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Used Upright Bass

Sometimes buying a good, used upright bass can be tricky. The term used always seems to depict cheaper, lesser kind of instruments or second hand, though every famous Stradivarius violin in the world is a second hand, used violin!

This page is simply dedicated to buying a good, used upright bass:  What to look for, what to avoid, etc...  We find that there are several levels of customers: Parents looking to buy an upright bass for their child, students, serious amateurs and of course, professional bassists. No matter what your price range or interest level, there are factors to look for in every bass. (Are you looking to buy a good, used upright bass? We sell used upright basses at the Bass Cafe.) 

There are several parts of the bass that need to be checked over.What one first thinks is a great deal (and good upright bass),  can quickly find issues that make it a much more expensive bass in needed repairs after you buy it.  Upright bass parts and repairs can be very expensive.  Here's a check list that will help you when you look over and try a used upright bass. There are many more variables to look out for, but these are the basic ones that will help you get started.  If you like, feel free to email us if you have a question about buying a bass.

Used Upright Bass checklist:

1)  For one, make sure that it has an endpin and that it works. That is, that it is not bent, locked into the same place and that it can be repositioned and locked solidly without slipping on the notches. (A new endpin and installation can be over $100-150 easily)

2) For a laminated bass (or plywood), look around to make sure that the top is not sunken inward, or that the laminations are not cracked or chipped away at the edges of the upright.

3) Make sure that the seams (where the ribs meet and connect to the top and back plates are all glued without seeing any opened.) If the bass is all ok with the exception of a couple open seams?that?s ok. Seam re-glues are not too bad cost-wise.

4) The fingerboard. Play every note on every string!!! Any buzzing? A buzzing fingerboard can make a bass almost unplayable. A fingerboard plane job can cost between $75-150 depending on the time and effort required.

5) For a solid top, carved upright bass, check for cracks.  This can the most expensive repairs.  In most cases in order to properly fix a top or back crack, the top would need to come off the bass.  Just taking the top off (in order to get to the crack) is costly

6) The strings. If they are old, bent or partially unwound will need to be replaced. Strings?.a big shock, can cost a minimum of $100 and usually well higher to $150-200!

7) Most importantly, take the bass to a qualified expert, or teacher. They have seen a good many basses and will better help you decide what to look for. You should always try to buy the used upright bass from a qualified dealer, with a good reputation, but if you find a decent bass in your locale, this checklist could be a good start in what to look for.

Again, getting a used upright bass is not a bad idea. Almost all of our used upright basses at the Bass Café are old, antique masters.  They are all expertly set up and ready to go!