Welcome to Steve Swan String Basses

Steve Swan String Bass is 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, with other times and some Sunday appointments available. It is always best to make an appointment in advance, so please call (650) 515-1014 or email steve_swan@earthlink.net.

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


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.

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.

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

“kshop” 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.