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Best acoustic bass guitars 2021: Unplug and play with our pick of 7 top acoustic basses

Best acoustic bass guitars 2021: Unplug and play with our pick of 7 top acoustic basses
(Image credit: Fender/Martin/Taylor/Takamine)

If you’re searching for the best acoustic bass guitar bar none, you’re in the right place with our round-up from the likes of Taylor, Guild, Martin and Fender. When it comes to acoustic basses, we first need to look at the well-known relationship between ‘regular’ acoustic and electric guitars. We’d wager that a large percentage of electric players have at least one acoustic knocking around, if only to tinker on while sitting on the couch, watching the TV. 

While the relationship between these two types of bass guitar is less common, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a healthy number of models to pick from for our best acoustic bass guitars round-up. Here we walk you through the top models you can buy right now, but also what to look for when picking out the ideal acoustic bass for you.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Guitar World’s choice

In our opinion, the best acoustic bass guitar is the Taylor GS Mini-e Bass. It comes from the same GS family as Taylor’s regular six-string acoustics, and, as such, it has that same superb playability and tone. The onboard electronics serve the tone well and, overall, the Taylor GS Mini-e Bass is an easy one for us to recommend. 

Special mention to the Guild Jumbo Junior acoustic bass. To our ears, it offers a similar overall experience to the Taylor GS Mini-e Bass but at a fraction of the cost. This alone makes it the best acoustic bass for players on a strict budget, or who want to dip their toes in the acoustic bass waters without committing lots of money.

Choosing the best acoustic bass guitar for you

Perhaps the biggest reason why acoustic bass guitars aren’t as popular as their six string brothers is that, despite their name, it’s rare you’d actually play one ‘truly’ acoustic. You see, it comes down to basic physics. Put simply, acoustic basses aren’t the loudest instruments in the world. 

Essentially, even the best acoustic bass guitar would need an enormous body to be heard over a similar six-string. If you think about guitar and bass amplifiers, bass amps require around ten times as much wattage to power the low-end frequencies we hear. So by a similar logic, to be heard an acoustic bass would require a similar scaling of power, be that picking force or acoustic projection. It’s simply not going to happen.  

Instead, the best acoustic bass guitars come with pickups that enable them to be played through a bass amp. So, in this case, you’re not using a specific amplifier to colour a sound. Instead, you’re using it to amplify the natural tonality of the acoustic bass guitar. Despite this, what acoustic basses lack in volume they make up for in complex harmonic overtones. For certain genres of music, from country to folk, an acoustic bass guitar can offer something tonally that a regular bass cannot. 

That rich, woody sound can only really be achieved when playing something rich and woody, after all. You’ll find a broadly similar selection of tonewoods on the best acoustic bass guitars to that which you’d find with regular acoustics, all adding up to provide that classic acoustic sound.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Product guide & reviews

Best acoustic bass guitars: Taylor GS Mini-e Maple

(Image credit: Taylor)

1. Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Acoustic Bass Guitar

The best acoustic bass if you want a small-scale with ace electronics

Price: $799/£799 | Top: Solid Sitka Spruce | Neck: Maple | Fingerboard: Ebony | Frets: 20 | Electronics: ES-B | Left-handed: No | Finish: Natural

Simple yet elegant design
Big sound, small body
Sounds great amplified 
Hard case would be better 

Six-string acoustic players will know all about the Taylor GS Mini range, and now bass players get to experience the quality and superb tone for themselves. The Taylor GS Mini-e Bass is a scaled down version of Taylor’s popular Grand Symphony shape, and packs in a huge sound from its smaller body. 

The onboard electronics for the Taylor GS Mini-e Maple Bass ensure your tone will stand up to stage volumes too, while overall levels of build quality and craftsmanship are on-par with what you’d expect from Taylor. 

Best acoustic bass guitars: Martin BC-16E

(Image credit: Martin)

2. Martin BC-16E Acoustic Bass Guitar

A stunning, high-end acoustic bass guitar with tone for days

Price: $1,899/£1,995 | Top: Solid Sitka Spruce | Neck: Hardwood | Fingerboard: Ebony | Frets: 23 | Electronics: Fishman Matrix V | Left-handed: No | Finish: Natural

Best-in-class tone
Built to last a lifetime
Legendary name 
Pricey for an acoustic bass 

For the professional player, or anyone demanding a bit more from their instrument, the Martin BC-16E might just be the best acoustic bass guitar bar none. Constructed from solid Sitka spruce, with gorgeous rosewood back and sides, the BC-16E delivers tone and playability in spades. 

