I've been looking at getting into upright playing recently and thinking about getting a bass (though I'm going to try renting for a month or two first). I'm mostly interested in jazz and folk, although I want to get my feet wet in the classical world as well. That means that outside of practice, I plan to play pizz about 3/4 of the time, and arco the rest. I have got a great deal on some Eastman basses, where I can get the carved top ply sides and back for just $500 more than the fully laminate. That's a good deal, but I wonder if it's worth it. I like all the things I've heard about the durability of the ply top basses, and I'm not sure I'd like to be making regular trips to the luthier to be sealing up seams if I don't have to. I know that the carved top will provide a much better sound, but I'd rather save the $500 and put it towards lessons and a nicer bow/strings if I can. I've posted about these basses in a couple places and the general consensus seems to be that the ply bass would be a waste of money and that I needed to spend the extra money to get the hybrid. What do you guys think?