Ukuleles not only come in different sizes but also different materials. The type of material used is the preference of the user so how do you decide which is best for you?
Wood Ukes: Some common woods used for ukuleles are Mahogany, Basswood and Koa but you will also see a lot of variations like Mango, Black Acacia, Okume, Spruce, Bamboo, Lacewood and others. Some woods are selected for their sound qualities, some for their cosmetic appeal and some for both. Wood ukes are also offered in the variety of “all laminate”, “all solid” and “solid top with laminate back and sides”. One version isn’t necessarily better but the solid wood’s tone should improve with age the more it is played. With that said the laminate won’t get worse so if it sounds good when you buy it should sound good for the years to come and as a rule, laminates will be less expensive.
Composite Ukes: Composite or “plastic” ukes are a lot simpler and less maintenance than wood but they are not all created equal. Some are better than others, some come with gig bags, and some don’t. Most companies offer these only in soprano size and there are several brands to choose from. Concert sizes are very limited and other sizes even rarer. This is a trend we expect to change as the popularity of these instruments is climbing fast. An obvious advantage these instruments have over wood is that they are not affected by water, heat or cold. This makes them a great “all terrain” “all weather” companion you can stick in your canoe or kayak without much worry. As for sound, many models sound as good as or even better than their wood cousins.
Untimely the choice is yours so find a Ukulele in your price range that impresses you with how it looks and sounds and you should be happy with it.