Your Guide to Buying a Bass Guitar on eBay

Views 1 Like Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Your Guide to Buying a Bass Guitar on eBay

A bass guitar is an electrical musical instrument popular in many styles and genres of music. Each particular model will create a different sound, resulting in a range of electric bass guitars, some of which might be more suitable to particular genres than others. Review bass guitar models and brands to identify a suitable instrument. There are a broad spectrum of brands and designs, ensuring a suitable bass guitar can be purchased to suit each budget, ability and taste. A wide variety of bass guitars and bass guitar accessories are available to purchase on eBay.

About Bass Guitars

Bass guitars are electric string instruments, which have replaced the traditional double bass in modern music composition to establish the rhythm or beat of a piece of music. The instrument can be played by plucking or strumming with a pick or plectrum, or with a bass player's fingers and thumb. Pickups translate string vibrations via an amplifier to produce sound through a speaker. A bass guitar, therefore, also requires an amplifier, amongst other accessories, to enable successful play.

Bass Guitar Anatomy

An electric bass guitar is visually and anatomically similar to an electric guitar, although with a longer neck to allow a greater scale length, and a different arrangement of strings. An electric bass guitar typically has four strings, although higher string number variants are also available, including five string, six string and twelve-string basses, among others. The particular anatomy, including body and neck shape, pickups and configuration, and the size and weight of the guitar, will vary according to make and model.

Choosing Bass Guitars

There are so many variations of electric bass guitars produced by assorted manufacturers that finding the right instrument is largely down to the personal preferences of the individual, including desired sound timbre and quality, aesthetic preferences, and available budget. It is possible to refine an eBay search by selecting sub-categories including guitar type, brand, and condition, amongst other criteria.

Bass Guitar Features

To help a buyer narrow down their search, there is a range of features that ought to be considered in choosing a bass guitar, including guitar shape, number of strings, style of fret board, material of manufacture, configuration of electrics, and brand.


The shape of a bass guitar body is usually representative of a particular brand or style, and so gives an indication of the sound the instrument will produce. Jazz bass guitars are styled to be more comfortable than other body shapes when the player is seated, while other shapes can provide greater balance, or are designed to be visually distinctive. Iconic bass guitar shapes include the headless Steinberger, the Rickenbacker model 4000, the Fender P-Bass and Jazz Bass, and the Gibson Thunderbird.


Four-string bass guitars are by far the most common arrangement, and are typically tuned to mimic the notes produced by a double bass: E, A, D and G. Alternative tunings provide a more extensive range. Five-string bass guitars are often used in rock and metal music, and models with a greater number of strings are less common, but enable greater versatility of the instrument, and can be found in jazz and Latin arrangements. The particular strings used will affect the timbre and sustain of the guitar.

Fret board

Bass guitars are produced both with frets dividing the fingerboard for ease of selecting notes to play, and in fretless format, which enables playing techniques such as glissando and vibrato. Modern fretted bass guitars usually feature 24 frets.


The majority of modern and vintage electric bass guitars are made of wood. Common materials include ash or alder for the body, maple for the neck and rosewood for the fingerboard, with mahogany, walnut and ebony being other popular choices. It is less common, but not unheard of, for bass guitars to be produced of other substances, for example, graphite.


A variety of magnetic and non-magnetic pickups enable a wide range of different sounds to be produced by a bass guitar, depending on its configuration. Examples include Jazz pickups, single and dual coil pickups, and 'soapbar' pickups. The type of wiring used in the guitar may also affect its sound quality, as will manual adjustments made to tone and volume using the controls on the instrument. Control options will vary according to make and model.


There are several reputable bass guitar manufacturers producing a range of guitars. Be aware that renowned brands may be a more expensive option. Review particular makes and models of bass guitars to understand the main features of each item.

Signature and Custom Bass Guitars

Bass guitars manufacturers often produce custom models or signature series which feature unusual bass guitar shapes, designs or configurations, often inspired by instruments played by celebrity bassists, or modern reissues of popular, classic designs.

Vintage Bass Guitars

Several musical instrument manufacturers have been producing bass guitars for several decades. Earlier, classic designs are often valued for their vintage sound and collectability. When purchasing a vintage bass guitar on eBay, confirm the date of manufacture and the condition of the guitar to identify a genuine item in good condition. Where possible, view the item in person before making a purchase. Vintage bass guitars can be incredibly expensive. A more affordable option is to purchase a modern reissue of a classic bass guitar.

Acoustic Bass Guitars

Unlike most electric bass guitars, acoustic bass guitars usually have a hollow body, which helps to amplify the sound. Acoustic bass guitars commonly have four strings, although other arrangements do exist. Some acoustic bass guitars are manufactured with pickups to enable connection to an amplifier so the instrument is more likely to be heard alongside the other instruments in a musical arrangement.

Bass Guitar Accessories

There are many essential accessories for a bass guitar player. These include an amplifier and connecting cables to produce sound, a strap and pick or plectrum for comfort during play, and a case or stand for storage. Non-essential accessories may also include tuning instruments, effects pedals, and replacement strings. A wide variety of bass guitar accessories are for sale on eBay. These accessories may be included in the sale of a bass guitar as part of a kit or starter package, but are usually sold separately. Read item descriptions to be certain of what is included in the listing, and contact the seller for further details before agreeing to a purchase. Guitar parts for replacement or to customise a bass guitar are also available to purchase on eBay.

Used Bass Guitars

As long as it has been correctly maintained, a used bass guitar will retain its original sound quality and playability. Second-hand bass guitars are available on eBay, some in excellent condition. A used bass guitar might have some cosmetic damage, or might require simple maintenance work, such as retuning or restringing. More serious defects, such as bending or warping detected in the wood of the guitar body or neck, or any damage to the electrical components, may have irreversible negative effects on the sound the instrument produces. Always clarify the condition of an item with the seller, and view musical instruments in person, before agreeing a purchase.

Buying Bass Guitars on eBay

When buying a bass guitar on eBay, view items listed by reputable sellers with high positive feedback percentages. Read feedback comments and review items that have been previously sold to identify a trustworthy seller. Read item descriptions carefully before making a purchase; pay particular attention to the details of the item, including its condition, the method of delivery, and accepted payment methods. Compare listings to identify the right item at the best price. Ensure that the item will be posted responsibly, using suitable packaging materials and a reputable delivery service. Contact the seller as soon as any questions or potential concerns arise.

Find Bass Guitars on eBay

To purchase bass guitars on eBay, begin by highlighting the All Categories tab on to the eBay homepage and clicking the link for Musical Instruments, followed by Guitars. Using the new menu on the left side of the page, click on Bass. Browse all listings, or use sub-categories to refine the search. Alternatively, enter specific words or terms into the search bar featured at the top of any eBay page. For example, to buy an unused Fender bass guitar, type 'Fender bass guitar new' into the search field.


A bass guitar is an electric musical instrument, popular across a variety of genres of music, used for producing the rhythm or beat of a piece of music. A range of makes and models is available, with each style of guitar designed to produce a different sound. Bass guitar accessories may need to be purchased separately. When purchasing a bass guitar on eBay, compare sellers and individual listings to be confident in making a good-quality purchase from a trustworthy seller. View an item before agreeing a purchase when possible. A well-maintained bass guitar will usually retain its sound quality, providing years of musical enjoyment.

Have something to share? Create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides