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 or text (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 incoming Shen basses are a SB 200  violin corner 3/4 carved back bass, and a lovely SB 300 Mirecourt carved back model


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 model. See the Shen double basses section for more information.

Smaller sized student basses in inventory

5/8 size: New Shen SB 150 flatback hybrid, New Xuechang Sun model 320 carved back

1/2 size: 1960s Pfretzschner plywood

1/4 size: Century Strings hybrid

Latest Jason Brown C extensions

I plan to have Jason Brown install his custom made C extensions on my own basses at the rate of one every two months going forward. Jason Brown regularly performs setups and specific repair procedures on many of the shop basses here. On my 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 three 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

2017 Luciano Golia with McCarthy C extension, ca. 1835 Abraham Prescott gamba, 1874 Gand & Bernardel lion’s head 3/4, Diehl 7/8, ca. 1850s Mark William Dearlove 7/8.

Basses in the shop for setup

ca.1930s Czech 3/4 flatback, ca. 1950s Fawick Quenoil shape, new Wilfer 3/4

Basses in the workshop for major work

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

New Wilfer: Top regraduation and bass bar remodeling

“Swan Workshop” Custom String Basses

The “Swan Workshop” basses are large 3/4 size instruments that are purchased in the white from Germany. The separate necks are set to a slightly higher neck angle for good overstated height and a taller final bridge height. The basses then receive a custom oil varnish finish, Tuning machines, and all-ebony fittings. The final setup is performed with a selected aged European maple bridge with adjusters. These basses have many of the attributes of a hand built bass made from scratch. They have been a popular professional grade choice for many years. There are 2 currently in stock and two more in production.