Today my conductor told me that he would love to have me play upright bass in our jazz band, which is sweet because it sounds fun to play. However, I don't even know where to start looking for an upright bass. What are some good brands, and what are some of those good pickups that clamp onto the bridge (or however they work)?

Quote by Yerjam
Could be, but the most important thing to remember is that it wasn't your fault, even if it was.
I rent my double bass from qualin and fabish, which supplys basically all the rental instruments in my area.

As for actually playing, instead of a 1 finger per fret approach (there are no frets, but you get the idea) your index and middle finger work the same, and your ring and pinky work as one finger. So it means a little more moving around, but its easy to make the change. Also, the notes are a lot farther apart, so it takes some getting used too.

I basically picked up upright bass for the same reason, and learned it well enough to play at a concert for 300 ppl that paid $25 a ticket in about 3 days, and Im only 14, so i think you should be fine.

PM me for more questions.
^ After researching this heavily for I am too starting bass, the standard Simandl Method (thanks Fitzy) is Index, Middle, Ring and Pinkie used as one. So it's three fingers basically. This is considered THE beginner's approach to double bass
I have discovered that the $800-$1200 price range produceds some gems. Look at Hofner and Englehart (Kay). But dont buy one if you dont get to play it first. There are some real bad ones there too. And just cus one bass of that model is good doesnt mean another will be.
I also read somewhere, that with double basses, technique is key. A well bowed and fingered plywood piece of crap will sound much sweeter than an averagely played amazing double bass. Just keep that in mind when you're thinking about the dollars and cents.
My first bass was an Englehardt and I think it's much better than a lot of starter uprights. It was somewhere from $1200-1400. I got a jazz set-up for it and now it'll probably be my jazz bass for the rest of my life. My teacher has been playing an $800 upright for more than 20 years. Keep in mind that nowadays you'll probably always play through an amplifier so an expensive bass really won't sound much better than a cheap one. It's all about the way it plays so make sure you get a good jazz setup and some good jazz strings if that's the genre you want to play. It makes a big difference. I wish you could get a good orchestral bass for only $1200 but that's not going to happen.