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Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Slaine01, Mar 24, 2002.

  1. As a new user of Ebay, does anyone have any veiws on getting equipment through them?
    I found an Upright Bass yesterday (apparently Czech made) with a bidding start of $499.
  2. Bijoux


    Aug 13, 2001
    I've been buying stuff from ebay for a long time, got screwed 3 or 4 times, small stuff though, if you got the time there is probaly many ways to ensure that you don't get screwed.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    There are many, many comments at this site about the inexpensive basses on ebay and at other internet sites.

    I read several of them when I began investigating buying my first upright. I would encourage you to read them as well. The DB portion of Talkbass is not so large that you can't read most of the strings on the subject in a relatively short period of time.

    To sum up, the general view of folks here is that most of these basses are not a good value. Any new bass requires set up work, but I have read that these can require quite a bit more work than some of the other makers. A good luthier is worth his/her weight in gold, and sometimes you think that is the going rate!!

    Secondly, the woods used are among the lowest quality used in instrument making. So even with proper set up, you are going to limited in the tone you can get. Not to mention the structural integrity and durability of the bass may be suspect.

    My conclusion based on as many points of view as I could muster was that I would be better off biting the bullet and spending little more upfront for the bass. That it is likely to end up costing less down the road.

    For example, consider that a luthier charges $125-150 to re-plane the fingerboard. An ebony board is harder and will last much longer before needing work than will rosewood or other lower grade hardwoods.

    Just that fact alone makes it worth the money you pay for it up front.

    There are many instruments out there like Strunal, Christopher and Engelhardt that when set up properly, can offer you are very playable and serviceable instrument for quite a long time.

    If you look at the total cost of acquiring and maintaining a serviceable bass, any of those brands mentioned above may be a better value than you think.

    Other, more experienced players here have made great comments about the value of building a relationship with a dealer/luthier and how it will serve you down the road. Especially if you choose to upgrade to a better instrument.

    Dig into the site. There is plenty of info on your subject.

    To directly address your question, I have bought and sold many electric bass guitars on ebay. As well as electronics and tons of other stuff. I don't think there are any significant risks. I have never had an issue.

    You do always have to deal with the idea that you are buying an instrument without playing it. I am a good enough electric guitar tech to not worry too much about it. I wouldn't buy an acoustic instrument because problems would cost me too much money.

    Make sure that you ask a ton of very specific questions about the instrument before you buy it. Internet exchanges are very much buyer beware. It is very difficult to proove fraud anyway, but impossible withoout documentation.

    I will say that I have been messing with ebay for a couple of years. While it is possible to get one, do not ever assume you are getting a deal because it is ebay. IME, you can almost always find a better deal on used stuff through internet classified and a better deal on new stuff through internet retailers. Almost all ebay retail dealers have sites where you can get an as good or better deal by buying direct.

  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Great post. You should come around more often. :cool:
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Is this the bass you are talking about?


    If so, it might be a deal for an American buyer, but I wouldn't think so for you.

    If it is a model 50/1, Strunal's entry level, they sell new in the U.S. for $900-1000 depending on where you are.

    I would guess this one to sell around $650-700.

    This one is used, so it is hard to tell what it will go for. It may be set up. If so, that is more than a fair trade for a few bumps and bruises.

    It may also be a lemon.

    I would tend to question the condition of the bass since the seller calls a missing chunk of wood a "paint chip" and calls the included bag "Leather." I have never seen a leather bass bag. I suppose there may be one out there, but it would weigh about 50 pounds and cost more than that bass.

    You would get killed on that bass in shipping. I would estimate the shipping of that bass from the States to Australia at somewhere between $300-400 U.S. Maybe more. That's 550-750 Australian dollars assuming the internet' exchange converter is accurate.

    I would guess you'd be better off trying to buy in Europe if you can't find one at home.


    Oh, and Chris, thanks for the compliment. I really enjoy the board. I used to post with great enthusiasm over on the other side, but I haven't been so inspired lately with the quality of strings. I read the DB side most every day, prefering to mostly lurk as I am inexperienced with DB.

  6. Yeah, thats the one I was looking at.
    Even with shipping costs on top of the sellers price it would probably be cheaper as I find that U/B's down here are soooo expensive - an entry level Chinese costs around $2500aus.
    Your right though, the main drawback is "I can't play it - before I buy it"
    And I don't know how "Bass Friendly" shipping companys are.
  7. jugband


    Jan 16, 2001
    If it's a Czech bass, rather than a Chinese one, the the first thing you need to know is that $499 is just the current price, and odds are that this bass will end up at about twice that price, or more.

    One nice feature of Ebay is that you can search completed auctions, and see what similar items actually sold for in the recent past.

    It's not unusual for items on Ebay to double in price during the final hour, or even during the final few moments of an auction. Sometimes, if "Auction Fever" sets in, an item can go for much more than it would normally sell for, in fact.

    Search for "upright bass", and take the "completed auctions" option.

    One other thing you might do is visit some of the websites that sell double basses, and make sure you know what the market is before you bid. You don't want to pay more for something on Ebay than you would have paid in the normal course of events.

    A Chinese bass should sell in the $500+shipping range on Ebay, at present, though shipping to Australia is likely to be an expensive and somewhat risky proposition, if they will ship at all. Be sure of this before you bid on any bass on Ebasy.

    You need to hope it goes across the Pacific by air instead of by ship!

    There are websites where you can buy an Englehardt Swingmaster for what you're saying a Chinese bass costs you locally, though I'm sure your Chinese price of $2500 includes shipping to Australia...

    For that matter, Bob Gollihur (www.gollihur.com) sells a fully-carved bass for less than $2500 (I think it's Romanian), and various laminated Englehardts for well under $2500.


    Consider whether you would like a used bass from Ebay for $1500, that you know nothing about, or a new Englehardt from Gollihur in the same price range. You don't know any more about how a brand new bass will sound than a used one, but at least you know it's not being sold specifically because there's something wrong with it...

    A non-Chinese bass will probably end up somewhere between $800 and $3000, even if it has a starting price of $200.

    Palatino, Cremona, Brownstone and Merano are all Chinese basses that you commonly see on Ebay.
  8. I've bought many things on eBay, and for the most part I've been happy (or fortunate...) - mainly because I only go for items of which I have lots of experience. When it comes to double-basses (or any instrument, for that matter), I think there is a great risk of being ripped off especially if you're a newbie. As someone already said, a good luthier is worth their weight in gold - so, what does your teacher say? You do have a teacher, don't you? If you're just getting into the DB, then perhaps the best investment you could make would be to get a good teacher. Back to the eBay thing - as an example, there was a recurring auction for a particular type of DB, and I noticed that the seller lives in the same city as me, so I e-mailed him to tell him that I was interested in his basses, and would it be possible to come and take a look, as I live in the same city, no shipping etc. etc.? I wasn't surprised to receive the reply which was a flat refusal: "...e-mail only, mail only, no callers, no visitors" - which told me more about the seller than he could have ever imagined...

    Caveat Emptor!

    - Wil

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