My wife is a middle school band teacher in local catholic schools, and she teaches a lot of beginner bassists in addition to first time woodwind and brass players. Think slobber and three stooges, and you have a good picture of her typical day... Every year people go to the music store and get screwed over when they're sent home with $500 of bass gear that is either low quality or not a good fit for the kid. I've been recommending short scale basses, which she says have helped the 4th graders immensely, but this year there are lots more parents asking "is Rogue a good brand" and "my uncle's neighbor's dog walker says I should use [...]" So here's my question, TB: If you were to start out a 4th grader on bass, knowing that he/she has to carry that instrument AND AMP to/from school every day they have band, what would you suggest? Remember that these are totally naive parents, and they also don't want to spend a lot of money on something their kids might quit in a few months. My first thoughts: Squier Jaguar SS ($169) -- short scale, decent build quality Ampeg BA-108 ($99) -- lightweight-ish, versatile, not Fender... Add another $60 for a cable, strap, gig bag and tuner and it's $317 shipped. I haven't had a chance to play either of these, but I would love to hear opinions from anyone who has experience with other inexpensive stuff that can be delivered to the door, taken out of the box, and played without going to a luthier to get it set up properly (I'm wary of SX, mainly...). Bring on your opinions!!