Say you have a $1,500 return this year and you want to get into bass. I say look to spend $600 on a 250-400w combo. It will be loud enough to serve you once you can actually gig. Spend $300-500 on a bass. You might spend even less, but for $400, you can be sure you will have a solid instrument that can stay in tune with good tone and the ability to take a good set up. Take the rest of your money and sign up for lessons no less than four months. Your progress will be much, much faster with a qualified teacher.