A couple years ago, I got this crazy idea to buy a bass at the age of 37. I didn't want to waste a bunch of money if it turned out that I either didn't like playing, or couldn't learn, so I bought a Squier MB-4 and the EMedia beginner bass computer study program. It's the only bass I've ever played, and the only instruction I've ever had. A couple months ago, I started playing with our worship team at church and I'm loving it. I'm still not very good . . . mainly just playing chord roots with a small walk up/down now and then, but being pushed to practice for every weekend has really helped me improve much faster. I'm starting to feel like it's time for an upgrade in my bass. Of course I want to become a better player, but I have no desire to expand my public playing beyond contemporary praise music on Sunday mornings and at home for my own enjoyment. I'm not even sure how to describe the tone I'm looking for unless it's just pure, deep (warm?) bass with good sustain. So, I'm looking for recomendations for something with a nice clean, deep tone, "easy to play", and good sustain. As far as looks, I prefer a natural wood body with no pick guard. In lurking here for a while, I've been hearing that Lakland's are pretty nice and a 44-01 at just under $700 is probably the maximum I could justify to spend right now. I also think the Ibanez 500 with the mahogany body looks really nice too but it seems Ibanez is both loved and hated here. I do want to buy new rather than used. Also, if it makes a difference, I'm playing through a Crate BX100 amp. Out here in central Nebraska, music shops are far between so I think I'll just have to order from MusiciansFriend and If I find I totally hate what I get, use their return policy. So, given that, I'd appreciate any recomendations would you have for that $500-700 dollar area to fit the style I'm looking for, and the kind of music I'll be playing. Thanks!