I've recently come out of some interesting life circumstances and am looking to starting to play guitar again, but am thinking of switching to bass, as it was what interested me in the first place, but I had gotten away from it, but up until a few years ago when I had to sell my bass I had to abandon a lot of stuff. I've had the fortune/misfortune of purchasing more then a few guitars over the past few years so I do know how to shop for an instrument. I just need a little help.

1. I'm trying to locate smallerish regional stores in the Metro Detroit area. I know about Motor City and a couple of others, I just didn't know if there was anything in the Novi-Northville area. I don't really want to drive to Waterford and had went to Guitar Center recently and was rather disappointed by the selection (although I do like the Epi SG body for some odd reason having half a wall of them seems to water down selection diversity when dealing with such a small room). I'm also trying to find some pawn and resale shops but they are a lot further between versus other sections of town.

2. I'm more then willing to go used looking to spend around 250ish. This can be negotiable but is a rough point for me just what I'm looking at. What I normally find in used to find in guitars I'm not finding as easily in bass so I'm a little confused by it.

3. Brand doesn't matter much to me as long as its comfortable to play. My last bass was a low end Dean, but played quite well. I'm a little weary of the Samek (sp) stuff, and don't want to buy online. It's nothing against anyone I like to try before I buy when putting down that level of money. I've had a lot of luck with used Schecter products they do make good low end items for cheap, so I'm a little biased to that, but am open to suggestions.

4. I'm looking for lessons and realize that will come after the purchase. Any tips for picking a decent instructor.

Any tips to help me start my search a little better then it's going right now?

Thank you
Take a look at the various offerings from Ibanez, Schecter and Yamaha for your price range. There are a great many fine basses in your price range from these manufacturers.

Welcome to the Low End, my friend!!!
A word on looking for an instructor - I invite you to take your time and find someone who teaches the style of music you are most interested in. Personally, I would avoid anyone claiming they can teach every single style of music to any skill level. That seems to me that they are saying they have mastered all forms of music, and I highly doubt that. One way to look at it, is say you have a Fender that needs work. It's probably a good idea to take it to someone who's worked on a lot of Fenders in the past. That's their specialty. Or if you want a good steak dinner you would probably go to a steak house and not a buffet. The master of all is the master of none.

Also, price wise, a lot of times you really do get what you pay for. Sometimes you may find a good teacher with super low rates because they are just starting out, but usually the more experienced teachers charge a bit more.

One last thing. A lot of teachers offer free first lessons. To fully understand what a teacher has to offer you'll need at least a months worth to see how things are going to turn out. So if you take a teacher up on that first freebie, perhaps see about a discounted first full month. This way you get your monies worth and a good investment of your time.