you.

Unusually, this has a fully hollow body, helping make this a lightweight instrument suitable for playing for long periods standing up. It has a spruce body and two well-spaced humbucker pick-ups. The Höfner Ignition comes with a versatile control panel – one volume pot for each pick-up plus switches to boost bass or treble and to alternate between rhythm and solo modes. This offers a great degree of flexibility, making this a good gigging instrument.

It is incredibly light, weighing less than some acoustic guitars. Players love the well-rounded upper registers and lack of muddiness at the bass end of the scale. It has a lovely warm retro feel but might lack the heft required for hard rock or metal.

Lightweight Bass Guitars FAQs:

What can I do to make my bass guitar lighter?

Short of taking a saw to it (which we would NOT advise) you’d be better off either trading it in for a lighter model or getting a wider, more supportive shoulder strap. Moving to a 3.5 or 4-inch wide strap can help distribute the weight better. You can also practice sitting down and resting the instrument on your knee, although this probably won’t help you if you play in a band – you risk becoming a laughing stock!

What is the average weight of a bass guitar?

Basses tend to average out a little heavier than six-string electrics – the average is 8.5 lbs.