String Bass Sales & Repair

Neck of a Double Bass, String Bass Sales and Repair          Steve Swan String Bass

   Welcome to Steve Swan String Bass, home of the largest selection of new and used doublebass instruments on the west coast between Los Angeles and Canada. Located in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, our large retail showroom holds about 70 basses on display. Our new basses all feature professional setups and come with a cover at no additional cost. Our used and consignment instruments receive any needed repairs and upgrades before getting a display position on the sales floor.

Our basses range in price and function from new and used student level through old professional grade orchestral instruments.  We also have on hand a good selection of bass bows, string bass covers, K & M bass stands, a broad selection of strings, pickups, wheels, quivers, and rosin. Upgrade components such as tuning machines, bridges, endpins, and tailpieces, as well as repair parts such as ebony fingerboards, nuts, tailpiece saddles, sound posts, bass bars, and neck blanks are all kept in stock and are available for repair procedures with our allied group of professional bass luthiers, including Allan Droyan, Jeff Sahs, Nathaniel Rich, Hannah Mayne,  Taylor Marsh, Ben Williams, and Alex Friedman.

  Although the shop is usually open Monday-Saturday from 9 until 5 pm, it is always best to make an appointment in advance, so please call (650) 515-1014 or email The shop is conveniently located near BART and CalTrain, just off of 101 Between Broadway and Millbrae Avenue in Burlingame, and only 2 miles south of the San Francisco International Airport.


Steve Swan String Bass

1519 Bayshore Highway (at Mahler)

Burlingame, CA  94010



   Below the low E note

 We currently have a good selection of basses capable of sounding below the low E note, with four 5-string models (Upton, Neuner & Hornsteiner, New Standard Cleveland, Kay Chubby Jackson)) and three larger basses (Kolstein Fendt, ca. 1900 German 7/8 flat back, 1882 Gemunder) with C extensions. These instruments range in price from $6950 t0 $40,000. Come in to audition these instruments that will extend your range in orchestral play.

 The 1875 French 7/8 bass is going to Jason Brown for one of his great 4 gate C extensions. It should be completed by early October.



   Shen all-solid, hybrid and Laminated models in stock

 Laminated:   Two SB 80, two SB 88

 Hybrid:  Four SB 150,  Five SB 180,  One SB 190 5/8, Two SB 190 Rogeri

All solid woods:  Three SB 200 willow flatback 3/4,  One SB 200 Willow Rogeri, One SB 200 Rogeri carved back maple

In setup this week:

  1950s E. Wilfer large 3/4. New fingerboard, bridge, nut, top regraduation. This one should be a large sounding and very colorful instrument.






Shop Hours this week


Saturday 10-13      9 am -5 pm     

Sunday 10-14       By appointment only:     1 pm – 6 pm


Monday 10-15         9 am – 5 pm

Tuesday 10-16         9 am – 5 pm

Wednesday 10-17         9 am – 5 pm

Thursday 10-18       9 am – 5 pm

Friday 10-19          Out of the Shop.  Call or Email.

Saturday 10-20      9 am – 5 pm   




     New Working Space for luthier Jason Brown 

 I recently had the pleasure of meeting ace southern California doublebass luthier Jason Brown at his new working home in Laguna Beach, The Guitar Shoppe, a comfortable and friendlylong time  jazz guitar institution. Jason performs all manner of repairs, restoration, custom setups, and C extension installation. With decades of luthier work, honed with years of gigging and touring experience, he has developed quite a following in both the orchestral and jazz doublebass worlds. I plan on delivering some work for him on my next visit south of Los Angeles. In the next month I should be receiving my first 4-gate C extension from him, installed on the c. 1875 cello form 7/8 carved French bass.                       Jason can be reached at (949) 870-5075.

El Cerrito shop space for luthier Nathaniel Rich

 Opening his new repair space in the East Bay will be a shop favorite doublebass luthier, Nathaniel Rich. His new location is just a few miles north of his old digs at the String Bass Studio in Berkeley. The new shop is located just off of the Central Avenue exit of I-80 in El Cerrito. We continue to be very happy with Nathaniel’s fine repair and setup work, complete and clear communication skills, and his easy-going, steady personality.

Nathaniel may be reached at and






 Looking for a specific kind of bass? Get on the want list.

 If you are looking to find a specific kind of instrument that will best suit your playing, let us know and we will keep you in mind when one turns up. With regular travels that take us north to Oregon and Washington state, south down as far as San Diego, and east to Nevada or Arizona, we have developed a network of west coast players, luthiers, and estate resources that lead to some interesting and wonderful finds. We also have access to new custom basses or examples with unusual features that may be just the right combination for you. An email or a phone call can get the wheels turning to find just what you are looking for at a price that makes sense for your situation.



