You are about to become the proud owner of a ukulele. While I cannot claim to be a ukulele expert, I can share some knowledge that I have gained in my tenure as a ukalalien.
There are different modes of thought for choosing an instrument. In general, the nicer the instrument, the better it will sound and feel, and the more you will be likely to want to play it. That being said, nicer instruments also tend to be more expensive.
Option number one:
Start with a beginner level instrument and spend some time with it. If you really get into it, then consider investing more dollars in an upgrade.
Here are some beginner level ukes that are beautiful and good quality. I recommend Luna, the only ukulele designed by a woman and a company willing to offer me a discount when I asked and explained that I was purchasing the ukulele for education programs as part of my job. They make a nice tattoo tenor.
Option number two:
Start with a nicer instrument and make damn sure you play it! If you are really set on playing the ukulele, you won’t regret the purchase.
My favorite ukulele company is Mya-Moe: http://www.myamoeukulele.com
Another higher end uke company is Kamaka: http://www.kamakahawaii.com/instruments.html#ukehf3
Where can I find a ukulele?
I recommend going to a music store and trying out as many different ukuleles as they have and getting a feel for them. There are the tiny, soprano ukes. Small and fun, but they don’t have the same richness of sound and ability to hold their tune quite as well as the larger models, tenor and concert.
Since we are all unique, so too are our preferences for instrument size and feel and sound. I am a tenor gal, myself. I LOVE my tenor. I also invested in a pineapple (same size as soprano but round body shape instead of traditional curve). I also love my pineapple, but when I am really concerned about sound quality and ability to hold a tune, I go for my tenor. I also like the tenor size because it feels like a manageable size guitar when I hold it, but I am pretty tiny to begin with. My pineapple uke looks and feels like an actual ukulele when I play it.
Keep in mind that any new instrument, no matter the quality, may have some “kinks” to work out. I found that when I first adopted my pineapple, every time I tuned all the strings, as soon as I played a chord it would sound out of tune. I have a pretty sensitive ear when it comes to tuning, and I wound up sending it back to the maker to have it adjusted, which they were happy to do. When you go to a music store, you might bring a tuner with you (or ask to use one of theirs) and test this out on some instruments after you narrow down your choices. It is something that can be fixed and doesn’t necessarily mean the instrument is poorly made. You might also ask the folks at the music store if there is any kind of warranty or repair if you discover this with your new ukulele.
The ukuleles you find at music stores and online tend to be strung with a high G string. I recommend getting a backup set with a low G. Since ukes do not have the lower strings of a guitar, the low G string can help you get some really nice deeper sound variation.
If you are not already ridiculously pumped up to be joining ukalaliens everywhere, check out “The Mighty Uke,” an awesome and inspiring documentary about the ukulele revolution that is going strong!
All things uke
This website also has some great information. Apart from the metaphorical meaning of the word choice,I love the groovy image at the top! I would prefer “ukulelesearch” or something more peaceful, which seems more befitting a ukulele.