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Could I sell this bass? Would you?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LowEZ, Jan 12, 2014.


  1. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Central NJ
    In the mid 80's, a guitar playing buddy of mine gave a bass - one of those "I got it cheap to learn but bass just ain't for me, you can have it" kind of deals. The problem is the serial number was stamped into the back of the headstock and my friend took possession of the bass with the serial number crudely gouged out. That didn't faze me way back when, but as I got older, wiser and more responsible, I started feeling pangs of guilt. I'm still in touch with my friend but he doesn't remember how he came across the bass. This bass has never been my cup of tea and I've wanted to sell it to someone who would appreciated and use it more than I, but I've always been reluctant due to the serial number issue.

    So, can I sell this bass legally and if so, would you? Thoughts?
     
  2. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    Assuming it's not stolen, if he gave you the bass and you have had it for almost 30 years. It's legally yours. You might want to ask your friend if he wants it back or let him know that you plan on selling it.
     
  3. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    You have every right to sell it, but make sure you disclose the fact that the serial # has been removed.
     
  4. sparkyfender2

    sparkyfender2

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2013
    Agreed, if you sell it, disclose that the # is gone.

    I recently saw a black Fender Precision Elite for sale on eBay. I had played this same bass in back the 1990s in a music store in Indiana. I passed on it at the time because the serial number was scratched off the headstock.

    Kind of odd to see the the same de-numbered bass still making the rounds.
     
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  6. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Thanks guys, I feel better now.
     
  7. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    What kind of bass is it? It's not a Fender. Gibson or Ibanez, I think? I ask because if it isn't valuable, it's hardly worth stressing over. (Though it certainly was stolen at some point)
     
  8. Morphgarth

    Morphgarth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Not quite right if you're in the UK. if it was stolen, which is the implication, you can NEVER gain good title to it. It will always belong to the original owner or insurers if they paid out.

    Having said that, what else can you do after 30 years???
     
  9. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I don't think it's ever free and clear in the US, either. If the person from whom it was stolen steps up, he can lay claim to that bass. The likelihood of that happening is slim, though. Especially if it's not particularly valuable.
     
  10. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    You got it for free. You should either pay it forward and give it to someone in need or, if it's a particularly valuable instrument, I think it'd be interesting and rewarding to see if you can track down the individual it may have been stolen from.
     
  11. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Alternately, you can just give it back to your friend and let it be his problem.
     
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2002
    Location:
    Reims, Champagne, France
    Giving it to a beginner sounds like the best thing to do.
     
  13. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Not high-value but interesting.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Oh and the friend does not want it back. Ever.
     
  15. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Vantage VP700 series. Nice bass, very well made. Not super valuable, now or in it's day. As such, there's pretty much 0% chance someone will be looking for, recognize, or be able to legally claim that bass. Particularly since the serial number is gone. But the missing serial number will take a bite out of the selling price for that bass, making a $350 bass worth closer to $200. I'd sell it, myself. You didn't steal it, nor did your friend.
     
  16. wcoffey81

    wcoffey81

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    Location:
    S/E Michigan
    finding the original owner might be difficult without the sn for positive identification. i vote for passing it along to someone as a first bass.
     
  17. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    That was Matsumoku-made, IRC? Fake neck through. i.e. a bolt-on that is made to look like a neck-through. Someone will be very happy to have that.
     
  18. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Yeah Matsumoku VP700B, set neck. Decent for sure.
     
  19. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Fayetteville Ft Bragg NC
    I either be up front about the serial number or donate it. I'm sure there's a kid in your area who wants a bass but doesn't have money and would happily take anything.
     
  20. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    That Vantage is a really nice bass. I'd take that over any Squier or Epiphone.
     
  21. Maxdusty

    Maxdusty Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    I'd disclose the serial number being missing. One thing I would do personally is donate it . Morally speaking that might be the right thing to do- but that is up to you to decide, whatever the case, the bass is yours.
    Legally speaking there is no statute of limitations on recovering missing property if the party has clear proof of ownership (in this case documentation/photos or serial numbers). It will be extremely difficult to prove ownership of the bass with no serial number, so I think you're okay there but again, buyers should be made aware of this information. Expect to get your asking price reduced though.
     

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