Hey Everyone, I'm really thrilled, and intimidated, to find this forum! I hope I can visit often and maybe even find something helpful to say from time to time. So the introduction -- I'm 39, married with kids, teach history in NH. I picked up a bass in high school, don't even remember what it was, and figured out enough about it to jam with some guys in my dorm and stuff. Trailed off in college and after I graduated, a friend asked to borrow it. I made the mistake of leaving the instrument and the amp in my car overnight to take it to him and the next morning the window was smashed in and it was gone. I got married and we had a bunch of kids and I forgot about the bass, but I started realizing whenever I listened to music I was following the bass line and imagining how to play it. So finally, last fall (fast forward fifteen years), I got a used Ibanez off craigslist and a little practice amp, package deal with an electric guitar for my daughter who was starting lessons. Started fooling around with it and really started to love playing. Then this past Christmas my mom got me something to upgrade to, a 5 string neckthrough Washburn T25. Still just the dinky old practice amp though. I have no illusions of making a career out of music at my age, I like my teaching job, I'd like to develop my skills, meet some other people who like to play, maybe have a local band that plays open mikes or local clubs from time to time but basically for fun, not for money. OK, so here I am. I've got questions in three areas and I'm not sure if there's a particular forum to put them in individually, so I'll just put them here and if people want to reply or the mods want to slap my wrist and send me to the right forums or whatever I'll do that. The three areas are on musicality, equipment, and life. Musicality; I'm self-taught (if "taught" is the right word) and money is basically non-existent, so not likely to take lessons any time soon. What should a guy like me focus on working on? What should I beware of? I have a book of bass scales and have been working at learning those (stuff like "mixolydian" still baffles me though) and I also download tabs of songs I like off the internet to play. Good habit or bad habit? Equipment: again, money being basically non-existent, what should I really try and save up for and what's not worth it? What is essential and what would be overkill for a casual musician like me? Life: here's the complicated one. I work, my wife works full time, and we have kids who need lots of attention. She is not at all sold on the whole bass thing, she thinks it's an escapist thing that's going to take me away from my family and doubly so if I start to actually play with other musicians. What have other peoples' experiences been with these issues? How have you handled them? Oh, I realize I haven't said much about musical interests. I don't think I'm good enough to claim to have "influences." I love Yes and Chris Squire's bass playing, but I can't pretend that I can play anything like that and prefer finger to pick anyway. Basically I like a lot of classic/progressive and indie rock, but also pop stuff and, well, all kinds of things. I also like funk but have no idea how to slap and pop. My first public performance is going to be this Thursday; my 11-year old son plays sax and we're going to do a bass/sax duet of the Irish hymn "Be Thou my Vision" for a school concert/play event. Thanks for having this great forum! Can't wait to explore more.