Second hand Music shops in LA, San Francisco

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Manichga, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Manichga


    Aug 13, 2013
    Hi there, I'm visiting America in May ( from Australia) and was wondering if there are any decent music shops to check out in LA, San Francisco or even Vegas where I could get used bass gear. I keep reading here how Warwicks can be bought quite cheaply second hand. Would love a Thumb. Or about a million other kinds of basses..... So any recommendations for places to visit would be great. Love looking in guitar shops. So do my kids. Might get in trouble if I buy another bass, but if there's a bargain to find.....
  2. dukeplaysbass

    dukeplaysbass Supporting Member

    In LA, it depends on your transportation. If you are in Hollywood, there's the flagship Guitar Center on Sunsat Blvd, with the Sam Ash, Carvin, & Mesa Boogie stores all within a block. If you can get to Santa Monica, TrueTone is out there. If you can get into the San Fernando Valley, you've got California Vintage Guitars in Van Nuys, and Norman's Rare Guitars out in Reseda. I thinek there's some version of the old Bass Place in Sherman Oaks (housed in the Amp Shop in Sherman Oaks). There's a newer place in Burbank called Premier or Prestige or something like that. There's Caveman Vintage in the Chinatown area downtown that advertises a lot on Craigslist that seems to have intersting stuff.
    But LA is not a city for people who don't drive. And if you do drive, you need to have the time to get to some of these places; getting from, say, TrueTone to Norman's could take you 45 min, or two hours depending on the traffic at a given time of day.
  3. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    If you drive:

    1)-Don't forget to drive on "the wrong side of the road"! ;)

    2)-When in L.A., avoid the 405 Freeway if at all possible before 10AM and after 2PM. I've had pretty good luck getting around on it between 10 and 2, but during either the morning or afternoon rush, it typically slows to a snail's pace for miles on end. The L.A. freeway system in general is not for the faint of heart.
  4. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    While in SF, check out Real Guitars located on a small side-street off of Mission near Van Ness called Lafayette (15 Lafayette to be exact - it's very unassuming from the outside) - used guitars/basses/amps, also home of Gary Brawer and Dan Ransom. One stop shopping! Enjoy your time in the US.
  5. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    future music and zeppelin music in highland park get some real gems
  6. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    This is old information -- we are now driving on the left here in Los Angeles! So, OP -- as soon as you leave the car rental parking lot, proceed to drive on the left side, with confidence! :hyper:
  7. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Bay Area has the Starving Musician stores. None in SF per se, but there is one in Berzerkley (Berkeley) right across the bay, also in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Pretty funky but cool used gear places, and you just never know what they will have.

    Gelb Music in Redwood City, which has a great retail bass shop too, also has a consignment store around the corner from the main shop on El Camino. Gelb is definitely worth a visit.

    If you are in Vegas, check out Ed Roman - famous guitar/bass shop. Lots to look at there.

    enjoy your trip to the states mate !
  8. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Ed Roman's shop is unfortunately gone -- it was massive, casino-sized, and breathtaking -- as is Ed himself, RIP, you crazy diamond…

    Try Cowtown Guitars in Vegas -- the proprietor regularly features on the US TV show Pawn Stars as their resident "Guitar Expert," and he is a very nice guy in person at his shop. Cowtown maintain an up to date website which includes their used and rare pieces (for instance, they were recently brokering a Hendrix-owned Strat).

    As for Los Angeles -- California Vintage Guitars, Norm's Rare Guitars, Guitar Center Hollywood and Truetone Music in Santa Monica are all must-sees.
  9. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    There are fewer stores in LA than there used to be 15 years ago, and they are a lot of driving around to get to now. The old famous Sunset Blvd corner is now down to about 5 stores from what it once was if you're looking for new stuff, but that Guitar Center might probably be the only place to find a used Warwick though. But to kill time and see a bunch of gear you should still go there to Sunset.

    Yes used Warwicks are a bargain. But if you're looking for something very specific; a Thumb, then you should probably look on LA's and SF's craigslist pages, or scour the TB classifieds for those folks selling one, or even place your own wanted ad before you get here.
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I don't miss a whole lot about living in SoCal... but the Sunset/Garner area around Guitar Center (and, of course, the Sunset Grille) was a favorite destination for any Saturday. There were LOTS of guitar shops, you could spend all day there trying out cool basses and guitars.

    But, that was about fifteen years ago, as was mentioned. Great days!
  11. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Truetone in Santa Monica is a great store, not a huge used selection, but some. Truetone is an AMAZING place to shop for pedals. The biggest selection I've ever come across. Again, not much used, but you can try many pedals that you have only read about. If you find yourself at Truetone, and don't want to drive to the valley or Hollywood, the West L.A. Guitar Center is my second favorite (GC) in the city. I have come across some amazing used deals there, and a pretty decent used pedal offering. But……

    If you want the best local L.A. used shopping experience, also on the West side, go visit Shane at Timewarp Music, Venice Blvd. near Centinela. Big store, nice folks, and MANY amps, pedals, basses, guitars, and keyboards at decent prices. Then….

    South on Centinela about a mile or so is Marina Music. Smaller and funkier, but often housing some real gems. Alex is a cool guy. If he is not there, just ignore the angry, nasty fellow who has worked there for years. Still worth a visit.

    IMHO, L.A. traffic is no problem. There are 10 different ways to get anywhere in this city. The way to deal with a traffic jam is to have your iPod with you. Crank some tunes, RELAX, and enjoy the beautiful cars and the beautiful women driving them, all around you. There are more and more places you can get to by the Metro Rail. People aren't quite used to thinking about using the train yet, but it's changing, slowly.

    Don't forget the FOOD. L.A. is a cornucopia of fine and diverse restaurants. In between TimeWarp and Marina Music, check out A Frame, Waterloo and City, The Corner Door, Fin, The Alibi Room, and for a funky Hawaiin breakfast, Cafe Rutt's. Enjoy L.A. it's a great city, very different from S.F, which is also a great city. But the traffic in S.F. really does suck…...
  12. Manichga


    Aug 13, 2013
    Thanks for all the responses. Plenty of places to add to our list of must-sees.