(1980s; just messing around at home)
Music is a very important part of my life. My Mom bought me a 6-string classical guitar when I was 15 (see photo - I still have it!). This got me started. I had previously owned a panflute, but never became any good at it. The guitar felt a lot more natural.
When we moved to Houston, Texas I got involved in a garage band (see photo below), called "2B". We were in need of a bass player. I bought a cheap Sears bass guitar and amp and learned how to play it by ear. I quickly fell in love with the instrument, and have never had a desire to learn another one. I just love the sound of it. The cheap Sears amp wasn't powerful enough, so I built a second amp/speaker enclosure, which you can see below the Sears amp in the photo below.
(me playing bass on the left; Mark, rhythm guitar, Harold, drums, and James, lead guitar)
Ah, those were the days! Long hair, ripped-up shorts. As I saved money from my allowance and grass-mowing and baby-sitting work, I eventually was able to purchase a much nicer bass guitar, a Hondo bass (see photo on the right). It was a step up from the Sears bass, but it had a slightly twisted neck, which was a bit odd to play. But, it had that ZZ-top "Z" body shape which was "hot" in those days. I bought a wide leather strap to ease the pain of the weight of the bass on my shoulder. I still have and use that same strap.
I also upgraded to the Peavey TNT100 bass amp which allowed us to occasionally play outdoors for special events/gatherings. It also had a feature that I am sure my parents appreciated, which was a headphone output for practicing at home.
(taking a break from packing for leaving for college)
A day or two before leaving for college, my haircut was a bit more conservative, and I got one more practice session in before leaving. At college I didn't have much time to play, and I didn't want to annoy my fellow dorm-mates. I did, however, get involved with a Christian group, and we played at some local churches (usually for Sunday evening services). I also got to do a bit of touring in the north-Texas area. This was fun, but interfered with my studies too much, so I eventually had to quit.
When I got married and finally got a job that allowed me to make some extra money, I saved up for and bought a four-string fretless Kubicki ex-Factor bass. My first "high-end" bass. I had never played a fretless before, but I absolutely loved the way it felt and the sound it made. It gave me much more freedom. The "ex" in the ex-Factor bass was the fact that you could flip up a lever on the E-string to give you access to a lower D. Of course, the other interesting feature of this bass was the fact that the tuners were not on the head, but at the other end of the strings on the body.
The bass was much lighter than the old Hondo, but its neck wasn't very fast. I couldn't really play very fast on it. Also, it seemed like all the "real" players were switching to 5-string basses...
(Carvin Icon IC5W 5-String Claro Walnut Active bass)
That brings me to my current bass. By the way, I have always only been a one-bass man, so I always sold my previous bass before I bought the next one. I have no interest in "collecting" them. My current bass is, get ready, take a deep breath, it's a long one: Carvin Icon IC5W 5-String Claro Walnut Active bass. Phew! Later I also bought the Carvin R600 Red Line Series Tube bass amp and cabinet. At this point I am seriously considering selling my Carvin 5-string bass, because I am having a hard time with that fifth string. I want to go back to a four-string fretless bass. Anyone interested in making me a serious offer for the Carvin (with the matching Carvin case), . I am thinking about buying a Ibanez SRF700 Portamento (4-string), so that should give you a bit of an idea of what price range I am thinking about.