I never, never advocate a plywood bass purchase unless it is a steal as in $400-500 on Craigslist, or a travel bass. Arco is too discouraging on plywood, and arco practice is key to nearly any serious involvment with the instrument. Especially if you don't have 10 years to waste finding out if you are one of the few geniuses to not need the bow, but you have an interest in orchestra playing already, so problem solved. I have a wonderful bass that has more than held up next to instruments 20 or 30 times the price that I paid: just under 3k for around '95. repairs, being careful with your instrument and paying attention to weather/humidity in and outdoors are part of being a serious double bassist. Just dive in and deal with it! Look at used basses, cheaper carved and hybrids. I get the feeling most are trying to justify over spending on a ply bass themselves rather than help the OP in these threads.