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Buying a used bass online


Dave Martin

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Here's a sad story for you...

 

A few months ago (on another forum), someone posted that they were selling a 54 re-issue Sting P bass. The seller (who I had done business with before) was moving and wanted to get rid of a bunch of stuff. In the 'help a brother out' mode, I let my self be talked into buying the bass for $400, since I've wanted one for a while ad that's about $100 less than I was willing to pay for one. It arrived, and the action was pretty bad. So I sent it to my usual guitar tech for a set up. When it came back to me, it was still terrible action - apparently, the neck arched around the 5th fret, bowed around the 10th (And again where it met the body) and had a twist to it. I contacted the seller, since my tech told me that if I had a receipt, this should be a warranty repair. The seller didn't have one, and didn't really offer much in the way of ideas (he said that he didn't think it played badly). So that I would have a useable instrument, I ended up ordering a Warmoth Tele Bass neck with a rosewood fretboard to replace the stock neck. It finally came in last week and I used the bass on my Friday gig. I'm really pleased with the sound and feel, but my $400 bass is a heck of a lot closer to $800, with the original setup and the new neck. The only thing that makes me feel better is that the list on those bases was around $850, so I haven't (yet) paid more than retail for this used bass - AND the new neck doesn't have Sting's signature on it.... Of course, Im gonna end up replacing the bridge in the next couple of weeks, too...

 

I've learned - honest! I will never again buy a bass without playing it first.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Idunno, fellow Dave :wave: I bought my fretless bass off eBay without a chance to play it, and it turned out really great.

 

Two remarks though:

 

1) it was new, that always helps

2) it was dirt cheap (P&P included, approx. $200)

 

Yours is of course a different story ... And I have to admit that I'd never buy something that I really, really want (like a Warwick, or a RB Fender) without playing it first.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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So far I have been fortunate - lucky - and haven't got a bad bass from an online purchase. I've probably bought and sold 25 or more instruments. I suppose my time will come.

 

On the possitive side, I like the bass but I never liked the signature on the neck so you are better off in my opinion.

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Now I know the UK is a lot smaller than the US (yes, I did!!), so what I've done when I buy substantial things on eBay is to wait patiently until what I'm looking for has come up at a reasonably local distance, then I pre-arrange with the seller that *if* I win, then I can pick up for cash, providing that the instrument is as described - if it isn't then all's off with no negative feedback. If the seller's not willing to go with this, then I don't deal.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Caveat emptor.

 

I've bought two basses on ebay. The first was a great deal, a great bass and I did get to play with it before I handed over cash. It was a 6 year old Sterling.

 

The second was a twenty year old Sabre which though playable, had irrepairable neck warpage. I don't blame the seller. How can you determine what's good or bad from someone else's description.

 

Then there's the mojo factor. I find that some instruments just feel right or wrong when you pick them up and play them. Even if they're less than perfect, maybe you like them. OTOH, even a perfect instrument just doesn't feel right for some subtle reason. You can't do this looking at a little picture on your computer.

 

I'll never do it again, honest.

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Originally posted by Dave Martin:

Originally posted by Father Gino:

Caveat emptor.

Exactly.
Good advice, but there are exceptions to every rule. I'd also apply that to music store purchases as well. I got burnt once years ago by a salesperson who swore I could get free adjustments and a good trade-in on my Gibson bass warranty, but after 4 trips I got screwed on both promises.

 

Not every eBay seller is dishonest and deceptive. It pays to read the feedback columns and to get in touch with some of the recent buyers to get the total picture.

 

As for new/used car dealers: shoot 'em all and let G*@ sort them out.

:D

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I bought my Warwick off ebay, that was a bargain, i guess it all shows in the write up, if they just say, "well its red and stuff" and has one blurry picture, then its probably best not to risk it, where as if they have pictures of every angle of the bass, describe how old it is, what its been used for, any blemishes and what the sound is like then you know what you're getting much more and so its probably alot safer.

N

"i must've wrote 30 songs the first weekend i met my true love ... then she died and i got stuck with this b****" - Father of the Pride
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Well, the neck, plus finishing (it came from Warmoth unfinished), plus setting up the bass with he new neck came to about $350; the tech refunded the cost of the original set-up, since it didn't make the bass playable. I think the neck itself was probably in the $200ish range. I'm honestly not upset at what my tech charged, since we've been doing business together for almost 20 years. I feel like it's worth paying him a premium price for two reasons - the first ist that he does premium work, and second, I can call him at 7:00 in the evening if I have an emergency on a session ,and he'll take care of the problem. I feel like I get what I pay for with Classic Ax.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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