First of all, let me say THANK YOU to whomever created this site. I've been searching for info for a while now, and I've emailed several people with what might seem to be "dumb" questions, and the typical response has had the flavor of "If you don't play a 200 year old carved bass and weren't eduacted at Julliard, I don't want to be bothered...". So this whole site is a breath of fresh air, and reassurance that information can be exchanged at all levels without anyone looking down their nose. So to give you a little background about myself, I've got a house full of old instruments, mainly guitars, but also some electric basses, a violin, a dulcimer... you get the idea. I have also been repairing instruments for about 25 years. However, I have never done much with uprights, save for a neck heel repair on an old C-1 a few years back. I have always wanted an upright, but I live in a very rural area, so the chances of finding a used one weren't great. I shopped ebay, and mainly found Chinese basses. I have heard good and bad about them, but I decided to go with a new Engelhardt EC-1, which I was able to get from a discount online store for under $900, shipped. I've heard good and bad about Engelhardts, but the one consistently positive thing I've heard is that they are built to last. Besides, the price was right. So here I am, with a new plywood bass, and 1,000 questions. This forum has answered a lot already, first of all about the rattling end pin. I just put a little piece of masking tape on it, and it seems to be working. Secondly, I wonder what strings are currently on this bass... anyone know what Engelhardts come with? They're flat steel, that's all I can say for. Is it a foregone conclusion that I should get rid of the "factory" strings and upgrade? Bearing in mind that I'm a new upright bassist, I'm basically "getting to know" the instrument, and at this point am happy to FIND the notes and keep time, what strings would you recommend? I have heard a lot of talk about Spirocores, but I don't exactly know they're makeup. Are they steel? Nylon? Point me in the right direction, here, guys. I don't mind spending for the new strings, but, MAN, what a choice to make! And the age old discussion of string height.... mine are as follows, as measured from the bottom of the string to the top of the board, at the end of the board: E=3/8", A=7/16", D=7/16", G=3/8". Is this excessive? As I mentioned before, I have repaired instruments for years, including fitting violin bridges, but this DB stuff is all new to me, so I don't know what are acceptable string heights. One last question, any thoughts on improving a new EC-1? I realize it is perceived as a student grade instrument, but it's my first, and it was affordable. Thanks again for this excellent discussion board, and I hope to learn a lot from it.