eBay can be a great way to snatch a deal, but it runs the risk of coming with a huge cost.

eBay has been a resource for musicians to buy and sell their instruments for years now, with thousands of transactions taking place each day. This is great for us musicians – sellers can sell their old gear to buy new stuff, and buyers can hopefully snatch a deal at a discounted price. However, transactions don’t always go that smoothly, especially when handling something as fragile as a bass guitar. 

If you’ve spent any time on bass forums, you’ve probably heard the occasional horror story. Bassist buys an instrument from the seller, but doesn’t get what’s expected. Sometimes the instrument is in horrible condition. Sometimes the instrument isn’t as pictured. Sometimes the instrument isn’t even sent at all.

And let me tell you, there’s no worse feeling than expecting an awesome new bass to arrive, only to find out it’s a piece of junk.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case for most transactions. Most sellers are honest, but you may have to pull that honesty out of them.

If you’re using eBay to purchase your bass, I’m going to assume you’re buying it used. If you’re buying it new, stick with Amazon, which is a much safer (and usually cheaper) vendor for new instruments.

The key with instrument purchasing on eBay is to ask a ton of questions. Make sure everything is crystal clear before placing a bid. See a mark on the instrument? Ask about it. Seller not clear about something in the item’s description? Ask about it. Looking for more pictures? Ask for them. If someone’s looking to sell you an instrument worth several hundreds of dollars or more, the least they can do is take a few seconds out of their day to provide your more information. If the seller refuses for some reason, forget about them. Who would want to deal with someone like that?

You’ll also want to make sure the seller is using actual pictures of the instrument. Sellers will occasionally pull pictures of the same model of a bass off of Google Images to try and make their instrument look better than it actually is. You can do a reverse image search on the seller’s images by opening up Google Images in another tab, then dragging the picture of the bass into the Google Images search bar. If matching pictures come up, that’s a huge red flag and you should consider avoiding that seller.

Finally, make sure to check the seller’s feedback. This should be standard for all eBay purchases, but this is especially true when purchasing used instruments. There are some sketchy eBay sellers that only care about making some quick money – don’t let them scam you.


Bass guitars are fragile. I highly, highly recommend purchasing insurance on any bass guitar worth more than $100. eBay sellers are not liable for shipping damages. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to believe that many of them will ship the instrument as cheaply as possible. The company delivering your bass is not going to take any extra safety precautions to protect your instrument. Yes, they’ll do what they can to avoid damage, but accidents do happen.

You’re probably already getting a deal anyway, so you may as well spend a little bit extra to make sure your instrument actually gets to you in one piece.

Let’s Hear Your Experiences

If you’ve had any experiences purchasing bass guitars off of eBay, we’d love to hear them. Share your story in the comments down below and let us know how it went!

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