Ukulele sales see 'explosive growth' as small instrument's popularity soars

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The popularity of the ukulele is booming as sales of the small guitar-like instruments enjoy “explosive growth”, according to the boss of Fender. 

Chief executive Andy Mooney said: “We have seen 1.5 million units of ukulele sold in the US.

“The category is absolutely exploding right now, which I feel really good about.”

He said Fender’s sales in the UK have been unaffected by Brexit talks because guitars are a “very considered purchase”.

Ukuleles are popular because they offer an alternative to larger instruments such as guitars.  

“One of the reasons a lot of young players abandon [the guitar] is because they picked up the wrong instrument to learn on to begin with,” said Mr Mooney.

“I have daughter who is 10 and she should not be playing a six-string electric guitar right now because its likely to turn her off for life.”

The comments came as the company launched Fender Play, an online music tuition platform, after discovering a large slice of its sales were coming from beginners buying a guitar for the first time. 

While video sharing website YouTube is saturated with guitar tuition videos, Mr Mooney said its subscription-based model would prove successful because there remained a customer appetite for premium content.

The iconic guitar maker is also hoping the digital product will fuel demand for its musical instruments and hardware. 

The Arizona-based company is renowned for its Stratocaster and Telecaster electric guitars made famous by rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen.

However, the former Nike and Disney executive said there was “huge amounts of potential” in categories the company had not paid as much attention to, such as acoustic guitars and effects pedals. 

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