Buying a used bass is a great way to get a good deal. Bass guitar
s typically have a rugged design, so even after years of use, despite some visual wear and tear, they can still be in great playing condition.
When shopping for a used bass, it's a good idea to see some in person and play as many different basses as you can. Local music stores often have used basses that they sell on consignment, but even if they sell only new basses you can still use this to your advantage. A used bass will sound very similar to a new bass of the same model. If the sound of a new 'model x' bass wins your heart over, you can trust that a used version of 'model x' will have a very similar sound, so long as the company hasn't changed its design.
If you want to look online for your bass, the two major websites to use are eBay and Craigslist.
Craigslist is best for going with a local seller that you are able to visit to see the bass. Since Craigslist is not responsible for transactions that take place, there's much opportunity for fraud when a person says he/she will ship an item to you. There's no guarantee that the person will follow through. Buying locally eliminates this problem. Consider Craigslist not to be like an online store, but a way of getting in contact with local sellers.
eBay is good for buying a bass non-locally. Just make sure that the seller has a history of good feedback. If you decide to go with eBay, there are some pros and cons that you should know about.
Variety of selection
Lots of sellers
Good deals available
You can't play the bass beforehand
In regards to the first con, it isn't always a problem. For instance, if you have played a certain model of bass before, you have a good idea of what it sounds like. And sometimes the seller will even have sound clips, or they may respond to a request for sound clips.
If you decide to go the route of testing out basses in person, if you're a new player you might not know exactly what to look for. If you have a friend who is an experienced player, ask that person if he/she would be willing to come along with you. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind while you're trying out used basses.
-Always play the bass through an amplifier to make sure the electronics are working properly
-Turn all the knobs back and forth a few times to make sure they don't make a scratchy sound
-Wiggle the cord around a little to make sure the input jack doesn't make a scratchy sound
-Check for loose knobs, screws, strap holders, and tuning keys
-With the bass at reasonable playing volume, listen to see if there's background noise coming through There will always be at least a little, but make sure it's not a distracting amount
-Wear the bass with a strap to see how heavy it is and how it sits on your body
With those guidelines in mind, the most important part of the bass is how it feels and sounds to you. When you play several different basses you'll notice that some jump out at you while others just don't feel right. The bass that you keep coming back to and can't quite put down is a good bass to consider buying.
If you don't have the option of testing out a used bass and have to choose one to buy, there are some tried and true brands with a reputation for having good quality lasting basses - Fender, Squier (by Fender), Ibanez, ESP, Yamaha, and Spector.
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