For those whom might be interested, or in a similar situation, I just wanted to share my recent experience in searching for and purchasing a DB for my 12 yo son whom is just beginning to play. Given his interest level, and trying to use this as a learning experience in responsibility, we decided to purchase a DB vs. rent in order to make the instrument his own. The challenge however was we needed ½ size which will only be good for a couple of years when, assuming he continues, he will need a ¾. After a lot of research, advise from this board, almost buying a couple of different DBs, and conversations with various people we decided that a Shen would be his best 1st Bass for playability and resale value. Now try and find a ½ size, and I learned from this board that the maker/model would be of little difference if the DB is not set up properly. I really did not want to purchase show room new for a beginning 12 yo, but rather use this as a learning experience such that he can work toward a new ¾. I searched without success for a reasonably priced, quality ½ size DB with little success, and no Shen. I really wanted to provide our son with an opportunity to play so was looking for more instrument than the $399 internet find, but struggled with paying $1500 - $2000 for a beginners first DB. In my search I came across references for Michelle Fiore of ContraBass in Wheeling, IL. As I was going to be in Chicago on business I contacted Michelle and shared with her what I was looking for. To my surprise she phoned me the next day saying she had an rental SB100, which she would set up and sell reasonably priced (not the cheapest DB I found by far, but very fair). My son could not be more proud of his new Shen. Yes it has a few scratches and shows signs of having been a rental, Michelle told me of this before I went to her shop. However it is his and his responsibility. After his instructor picked up the Bass she could not stop talking about how easy it is to play and how nice it sounds, Thank you Michelle for the quality set up. Should you have a need for a Luthier, or in the market for a bass I can recommend Michelle and might suggest you drop her a line. In my experience she treated us fairly, and represented herself honestly and with integrity. Thank you Michelle!