a certain amount does depend on the player. i had a cheap as dirt greek bouzouki for years. it was the smaller body meant for six courses but i didn't know that than so i strung it for four and used adad or gdad tuning with octaves, it sounded great, so don't write off the greek instruments if you find a deal. the big bodies ones are a longer scale , like a guitar and thats demanding for a rookie to play fast tunes.
again the trinity college are find for the price. one of the best players i know has played one for years--he makes it sing.
there are a lot of hand makers out there as well. some not prohibitive. i love sawchyn instrumnets from saskatchewan canada. both flat tops and carved tops. and his prices are still good as he's still little known--maybe i just changed that. lawrence nyberg in british columbia makes a grand instrument as well, but then the last time i was at hobgoblin london the hathaway instruments were very nice for the price and a flyde was $670 pounds, and it was a beaut. the main thing is to get a good set up then learning will be easy and fun. i fought with nasty guitars all my youth, the first time i got one properly set up it changed my life.