Hi folks, First post here, and let me start with an obligatory disclaimer: I am not a bassist. At least, not yet. I am a 20-ish year guitarist, looking to expand my musical horizons by experimenting with 7-string guitar and its infamous partner-in-crime, the 5-string bass. Having never seriously picked up a bass in all these years, I used my buddy's old beater to lay down a couple of tracks about a month ago. Somehow, it just clicked. I've always been able to naturally groove with a drummer on guitar, but this is really the right instrument for that! It was a lot of fun, but now I have a GAS problem... I am hoping to pick up some good info around the forums, and for the moment I am in search of a decent set-up to get started with. So let me tell you a bit about my intended play style, and what I was planning to look for, and hopefully you more experienced folks will be able to help steer me in the right direction in case I've gone astray. First off, I feel like I need a 5-string. I just started playing 7-string guitar, and if I don't have that low-B available for parity in my compositions, I'll most likely end up trading in any 4-string that I would get otherwise. Second, coming from a guitar background, I'll be playing bass with a pick, at least to start. I use really thick picks (V-Picks) so they may end up sounding closer to fingers than your typical guitar pick, but I figured this might make some difference in suggestions. Third, my primary musical interests are Classic Rock, Blues, and Modern Rock, with a little gratuitous chugga-chugga every now and then. My range is fairly broad, but the current project is focused on originals that I would consider a cross between Metallica's Black album and early-mid-90s alternative. I've never really paid any attention to bass gear, or even listened to bass tone in songs before the last few weeks, so I feel like I need some help to get started off right. I have only been able to play a couple instruments in stores: an Ibanez SR-300 (great neck, nice snap on the E string, very light and comfortable), SR-305 (neck felt odd coming from the 300, B seemed floppy and buzzy), Schecter Studio-5 (much heavier than the Ibby's, B string felt a little smoother, neck feel didn't make an impression positive or negative). My plan was to go with active humbucking pickups, since I may need to be able to handle some distortion or overdrive (or do I? hmm...I think that may be the guitarist in me talking - any insights would be welcome here). Also I will mostly be going directly out of an amp into my buddy's mixer/PA system for 'live' work and recording, so keeping noise to a minimum is desirable. Oh yeah, and there's the budget issue. I'm looking to get started with a new (not used) bass and amp for a maximum of $750. Personal aesthetic tastes aside, my only real solid criteria are: 5-string bass, and the amp must have direct out and be able to handle the low B on a 5-string. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read, and any help is greatly appreciated!