Things to look out for in cheapo bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Baconator, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. I'm heading over to a local high school to check out a bass that has been sitting unused in their band room for 'quite some time' according to the head of their modest music program. Apparently this fellow is a rock drummer who knows nothing about string instruments and will likely part with the instrument for less than $500 canadian. Although I have some experience with stand up bass I am by no means well versed in the myriad of problems they may have and am wondering if there are any not-so-obvious things I should be looking out for. A friend of mine that volunteers at the school and is a semi-professional violinist has given it a quick once over and says that although the bridge likely will need replacing, everything else looks ok.

    Thanks for any input!


  2. Look out for separation of the neck joint, which seems to be common in the school basses I've seen.
  3. Off the top of my head, I would say look for any suspicious cracks, former repairs, check the seams for separation, check the fingerboard for wear and tear, tuning pegs for strippage or loose pegbox.
  4. Thanks for the tip, Mike. I learned that lesson the hard way with the last bass I had (on loan). I didn't examine the bass when I went to pick it up and realized after I got it home that the neck had a 1/4" crack IN the heel:eek: Obviously this makes the higher positions a little uncomfortable to play :).


  5. Thanks, Reedo. I hadn't though of the tuners or the pegbox. Even though the bass won't cost much initially I'm certainly nervous about the potential costs of getting it in working order.
  6. Eric_J

    Eric_J Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Flower Mound, TX. USA
    +1, I was going to get a bass from an disbanded school program. The neck had been poorly repaired twice and still was not holding.
  7. I think I got lucky. :hyper:
    I just went to check out the bass and aside from old, mismatched strings (gut E, similar guage strings on the A and D) and a very slightly curved bridge the bass looks great. The neck joint looks like it's in fine shape and doesn't look like it's ever been worked on. It's apparently made in Germany under the Scherzer name. After pointing out the strings and the bridge I was able to talk the guy down to $450 (~$390US) which seems like an incredible bargain to me. It's not the greatest bass, but with a little work, some new strings and a new adjustable bridge I imagine I'll be happy with it for quite some time.

    Thanks for the suggestions!