We particularly like the onboard Fishman electronics, which do a remarkable job at amplifying our tone without flushing it full of high-end raspiness. Yes the Martin BC-16E Acoustic Bass Guitar is expensive compared to most others here, but in our opinion this is a worthy investment if you’re serious about practicing bass on the go and at home.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Guild Jumbo Junior Acoustic Bass Guitar

(Image credit: Guild)

3. Guild Jumbo Junior Acoustic Bass Guitar

The best acoustic bass if you want a mid-range option with killer looks

Price: $499/£499 | Top: Solid Sitka Spruce | Neck: Maple | Fingerboard: Ebony | Frets: 19 | Electronics: Guild AP-1 Active Piezo | Left-handed: No | Finish: Natural

Solid build
Wonderful tone
Affordable for the features
No controls over the electronics

The Guild Jumbo Junior is, as the name suggests, a jumbo body-shape acoustic bass guitar, only slightly shrunken down. Ergonomically, it’s not a million miles away from the Taylor GS Mini, yet comes in at around two-thirds of the price, making it a superb bargain for advanced beginners as well as experienced players looking for a second acoustic bass.

We love the Guild Jumbo Junior’s tone and what an undeniably comfortable playing experience it serves up. While we adore the Taylor model further up in this list, we would happily recommend this Guild to anyone who’s budget won’t stretch to Taylor-levels of investment.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Fender CB60SCE Acoustic Bass

(Image credit: Fender)

4. Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar

A top acoustic bass for beginners and ‘regular’ bassists

Price: $329/£299 | Top: Solid Spruce | Neck: Mahogany | Fingerboard: Walnut | Frets: 22 | Electronics: Fishman Classic | Left-handed: No | Finish: Natural

Great value
Ideal studio tool
Minimalist design
Experienced players need more

If an acoustic bass is only ever meant to be an alternative tool to you, or something you break out when you fancy a change, then the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar might just be the best acoustic bass guitar for you. 

Affordable yet feature-rich, the Fender CB-60SCE Acoustic Bass Guitar delivers a great sound and solid build, and the Fishman electronics are great at piping your sound into a DAW for recording. For the veteran acoustic bass player this probably won’t meet your needs, but for everyone else it’s a great option.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Takamine GB72CE acoustic bass guitar

(Image credit: Takamine)

5. Takamine GB72CE Jumbo Acoustic Bass Guitar

Jumbo body gives this acoustic bass a big boost

Price: $699/£699 | Top: : Solid Spruce | Neck: Mahogany | Fingerboard: Ebony | Frets: 21 | Electronics: Takamine TK-40B | Left-handed: No | Finish: Sunburst

Great projection
Bright sound
Good for stage and studio 
Large body may put some off 

The Takamine GB72CE Jumbo Acoustic Bass serves up a larger body than most other guitars in the list, which helps give it a natural boost in projection and low-end. This is coupled with a surprisingly lithe neck, plus easy access to the upper fret register thanks to a cutaway and dovetail neck joint. 

The Takamine GB72CE’s onboard electronics are handled by Takamine’s proprietary TK-40B preamp system, meaning it can handle stage and studio applications exceptionally well. If you’re looking for a workhorse that can handle a range of scenarios, from songwriting to busking, this is the best acoustic bass guitar for you.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Fender Kingman V2 acoustic bass guitar

(Image credit: Fender )

6. Fender Kingman V2 Acoustic Bass Guitar

Mid-priced contender delivers playability and projection

Price: $599/£599 | Top: : Solid Spruce | Neck: Mahogany | Fingerboard: Walnut | Frets: 20 | Electronics: Fishman PreSys+ | Left-handed: No | Finish: Black

Well made
Reassuringly hefty 
Colourway not to everyone’s taste 

As the name behind some of the best-known electric basses in history, you’d expect Fender to have one of the best acoustic bass guitars in its line-up. The Fender Kingman Bass V2 serves up a gorgeous blend of specialist acoustic tones, but with some nice nods to the iconic brand’s more familiar electric models. 

The Fender Kingman Bass V2 Acoustic Bass Guitar is on the larger side of the scale, yet boasts a Jazzmaster style neck profile which should make electric players feel instantly at home. The Fishman PreSys+ is also a sensible choice, providing a nice but subtle colouration to the amplified tone.

Best acoustic bass guitars: Cordoba Mini II acoustic bass guitar

(Image credit: Cordoba )

7. Cordoba Mini II EB-E Acoustic Bass Guitar

The best acoustic bass for beginners

Price: $299/£299 | Top: Solid Spruce | Neck: Spruce | Fingerboard: Composite | Frets: 19 | Electronics: Cordoba MB103 | Left-handed: No | Finish: Natural

Compact size
Well made
Superb for learning 
Will be easily outgrown 

While all the other acoustic bass guitars in this list offer something different to an electric bass, they are all still fairly unwieldy to those with smaller hands. The Cordoba Mini II Bass EB-E Acoustic Bass is therefore the perfect choice for young learners to get to grips with the various techniques they’ll need to progress in their playing careers. 

The Cordoba Mini II Bass EB-E is very well made, as we’ve come to expect from this brand, and the onboard electronics mean it handles recording and live performances superbly. One to grow with new players.

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Dawsons Music.