Yard Sale Basses – Are They Worth It?

Once in a great while you get to check out an instrument at a yard/garage sale and are faced with the dilemma of whether or not to pick it up. In my case, I found two and they were both pretty beat up but I call it ‘vintage’ baby! Not only that, I have my own, ‘vintage’ bass that I call my MYSTERY BASS (because nobody seems to know EXACTLY what it is) and the thing that I love most about my bass is that it is a short scale, perfect playing bass. We paid a mere $50 bucks for it with the intention of ‘flipping’ it after fixing it up. However, after playing on it I found it to be the easiest bass that I have ever played and I love that I don’t have to be nervous about the way I handle it. (For those who don’t know me well, I’m not the person that you want to hand nice stuff too. I’m sort of clumsy and I have been known to drop stuff from time to time. So, please, don’t show me your basses! You people buy only the good stuff, I’m sure). Not me. Although, Damian Erskine did offer to pay me some good money for my MYSTERY BASS because he loved the way it played too (the nerve of some people! I don’t think he was expecting me to say “no”). Even so, I have felt some regret for rejecting the hundreds of dollars that he offered (because it was a very generous offer). For most people, it’s an offer that no dummy would refuse and it would’ve been our biggest bass ‘flip’ yet!

Damian Erskine offers ConArtistEConStancE money for her MYSTERY BASS.


So, maybe, I’m a bit of a dummy for rejecting him but I’m also a CRAVER. A BassCraver, that is and clearly, I just couldn’t give up the only bass that I feel comfortable playing. For that reason, it has value to me that supersedes the federal note. (Another thing that you should know about me is that I find no value in money when it means that I have to give up my creativity).

And when I have cash, I’m quick to spend it before it deflates in my pocket. I never hold onto it for long and try to put it to good use. Therefore, when I saw these two basses at a yard sale, I was hoping for something really cool to come out of my purchases.

Two, vintage basses at a yard sale.


Of course, I haggled over the price and came out $60 dollars richer (in basses). Did I do the right thing? The first and only thing that I noticed about one of these basses is that it had an ashtray cover and my MYSTERY BASS is missing hers – YAY! So, I’m fixing up my bass first. To heck with flipping! In that respect, I was stoked to have at least one of these basses because finding an old, vintage part really makes me happy. Especially when it comes to me with no effort on my part. Now, I’m sure that I spent too much paper on these basses if all I’m getting is one ashtray cover, but the exchange doesn’t compare to the instant gratification of getting something that I was missing and for that reason, it was meant to be.

The MYSTERY BASS with no ashtray cover. Pretty ugly!


Just testing it to see if it fits and it’s already starting to look nice.


I have to drill some holes into the (beat-up) body to make it work. So, I line it up perfectly and make marks where I need to drill.


By the way, this is the first time that I have ever worked on a bass!


It fits perfectly!


My shameless selfie in the mirror to see how the  MYSTERY BASS looks with its new ashtray cover.


Something that I noticed after the install:


The second bass above that I got at the yard sale has two, different screws that mount on top of an ashtray cover. Installing these would allow me to get to the strings without removing the screws from the body every time!  Dumb oversight on my part.  So now, this second bass from the yard sale is my new sacrifice as I take from it what I need to complete my project.

First, the holes needed to be bigger to accommodate the bigger screws.


The previous owner filed a slot in the screws for an easier install.  I swear, this bass is a Frankenstein!


Unfortunately, the bigger screws made it so that my ashtray cover didn’t fit over them!


I continued to improvise and filed out the holes in the ashtray cover until they fit over the larger screws.


Finally, it’s complete!


So, buying both basses really made a difference in the overall appearance of the ashtray for my MYSTERY BASS. Apparently, both basses from the yard sale have some neck issues and so there was no real ‘score’ on the purchases, but I guess that depends on what you consider to be a ‘score’ because I couldn’t be happier!  The point of this post?  Buying yard sale basses for parts is okay but expecting them to work on their own is a gamble.  Thanks for reading. Please share this and any other article that you may like on this new, BassCravers website!