According to an article in Billboard (5 October 1974, page 1961), Bobby Goldsboro’s interest in performing music was given a boost by a ukulele. When he was twelve years old, he visited a neighbour who had scored a ukulele for Christmas — one that had an Arther Godfred push-button gizmo to help make the chords. Now Bobby had an ear for music. He could remember tunes he heard on TV, complete with instrumental arrangement. So…
here I was with this ukulele, fooling around, trying to play something. As it turned out, I found a song the first time through, and everyone in my friend’s family ended up standing there staring at me, wondering where I’d learned to play.
The neighbour loaned the uke to Bobby permanently, ‘who promptly figured out how to play it without the chordmaker and continued to teach himself.’ Bobby recalled that
Over the next few years I got a series of improved instruments. Finally, I was looking through the Sears catalogue … I thought a bass-guitar was a big ukulele [but] I chose a guitar, which I played like a ukulele for a while anyway. Left the lower strings untuned and strummed [the top four strings] very carefully.
But the interesting thing, for me, is that Bobby originally really wanted to be a baseball player.