I would NEVER buy a bass that nice without playing it first!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tb-player, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Yep. No worries.

    316 vote(s)
  2. Only inexpensive stuff.

    45 vote(s)
  3. Only from a retail establishment.

    46 vote(s)
  4. Never.

    18 vote(s)
  1. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always. Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    I’ve seen this said a lot around TB and I’m not sure I agree with it.

    It seems to pop up a lot. Sometimes it's advice to someone looking for a bass-- "Don't buy it til you play it first." Sometimes it's talking about high-dollar basses-- "I'd never buy such an expensive bass without trying it out."

    I understand this line of thinking. It kind of makes sense, in theory. But in my world, if I only bought basses I could play first, I’d have whatever Fender or Ibanez my local guitar shops have to offer.

    Nothing against Fender or Ibanez. They make some wonderful basses. But I sometimes enjoy high-end basses too... and my local & regional guitar shops do not stock boutique gear (If they do, it's usually a fancy Les Paul or a Custom Shop Strat or Tele. Never a bass).

    So I have two choices:
    Choice #1: Fly to California, Chicago, New York or Florida to play the instruments that interest me, because no one within a couple hundred miles of my home sells Fodera, Sadowsky, Elrick, MTD, Suhr or even Nash. Sometimes I might see a PRS, Brubaker or Ken Smith in the DC area (a couple of hours away from me). But usually that's just one or two, and many times they're entry level instruments.

    Choice #2: Shop online using Google & YouTube to get as educated as I can and buy guitars and basses without ever holding them in my hand or plugging them in.

    Since return shipping is cheaper than airfare, I choose the latter. Almost every bass I’ve ever owned has been purchased this way. Most times it works out. But on the very rare occasion it doesn’t, the cost to send back a $6000 bass is pretty-much the same as a $500 bass (except for the insurance). And if dealing with Guitar Center (yuck!) or Sweetwater, they have really inexpensive shipping rates, so the return shipping is negligible, if they send you a label.

    Dealers who sell online understand this risk. And as long as return policies are not abused, they’re happy to accommodate. That's why they're online. They understand we have to be able to try out a bass, even if we can't visit their showroom. And I assume that risk is factored into the cost of doing business?

    Of course, I’ll do all the homework I can. But I will never let the price tag of an instrument keep me from buying, even if I've never played it (let's not get started on custom built basses... what a crapshoot!).

    Who here buys basses without trying them out? Who refuses to do so? Why or why not?
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  2. StevieMac


    Mar 17, 2005
    Vancouver, BC
    The last 7 I bought through the TB classifieds so I did not get to play before I bought. All of them are great players and I have no plans to sell any of them at this time.
  3. C Stone

    C Stone

    Sep 4, 2020
    Only bass I have ever felt compelled to return (purchased online) was a 2017 Squier Affinity sent to me in error by GC, it was supposed to be a Standard series with upgraded SD pickups. They never did make it right.
    I just don't sweat it, the last three basses purchased online have been incredible players and seems to me you dont get the smokin deals without takin a chance with a bid or a super inexpensive "buy it now" on a "newly listed" piece of gear.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
    sonojono likes this.
  4. Bassndrums73


    Mar 13, 2018
    Every bass I have ever bought was online. 18 in total. It took that many to find out what was right for me. I have 4 that I kept and sold the rest. They will be with me for the rest of my life and the GAS is gone for anything else. It was an expensive way to go about it but worth it.
    gebass6 and Drifter8230 like this.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing.

    For erspective: I've been playing for 48 years and have owned ten basses in all that time. 8 of those were bass guitars and I currently own 3 of those 8.

    I bought one bass that was custom built by a guy on the other coast, but only after trying a few of his builds when I was on his coast. Otherwise, not a chance. Since I've gone decades without buying another one pefectly happily, I can just wait however long. My only current GAS is for a nice upright and I wouldn't think twice about flying to CT or wherever to make sure i got it right the first time.
  6. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    All my current ones were purchased used after trying them out. I have only bought one bass new untried, and that was from a reputable dealer.
    Were I to ever get another, I would prefer to play it first, but for the right deal or seller I might break with that.
  7. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    If there's no liberal returns-policy, try before you buy!
  8. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    Basses I can afford are not usually found in stores I can get to.
    Beej, MirandM, HCF and 7 others like this.
  9. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always. Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    That sounds very familiar. :D:thumbsup:
  10. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always. Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    I feel ya. I'm always looking for something special. Can't typically find that at the local guitar shop or even the nearby GC.
    C Stone and Volker Kirstein like this.
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I will not buy a bass without trying it first but other gear I have done.
  12. Sursonique


    May 17, 2020
    I have done both. Tried before buying and buying online. Never had an issue. That being said I bought all my basses and guitars on a music store I trust and where I've been buying at for decades, so i trust them.
    Giffro, C Stone and zie like this.
  13. 4andnomore

    4andnomore Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    I've purchased lots of use basses online with no issues. That said, I typically buy in the $1,200 range and NEVER above 2 grand. Frankly, there's more risk in selling than buying.
    Bassndrums73 and 2cooltoolz like this.
  14. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always. Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    I think anyone's preference would be to play a bass first. But if not, it's good to have a relationship built with a trusted shop. I think Sweetwater does that well, for such a big operation.
    petch and Sursonique like this.
  15. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    My current whole collection I bought before trying.

    Even the one I bought from a private local seller I didn't play it, I wasn't going to let it get away. But it was a brand I was already familiar with (yes another Wal).
    BWorm likes this.
  16. marchone

    marchone Since 1951

    Nov 30, 2009
    Most of the basses I’ve tried in shops over the years nearly all felt terrible compared to my 68 Telecaster. That I bought used so I tried it out first. It seems that none of the run of the mill production basses were intonated or had actions too high or too low and clanked. After doing my homework and reading reviews I bit on a NOS 2011 Precision that was incorrectly listed in Reverb as Mint. It plays like butter. That was bought sight unseen.
  17. i suppose if you are stuck on playing it first, you would never have the amazing experience of owning a bass custom made to your specs - especially for you.
    Beej, Immigrant, JRA and 2 others like this.
  18. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    Even in a bigger metro area, you're going to have a hard time finding much in the way of high end stuff. Maybe Bass Club Chicago and a few other retailers. But even then, nobody has stock like they have of guitars. Wildwood seems to have at least 50 custom shop LPs in stock at any time, maybe more. Generally, you're lucky to find ANY high end basses in a shop, and certainly aren't able to "run the racks" like you can with guitars
  19. Roger W

    Roger W Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2019
    Baltimore USA
    I consider it a rent to buy program. And I’m ok with that.
  20. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I live in USA and bought my last bass from Poland by way of the Netherlands. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
    BK bassist, Sinserif, MirandM and 9 others like this.