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 65 basses on display with several more in the two small warehouse spaces in the back. 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



 New Guitar Listings will temporarily be listed here by retail price until the guitar website  photo troubles can be sorted out.


            Shop Visits During Active COVID-19 Period

Visits will be just outside the shop in good weather and in a 10″ x 8″ sheet plastic lined audition and meeting area just inside the front door during cold or wet weather.

 We will be following these following these easy rules:


- Appointments by prior arrangement only.  A mask MUST be worn.

- I will provide stands, and 90% alcohol and wipes for sanitizing the instruments, and hand sanitizer for visitors and myself.





Latest incoming Shen Basses

 The latest new Shen basses on the shop floor are 2 perennially popular SB 200  Rogeri shape Willow flatback basses in large 3/4 size, Two 3/4 hybrid SB 150 hybrid modes, and one SB 200 maple carved back 5/8.

 Shen 3/4 size hybrid basses in stock

  Long time favorites for student doublebassists, the Shen 3/4 hybrid models are in stock and ready to audition. There are currently 2 new examples of the SB 150, two used SB 150s, and 3 new examples of the SB 180 model. See the Shen double basses section for more information.






   Smaller sized student basses in inventory

1/2 size: Used Eastman VB 90 hybrid,   Used Eastman 605 B all-solid woods

5/8 size: New repaired Shen SB 100, New Shen SB 150 hybrid, New Shen SB 190 hybrid

Latest Jason Brown C extensions

 I now have in inventory the most recently performance-enhanced carved back bass with Jason Brown’s fine C extensions recently installed. This 1999 Martin Sheridan “Panormo” model flatback bass received a neck reset, a new German sourced ebony fingerboard, some side crack repairs, a back brace replacement, and a light top regraduation by Allan Droyan. The huge sounding orchestral bass went down to Laguna Hills for a complete setup and new C extension installation by Jason Brown. 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 basses in line will be a ca. 2000 Martin Sheridan flatback Panormo, and a 1960s German 3/4 carved back bass  with a top regraduation also performed by Allan Droyan. On these bi-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:

- Early 1960s Hofner 3/4 carved back that received a new fingerboard and top-off procedures that included a slight regraduation, remodeling of then bass bar, and recreating of the old crack repairs. Recently set up by Jeff Sahs in Sacramento, this bass has a large, buttery jazz voice that should remind the player of a 1930s era German instrument. The 42 1/8″ string length and easy setup make it a joy to play.

- Early 1960s German 7/8 carved back bass that received a neck reset, top regraduation, and new German ebony fingerboard installation by Allan Droyan. The bass then proceeded to Jason Brown in Laguna Hills, CA for installation of one of his custom C extensions and a complete orchestral setup with Pirastro Permanent strings. The very solid orchestra section performer now has a profound presence and a rich voice that may remind some players of a 1930s era German orchestral instrument.

- 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.







Shop Hours this week




Thursday 12-3    9 am – 4:00  

Friday 12-   9 am – 5 pm  

Saturday 12-5     9 am – 5 pm 

Sunday 12-6    By Appointment:  Call or Text

Monday  12-7       9 AM – 5 PM  

Tuesday  12-8      9 am – 5 pm

Wednesday  12-9       9 am – 5 pm

Thursday   12-10     9 am – 5 pm 

Friday   12-11             9 am – 5 pm

Saturday 12-12         9 am – 5 pm  

Sunday 12-13        By Appointment:   Call or Text.


Monday 12-14      9 am – 5 pm  

Tuesday 12-15       9 am – 5 pm

Wednesday 12-16    9 am – 5 pm

Thursday 12-17         9 am – 5 pm

Friday 12-18             9 am – 5 pm        

Saturday 12-19       9 am – 5 pm

Sunday 12-20     By Appointment:   Call or Text















     New Working Space for luthier Tristan Cole-Falek

 Ace doublebass luthier Tristan Cole-Falek is now living and working on the Central Coast in Goleta, CA. Just north of Santa Barbara, Goleta is within easy reach of Ventura County up through San Luis Obispo County. Tristan is a close ally and friend of Jason Brown and he can do professional level repair ranging from neck resets, top-off crack repairs and regraduations, fingerboard replacements, All manner of setup modifications, and endpin or tuning machine installations. Tristan has iffy cell signal response, but if you text at (831) 247-7662 or email at, he can walk down to the end of his driveway for a proper phone conversation !!

   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 56 string basses in stock that come from Europe and the United States. The price and functions range from a ca. 1960s German 1/2 size arched back ply priced at $1950, 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. 1920s German 3/4 carved back. This bass required a fair amount of work, including reglue of several top and side cracks, mild top regraduation and bass bar remodeling, neck reset for a taller bridge, and a new fingerboard. Jason Brown completed the setup as a traditional jazz instrument that speaks quickly with a strong fundamental and rich character in the midrange.
















Basses in the shop for setup

- A beautifully flame figured unlabeled large 3/4 sized instrument that received a top regraduation and bass bar remodeling. It will be getting a new custom Jason Brown C extension installation and a complete setup, finishing just before the end of December.






 Basses in the workshop for major work

>1930s German 3/4 flatback: Top off crack repairs, regraduation, back bracing work.  

>1960s German flatback: New back, salvaged top fit to the body, salvage neck fit to the body. this bass will be part of the rental fleet and promises to have a large jazz 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