Having prior guitar knowledge helped, so far as specs and construction. I still did a lot of research first sorting out features and size. Decided on the Lanikai LU-21C. Perfect out of the box. I still have it. Actually two of them. ..
I got educated with my Vineyard that I didn't like friction pegs, but that was my choice to chance them. Installed open gear Grovers. Not particularly easy but they turned out fine.
My only regret with ukes is that I didn't get interested in them years sooner ....
My first uke was a Makala Dolphin Soprano which I had for almost a whole year! I had decided I would ignore new instruments until I felt like I was adequate with the instrument, so I wouldn't waste any further investment. I don't really have regrets for the first one since it was so cheap, but for the subsequent ones. I wish I knew...
...how much I would end up spending and how many ukes I would end up with! eep!
...that the price of the instrument or the specs are not related necessarily to how much I will enjoy the instrument. I like all my instruments for different reasons
...what to really look and feel for in new instruments! Mostly, being able to play (or return) the instrument is a must. Other than the way they sound, ukuleles have a way they feel (in your hand, against your body) and a way the sound projects that you also feel. It's the resonance you feel against the back of the uke and the front and how you're able to kind of tell where the sound projects. I don't think I knew to look for these things that I like about the instruments originally.
....it's also just worth getting the ukulele from a place that does set ups. It's annoying fiddling with the saddle and hoping I don't mess it up or getting a professional setup after the fact that costs more and takes a long time.
...how to consider the instruments i was interested in vs. my play style (which has changed with time anyway). Have an idea of how you play, and how that impacts the instrument you are looking for. Some ukes are better for strumming, some for campanella, some for thumb chord melody. They are all just different voices but if you are a strummer and find that you don't like the sound of your spruce top, rosewood back and side instrument it might be because you are a strummer with an instrument not best suited to ya!
...that it is not healthy to scroll ebay and craiglist every day for used instruments :|
...how unintimidating fingerstyle is and how it's fun once you start. I put it off my whole first year because I was kind of nervous to start, but now it's mostly all I do! It's so much fun honestly.
Was that "ukulele world" the original Ukulele World website of Roy T. Cone? My three Lanikais came from him in 2006. He was a great guy, and had everything uke you could want. Always added a freebie in every order. Package deals that included a hard foam case. With my two LU-21Cs, I asked for a matched pair, they look and play like sisters. .. .. One did require a .020 styrene nut shim to make the match "perfect". You can't see it.