Objective To identify the optimal sites for classification of early gout by ultrasonography. Methods Sixty patients with monosodium urate crystal-proven gout (25 with early gout [≤2-year symptom duration], 35 with late gout [>2-year symptom duration], and 36 normouricemic healthy controls) from one centre were prospectively evaluated. Standardized blinded ultrasound examination of 36 joints and the triceps and patellar tendons was performed to identify tophi and the double contour (DC) sign. Results Ultrasonographic sensitivity was lower in early than late gout. Binary logistic regression analysis showed that two ultrasonographic signs (tophi in the first metatarsophalangeal joint [odds ratio, 16.46] and the DC sign in the ankle [odds ratio, 25.18]) significantly contributed to the final model for early gout diagnosis (sensitivity and specificity of 84% and 81%, respectively). The inter-reader reliability kappa value for the DC sign and tophi was 0.712. Conclusions Four-joint investigation (both first metatarsophalangeal joints for tophi and both ankles for the DC sign) is feasible and reliable and could be proposed as a screening test for early ultrasonographic gout classification in daily practice.