View Full Version : Tips for Buying a 2nd-hand Bass
11-19-2005, 11:31 AM
Any one have the top five or eight points to watch out for in buying a 2nd-hand bass? Are the tension rods likely to be stripped in an old drum?
We have to find one overseas, as there just don't seem to be any here in-country.
11-20-2005, 08:27 AM
If the tension rods are stripped in a low tension drum...beware! It was probably subjected to tuning that was beyond the drum's natural range and, consequently, it may have shell problems....look for signs of strain around the lugs.
If you're buying a drum with a plastic laminated (wrapped) shell, look for bubbles and separation from the wooden part of the shell.
Take the drum apart before you buy it! Check the bearing edges and the reinforcement hoops for delamination. Check the bearing edges for imperfections....lay the drum down on a flat surface and check for warping....do the same thing with your hoops. If you have a decent shell, you can always get mail order hardware, etc. In spite of the abuse to which some drums have been subjected...restoration can be a very rewarding and zen-like experience. A viable alternative when you're not close to a pipe band drumming supplier!
11-22-2005, 03:45 PM
David, you are going to have to buy new heads. That kind of goes without saying. The pointers in the previous reply were good ones, though if you need to have one shipped from overseas, you most likely will not have the opportunity to take it apart before you buy it.
Make sure the hardware has no stress cracks on the tuning lugs. Older drums sometimes exibit these cracks in between where they are attached to the shell. Tension rods should be free of rust, and they could strip if they have been cross-threaded. The shell should be intact, with no holes in it anywhere (this sounds silly but it is worth asking about) repairs to holes in the shell never are worth it. Not really. The harness hardware should also be in good repair, I have seen more than one drum where the eye bolts have been pulled right through the shell of the drum.
If you look at the hoops of the drum, that can give you a real tell-tale sign of its condition. If the hoop is in good shape and is not missing most of its paint, it is a good sign that the drum has been well cared for, as the hoop is usually what makes contact with the ground or case when it is not being played. If the hoops are beat up, it doesn't necessarily mean that it has been abused, but it is a good sign. Get pictures, from many angles.
I don't know what your budget is, but buying new is always a good idea because of the warranties that are available for new product, they often make the new purchase worth it. Plus, most corporations get a better deal on shipping than you or me.