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Would you do an upright craigslist deal?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by asis, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. asis


    Jan 1, 2009
    I have been borrowing school basses since i started the upright. I often fantasize about getting my own bass and i sometimes do a craigslist search for them just to see what's posted. every once in a while i see something that looks good, but i don't know what i'm buying so i just leave it at that. Have you guys ever got an upright from craigslist? i'm most concerned with if it's really carved. how can you guys tell if it's plywood or not? or a hybrid? i read about looking at the corners and seeing wood lines or something of the sort, but the basses i have used at school are all varnished on the corners, it's just black. any other telltale signs?
    Thank You
  2. mlz77096


    Oct 16, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I located both my basses on Craigslist, the first is a ply and the second a carved. For the carved, there was correspondence, phone calls, more pictures, questions on Talkbass and also an email to Ken Smith before I made about a four hour drive to see it. I'd suggest go to a bass shop or any place you can see basses and look at them and see if you can tell the carved from the ply. If you go to look at one you are considering buying, if at all possible, take along someone what knows about basses and can help you evaluate it. And, the more you know about basses, the better you will be able to evaluate what the seller is telling you.
  3. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Find a bass on Craigslist? Sure. Just pay to get it evaluated by a luthier before finalizing the deal. They'll let you know a.) of any lurking problems, b.) if it's what it's advertised to be, and c.) if and how it could be made to sound even better than it does now.

    If you buy the bass: best money you'll spend.
    If you don't buy the bass: best money you'll spend.

    Either way, you're purchasing peace of mind.
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    +1 ^
  5. +2

    Most of my current bass family were craigslist purchases, and most of their predecessors were sold through CL. All were purchased for prices much lower than most bass shops would have given me. One is quite nice and nearly unplayed, another had a hard life and shows it, and the last came home in five pieces and required months of work to restore.

    My overall experience using that site is that the occasional item is a gem, but the VAST majority of stuff isn't nice enough to offer on eBay, AKA the World's Virtual Yard Sale, and some items are downright laughable. I've seen basses advertised on CL for strong money that appeared to be a hard sneeze away from imploding.

    Most of my CL buying experiences have been surprisingly pleasant, with the other party being a pretty normal person. One person who bought a bass from me plays third-chair bass for the National Symphony of Ireland.

    The cuckoo birds I've met requited cautious handling. Contact the seller through a bogus e-mail profile to protect your identity, only meet at a public place (preferably the luthier's shop where the bass will be inspected), bring a friend and your cell, cut bait and run if you get a bad vibe, etc. etc. etc.
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    The first thing you should do is click right HERE.

    You're asking common questions to which many of us here have taken the time to develop comprehensive answers. So, pull up a chair and start reading. Then, c'mon back with questions.

    IMO, CL is no place for a newbie. That is, unless you have a seasoned, knowledgeable player doing the searching with or for you.

    Jsn's advice is fine for someone who already has a reasonable foundation of knowledge. You could go broke getting basses checked out by luthiers if you have no informed basis for or means of choosing good candidates to begin with.
  7. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    All good advice above, especially bringing an experienced player (/buyer) along with you.

    Back before CL, there were classified ads in the newspaper. That's where I bought my upright and, like you, I didn't really know what to look out for. My bass ended up needing lots of major work over the years and, while I don't regret it, it would have been nice to know in advance what I was facing. Don't do what I did! Bring an expert with you, or take it to one before buying.

  8. I totally. You could inherit a bass that is not worth what you bought it for and have to dump money into it.

    Be very careful...asis Go to a shop that sells basses.
    Fill in your profile of where you are located. You may find a fellow TB mentor to join you as well as a list of shops in your local.
  9. byrdzeye


    Mar 28, 2013
    Toronto, ON
    Had a good CL experience getting my Shen SB88. Had good advise from Jake at The Bass Spa on the phone as a friend and I went to check it out at a Toronto rehearsal hall. Came to a deal we were all happy with, and I'm very happy with my bass. I was also lucky in that I was able to check out it's lineage, as it had originally been sold and set up by Upton just last year, and Josh was very helpful both before and after my purchase.
  10. byrdzeye


    Mar 28, 2013
    Toronto, ON
    BTW, did I mention that I f'n love these TB forums? Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post info and answer our questions.
  11. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    Wood isn't hard to figure out once you know what to look for. If you look at a wooden table, follow the grain along the top to the edge, then down and around the corners. If it is a solid top, the lines continue around the corner to the underside. But if it is not, there will be some sort of edge trim that breaks up the lines. Look at a few pieces of furniture here and there and soon it will become obvious. This will help in the future; when you look at a bass find an exposed edge and study it to see if the lines are aligned; or maybe you see layers...
  12. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    As usual: I am right, but Durb is more right. Neither of us has the slightest desire to quench your enthusiasm, but there certainly is a lot to read about the generalized issue. :cool:
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    You can't get "righter" than that! :)
  14. sq105

    sq105 Country Squire

    Jan 19, 2013
    Owen Sound, Ontario
    I've had great luck with Criagslist & also Kijiji.
    Just use common sense when making a transaction. The culprit is not Craigslist but a nefarious dealer maker which is what one must look out for.
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    The sense one needs in order to choose a decent instrument from sites like CL (or anywhere, for that matter) is anything but common. That is, common sense will not suffice; specialized bass knowledge will and is a necessity. A reasonable foundation of knowledge increases the probability of success and of avoiding bad deals.

    No, the culprit is not CL but goes well beyond nefarious dealers or individuals. Sellers may simply not know what they have. They may not be aware of flaws in the instruments they have for sale. They certainly cannot be expected to determine suitability for buyers.

    Even in the absence of nefariousness or deceit, one can go horribly wrong buying on these sites. Again, the story is completely different in the case of someone well-versed in bass buying. Bottom line: A newbie would need far more than common sense to ensure a reasonable likelihood of being successful buying on CL or similar sites.
  16. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Even as a pretty experienced pro, I would not make a significant purchase without a luthier checkout. I bought a bass recently through Craigslist, and took it to the shop before laying out the $$$.
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004