   European or American made basses currently in stock

Some string bass customers have resistance to basses made in China. Though we carry four brands of highest quality Chinese-made basses, there are currently 40 string basses in stock that come from Europe and the United States. The price and functions range from a ca. 1960s German 3/4 arched back ply priced at $2400, to a professional concert quality August Gemunder 7/8 bass dating from 1882 priced at $40,000. In addition to many older or more recent contemporary used instruments, we usually have in stock new instruments from Wilfer, Hofner, Paesold, and customized New Standard basses.



  Jazz Bass guitars and Archtop Jazz guitars in stock

 Of interest to many players who double on bass guitars, we have a nice selection of Fender Jazz basses related bass guitars. Also, The lineup of archtop jazz guitars is diverse and extensive. Bring the jazz guitar player in your group along to help select a good combination of tone and presence.



  Long Standing Major Lines of Doublebasses That We Have Introduced to the San Francisco Bay Area since 1999.

In our 18 years of retailing string basses in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have been very pleased to have introduced a few major lines of instruments that have solidly found their way into the large student and performance bass communities based here. These brands are Samuel Shen, Hofner-Paesold, Xuechang Sun, and New Standard. Our shop has earned the exclusive retail distributorship of these instruments in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.

   Shipping: Safe and Reliable   

 We are able to safely ship basses in the continental United States by XPO Logistics (formerly Con-Way Freight). Basses are shipped upright in a shipping box or trunk and attached to a pallet.  It is far too dangerous to ship a bass with the strings on an sound post up, so we always disassemble them. We have a 100% safety and delivery record with Con-Way and will continue to use their service with the highest confidence.


 Guitar website

The website dedicated to our guitar business is     

We do cross-post the electric bass guitars to the guitar website for convenience. Please make use of our extensive “Want List”, as we are always tracking down specific guitar and electric bass instruments for our customers.



Most Recent New Arrivals 

>1930s German carved back     Neck reset, Top regraduation

>Re-topped 2003 Mayne-Hofner 593 3/4        Huge mature arco voice

>New Shen SB 150 3/4 hybrid     Large, full voice

>2006 Eastman VB-120-Q hybrid moidel       Clean, Developed voice from play

>1882 August Gemunder 7/8 flatback with Stenholm C extension, ex- LA Phil.

>New Shen SB 200 Rogeri carved back maple    A high level student model

>ca. 1930s German large 3/4 carved back      Regraduated top, Necl reset

>Two new Shen SB 200 Rogeri willow flatback     “Steve Swan Model”

>Three new Shen SB 200 3/4  Willow flatback        Perennial favorite 

>Three new Shen SB 180 3/4 Deluxe Hybrid     Best for arco work

>Two new Shen SB 150 3/4 hybrid     Best student seller for jazz and arco work

>1888 Neuner & Hornsteiner 4/4 flatback 5 string conversion  HUGE sound

>1950 Kay blonde S-51  “Chubby Jackson” 5 string model











Basses in the shop for setup

-Retopped and renecked Hofner 593 model      Work by Hannah Mayne



Basses next in line for setup:   ca. 1930 Pretszchner 3/4 carved back, Newish re-topped Hofner 3/4 with new neck and finish work by Hannah Mayne, New New Standard Cleveland with steeper neck angle and finish work by JoshTharp


 Basses in the workshop for major work

>ca. 1910 German carved back 7/8     Crack repairs, Bass bar reprofiling, Scroll repairs

New German large 3/4 carved back            Top and neck replacement by Olivola and Mayne

 >New Standard Cleveland Hybrid    Custom varnishing  (higher neck angle already done)


 “Swan Workshop” Custom String Basses

Examples of our customized “Workshop” basses currently on display and for sale here in the shop include two New Standard Cleveland (American Standard Shape) laminated models, a New Standard La Scala hybrid (King Moretone shape) with solid spruce top and solid maple sides, and two new examples of the custom german basses that are regraduated to ca. 1890 specifications, given a better functional neck angle, and finished in a lovely oil varnish. We also have had instruments from Xuechang Sun given these kinds of customized treatments with very satisfying results. Basses “in the white”from various suppliers that we work with present a blank canvas for you to realize your dream bass. Please give us a call or email for ideas on how we an customize a bass like this for you. For more about our allied team of luthiers that get the work done to perfection on these instruments, please see the repair page.


 Lots of new, used, and consignment instruments

  Be sure to check out our newest arrivals and featured instruments, which are updated as they arrive. You can also view our complete current inventory