When I first started playing Ukulele I went to the local music store, Herreid Music and I bought the cheapest ukulele they had, a baritone Hilo, because why would I drop a hundred dollars on an instrument that I wouldn't like after a month or two?
To me this instrument sounded fine, was the perfect size, though not anymore, and was in my price range. I was definitely happy with my purchase, but after upgrading to a more expensive, and better sounding Flea ukulele I learned that my forty dollar baritone sounded like those souvenir ukuleles you get in Hawaii. It was plain awful. I couldn't believe I put up with it for so long.
Now just to be clear, Hilo's instruments have tons of potential. I have played some beautiful sounding Ukes made by Hilo. Its mostly my fault anyways. I was naive and didn't play the instrument to make sure it had a sound body, and a good tone before I bought it. But what if I did have a good ear for music?
Most people I know that play the Ukulele have started out playing cheap little instruments. Some almost gave up the Uke because their $15 Ukulele would never give them the perfect sound they wanted, no matter how hard they practiced. This bothers me because I think the ukulele has the mellowest sound of all the stringed instruments. And some never get to hear the potential.
So help me out here... Is it better to buy a cheap Ukulele early, and put up with its sound to make sure you like it? Or should you save up and buy a Ukulele that will stand up to the name that the little instrument has made for itself ?