I'm still a fairly new upright player, and I've been thinking about getting a better double bass. Luckily, I was able to go to a local shop to try a few of them out. Specifically, I was interested in trying out some of the Shen models as they are well regarded, but you can only learn so much by reading about them vs. playing them. Realistically, in terms of my playing ability and budget, I going to be looking for a higher end laminate or a mid-range hybrid. However, I did get to try out several different models of different construction methods, but all from the same manufacturer. At this point, I've mostly played lower end laminate basses, so I was especially curious to try a hybrid. I also got to try some of the fully carved models. I think that they were all more or less equivalent in terms of set up (same shop) and strings (although I think that the laminated basses had a slightly lower version of the strings from the same string family). I can say pretty confidently that there is a significant difference between the nicer laminate basses from the lower end ones that I have been using. From there however, the hybrid was a remarkable step up in terms of sound, feeling and even fit/finish. The fully carved one I tried was even nicer still in terms of all of the above, it felt so much more alive and resonant than anything else. Anyway, I'm not an expert, but I terms of the difference between the laminate and the carved, the hybrid probably got to 80% of the carved sound to my ears. Again, these were all Shen basses, and they were all very nice. I also didn't try the very top end of the range carved basses, but I can imagine that they would be nicer still. That said, there seems to be a pattern like in all things in life that the incremental improvements at the top end of the range come with higher and higher costs. The bottom line is that I am now more convinced that the hybrid is a good value proposition for me right now I just need to save up a bit more. I am curious to know if others who are more knowledgeable have had similar experiences when playing different basses from the same family. Either way, I'm looking forward to getting a better instrument.