Just as buying a Fender bass online can be a somewhat scary experience, so can selling one, if not more so.
The key to successfully selling your Fender bass is following some simple guidelines and precautions.
I’ve personally sold several basses online without any problems at all. Not only can you easily sell your bass, but it can be fun too.
The first thing you want to do is figure out the value of your bass. This is where research is very important. Look around the Internet at similar models and take into consideration the condition of your bass versus the ones your seeing.
Remember that retail stores will almost always have higher prices, even on their used basses so make sure that your price is in the same vicinity as other private sellers. Generally speaking, a private sale will be about 20% less than a retail sale for the same bass in similar condition. If the bass has a lot of sentimental value to you and your dead set on a higher price, be prepared to wait quite a while to sell it. Remember that the potential buyers are looking for a good deal on a used bass.
Where to Sell It?
Once you’ve decided on a price, you need to figure out where you want to sell your bass. Using eBay will give you the most exposure and the best chance of getting the highest price possible, however, you will also have to pay fees to both eBay and PayPal, and you will almost certainly have to ship the bass unless you’re lucky enough to make a local sale.
If you do use eBay, make sure to read all of their rules and familiarize yourself with how everything works before you start your listing. Be very wary of any buyers offering low bid “off-eBay” deals or anyone asking you to end the auction early for a lower price…they’re almost always people running scams.
Craig’s List is another option for selling your Fender bass, and there are some advantages to using this method. Listing your bass is free and there are no fees to pay. Generally, all sales are local, so you don’t have to worry about packing and shipping.
There are a few downsides to using Craig’s List, however. First of all, people are going to be contacting you and wanting to come over and look at your bass, so you will have to fit that into your schedule. This can be especially annoying when they call and never show up, it’s happened to me several times. Some sellers will not even allow potential buyers to come to their home, but instead, meet them in a public place. This is a safety issue, and I completely understand why many do this. However, it can be inconvenient to lug your bass around to different places just to show someone who may not even buy it.
If you do allow people to come into your home, make sure you’re not alone, or in my case, I call a friend and then tell him I’ll call back when they’re gone. There is also the very real and scary risk of scams and frauds that are all over Craig’s List. I have sold a lot on CL and have seen just about every scam you can think of. Most of them are obvious and easy to avoid, but you need to very careful.
A good rule of thumb is to never deal with out of state buyers and only take cash, even if they offer you more money than you’re asking (that’s the number one red flag right there). Craig’s List has info on their site about avoiding scams, and it’s very helpful. There are other ways to sell your bass online, such as bass forums and musician sites but the same basic guidelines apply. Always use common sense and never use a website you don’t know.
Prepping and Good Pictures
The next step is preparing your Fender bass for sale. I always clean and sometimes polish the finish to pretty it up a bit. Make sure everything is in working order and nothing is seriously wrong, like a twisted neck or broken truss rod.
Taking good pictures is extremely important to helping you sell your bass. You don’t need an expensive camera or extensive photographic knowledge to take good shots of your bass. The key to taking good pictures is lighting and stability. I always try to use natural light instead of a flash as this gives a more accurate view of the true color of the bass. Make sure the camera is very still when taking the pictures. I recommend using a tripod to keep everything nice and steady. Some people will even use the auto-timer just to avoid any movement of the camera when pressing the button.
Make sure you get good shots of the body and neck, both front and back, and the headstock. Try to get closeups of any dents, dings or other damage to the finish. It’s also a good idea to get some shots of any date stamps or codes that can validate the year of the bass, this is especially important if you selling a vintage Fender bass. Keep in mind that many people will ask for more photos, so be prepared to take and email extra pics.
Writing the Ad
Once you’ve got good pictures, it’s time to start writing your ad. I always feel it’s best to write more information than not enough. Make sure that your description is clear, accurate and honest. There’s nothing wrong with a little humor too but I’ve found that the most straightforward and simple descriptions work the best. Remember that your goal is to sell the bass not show it off. That includes describing all it’s flaws and issues if any. Better to lose a potential buyer now than deal with an angry one later.
Good communication is another important part of selling your bass. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a seller that doesn’t respond to your questions. Bad communication can turn many potential buyers away. I always try to respond immediately to all questions and if I do miss a day I make sure to apologize.
Once you’ve sold the bass, make sure to give all shipping information (if necessary) to the buyer immediately, especially the tracking number and ship date.
Following these basic guide lines should make selling your Fender bass a lot easier, safer and even fun.