Sidebar: I wonder about buying and having kids play cheap instruments. But I am in two opinions at the same time. 1) A cheap instrument will burn a kid out pretty fast if it's nasty to play or they cannot pull the strings down to fret them. 2) A cheap instrument may cause a kid to want to do as good as he can even though it hurts to play - the challenge is ON and they almost instantly want a better instrument. I was in the #2 scenario for my first guitar. I KNEW there had to be something better out there and just stuck with it - bleeding and discolored fingers and all. Is there a PTA that could buy a dozen or so instruments and then rent them to aspiring Jacos every year? Seems to me that the recovery from the PTA's cash outlay (donations?) would pencil-out pretty fast. Perhaps the school wants to weed out the REAL aspiring bassists by having them hump that bass and amp to-from school. A little sweat is a great way to get the primadonnas out of the way - fast!