So I'm about to buy my very first bass. I have my first lesson scheduled for April Fool's Day and will be banging on the teacher's bass for that lesson so I can hopefully make a better informed decision. I'm looking for a good bass which will get me through school (I'm turning 34 in August and have decided to devote my time to learning upright bass and going to a good jazz school in a few years). I'm looking to spend as little as possible (duh) but I am willing spend more for the 'right' quality bass. I'd like to keep it under $2000. I live just north of Boulder, CO and there is a shop in Denver (Kolacny Music) that has a few basses in stock including a Christopher 302 for just shy if $2k. I plan on heading down there and trying out what they have and seeing if I 'connect' to any of the good ones they have in stock (they stock some Palatino's I intend on avoiding the like the plague). Here's where things get interesting and fun. I will be taking a road trip in few weeks out to upstate NY and plan on spending a few days in The City to check out some good jazz and maybe take a look at New School and Purchase SUNY. I figure while I'm there I should probably take advantage of the situation and check-out some of the shops NYC has to offer. To that end I have decided there's absolutly no reason not to swing by David Gage's shop to see what's in my price range. I think I'll also plan a trip up to Mystic, CT and check out Upton's offerings (the laminate Hawke model looks tempting as do some of the Shens) as well. The point of this thread is to get advice on where else I should go and what I should be checking out. Any advice on shops, specific brands to look out for (that might not be covered in the newbie links), and some places to see some awesome live jazz would be very welcome. My schdule is rather soft and I can spend as much time as I need but I'm spending a good deal of time away from home over the next month so I'll be VERY antsy to get back home by that point in the trip. Kolacny does get bonus points for being local though and all things being equal I'll buy from them but I have a feeling I'm going to have a LOT of options. I'll be driving a Subaru Forrester back home to Colorado so I should be able to comfortably fit a bass in the car with me. Thanks in advance for any advice!