Rules of thumb for used bass prices.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bob Rogers, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    Are there any general observations that one can make about the market for used basses like Englehardt, Christopher, Shen, and Upton that sold new in the $1000-$3000 range? With popular mass-produced guitars you can pretty quickly check online new and used prices and figure out the typical markdown. (Used price is usually 55-80% of new depending on make and model.) Basses are a smaller market with relatively fewer online sales. Can any of you who have watched it closely for a long time describe your impressions of how the prices of decent factory laminates and hybrids like the ones mentioned above?
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    Well Bob, the Guitar industry is way different than the Violin/Bass industry. The Names you mention are new companies and nothing they have can be very old within the 'used' market yet. I have a Bass that was maybe $50 when new that is now in the 30k rangs after about 160 years or so. When you buy a new car and drive it off the lot, you loose money as soon as the ink dries on the contract. When you buy a new Bass like the ones mentioned, you have just put the retail profit monies in the dealers pocket. This also happens in the Vintage Bass market as well. Buy a Bass for 50k and try selling it back tomorrow. They want to keep that profit and may offer you 80% or 100% with trading up. That is often only if the Bass was 'owned' stock and not consignment.

    Unlike with guitars or rather in a more noticible way, acoustic instruments show their differences in a bigger way as far as tone and playability goes. The Sound, feel and playability plays heavily with a Double Bass and not just the name or age. The better ones will hold their value the best. Modern day Basses can be replaced by new ones easily unless they are one of a kinds. Older Basses where the makers are long gone go for what the market will bear. I think used Basses of the modern mass produced names are lower priced than that of a new one from a dealer.
  3. Check the classifieds here. It will give you a pretty good idea of both asking and selling prices. Occasionally, one of the brands you mentioned will show up on ebay.

    I bought an Engelhardt ES-9 and invested about $600 in setup, strings, etc. Three years later, I sold it for about 80% of what I originally invested (purchase and setup). I felt it was a good deal for both myself and the buyer.
  4. a. meyer

    a. meyer

    Dec 10, 2004
    portland, oregon
    I sold both a Shen and a Christopher in the last few months (the Shen was seven years old and the Christopher was about two) for about what I paid for them.