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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IrishRifles, Jun 4, 2014.
I've done a number of bass buys over the past years, all of them were used basses, bought through the Talkbass classifieds or local craigslist. Craigslist local deals are done in person, obviously.
All of my bass deals with Talkbass members have been positive, both buys and sales. I've used Paypal for most buys, but also used PO checks. Paypal is by far the smoothest and most confidence inspiring transaction.
I'll go back and forth with the seller on price and terms, maybe request more info or pictures. I look at their feedback and number of transactions. If it all feels good, I send a Paypal and sit back and wait for the truck. All the basses arrived in excellent condition, well packed, and were better than described. On the selling side, you get a Paypal notice, and send the gear off.
I person, I'll look over the bass, play it a bit to see if it is setup or close enough that I can easily dial it in. I might play it through the seller's gear, if that's possible, or bring my own gear. I might take a friend along if I feel I need another opinion, or back up. I've had sellers and buyers come to my house, after checking them out by phone or email. I've met some really nice folks, never had any problems, made some great buys and sells. It's no big deal, just use your common sense. Usually, you just spend an hour or so with another bass geek.
I will admit, the first time I used Paypal was a bit weird, but it's really very cool. The only deals I had go bad, (not bass related) were Ebay deals, and I recovered my funds through Paypal.
Don't send cash. Bail on anything that feels weird.
Carvin? I think you want to ask this question over on the electric side of TB.
I don't know about buying on Craigslist out of state- no guarantees.
However, that being said, I have bought about 30 used basses online, 99% of them from GC.
You can order any of the used basses available at any of the GC stores nationwide and just pay to have it shipped to you. Cost for shipping usually comes out to $15-25 (never paid more than $25 shipping) Add tax too. Here's a list of used Carvin basses currently at Guitar Center. Also there's a 30 day return policy should you not like the bass for any reason, you can return it to any GC store. The way I would order a bass is to call the store, get an assessment about the condition and playability, then pay for it. Delivery is pretty fast too.
Howard Johnson is right!
I've done this on a number of occasions too. I've had very good results with minimal risk. The most I ever lost out on was the initial $25 shipping fee when I had to return a bass to my local GC.
Man, there's a whole bunch of basses that fit in that category.
I'd make a list of things I really want in bass. Scale, string spacing, pickups, style, woods, finishes, active passive, ect. Then hit the TB classifieds. It's really a buyers market right now, sweet basses going begging.
I've actually had a couple of negative buys here on the forum. Pictures are good, but don't always show the true condition. Unless you get pics of 100% of the bass, the odds are, there will be nicks or scratches that weren't represented. I remember one deal I was working on. I asked a few questions concerning what appeared to be some nicks. It was a trade deal as I recall. The other guy got REAL offended and blew me off after calling me some choice names. Whatever. As I said, I received a "mint" bass one time that had like 20 scratches and dings. Maybe I'm anal, but when I sell something as mint, it's USED, AS NEW. Be careful.
I've bought and sold many used basses here and on ebay, and never had an issue so far. If you're buying from out of state without a chance to try it first, get lots of pics and ask questions:
Condition (any dings, flaws, etc. and ask for pics)
History (did you buy it new or used, if used do you know how many prior owners, how long have you had it, etc.)
Any issues at all
Check feedback if buying on TB or ebay -- if Craigslist ask if they have feedback from ebay or another site you can check
Definitely use Paypal if possible, provides some protection
I'd be wary of buying anything on Craigslist without a chance to see it first
Trust your gut -- if seller is unresponsive to questions, gives vague answers or sends fuzzy pics, walk away
disaster - gc used bass - end of fret life, customized radius on neck, questionable tuners
irritating - ebay - not the body wood i wanted, bass was rewired incorrectly at some time
really good - tb - accurate description, nice bass
really good - mf - scratch on pickguard saved me 300 bucks
Not to be a jerk (at least, not today ), but you do know that Guitar Center and Musician's Friend are part of the same company, right? Same for Music 1-2-3. I even put it to the test once and found the same used Squier on all three websites. So, add "same warehouse" to that as well.
i know, i was comparing the vintage used of gc to the as new used of mf
I actually bought my Inanez SG1205 used on eBay, but must agree with others:
Do your research, know what you are looking for (pickups, neck, spacing, etc), and communicate with seller! PayPal is not perfect, but will help you from getting scammed. Good luck, and be patient! Don't settle just because you can't find exactly what you're looking for, keep looking and it will come along! I looked for over a month before I found the right bass at the right price.
Generally, used basses fetch 50-75% of the new price. I know that's a wide range, but just a rough guideline for me. Less if it is a common, mid-price, or low end model, more for a rare, custom, high level. Of course, there are less buyers looking for $3000 basses.
That new bass smell, just like the new car smell, costs the original buyer quite a bit. FWIW, I've never bought a new bass. Most of the basses I own currently cost me less than 50% of the list price for new. All are in excellent condition. In one case I paid about 80% of the new, receipt price, but it was a model that had barely started production, so when it popped up used, here on TB, I jumped on it. I had been eyeing it at the dealer's site, it sold, (much relief from temptation). I didn't hesitate the second time around. Waiting saved me $500.
