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,  Taylor Marsh, Ben Williams, 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



     Golden Gate Bass Camp San Francisco   July 22-27

I am looking forward to helping out with the Golden Gate Bass Camp, held July 22-27 at the Drew School in San Francisco. I will be renting and loaning a few instruments to staff and students, as well as participating in”Bass Expo Day” on Saturday, July 27 there. Notable instructors include The Berkeley Jazz School’s Jeff Denson, San Francisco Symphony Principal doublebassist Scott Pingel, Advanced techniques bass guitar master Michael Manning, Composer, conductor, and doublebassist Andres Martin, and bass guitar and doublebassist Brian Bromberg. Check the website for more information. See you there !!!



Jason Brown C extension on 2004 Wilfer 7/8 bass

 I now have in inventory the performance upgraded 2004 Wilfer 7/8 carved back bass with one of Jason Brown’s fine C extensions recently installed. This bass is an orchestral section stalwart with the performance4 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. 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

   Recent inventory arrivals of a few significantly improved used doublebasses include:

- ca. 1960s large 3/4 German carved back: Neck reset, new fingerboard, new bridge, top regraduation and bass bar recontouring, arco setup with Flexocore Deluxe strings. Due to the old non-professional refinish, I have dedicated this bass to arco rental function, but would reluctantly sell it if a renter fell in love with it.

- 1938 Ernst Heinrich Roth large 3/4 carved back: Neck rest, new fingerboard, new bridge, Top regraduation and bass bar recontouring. Though a top flight jazz instrument, this bass has a professional symphony level function with Flexocore Deluxe strings and an Arco setup.

- Re-topped and re-necked by Hannah Mayne, a Hofner made Paesold 593 is enjoying its new life as a powerful performance bass and sports antiqued finish also applied by Hannah.

- Top regraduation, Neck reset, and new fingerboard for 1930s German 3/4 carved back bass by our luthier team has produced a powerful sounding instrument that performs like one from the early 20th century.

- Top regraduation and new fingerboard for a 1950s German carved back bass gives this large 3/4 instrument the huge presence of a 7/8 sized bass. An astonishing transformation of this gigging veteran instrument! The quality of the woods on this bass are spectacular throughout. Just equipped with a new Jason Brown C extension.

- Top regraduation, new fingerboard, and neck reset for an older Xuechang Sun 920 Gofriller model with the more powerful longer string length. This bass now has a huge orchestral voice and could be a powerful jazz pizz instrument as well.

- Top regraduation and neck reset by Michael Olivola specifically for jazz performance on a 1971 Rauner 3/4 carved back bass. This example demonstrates the remarkable transformation of a stodgy and heavily built student instrument into a jazz performance bass with many characteristics of an instrument from the 1890-1910 time frame. Extremely responsive and easy to play.

  – The long awaited ca. 1900 German 7/8 carved back after nearly a year of extensive restoration to the sides, back, neck, some top work, a neck reet, and setup for orchestral play with Flexocore Deluxe strings and a bridge free of adjusters. This double bass is a real orchestral beast with a very large dark voice and strong projective qualities all over the fingerboard. This bass has gone down to Jason Brown and has been fit for one of Jason’s great C extensions. This bass may have found a home at the University of Miami.

  - The ca. 1880 Italian 3/4 bass has had a top-off re-edging and a new fingerboard installed. Taylor and Jeff outdid themselves on the superb setup with a new bridge that is free of mechanical adjusters. A splendid orchestral instrument.






Shop Hours this week



 Thursday   7-11        9 am – 5 pm 

 Friday   7-12            9 am – 5 pm    

Saturday 7-13            9 am – 2 pm  

Sunday 7-14         By Appointment: Call or Text


Monday 7-15     9 pam – 5 pm

Tuesday 7-16      9 am – 5 pm

Wednesday 7-17     Sacramento: Call or Text 

Thursday 7-18     9 am – 5 pm

Friday 7-19            9 am – 5 pm  

Saturday 7-20        9 am – 5 pm  


Sunday 7-21    By appointment only: Call or Text

Monday 7-22      9 am – 5 pm













     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 fabricating and installing two more C extensions for the upcoming Golden Gate Bass Camp in late July, 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. 1910 German 7/8 carved back        Very Large, Dark Orchestral voice

>ca. 1920 Baldantoni carved back with original 4-string tuning machines.

>ca. 1910 German 7/8 craved back with orchestral setup. A beast!

>1971 Rauner 3/4 carved back     Olivola performance upgrades

>ca. 1890s German 3/4 carved back    ex-Lisa Gass  A fine combo bass

>1930s German 3/4      Beautiful woods, easy response

>1985 Wilfer 3/4 carved back      Easy playing and in great condition.

>1950s German large 3/4 carved back with performance upgrades.

>Older Xuechang Sun 920 Gofriller     Excellent orchestral bass.

>ca. 1930s German carved back with violin corners. Quick response.

>1930s German carved back     Neck reset, Top regraduation

>Re-topped 2003 Mayne-Hofner 593 3/4        Huge mature arco voice

>2006 Eastman VB-120-Q hybrid moidel       Clean, Developed voice from play

>1882 August Gemunder 7/8 flatback with Stenholm C extension, ex- LA Phil.













Basses in the shop for setup

- New Shen SB 200 Willow Flatback Rogeri model     A shop favorite

- New Left-Handed Shen Left-Handed SB 150 hybrid

- 1960s Horner 3/4 carved back     Regraduated top, new fingerboard

- ca. 1890 Italian 3/4 carved back     Gorgeous red-Burgundy varnish.





 Basses in the workshop for major work

>Late 19th century Italian large 3/4 carved back   Top off, re-edging


 “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