Best Ukulele For Beginners
(info taken from ukulelehunt.com)
I certainly screwed up with my first ukulele purchase. I went in to my local music shop, picked up the only ukulele they sold and bought it without even trying it out. It was a no-name, badly-made hunk of junk. I hated playing it and it spent most of its time under a desk breeding a small but genetically diverse warren of dust bunnies. It wasn't until years later, after buying a decent ukulele, that I really got into playing. I entirely blame that decision for the fact that I am not Jake Shimabukuro. To help you avoid that fate, here are a few tips.
Best Option: Go to a shop with a wide range of ukuleles with a ukulele player.
At the low end of the market the quality of ukuleles can vary a great deal - even between ukes of the same model. The quality control isn't really there so sometimes you get a good uke and sometimes you get a duffer. So if you live near a shop with a good range of ukes and know someone who plays drag them along and make them try out a few until they find a good one. Unfortunately, not many of us have this option. So the next best solution is...
Second Best Option: Buy a decent brand online from a ukulele specialist.
When you buy your first ukulele it's well worth skipping over the very cheapest ukes and spending a little more to make sure you get something playable. It's frustrating trying to get a good sound out of a badly made ukulele and impossible if you're a beginner. If you get a crappy ukulele, it'll seriously cramp your style.
A better option is to buy a brand that has a better reputation and is more consistent in its ukuleles. Two good options for beginners are the Lanikai LU-21 and the Kala KA-S.
And it's best to buy these ukes from someone who knows about ukuleles rather than one of the in-one-door-out-the-other people like Amazon. That way you're much more likely to get a ukulele that doesn't have any problems. A great place for a beginner to buy a ukulele is musicguymic on eBay US. He offers a professional set up on all his ukuleles which means it should be completely problem free and ready to play. If you're in the UK check out the Southern Ukulele Store. They have the best selection of ukes from sale in the UK and are always happy to answer questions and give advice.