I'd search Carvins in the TB classifieds and go back through the years of listings looking for prices. Not a perfect method, but a nice sample to work from. Then check out Craigslist and ebay. There may even be a Carvin players forum, like there is for BC Rich and other labels. That's how I arrive at a price for gear I want to sell. Then I put it up for a little less, to get a quick sale.
Carvin occupies a funny niche market. Some folks swear by them, but I think the general market is smaller than for the bigger brands, so they don't command the highest prices. Not that that's a bad thing, you could get a great bass for a very reasonable price.
I'd also spend some time playing different basses at various store. Get a feel for the various models.
I don't think Peavey makes anything in America anymore, maybe the Cirrus still. If looking at a Cirrus, buy used, they are a deal. Old Peaveys are a fantastic deal as well, and some were produced in America. I got an MIA Peavey Fury P for $80. Nothing fantastic but it is a solid bass.
I could easily list 25 American bass manufacturers, what are you looking to get out of a bass and what are you looking to put into it?
Assuming you mean equal or better to a Carvin, I would look at any of the following manufacturers:
Ernie Ball Music Man
I am sure there are some I missed but that should give you solid start on some American manufacturers to look at, each one makes basses that are at least comparable to Carvin.
I've made a number of purchases on the TB classifieds here. If I am buying a used bass without playing it first I am more comfortable purchasing here than any where else.
I'm old fashioned, but experience has taught me to touch, play, listen and inspect instruments carefully IN PERSON. I know there are a lot of honest private sellers and dealers, but the simple fact is that all instruments vary a little. An instrument may be accurately described and work perfectly well, but if it isn't magic for me, I'm not buying. Yeah - its possible to rescind deals or return an instrument to a seller, but that's always a hassle.
Start out knowing what you want and more specifically whyyyyyyyyyyyyy you want it.
I went thru a few four string basses that i sold here before i moved onto a 5 string bass. Now my very favorite is a 17.5 mm fretless Pedulla 6 string. I own way many more nice basses than my talent level, but I can afford them and buy them used so what the heck. However my journey taught me a few things and that is really try a lot of basses to see what feels best in your hands. Scale length, string spacing, number of strings, active or passive, etc etc. It also helps to know what kind of music you want to one day play. I lean toward basses with a fretless jazz tone. Maybe you want to play heavy metal. It can make a difference what bass you get. And I for one would have NEVER thought a narrow 6 string fretless would be the one that 'called me'.
As to buying here or on ebay, well I have bought two from ebay but both were actually local sales I completed before the auctions ended. I have bought a few off here and only had one disappointment. It was a trade and the seller described it as 'good' and I guess you could say it is 'good' by book definition of grading. As in G, VG, almost new, New. I took 'good' to mean more than he did. I did not complain as I was not into my trade for too much so I figured i got my money's worth, but I should clearly have asked more questions. Be sure to get a lot of very clear pics. If you can't get them, move along. If you have questions about a model, I guarantee someone here on TB will happily tell you about it if you send them a PM.
Most sellers here seem to be pretty with it and care about good feedback. Obviously the ones with more positives have them for a reason.
My suggestion would be to go hold as many basses as you can, even if you cannot play a note. Neck profiles vary a lot. If you have smaller hands go for a 34" or even 33" scale bass. I personally like active basses for their tone variety but there are a lot of passive fans out there as well. Certainly less to go 'wrong' with a passive bass. And if you can get your hands on the bass before you buy, play every note on every string slowly to check for fret buzz. No sense buying a bass that immediately needs work or a set up, especially if you cannot do it yourself.
If you have a teacher, or are talking to one, chances they have a few basses to try that are good as well. Ask them.
Finally, everyone has their favorites. There is a good chance their favorite is not going to be yours. That goes with amps and speakers and anything else music related. I love my Pedullas, and wonder why anyone ever would sell theirs, but to each their own I guess. I have no great love for Fenders but they are very popular basses for a number of reasons.
If you are in the Seattle area I would be happy to let you come try the several I have.
BTW, nothing wrong with Carvin basses. I had one once and sold it because the neck was too round for me, I like them flatter in profile. Would have been simpler if I had just hung around GC or some other bass shop and got a few pointers while trying a number of basses, but hey, sometimes all this buying and selling is half the fun of it!
Nice list. But some of them are in a different price range from carvins. Not that carvin isn't a good brand, but I would consider them to be in the medium end range. Nevertheless for its price, it is a total beast to play. I've had a carvin before and I would say it's very worth it. Of course if u want to look at all american made basses, don't forget MTDs!! Total beasts and playability is top class.
And for the OP, online transactions are very safe nowadays, just do a check on the past transactions the person has carried out and from there, it's easy to judge. If there isn't any past records. Talk to the person and get to know him/her better, until u are comfortable with the transaction. Pretty much common sense.