Hello all, About 8 years ago, me and life had some negotiations, and I sadly left my bass playing days behind me. At the time, I had been playing a little over 11 years as a classical bassist. I started in high school with a 3/4 Kay, but when I got to the University level, I was given use one of the school's Grunert 7/8 basses with the whole 9 yards...adjustable bridge, low string extension for a BB, etc. Generally a beautiful instrument to play. Alas, I was not cut out for life as a music major and moved on, but continued to play for another year or so on a 60's Kay clone, which I later sold due to the problems and discomfort encountered with playing the music on the level I typically played. Essentially, I think I had been hopelessly spoiled by the continually tweaked and well-aged Grunert. Now that I've been away from playing for a while, and having dabbled with teaching one of my daughter's how to play her cello (sorry, they don't offer bass to the elementary school kids in this county...), I have come to find how much I have missed playing. Knowing that I'm dreadfully rusty and out of practice, I am looking to buy a decent bass to get back into the swing of things, and maybe go back to one of the orchestras in the area. I have looked at what I can afford (OK, more accurately, what my wife will let me spend... ) and seen what's out there in that price range. Just a little over what my wife deems acceptable are the carved bulgarian basses at Bob Gollihur's site. Then there's your average student basses in the $400-$1500 range, depending on source/etc. What I'm looking for is any recommendations you folks might have for one like me...Should I just pick up the $400-$800 3/4 or 4/4 starter basses with bow and bag and do the necessary work on it as I get back into practice, to make it more worthwhile, and/or replace parts that break? (We all know the bits). Or, should I work extra hard to convince my wife to go the extra $500-700 to get something a bit more substantial? (in particular, one of the 4/4 bulgarian basses through Bob... ) My reasoning for the carved bass is that I know I'll have to spend a fair amount to repair/replace the problem parts, which will likely end up costing the difference of the higher-quality bass, if not more...But I'm all about the professional opinions and experience of others...Any suggestions anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated.