ordering a bass online?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dustynitrate, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. dustynitrate


    Jun 9, 2020
    Hey, all! I’m looking at picking bass back up after a ~5 year break, during which I had to sell my two basses (a p bass and an acoustic electric) and gear to pay for some grad school costs. I’m eyeing a Fender Player jazz bass, but there’s nowhere near me that carries them and it feels a bit dicey right now to drive several hours away to the nearest big retailer to try it/others out before buying. And I bonkers for thinking about buying one online directly from Fender and having it shipped to me? Would another retailer better? Is there anything I need to be wary of or setup I should plan to do after it would get here? I’ve only ever done this in-person before, so not sure if this is a terrible idea or if I should just wait until I can drive out somewhere that sells them (though honestly some of the motivation is having more time on my hands what with having to stay inside more).
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I think buying a new bass online is more likely to work out well than not. Does Fender sell basses directly? If they do that's news to me. I'd go with a big retailer with a solid return policy like Sweetwater or musicians friend assuming you're in the US.
  3. dustynitrate


    Jun 9, 2020
    They do, surprisingly, but you’re right; I’m thinking if I do this it might be wiser to go with sweetwater since they have a clearer return + warranty policy, plus the free shipping doesn’t hurt.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I wouldn't buy direct from Fender. If there's a problem it will be much more difficult to resolve, despite how it may seem.

    Buying online is just as (if not more) safe than buying in a store these days. You're much more likely to get an untouched instrument, and you'll be able to get a better deal. If there is any at all with the bass, you can return or exchange at no cost - so long as there is legitimately something wrong with it. You can return it if you don't like it also with no hassle, but you'll have to pay shipping, which makes sense. For me its worth the $45 shipping that saved me the hassle of going to a store, paying more anyhow, plus travel expenses, etc.

    In the past 15 years I've purchased close to a hundred basses. All but I think 2, I bought online.

    Last note... people think I get some sort of commission from Musiciansfriend, but I promise I don't :) . Just looking to help fellow TBers. If you get on the MF mailing list, they have 15-20% off sales pretty much every month. They probably have a father's day sale today. You can knock that off the price, PLUS they have a program they recently renamed (used to be back stage pass) where you can get an ADDITIONAL 8% back for future purposes. With the 15% plus the rewards program you can save over $160 on the Jazz Player purchase. And the FINAL last note... you will probably have to call to get the 15% off though. The codes they give don't work online for most items, but when you try to enter them, a message comes up that says, "Don't worry, call us..." I always call back and just say, "I'm interested in _________ , but only if I can get the 15% off." They never said no, except for with an iPad (Apple wouldn't allow it). They make you call (I believe) because they don't want their lowest price offer in writing anywhere.
  5. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    I bought an American Special Precision from zzounds and a Limited Edition Precision from GC and both sales went extremely well. Both basses have been great players and required very minor adjustments to fit my string selection and playing style. Buying online is really coming into its own. I have also been a Sweetwater customer for years.
    johnnynitro and dustynitrate like this.
  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Speaking from experience...
    1. Since I'm left handed (and, no I can't play right handed like your cousin's friend's brother can), I pretty much have to buy on-line. Out of 24 basses; 7 guitars; a banjo and a mandolin:
    - 2 basses I got from friends;
    - 2 guitars and 1 bass I actually got from a local store;
    - 2 basses I ordered from a local store; and
    - all the rest I got on-line. And, all but 3 of those were from :eek: e-Bay.
    And, I've never had a problem...
    2. If you're worried that you might have a problem? Make sure that whoever you do order from has a good, solid return policy. By the way;
    DSCN0685.JPG This is my latest on-line acquisition. An EBMM Stingray Special 4HH straight from the factory...:whistle:
  7. johnnynitro


    Jan 14, 2012
    I bought my 75 AVRI Jazz Bass from Zzzounds. No Problem at all. Was/is a Great Bass. Would/Will do it again !
    dustynitrate likes this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    i think going to an actual store is a must if you're trying to figure out what kind/brand/model is best for you, i.e., if you have no clue.

    i think online purchasing is superior, actually, if you know what you want. i've done it a bunch, and will continue.

    good luck with your online instrument hunting! :thumbsup:
    pcake, spvmhc, bbh and 3 others like this.
  9. jaco944

    jaco944 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2005
    I’ve bought and had no issues with new gear from Sweetwater, AMS, Zzounds and GC (used gear also). I personally prefer Sweetwater.
    RumbleBot, Low Crow and dustynitrate like this.
  10. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    I am one of those who thought 'why on earth would I buy one online INSTEAD of going into a store where I can feel the merchandise?' Even here in Nashville where we have more big / good music stores than most places, it can be hard to find this or that, compared to the internet.

    Over the last several years I've bought 3 Squiers sight unseen over the web from across the country (CA, GA, and IL) and basically received pretty much what I thought they would be. Granted Fender-style instruments are not an unknown or unique instrument, but I really had no surprises.

    Having said that, I've been around since the 70's, and generally if I can read the published specs concerning body wood (probably not going to return an axe with a basswood body as it's too heavy . . . .), neck radius, pickups, nut widths, etc., and have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting. I'm also not real fussy about string spacing and generally can adapt to anything that's not stupid heavy or a neck like a Louisville Slugger cut in half, IF it's a bass I like. Plus with CAD/CAM and CNC-based production, basses and guitars just don't vary much like they did in the 70's.

