Wanted to take a minute to give the guys at AES an on-line plug, and also to thank the TalkBass gang for turning me on to them in the first place. I picked up my new Cleveland about a month ago, and I'm still feeling like a kid on Christmas morning every time I pull it out of the bag (which has become a daily obsession). On his website, Arnold talks about filling a niche with the Cleveland, and he's built an instrument that was exactly what I was looking for. I'm a bluegrass player who does alot of outdoor events in the summer, and mainly coffeehouse type gigs during our nasty winters here in upstate NY. I was looking for a new bass with a big sound but was leery of carved tops because of the inherent problems with temperature and humidity extremes that we're all aware of, plus the added rigors of outdoor festivals, etc. I came to the conclusion that there are alot of decent plywoods out there that were well made, looked nice, but probably didn't sound a whole lot better that than the 70 yr old (?) Czech plywood that I already owned. Then I discovered the Cleveland. The full, even sound blew me away, and was what sold me originally. It was fun to watch the initial reactions of the two other bassists that I've allowed to play it -the same as mine, "Wow!". I still can't believe how great this bass sounds right out of the box, and my bandmates agree. What I wasn't expecting was how much more playable this instrument is as compared to my old bass. I can only guess that this can be credited to Arnold's fine setup work, and that the bridge and fingerboard profiles are matched up much more closely than on my old instrument. He tells me that he spends a full eight hours setting up the bridge, and the results show it. To sum it all up, it was well worth the extra money (and time between placing the order and picking up the bass) when compared to purchasing one of the many other "off the shelf" plywoods available today in the $2K to $2500 range. This is my fantasy instument, I don't plan on buying another bass, and over the long haul I think investing the extra bucks will be well worth it. As an aside, thanks again to TalkBass for steering me towards AES in the first place. I first discovered this forum when I started to look for info online about basses. What a wealth of knowledge and info. You've helped me to discover a whole new world of music that I'd never bothered to explore, as evidenced by a blossoming Ray Brown infatuation. But that's another story... Bye for now.