The first question anybody asks to join the ukulele community is how to get hold of a ukulele. They come in all sizes and shapes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. For adults, I’d recommend a concert size. For children, I’d say soprano size.
If you can borrow one, do it.
If you can rent one, do it. I offer high-end ukuleles for rent in my beginner’s workshops. Just sayin’!
Unlike other instruments which are more expensive, you can’t go wrong spending money on a ukulele. They can be as low as $20 or as high as $2,000. My first one cost me about $300 because I wanted one I’d keep and not get annoyed with. More importantly, it was recommended by a virtuoso ukulele player whose expert opinion I trusted.
If you can afford it, I’d recommend that you get the most expensive one you can afford. Go visit a ukulele store and try different ones.
Incidentally, I have not practiced what I preached. I lived within walking distance of one on Maui and didn’t visit until I already got my ukulele couriered to me from Los Angeles. I lived next to a ukulele builder for four years, and I was never curious until I bought my ukulele.
If you can’t find a ukulele store, go to a music instrument store and try different ones. Next bet is to attend a local ukulele club and ask to “touch” the instruments of the other participants.
Ukuleles are small enough to be personal. Unlike the grand piano, ukuleles are there to be held, and you develop a real connection with them.
Ray Sakuma, founder of the ukulele festivals in the Hawaiian islands, is famous for saying “Hold it like a baby, close to your heart.”