About Steve Swan Guitars

My shop specializes in both high quality new and used doublebasses and in high quality new and used acoustic guitars and related instruments. Since starting out my career as a guitar repairman in Sacramento in 1975, I have managed acoustic instrument stores, worked for an import musical intrument wholesaler, built Santa Cruz Guitar Company instruments 1988-90 as their 4th employee, worked as a dealer service agent for a couple of instrument manufacturers, played both doublebass and guitar semi-professionally, and have owned and operated my own retail store since 1990. My guiding philosophy is to stock instruments that I would have at home to play and to treat each customer with gentle respect.


My unique experiences as a guitar repariman, manager of the San Francisco Fifth String music shop, dealer sales for Saga and Santa Cruz Guitar Company, retail sales for Gryphon, and building experience with Santa Cruz Guitar Company give me a unique perspective in owning a retail acoustic guitar shop. Repair and restoration work are professionally done by Alan Perlman, Chris Berkov, Darren Webb, and Addam Stark.

  • New Guitar lines that I sell are by Rockbridge and Preston Thompson .
  • Vintage Guitars by Martin, Gibson, Larson Brothers, etc. are sometimes augmented with vintage banjos, mandolins, archtop guitars, and solidbody electrics.
  • Used Guitars from the modern era are usually represented by Merrill, McAlister, Collings, Bourgeois, Schoenberg, Martin, etc.
  • I welcome consignments, particularly healthy vintage Martin, Larson Brothers, and Gibson instruments as well as clean examples of modern era instruments.

Double Basses

I stock a wide variety of doublebasses that will address the needs of players just starting to play all the way to professional level handmade instruments. All new bases are set up by one of my team of doublebasses luthiers, including Sacramento’s Jeff Sahs, Richmond’s Nathaniel Rich, and Laguna Hills luthier, Jason Brown. All used doublebasses get a thorough going over by my luthiers to address any setup or repair issues before they hit the showroom floor. I also stock a good selection of bows and doublebass covers. I have the largest stock of doublebasses for sale on the west coast between Seattle and Long Beach. Please stop by for an audition in my large and comfortable retail room.

New Chinese Basses

I have weeded through the many brands coming from China and have settled on only three lines that meet my strict requirements, Shen, Xuechang Sun, and Eastman. Each of these brands has its own web page.

Vintage American Plywood Basses

I usually have some examples of the much loved American plywood basses from Kay, Epiphone, American Standard, and King Moretone. These popular instruments have served musicians well as performance and festival instruments.

New Eastern European Basses

Mostly coming from Romania, these robust intermediate level instruments from Calin Wultur and Mathias Thoma work very well for the student or semi-professional player.

New German Basses

These fine instruments from the Hofner factory in Hagenau are distributed under the brand names of Hofner and Paesold. These are the instruments that I play myself. The 7/8 size doublebasses have been especially popular.

Vintage European Basses

These instruments are usually Czech or German made and offer a fine value for the semi-professional player or as a second instrument for the professional.
Handmade Basses: These instruments come from master luthiers working alone or with only one or two assistants. These instruments represent a truly professional performance doublebass.