The $2500-$4000 Collectors' Edition/Top Brand instrument or the $150-$300 "X" Brand one?
First, an expensive instrument will sure look bad-ass and/or sound even better, but it won't make you play any better. if you are a beginner, you may eventually stop liking the instrument itself, because you can't just play it good, or maybe because you just like the way it is played, etc. only get these when you go pro on the instrument(or when you move to a safer neighborhood, unless you want to see it in the store where you bought it the day after it misteriously disappeared.
Second, a cheap instrument is great for beginners, you can just throw it away if you didn't like it, or you can learn on it before you get something better and it won't hurt that much if you break it. no, the other kind of pain. but it won't give you a better image and it may sound like if it was a toy, so any pro would think twice before buying these instruments, it would be a step backward.
Now it doesn't seem so black or white now as before you read this, does it?
when shopping, go further than appareances and explore every angle of each offer. Just ask yourself this 8 questions before doing anything:
Am I experienced enough for a super-instrument?
Even if I am, do I really need it?
Do I need quality or quantity?
Do I really like the instrument?
Do I really like the WAY it is played?
Am I sure that this is expensive item what i am going to play for my entire life?
Am I going to break it in my first gig? (Har. Har. Har.)
Why do I want Paul McCartney's Bass?