On Buying a Uke

There is a wide range of ukuleles on the market, made from
solid wood, laminated wood, fiberboard, plastics, or a
combination of those materials. Prices range from a few dollars
to many thousands, but price does not always indicate quality
and tone.
If you are buying your first ukulele, take an experienced player
along to help you choose. Look for a music store with a range of
ukuleles tuned and ready to play. If you go to a store that has
ukuleles still in boxes or untuned, that’s a sign that the staff
cares little about the instrument. Shop elsewhere.
Take your time and listen to as many instruments as possible.
You will find a marked variation in the quality of sound
between better ukuleles even of the same brand and model. A
solid wood instrument will actually improve and become more
mellow with age and use. Keep this in mind when purchasing a
ukulele. Most inexpensive ukuleles come with poor quality
strings and will benefit from a set of synthetic nylon strings like
Aquila Nylgut or Worth. (When you replace the strings, change
one at a time so you can copy the original knot sequence.)
Purchase the best instrument you can afford with the best tone
and best action. (The action refers to the distance between the
strings and the frets; a well set up instrument is easy on the
fingers and a delight to play.) A local music store is probably
the best place to begin. Avoid online sales of second-hand
ukuleles unless you can try the instrument first. And keep in
mind that a serious musician rarely sells a good instrument.

Cubist 2006
Peter Hurney California