The old, above;
The new, below.
I piddled with the thing for a while, stuck in on a shelf, then went back to my guitar.
Recently, it came to me that I needed to have a second instrument with which I could get frustrated, so I picked up the uke again. There are guys who can make you cry they play these so well. If you haven't seen it, check out Jake Shimabukuro's rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," on YouTube. Or James Hill's "Billie Jean," in which he plays three different parts at the same time, lead, chords, and percussion. Jaw-droppers, both of these guys.
Mine doesn't sound awful with good strings, but let's face it, it's only one step up from a toy. If I plan to spend any time plucking away, I need something better.
And a tad bigger, too.
Ukuleles come in several configurations, the most common of which is the soprano, which I have, and which is the smallest. Short fretboard, mine only has a dozen frets, and itty-bitty spaces. My hands aren't huge, but when you are used to the two-and-a-quarter inch wide at the nut classical guitar fretboard, it makes for cramps going to something that tiny.
They make what they call a concert version, whose fretboard and bodies are a bit longer and wider. There is a tenor model, and a baritone, plus a bass thingee, too, and the boxes and boards get bigger still on those.
A good ukulele will set you back between and thousand and two thousand bucks. A really good one can run a whole lot more. The most expensive and best-known custom-made exotic-wood ukes come from Hawaii. The company who made Jake Shimabukuro's tenor put out a limited-run signature model for him a while back. A hundred instruments, fifty-five hundred dollars each, and they sold out fast. If you want one? Expect to pay close to twice that for it used, and more for a lower number.
Me, I don't have ten grand for a ukulele, but there are folks who pay that.
Funny, although online research has it that this company makes a pretty good entry-level product.
You can get a decent production model entry-level uke for a couple-three hundred bucks, which isn't a patch on the custom jobs, but which is still waaay better than the one I have.
So I decided to upgrade ...
I've ordered a Mainland Concert model, no frills nor frippery, but which seems to have a good tone, and which gets reviewed well, even when compared to similar instruments costing several times as much. Solid mahogany (as opposed to plywood), slot-head with geared tuners, fourteen frets to the body, nineteen overall. Comes with Aquila strings, too.
At the very least, I can learn how to play basic blues on it, and maybe do some fingerpicking that's not too complex. Stay tuned. Pun intended ...