have wanted to learn to play a guitar for years. Due to lack of time, or for whatever reasons I have only now come around to it. I decided to take a trip down to the local music store and see what caught my eye. After about a few hours of holding different guitars, listening to customers, and talking with them I decided that the bass was what I wanted to play. So I did some research and read some reviews and decided this would be the best bang for buck deal I could find: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7...1183068/g=bass/search/detail/base_pid/519677/ I'm set on pretty much everything at this point I think. I did some basic searching for advice on starting off but would like some more opinions. So anyway, here is my formal "hello" to the forums, followed by the question list from hell - I should toss the picks correct? Learning on the fingers is the way to go from what I have been told. - This is my first time EVER touching a music instrument. Are there things I should know specifically b/c of this in relation to choosing the bass as a starter? Some of the replies I received from customers was that it was a "lonely first instrument" mainly b/c of the lack of chords, etc. that you can do with it. I took this with a grain of salt however. - I do not have time to get a teacher, and besides that, I enjoy learning things on my own. With being said, I assume the instructional video that comes with my package will not be enough? Any recommendations on videos, books, or webpages that would help? - What exactly do I learn to read first? The whole "Tabs" thing has me confused. I could basically learn to play TABS without even looking at a music note im assuming, but I can figure this is a bad idea. So, learn the notes first, then the tabs? - More specifically on the starter kit I went with, what do you think of it? From reading around on reviews I know that it is at LEAST a great deal, but also read that many people enjoyed the particular guitar, even more experienced players. - Will the 10w, 6inch combo amp be enough for just practicing? I did some research on it and apparently it has good reviews and puts out a lot more than most would think, but I would think something more like a 20w 10in would be good for practice. This is all for personal use btw, not planning on joining a band or going anywhere with this. - This one is sorta a personal thing, but how advanced should I get in using the bass before I purchase any distortion petals I am really big about this kind of thing, and LOVE the sound that comes from using them - particularly the crybaby wah. Is this something that I HAVE to get great at playing before I should toy with or something that wouldnt hurt to hook up just to have a little fun with? -Lastly, this is a totally useless question but one that I wondered about. What kind of sound quality difference will you get from using a cheap standard cable in comparison to a $35 "Monster" cable. If a new cable can change the detail to a night and day difference, id say its a worth while investment. Generally this isnt the case though. *deep breath* So yeah, thats about it. Sorry for the insanely long first post and im sure it looks like I have done NO research but that just isnt the case. The more opinions the better, in my opinion . Anyone who wants to take a shot at any or all of these questions are welcome. Hello again btw, im sure ill be around for a while learning the ropes. Bolt EDIT: added 1 additional question.