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What to look for when buying used?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dannyk, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Someone near me is selling an Eden DC210xlt Metro. What should I look for to see if it's a) a good deal and b) what is, if anything, wrong or soon to go wrong with it.

    Any buying guidelines for used gear other than "does it sound good?" I'm in the dark with bass gear, it seems.

  2. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    If you can't turn it up, don't buy it. Confirm that it has the correct speakers. Scratchy controls aren't a red flag, they can be cleaned, but if they cut out, don't buy. Be sure to check that signal passes through all connections. Look for non-original knobs-- this is a potential sign of past abuse. Actually, look for any signs of past abuse, and especially hard knocks. Peeling tolex or rat fur, even small rips aren't that big of a problem, but hard knocks can be a sign that it wasn't taken care of at all. Find the point where the amp goes into overdrive. If it isn't very loud, this can indicate a problem. Find the speaker fart-out point, same thing if it isn't very loud. Be sure that if it has any tone shaping buttons or switches that they actually affect the tone. Check the mounting screws for the chassis for signs that it has been taken apart, same with grill mounting screws. Listen carefully for rattles when you have it turned up. Dented metal grills or corners are a red flag, too. Try to see if the cones show any sign of ever being wet-- it's just about impossible to hide that. Rips in the speaker surround or cone should be a deal-breaker, too. Dented dust-covers aren't anything to worry about, but loose or obviously repaired ones show that it's been beat up. Generally, as long as the seller is willing to let you put it through anything reasonable, and willing to let you take a magnifying glass to it without seeming agitated or trying to distract you, they aren't trying to pass on their junk to you. Lots of guys just like to move through gear. Be wary, but there's no need to walk into the situation expecting they're trying to rip you off.
  3. Thank you. That's exactly what I was looking for.
  4. I've decided against buying it after doing some more research. It looks like it could be a potential money pit (14 years-old, though he said recently serviced) and it's heavy - my knees won't appreciate the latter. Not to mention that, for a newbie to the bass world, I feel it may be more amp than what I can competently deal with.

    "Plug-n-play" is probably the best way for me to start. I'm going to hold off.

    Any thoughts on my decision? Am I overthinking?
  5. Old amps aren't necessarily a bad thing, especially when taken care of/looked at by a reputable tech.

    There are tons of lightweight combos that will do what you need, lightweight gear is really 'in' right now and lots of people seem to be unloading their big heavy amps for the micro pocket sized amps. If you feel that the weight of the Eden would be too heavy for convenience sake, I'd look into some of the Gallien Krueger MB series combos. I don't have first hand experience with them but they get great reviews, and are at a reasonable price point.
  6. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Here is a vintage amp buying checklist for portaflex amps. There are sone general tips in there that can be useful when buying a used amp.
  7. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I think the best bet for newbies is to purchase used gear from a trusted seller. TB classifieds, a bass specific music store, or another store with a good return policy. It takes lots of questions out of the equation and makes the purchase much easier.

    I definitely advocate buying used, you'll save a ton of money over new equipment and can generally get a much better piece of gear for the same relative price as new. For example, $500 on the used market goes much further than $500 on the new market.
  8. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    That combo is great but it does weigh a ton. Heaviest combo I ever lifted. Would not want that as a unit I had to move around much. If it stayed in one place id be up for it.
  9. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Orange Park, Florida
    If you don't know what you're doing stay away from old gear. Nothing wrong with buying used, but buy something that's not very old and in cosmetically excellent condition. New with a warranty is always a safe bet. Check out the Carvin MB15. You're in Southern California so it may be worth the drive to go to their store and try it out.
  10. Thanks all. I'll check out the GKs and when I get the chance to I'll skip on down to Hollywood to Carvin. Even if I don't buy an MB series amp it will be worth the effort just to visit Carvin. I've wanted to visit them since I was a teen back in Pittsburgh.
  11. I decided on a Carvin MB15. I'll play with it thoroughly today.
  12. sunbrother


    May 3, 2013
    Carvin mb10's and mb15's are great. Learn to use the parametric eq and skip the contour knob
  13. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Don't be afraid of used pro gear often in pristine shape.

    Pre Fender SWR is the shiz.