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, Michael Olivola, Hannah Mayne,  Josh Tharp, 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


   San Francisco Bass Bash March 18

 The San Francisco Bash Bash for 2018 celebrates doublebass education in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with a featured performance recital by soloist DaXun Zhang starting at noon and with earlier performances by school bass ensembles  from 9 am to 11:30 am. The venue is the Ruth Asawa School for the Arts Auditorium at 555 Portola Drive, San Francisco, CA 94131. Admission is free. 


  10 Years in the Burlingame location!

 February marked 10 years for the business in this current location. With room to display 65 instruments on the front retail room floor and warehouse storage for another 40 basses back in the two warehouse spaces behind. This space has allowed enough room to display multiples of the 14 different Shen model basses that we stock, as well as many other basses ranging up to fine old European basses from as early as 1830.

 Make an appointment by phone or email to stop in and audition some favorite instruments in your preferred price range.


Shop Hours this week


Saturday 3-3      9 am – 5 pm


Monday 3-5       9 am – 5 pm

Tuesday 3-6      9 am – 5 pm

Wednesday 3-7      9 am – 5 pm

Thursday 3-8      9 am – 5 pm

Friday 3-9         9 am – 5 pm

Saturday 3-10       9 am – 5 pm


     The dangers of shipping with the soundpost installed

   I keep hearing a lot of sad stories about people who receive basses shipped with the sound post and strings installed during shipment either in a cardboard shipping box or a trunk. Neither one protects the instruments from the shocks that are inevitably encountered when shipping by any regular commercial method. The dangers of injury to the top with devastating soundpost cracks should be obvious to any responsible shop that ships instruments to their trusting customers.

 One internationally known maker had 40% of their very expensive handmade instruments develope sound post cracks in shipment by insisting that their own precise setup and sound post positioning couldn’t be duplicated by a competent professional luthier. The other obvious danger is that by setting the sound post overly tight for shipping the tone will be thin and the response will suffer dramatically. I once purchased a new Amati model from the C________ company that developed an unseen soundpost crack from an overly tight sound post that had remained in place when shipping from the midwest to the dry environment of Anaheim in mid January. Worse yet, this company did not stand behind their bass when I finally saw the crack after getting it back to my northern California Shop.





 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 Romanian 3/4 flatback priced at $2250, to a professional concert quality Italian bass dating from about 1830 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.  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 

>ca. 1900 German 7/8 flatback        McCarthy C extension

>Eastern European 7/8 flatback    Nice orchestral conservatory bass

>ca. 2000 Shen SB 300 7/8     Gorgeous German Maple

>Used Eastman 305                   Robust build, Solid woods, Crack repairs

>ca. 1910 Italian 3/4 flatback            Lush voice, nice projection

>ca. 1890 Tyrolean large 3/4 carved back      Lighter build, Big sound

>New Shen SB 180                 Lovely voice, Darker red-brown oil varnish

>New Shen SB 190 Rogeri hybrid          A powerful sounding large 3/4








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)


 “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 revoked 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