    So I'd have to say I'm converted, though I'm sure it will catch me out one day.
  11. BB Brian

    BB Brian

    Apr 15, 2020
    West Texas
    I was in the same boat very recently. I did a lot of research online; browsed fora, read reviews etc. I live in a smallish city with only one real music store and it is not a big box chain, so what they have in stock is what you get and if you want to try a guitar and they don't have it, well, they'll order it for you which means I get to try it in store and buy it, unless it has some defect. That coupled with the pandemic and not being able to get in store anyway for a long time, i had to shop online.

    I agonize over even small decisions, especially when I can't just go see if I like it. But, before I narrowed down the bass I wanted, I had pretty much narrowed down the retailer from whom I wanted to make a purchase. And after asking on here I was reassured it was the right choice. I chose Sweetwater. They have a really good return policy. They add a personal touch by hooking you up with a salesperson that is a musician themselves. I got Jack. He's a really nice guy. Plays upright and electric as well as some other strings. He talked to me for 44 minutes. Never once did he seem like he was in a hurry to finish the sale and get rid of me. I asked about the weight of the bass and the ones they had in stock had not yet been weighted and photographed. We talked about my bad shoulder and back and he assured me he'd put a note in to send the lightest one they had available. Jack also threw in a free strap (3.5 inch Levy leather, not some cheapo nylon) one of their house brand 20 foot cables (Lifetime warranty which Jack said, "If it goes out, call me and I'll ship you a new one as it's cheaper to replace than return ship and repair") and a bag of picks all on the house.

    Sweetwater wants your business and they want to keep it. Everyone I talked to said their 55 point inspection is legit, though like anything I am certain some things slip by. It's not a setup, but it should be in spec and a setup should require just a little work on my part, hopefully. I say hopefully because I ordered Thursday. It should be here Wednesday according to FedEx. I had more interaction with Jack than I did with David from my local music store when I ordered a brand new American Standard Jazz bass in the mid-'90s. When I get the bass, I will definitely have a New Bass Day thread and I can give you a more thorough opinion on the inspection and condition aspect at that time.

    Check out Sweetwater and see if it sounds like a good fit for you. If I had a guitar center less than three hours away, I might have gone for that because I know folks can return online orders in their store and that you can call them for less than MAP offers. That said, I was really impressed with the customer experience at Sweetwater. If the bass is good, they will definitely get my business when I buy a new amp after Christmas. Standard disclaimer here: I do not work for Sweetwater in any capacity. I just tried them out over some other online retailers for the reasons mentioned above and haven't even received my first order from them yet! Whatever you decide, welcome back to the bass world, enjoy your time on Talk Bass, and have fun!
  12. Crunchy Growl

    Crunchy Growl

    Jan 31, 2018
    I bought from Sweetwater and it worked out great!
    matthewwithanm likes this.
  13. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I'd say buying straight from fender is a crap shoot. The stores buy straight from fender, than sort through the bad ones (there's always a couple in a shipment), and set them up for you. So, why not just buy from a third party that does that part for you? Like sweetwater? I've always had great luck with zzounds
    pcake, 707GK and dustynitrate like this.
  14. That's true. I bought a P-bass through my local shop (it was backordered). 3 of my finish came in, and I opened the factory packaging myself. That was about as virgin as it gets.
    Joe Nerve and dustynitrate like this.
  15. dustynitrate


    Jun 9, 2020
    @JeezyMcNuggles : Yeah, that's spot-on & the more I thought about more I'd definitely rather have that third party checking the bass out first before I get my hands on it. :D
    JeezyMcNuggles likes this.
  16. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    There’s been lots of discussion on the Player Series. A few lemon reports, but majority seem to be happy customers. I haven’t bought one (yet) but I’ve demoed maybe 8 now (Ps, Js, a Jaguar and a Mustang) and they were all basses I’d be happy to take home. The Player Jazz especially grabbed my attention! ;)
    pcake, BB Brian and dustynitrate like this.
  17. waver


    Nov 19, 2016
    Memphis, TN
    I've recommended these guys before:
    Bass Guitars | Wildwood Guitars

    Here's what I did: Called them up, talked to them about what kind of Fender P bass I wanted, and what they had in their inventory. They tried one out for me, set it up, and shipped it to me. Played great right out of the box. Bonus: I'm pretty sure I paid no shipping or sales tax. There's a Fender Jazz in my future, and I don't know why I wouldn't repeat this process.
  18. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    If you are going to buy a bass online make sure you deal with a reseller with solid customer service. That's the main thing. Reason is that an amp, strings, etc. can ship safely and there's little to no variation. Instruments are more subject to climate, handling, etc. and even with big factories they still can vary. So work with a good, honest shop.
    dustynitrate likes this.
  19. kmon

    kmon Supporting Member

    May 11, 2009
    Chocolate Disneyland
    I would have no reservations about a Fender player from any major online retailer
  20. I have never bought basses online. I don't think I'll ever start. I have never bought any bass or guitar new, so there is that. Well only 1 nut it was a demo from a local mom and pop store. Music Man StingRay 5. I sold it after 3 months