The Essentials For Buying A Reasonably Priced Bass Guitar
November 20, 2017
Matty Johnson in Advice, Advice, Equipment, music gear, retail

It can be somewhat naive to think that there’s a sure gem among all those dirt-cheap guitars you see being sold online and in music stores. You know there’s bound to be a catch - a plasticky feel here, an awful tone there, or some structural damage that can cause you to spend more on having the guitar fixed than the guitar itself. 

While it’s possible to buy an “okay” bass guitar for less than (let’s say) $150, you probably wouldn’t want to make it your go-to axe for serious playing. You want something that’s well-built with quality components and and can hold its tune for as long as you need it to. And something like that doesn’t come cheap. 
There are, however, reasonably priced bass guitars that won’t make you doubt you can get a good performance out of. Here’s what you need to do to find one.

Research and compare prices

To determine if the “best deal” you’re looking at is really what it says it is, you need to know how much the guitar is going for in other sites and brick-and-mortar music stores. Be thorough in your homework and research bass guitar prices to give you a better idea of the playing field and how much the guitar is actually worth. Read verified customer reviews on the bass and browse around bass guitar forums to see what other folks think about it.

Visit nearby music stores

Shopping around involves also visiting local music stores to see what they have. With your pricing knowledge, you’ll be able to find a reasonably priced bass guitar or at least negotiate for one. Don’t forget to check the clearance section for what could be a great find. Don’t worry if something looks dirty - if it’s made well and has good hardware and electronics, you can simply clean and set it up.

Buy pre-owned

People sell their bass guitars for a number of reasons: they’ve upgraded or are planning to, they realized it isn’t for them, they need cash for an electric, it’s the wrong color and couldn’t be returned to the retailer, and so on. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced brand-name guitar, checking out the classifieds can work in your favor. Online selling platforms such as Craigslist, eBay and Amazon have product listings for used guitars, though it’s still recommended to see the bass for sale yourself or with a friend who can assess the guitar’s condition. 

Check out pawn shops

Another venue where you can purchase used equipment is a pawn shop. Not all pawn shops may have bass guitars though, so call ahead if you can so you don’t waste your time. Then again, some pawn shops may not even be aware they still have a bass guitar in their possession - in this case you can try your luck and hope your search is fruitful. Bring an amp and a cable along so you can test the bass out. Again, don’t be afraid to negotiate! 

Do a guitar swap

You can also swap your current bass for another model then just add a few more to the amount if necessary. Many online music forums have a sale/swap section where you can post your offer. Haggling is generally accepted but stick within a fair price range.
What can be considered a reasonable price for a bass guitar depends on several things, from the brand and age to materials and sound quality. This is why it’s important to have guitar knowledge when you buy a bass, whether it’s new or used - so read up! Good luck and we hope you find what you’re looking for model-wise and price-wise.

 

Bio

Matty Johnson has been playing bass guitar in bands since he was a teenager and continues to do so to this day (he’s now in his 30’s). Matty divides his time between teaching bass and helping various local charities with their fund raising campaigns. 

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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