hi. i am just starting to learn DB, and about to purchase a DB soon. i have few choices..and i would like to hear your opinion. 1)Mathis Thoma MT23 - this is a slimline model (it is slim, reduces thickness of sound chamber) with laminated maple, realy ebony, and already setup for US$1200 http://www.victorlitz.com/aubert.htm 2)Hybrid Auburn(romanian) (Laminated) Made in Romania Laminated Spruce top, Ebony fingerboard, German tuning machine and ebony tailpiece. for us$1500. http://www.victorlitz.com/aubert.htm 3)Christopher bass, academy 100 series.. Made with laminated Maple veneers, fully arched Ebony fingerboard, brass machines, bridge with adjusters Durable amber-brown shaded varnish for about $1300. http://www.violins.on.ca/basses.html at this moment, i'm leaning toward the mathias thoma one because it is slim and less intimidating to me. i also like its brand better than others. i don't live close to where they sell these items, so i have to judge without seeing them first. thanks!