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The Bass Place - Tempe, Arizona

The Bass Place
Long before the onset of today's musical instrument superstores and the proliferation of online sales through the internet, Dennis Meredith established the Bass Place in 1987. Featuring a vast inventory of premium 4, 5, and 6-string bass guitars, acoustic bass guitars, electric upright basses, vintage instruments, compact combo amps, complete amplification systems, and a collection of the most popular accessories for all bass playing aficionados, the Bass Place is the oldest bass specialty shop in the United States. In addition to being the longest-running bass storefront in the country, the Bass Place was also one of the first bass shops to utilize the platform of eBay, the world's largest online marketplace, as an extension of its business. Whatever your needs, the expert staff at the Bass Place is available to assist your bass playing requirements.

In this interview, Dennis Meredith talks about the Bass Place.

Could you tell us about how you started the Bass Place?

I started playing upright bass when I was 10 years old and electric bass by age 12. I always thought it would be great to have a place where bass players could see a large display of basses like what guitar players had in the stores. When I had the opportunity to start the Bass Place in a section of a building where I already had an unrelated business, I had to go for it. Soon after, Lee Miller came in to help me out on weekends and then Dave came on board as it became obvious that the idea of a bass store was going to be successful for us.

How has the instrument retail business changed since you opened the Bass Place in 1987?

Retail has changed in the same ways as everything else has changed in our lives. In 1987, the mail order catalogs were the perceived "future of retail sales." In the late 1990's, technology spawned the internet boom and that became the "future of retail sales." Then came this century and the music superstores were supposedly the "future of retail sales." It seems to me that specialty music stores that take good care of their customer's wants and needs are still going strong through all of these challenges. The only real difference is the customer's ability to educate themselves using this technology. This has worked out really well for us. An educated customer knows when you're familiar with a product and when you're not.

Which brands of basses are available at your shop?

The primary basses we carry are Benevente, Dean, Eastwood, Fender, G&L, G. Gould, Hofner, Human, Ibanez, Lace, LightWave Systems, MTD, Music Man, Peavey, Pedulla, Spector, Warwick, and Yamaha.

What kind of bass amplification do you regularly keep in stock?

We stock Ashdown, Euphonic Audio, Fender, Genz Benz, Hartke, SWR, Trace Elliott, and Warwick amplification. We're an authorized dealer for many other brands, but these are the main manufacturers that we keep in the store. We have a very personal relationship with Fender, Genz Benz, and SWR which allows us to provide input for their future designs. This continues to be an enjoyable and informative exchange that we value above all of the hype out there.

Which of your product lines have proven to be your best-sellers?

Fender is definitely the dominant product line especially since they added SWR and Genz Benz.

Do you sell primarily high-end gear or do you offer equipment across all price points?

We actually focus on what the industry specifies as mid-line products. Most bass players these days are playing basses that cost $500 - $1,500 through an amp that they can fit into their compact-size vehicle. It's rare for us to sell a bass costing more than $3,000 or an amp rig that requires a large truck or van to move.

If a customer has a particular sound or design in mind, can they place an order for a custom-built instrument?

Yes. Our staff has decades of experience with basses, amps, pickups, and all of the other factors that affect a player's tone. Lee Miller's experience with Bartolini and EMG products has been especially helpful as this information is just not readily available elsewhere.

Along with basses and amps, what kinds of accessories do you offer?

We stock deep inventories of many string lines; Bartolini, EMG, J-Retro, and Nordstrand pickups and pre-amps; E-H, Tech 21, and Zoom bass effects; Fender and Monster cables as well as lots of bridges, tuning keys, and all other bass hardware.

Is used equipment available?

Yes. We turn our used equipment pretty fast, but we haven't done consignment for some time now.

Do you provide instrument or amplification repairs?

We have a highly competent repair facility for basses that is factory authorized for Fender and most of our other brands. We haven't had a need for amp repairs since our vendors have increased quality to the point that repairs are actually rare. We refer repairs to a couple of local repairmen that we know to be reliable and factory authorized.

Can you ship products worldwide?

Yes, and it seems that we are doing more worldwide shipping all of the time especially with discontinued items.

How does purchasing gear from your shop in Tempe differ from buying products through your eBay storefront?

I was skeptical of eBay when we first tried it out in the late 1990's, but it has shown to be a legitimate forum for specific types of sales. We have established relationships with several of our suppliers that allow us to buy out discontinued items such as a particular finish on a bass or even some displayed or demoed items at reduced cost. There are limited or no controls on the advertising of these items so they work well on eBay. eBay provides a worldwide audience that may respond to a seriously reduced price for minor imperfections or limited finish choice. The key for us has always been total honesty and complete disclosure of the item's source.

What percentage of your business would you estimate comes through the form of internet sales?

Right now, it's about 50%.

Are private bass lessons available through your shop?

Since our store space is limited, we have several local teachers that we know are very good at their craft, and we're glad to refer students to them.

The Bass Place

Contact Information

The Bass Place
1440 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Hours: Monday - Saturday 10:30 AM - 6 PM
Closed Sunday
Phone: 480.423.1161
Web Site:

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