There once was a time in the history of the world when inexpensive instruments for beginners meant one thing… crap. Boy have things changed. Now beginners can start at day one with a quality musical instrument, whether it be guitar, bass, or drums. This is a huge plus when it comes to maintaining excitement and preventing frustration at the onset of one’s musical journey. Staying inspired is crucial. Avoiding the roadblocks of subpar equipment can help keep the aspirations on the right path.
I hope to sporadically update this page as I discover new, exciting brands that cater to beginners. Check back for updates.
SX Basses – Because I’m very small, I’m always on the search for short-scale basses. During my searches, I began to frequently come across the brand SX. The reviews are generally favorable, so I decided to check them out. They have a variety of popular styles and colors to choose from. This is the first company I’ve seen that offers a short-scale version of a jazz-style bass. The model I have played is the short-scale PJ bass. This bass is a bit heavy, but not annoyingly so. It is extremely solid. It stays in tune well. The build does not seem to be lacking in quality. Everything is, for lack of a better word, solid. Even though I came across the SX on the hunt for short-scale gems, they have plenty of 34” full-scale models. While I was holding the SX PJ bass, I didn’t feel for a second that I was holding a budget bass. Although most of the SX’s I have seen sell for less than $150, they could easily be sold for a good bit more and still be considered a bargain.
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Another budget bass that I stumbled across is the Ibanez Mikro. I fell in love with this one immediately. It’s a 28” short-scale bass, even smaller than the other 30”-scale basses I’ve played. I have yet to find anything inferior about this bass. The Mikro costs under $200 brand new. I picked mine up for $100. But nothing about it feels budget. It has a nice bright, cutting sound that I prefer out of a bass. But what has stood out the most to me is how remarkably it stays in tune. With most budget guitars and basses that I have played, the tuners have left much to be desired. But generally you get what you pay for, and this does not usually include quality tuners. With the Ibanez Mikro, you get what you pay for… but you also get so much more. Try this one out. It’s a fun instrument. If it’s meant for kids, then I obviously never grew up.
Pacific (PDP) Z5 – The best drum set I’ve ever owned was a Pacific kit with fusion sized toms. I’m still not quite sure what I was thinking when I decided to get rid of it. It was around $700. And at the time this was a tremendous bargain for a drum set of that caliber. But times have a changed, and drum kits have gotten much cheaper. Pacific has remained in the thick of the race by consistently manufacturing quality items. The Pacific Z5 series provides a budget solution for beginners who are serious about drumming and do not want to sacrifice quality. And although this kit is aimed at students, it is also a great second set or practice kit for intermediate and professional drummers as well.