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Neighbor boy wants to borrow bass & amp before deciding to buy?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kaye, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Kaye


    Mar 22, 2020
    This is my very first post. My husband passed away a few months ago and left me with a few bass guitars and a Fender "Rumble 40" amplifier that I'm trying to sell. Our neighbor (and my husband's coworker) has two teenage boys (ages are about 14 & 16) who are interested in the less expensive bass (a "Steinberger Spirit") and the amplifier. However, their dad is asking if they can borrow them first for a "test drive" to see if they like them. (FYI: These boys aren't in band or orchestra, so I know they haven't been taught how to care for a musical instrument.)

    What should I do? I don't know the first thing about guitars and amps, only horns. Is there any sort of guidance I should give the boys first if I let them try them out?

    (FYI: As far as what each of these pieces are worth, I checked with a relative who owns a local music store and he said he'd pay me $100 for each of these pieces. I trust that he's being fair because at the time he told me what his resale price would be and it wasn't much more than the $100.)
    bigbottomend and JRA like this.
  2. Sure, lend them. They might even buy them. We’re all young once.
    10cc, Rick_Bass, nateh415 and 8 others like this.
  3. Kaye


    Mar 22, 2020
    Could they hook up the amp wrong or blow something out? What about dinging up the guitar? Are there any guidelines I should give them?
    TrevorG and fleabitten like this.
  4. Sure they could hurt something with them. In the grand scheme of things bass related...bass stuff can be worth much more than this.

    Maybe, even maybe...consider giving the stuff to them. Maybe in exchange for yard work or such.

    Edit: pretty hard to hook an amp up wrong.
  5. Ghastly


    Oct 18, 2015
    Mill Valley
    Not sure what basses you have there but it sounded to me like maybe the shop owner might have lowballed you a bit? But if you loan anything, maybe keep it short term, like a few days.
    TrevorG, Mili, Sav'nBass and 16 others like this.
  6. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    Only lend what you are willing to write off. It might work out for the best but then again it might not.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you are going to let them try it, I would only do it with an adult there to watch, and with the understanding that "you damage it, you bought it", and an agreement on a price if they like it.

    Based on what he father is willing to pay, you decide where you want to sell it, taking into account your time. Lots of cheap amps and basses on Craigslist.

    Yes, they can damage the speaker if they blast it for too long (that's not an amp designed to keep up with a band). Yes, they can damage thefinish if hey are not careful.
    petch, TrevorG, Mili and 30 others like this.
  8. It's a teachable moment. Go over the items with them, explain the value, point out any existing damage, agree with dad on a fair price, take pictures and tell them that they may borrow for a specific number of days with a "you break it, you bought it" rule.
  9. Jeff K

    Jeff K Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    I'd first tell the father that you'd prefer if he and his son came over and tried them out at your house. That way, you'd both be there to see that the kid doesn't abuse them by pushing the amp beyond it's limits, or mishandling the bass. (Yes, you CAN damage the amp by pushing it beyond it's limits.) For example, I wouldn't allow him to crank both the "Gain" and "Volume" controls up to the max. If you do allow them to borrow them, talk to the dad first. Explain that if they damage them while "testing" them, they'll have to buy them.

    I don't mean to sound like a hard###. But I remember when one of my sons was about 14. He let a friend borrow his Acme 210 cabinet. The kid cracked a speaker cone, but never had the money to replace it. A lot of kids that age are into pushing the cabinets too hard to "see how loud it can go, or how much it can handle".

    Think of it this way. If he went into Guitar Center, sure he could sit and test out a bass and amp he was considering. But if he got carried away, the staff would stop him. By "testing" it out in a supervised setting, he should be able to tell whether or not he likes it enough to buy it.

    Just my opinion, of course. Others might disagree and have good arguments for their opinion.

    EDIT: I see that Bulldog and LBS Bass already replied while I was typing. And I agree with both of them.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Something to discuss with the father. Are they truly interested in starting to play music, or are they just looking to #%%&$# around with the gear?
  11. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    ^ This.

    Welcome to Talkbass.
  12. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I think it’s a great thing you’re considering. I would lend only what I am prepared to lose; that’s my advice.
  13. In honor of your husband, RIP, pay it forward.

    ...and yes, welcome to TB!
  14. OldFunBass


    Nov 5, 2016
    I agree with the folks that said to only lend things you can loose or at least not care what condition it comes back to you in. Any agreement of "you break it you bought it" is impossible to enforce. And even kids with the best of intentions can make bad decisions ending in something getting dropped or banged up.
    IMO, offer to let the boys come over and try them out for as long as they want in your house. Then they can buy them or not. If not, you can probably sell those your self fairly quickly on Craig's list or to a store. Or, if you don't care about or need the money and just want the amp and bass out of the house, then just gift them to the kids and be done with it.

    Edit PS: So sorry for the loss of your husband. I know that trying to sort through his items and clean out must be a very sad and emotional time for you.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  15. vid1900


    Dec 12, 2019
    I'd have them pay 100% in full.

    Otherwise, you will never get the money - just excuses .
    TrevorG, murphy, zenrad and 8 others like this.
  16. Ggaa


    Nov 26, 2018
    Make sure they know to put it in the case when not playing it, or at least on a stand.
  17. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    First of all, I'm sorry for your loss.
    Well, maybe not. The teachable moment could involve a primer on basic contract law. I'm reminded of a sign I saw as a kid in a store with lots of delicate glassware: "Lovely to look at, delightful to hold. But if you break it, consider it sold." While a minor cannot lawfully execute a contract in most states, the father certainly can.
  18. felis


    Jul 31, 2013
    Midwest, USA
    Several options: have them come over to try it under supervision.
    Have them pay in full, but with the option to return if undamaged.
    Lend it with the knowledge that it might be the last you see of it, with no compensation.
    Give it away if it doesn't result in a financial strain.
    Keep it and learn to play.
  19. jbhaugh

    jbhaugh Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2018
    ABQ, NM, USA
    First off, sorry for your loss.

    If they turn all the controls on the amp all the way up they could damage the speaker. Let them "test drive" the bass but make them try the amp with your supervision only. That amp isn't loud enough to compete with a drummer or most giggable guitar amps, and if they "test drive" it with a band there is a good chance it will be damaged.

    If you can afford it, I would consider giving this equipment away to a music school or other charity (or to these kids).
    nateh415 and Kaye like this.
  20. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    You know, the basses may be worth more than what you were told.

    Depending on your financial situation and time, you may want to have them evaluated by someone else.
    dhergert, pappabass, gumtown and 4 others like this.

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