Decision paralysis deciding which Uke to buy next

The standard I have heard and used is to buy the best instrument you can afford.

My vision of the best instrument is one that is well crafted. One that and sounds and plays at a level that you will enjoy for years. It doesn’t need the bells and whistles, unless the budget allows for that.

This doesn’t mean that it meets all of your expectations now and in the future. Do research, listen to sound samples, and buy one you want.

“Fretting” over neck profile, nut width, or differences in how the same model sounds are generally not helpful; unless you have access to multiple instruments of the same model to compare real time. Then one will generally speak to you.

In many cases, you will adapt to whatever ukulele. It is funny how a connection develops over time. It may go through love/hate and multiple string changes, but many times the quality instruments win out in the end.

John
 
(Craig Chee and James Hill) recommended avoiding mid-level ukuleles costing $300 to $600
This time, I disagree with both of them. My $600+ ukulele is my go to, my performance uke. Never had one quite like before.
 
First, you need to set your high cost limit. That will save you lots of time. Second, do you know what you expect from your ukulele. Performance use? Gigging or busking? Or sitting at home just making merry for yourself? Or jamming with friends?
Do you want "The One" that you can play and be happy with forever?
 
I currently have 2 cheap ukuleles and i’ve been wanting to get a nice one in the $500-800? range. I’ve been playing the soprano almost exclusively, but I wouldn’t mind getting a nice concert as well. The stores around me carry either the cheaper Kala’s, or $1000+ Koalohas and Kamaka’s with not much in between, but it’s also probably due to me not knowing what I’m looking for.

What I’m currently interested in-
Ukesa WOW Prototype Cutaway - I keep hearing good things on this forum, so i’m very tempted. But it might be too much uke for a beginner?

Anuenue AMM2 - seems popular and I like the prices on used ones

The Cocobolo and Naupakas are very eye catching, I definitely want one in the future but i’ll wait for a used one to pop up in the marketplace.

Used Koaloha - i’ve seen some in the $600-700 range in the marketplace, but each one I tried at the store sounded pretty different from each other too, and I couldn’t figure out what sound I liked.

I also keep hearing about Ponos, but there’s such a wide range. Any specific model suggestions?
Buy them all. If you can together or if not buy them second hand and sell them once done trying them out for about what you bought them for, one after another.
 
It’s been a month since I first wrote this post, and since then i’ve fallen into ukulele spending hell (but it’s over now!! Definitely!)

What I ultimately ended up with:
Pops WOW Soprano - this was THE gateway. It’s so incredibly easy to play and chimes like no other. I’ve really fallen in love with the UKESA strings as well, and now have multiple high and low G sets.

This led me to want an ukulele on the other side of the spectrum, with deeper tones.

Kala Cedar/Pau Ferro - Generously gifted to me by @mlolya and my first foray into tenor. Low G on this thing is awesome and it really resonates! I try to get some practice on this scale every day, but started looking for a concert scale that could produce similar tones.

aNueNue Cedar Bird - I just received this an hour ago and, wow it is something else. Just strung this up low G and going to install a strap button tonight. It smells REALLY good. Very excited to spend more time with it.

Koaloha Naupaka - this is arriving tomorrow! Purchased via the UU Marketplace. No idea which niche this is going to fill but i’m so excited.

So I did actually cover a good amount on my original list! UAS is over! NO MORE!!! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

(Well, there is that really nice cocobolo in the marketplace right now. Someone better buy it soon)
 
I have a Flight NUS380 soprano, laminate sapele which I like the sound of ($50), and a Kala Concert Surf Wipeout ($80) which is very ok.

I did see the post about buying in order to try, and it sounds like a very intensive undertaking. I do need to spend time with an instrument before really appreciating it, and trying it at a store never feels enough. Like listening to a 10 second sample instead of the full song. I’ll be taking a group class soon so maybe I can convince some students to trade ukes with me for a month 😂

I didn’t realize the UKESA site was outdated! That’s good to know.
Edit: Ignore the rest of my post and see Ed’s comment below…

I think that the ukes at the UKESA site that are actually for sale and you can put in your cart are really for sale. This is limited to a few blems and prototypes. If you really want the Pops Wow cutaway, just put it in your cart and try to buy it. The worst that can happen is that you ask Ed to help get your money back if it really isn’t for sale.
 
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I think that the ukes at the UKESA site that are actually for sale and you can put in your cart are really for sale. This is limited to a few blems and prototypes. If you really want the Pops Wow cutaway, just put it in your cart and try to buy it. The worst that can happen is that you ask Ed to help get your money back if it really isn’t for sale.
Never an issue with money back if we can't deliver, but the Cutaway soprano is gone. Pops would need to make one, however, the sound of the cutaway soprano is the same as the figure 8. You would want a cutaway concert or tenor and so far, they have not been made, so it would be another first in the wow line :)
 
It’s been a month since I first wrote this post, and since then i’ve fallen into ukulele spending hell (but it’s over now!! Definitely!)

What I ultimately ended up with:
Pops WOW Soprano - this was THE gateway. It’s so incredibly easy to play and chimes like no other. I’ve really fallen in love with the UKESA strings as well, and now have multiple high and low G sets.

This led me to want an ukulele on the other side of the spectrum, with deeper tones.

Kala Cedar/Pau Ferro - Generously gifted to me by @mlolya and my first foray into tenor. Low G on this thing is awesome and it really resonates! I try to get some practice on this scale every day, but started looking for a concert scale that could produce similar tones.

aNueNue Cedar Bird - I just received this an hour ago and, wow it is something else. Just strung this up low G and going to install a strap button tonight. It smells REALLY good. Very excited to spend more time with it.

Koaloha Naupaka - this is arriving tomorrow! Purchased via the UU Marketplace. No idea which niche this is going to fill but i’m so excited.

So I did actually cover a good amount on my original list! UAS is over! NO MORE!!! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

(Well, there is that really nice cocobolo in the marketplace right now. Someone better buy it soon)
I was feeling a little bad for snapping up that Cocobolo concert, but I see that I need not have worried that you would be short on ukes 😆
 
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