I am also putting sound ports on my future guitars with the exception of resonator guitars unless the electronics package is in the way or specifically asked not to do so in advance. For more information on sound ports, google "guitar sound port". The difference from the player's perspective is impressive.
There is a lot to be said for the used basses like the Alvarez, Michael Kelly, the Ibanez , the Fenders, the Aria, and the Hohners I have converted. First off, they are two or three steps above the brand new instruments I am converting while still being roughly in the same ballpark price wise. Also, once an instrument has a few years on it you can see how it is going to age. The downside is that they are no longer brand new. I intend to keep building baritones out of the new inexpensive basses and the used, more expensive basses. I suspect that if I were going to be doing a lot of gigging that I would lean toward baritones made out of used basses of known gigging quality. It shouldn't be too long before I start hearing back on how well my first generation of baritones is holding up. When I do, I'll post the results in the FAQ.