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, Jason Brown, Tristan Cole-Falek, 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


 Smaller basses for the School Season

 This year we have been stocking up for the current back-to-school season with a larger selection of 1/2 size and 5/8 basses. There are currently three 1/2 size basses in stock, including a used plywood instrument priced under $1,000, a nice hybrid 2011 Eastman with a solid top, and an all-solid woods example from Kamimoto Strings that we have greatly improved with a top regraduation. There are currently six 5/8 models in stock, Two new Shen SB 190 hybrid models, A used no-name Chinese all-solid woods model, Two new Shen SB 200 maple carved back all-solid woods models, and a new Xuechang Sun Model 120 all-solid woods model. Going in for a top regraduation is a time-machine clean condition 1995 Wilfer 1/2 size carved back bass. It should be ready to play by late October.

 If you have an immediate need for a smaller size school bass, please call, text, or email to set up an audition appointment.  We can set you up with a good school bass to start out the year on a strong note !!


   Oregon-Washington Trip scheduled for Sunday October 27 through Friday November 1

 Please let me know if you would like for me to deliver instruments for audition or deliver, or to pick up a consignment or purchase bass from you. I will be packing the van at about 3 pm on Saturday, October 26.



Latest Jason Brown C extension

 I now have in inventory the most recently performance-enhanced carved back bass with one of Jason Brown’s fine C extensions recently installed. This ca. 1950s German carved back bass is an orchestral section stalwart with the performance upgrades of top regraduation, neck reset, new German sourced ebony fingerboard, and new bridge. I plan to have Jason install his custom made C extensions on my own basses at the rate of one per month going forward. The next two bass in line will be a new Eastman 7/8 bass with a top degradation performed by Allan Droyan, and a 10 year old Sun 920 Gofriller 7/8 with a top regraduation also performed by Allan Droyan. On these monthly drives down to Southern California, I can deliver your bass to Jason Brown and even return with them. I would suggest that a pickup and final checkout of your instrument be done by you in person in Laguna Hills with Jason, so that fine adjustments to playing style or tone and response with setup and soundpost tweaks can be achieved working together with him. Jason Brown can be reached at (949) 870-5075.



      Recent Performance-enhanced Basses

   The most recent inventory arrivals of a few significantly improved used doublebasses include:

- ca. 1960s small 3/4 German violin cornered carved back bass that has received a top regraduation and bass bar remodeling, engraved Rubner tuning machine transplant, new nut, new fingerboard, new Josef Teller bridge with adjusters, new Hill style ebony tailpiece, a fresh New Harmony endpin with solid graphite pin, and a set of Pirastro Flexocore Deluxe strings. This instrument has a large and solid orchestral voice for a bass of this size. It is a great performing instrument with a quick and nimble response, perfect for a smaller sized adult player. The listing for this bass is found in the “$5,000 – $10,000″ section of the website.

- ca. 1950s German 3/4 carved back bass that has received a top regraduation, new nut, new fingerboard, new Aubert bridge with gold New harmony adjusters, new German style tailpiece, and a fresh New Harmony solid graphite endpin. The bass has a profound orchestral presence and will satisfy the needs of a performing symphony player or advance student alike. The listing for this bass is in the “$5,000 – $10,000″ section of the website.







Shop Hours this week



 Thursday   10-17        9 am – 5 pm 

 Friday   10-18            9 am – 5 pm    

Saturday 10-19      9 am – 5 pm

Sunday 10-20       5 pm – 8 pm By Appointment: Call or Text


Monday 10-21     9 am – 5 pm

Tuesday 10-22      9 am – 5 pm

Wednesday 10-23     9 am – 5 pm

Thursday 10-24          9 am – 5 pm

Friday 10-25             9 am – 5 pm 

Saturday 10-26       9 am  - 5 pm  


Sunday 10-27    NorCal-Oregon: Call or Text

Monday 10-28    Oregon-Washington: Call or Text

Tuesday 10-29     Oregon-Washington: Call or Text

Wednesday 10-30    Oregon-Washington: Call or Text

Thursday   10-31   Oregon-Washington

Friday   11-1      Oregon-NorCal: Call or Text


October 27 – November 1  Oregon and Washington road trip. Call or email for appointments for pickup and/or deliveries.













     New Working Space for luthier Jason Brown 

 I had the pleasure in the last year of meeting ace southern California doublebass luthier Jason Brown at his working space in Laguna Hills, CA to perform setup work and for custom C extension installations.  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 professional doublebass following in both the orchestral and jazz worlds

 After regularly fabricating and installing his custom 4-capo C extensions for the shop at the rate of 1 per month this year, we’ll get cracking on my fun project: regluing the bass bar and fabricating a TIG welded aluminum Deuce Bridge for my 1962 Wandre Naika Lux detachable neck bass. The futuristic looking Naika Lux is, to my knowledge, the first commercially available detachable neck bass. It its thought that there were only about 6 detachable neck versions in the total production run of 25 Naika basses made 1959-62. I have been on the hunt for one of these for about 15 years and was thrilled to locate one in fine shape after all this time.      Jason Brown can be reached at (949) 870-5075.

El Cerrito shop space for luthier Nathaniel Rich

  Nathaniel Rich, a shop favorite doublebass luthier, has been enjoying his new work location is just a few miles north of his old digs at the String Bass Studio in Berkeley, CA. The shop is located just off of the Central Avenue exit of I-80 in El Cerrito, CA. 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 is performing all of the work that he was able to perform in the now defunct String Bass Studio workspace in Berkeley. I now have three older basses in the shop inventory that have had complete restorations by Nathaniel. Nathaniel does superb work to exacting specifications.

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 51 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 $1800, to a professional concert quality Baldantoni 3/4 cornerless carved back  bass dating from 1820, with Robertson C extension, priced at $75,000. 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 20 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 

>ca. 1860 French 3/4 violin cornered carved back       Fantastic !!

>ca. 1920 German 7/8 carved back             Huge orchestral voice

>New Shen SB 200 willow carved back 3/4          Solid orchestral presence    

>ca. 1850 French small 7/8 violin cornered carved back: Orchestral stalwart

>New Shen SB 200 willow flatback 3/4 size         Another shop favorite

>New 5/8 Shen SB 200 carved maple      Large orchestral voice

>ca. 1910 German 7/8 carved back        Very Large, Dark Orchestral voice














Basses in the shop for setup

- New Shen SB 80 3/4 laminate            A shop favorite

- Regraduated top all-solid 1/2 size:    Great big voice in a little bass

- ca. 1938 King Moretone               Chuck Isreal’s former road bass

- ca. 1890 German 7/8 carved back         Spectacular voice  





 Basses in the workshop for major work

>Late 19th century German large 3/4 carved back  

>1995 Emmanuel Wilfer carved back 1/2 size:  Like new condition, top-off regraduation for a much more responsive voice. 


 “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