Tips for Buying a Bass Guitar Online - dummies

By Patrick Pfeiffer

Thanks to the Internet, you can be in Seattle reading about a very cool bass guitar that’s patiently waiting in southern Florida for someone just like you. However, don’t buy a bass on the Internet without trying the model in a local store first.

When you have a pretty good idea which bass feels and sounds the best to you in the store, concentrate on that model when you shop online. Get prices from the online stores and see whether your local music store can beat them.

If you feel comfortable buying your bass online and can get a significantly better price, go for it. Make sure you can return the bass if it isn’t as good as the one in the store.

Sometimes getting a service agreement (which you can get only from a store) for your bass is worth a little extra money. With a service agreement, the store’s technician will set up your bass for free every six months or so. (A set-up for your bass is the equivalent of a tune-up for your car.)

Some online stores and bass websites also have classified sections where individuals can sell used or new basses. Individual online ads really aren’t much different from newspaper ads; the only difference is that they cover a much vaster geography than newspaper ads. To protect yourself, you should do the following before buying from an individual who posts an online ad:

  • Make sure the seller is reputable (many online sites rate their sellers).

  • Don’t buy anything from anyone who gives you a bad feeling. For example, you should steer clear if someone says “I’ll ship you this bass while your check is on the way…Oh, and could you make it out for a little more to round the number off? I’ll send you the change in cash.”

  • Stick with the better-known sites, such as eBay. They have a system in place to minimize the possibility of fraud. Reputable bass websites that have “for sale” sections include,, and

  • Try to stay local, if you can. Sometimes you get lucky and a bass player in the next town is looking to sell just the bass you’re looking for.

  • Make sure you contact the individual who’s selling the bass before you buy. A phone call is a must! You need to know that this person actually exists.

If you’re able to get all your bass questions answered from a very knowledgeable salesperson at your local music store and you end up liking a particular bass, you should definitely buy the bass from this place rather than going for the same model online, even if it’s a little more expensive.

You’re supporting someone who has a wealth of information and who has experience in the bass world. By building a relationship with such a person, you ensure that this bass place stays in business and that you have access to the kind of advice you need when you move up to the next model or when you need accessories.