I am a beginner renting at the moment. Within the next three years I will be purchasing my own bass. I have college-educated, performing, working teacher. I have no idea where I want to go with the bass yet, but I enjoy every style. I teach general music and vocal music in a public school to every grade and use my electric (also a beginner) in my classes as often as I can. I would also like to use the double bass in any way that I can. For example, playing, "The Elephant" while my Kindergarten walks around like elephants, playing along with my sixth grade guitar class, skipping lunch and joining in with high school band (band director says that I am welcome anytime), etc. I miss orchestra from my childhood playing violin. I also enjoyed playing fiddle style music. (and still do, even if it's poor fiddling) I plan on joining an amateur orchestra as soon as I can find the time and play in places other than half and first position. There is a local one at my old college that meets on Tuesday nights in the summer, 25 bucks to join, lots of teachers participate. There is another one in a closer town that meets on Thursdays during the fall and spring that said they could use me now (no bass players), but I just don't have the time during the year usually. I adore jazz and rock-a-billy. I take the rental to parties with my friends and try. It's funny; I get very tired, but it's a lot of fun. I plan on playing with my chorus this spring too. I LOVE bluegrass. I live in the woods. I have lots of hick friends. Through my rental program I can buy a new Shen for certain. What Shen is the question though! I am thinking plywood as I take this rental in my car (Honda Civic coupe, not hatchback) nearly everywhere I go many days a week. I live in a large, drafty house. (I think there are melted pools of pops rosin on my floor that are now frozen for the season. I should have put up a snow fence for the mice I suppose when the drafts kick up and blow around the powered pops from the frozen pools.) I am also not setting the world on fire money wise. I can read some of the things on their website, but I just don't know what to aim for. Any suggestions? or explanations on what types are used for what? and why?