I finally bought my own bass last weekend. I am still relatively new to bass playing, and have been playing since October. I took over the bass spot in our band when our old bass player moved away. I had been borrowing his Kay. When I had the chance, I tried other player's basses, including Englehardt, Cremona, Palatino, Kay, and Shen....and I also tried out a slew of basses at our local shop, Hamm & Ashley (ranging from $3000.00 to $10,000.00). I decided that I didn't want a cheap Chinese bass, so Cremona and Palitino were crossed off the list. Not alot of Kay basses are available, and not all Kay or Englehardt basses I tried were good, though some were pretty nice. I'd been reading about other basses that are offered by Upton and other vendors. I was most intrigued by the basses offered by Steve at String Emporium. After having several conversations with Steve, I decided to purchase a hybrid Thompson (Chinese made). I felt that for the money, that it might be the best that I could get. It arrived last Sunday....OMG!!!! This bass is awesome. The set up was great, the sound perfect, it's beautiful. No doubt that I will never need another bass. Several of my bass playing friends have played this bass during this last week (I was really excited to show it off). They have all given it their stamp of approval, citing that it is one of the best basses they've every played. I just wanted to sing praises for String Emporium. I've noticed that a lot of postings have been made about other vendors, but not as much about String Emporium. Steve is extremely helpful and I think that anyone who is considering buying a bass, especially with a budget, should consider contacting Steve.