Ukulele teacher Stephanie Ney.
Ukulele teacher Stephanie Ney. Trevor Veale

Ukuleles are taking the coast by storm

SINCE starting the Sawtell Ukulele Group almost a year ago, the popularity of the four-stringed instrument has grown so much, teacher Stephanie Ney has had to split the group into beginner and intermediate, and also find larger rehearsal spaces.

Even local guitar shops have noticed. Coffs Harbour Guitar Shop owner, Darren Horne, said it's one of the longest running trends they've seen.

"The uke boxes are usually stacked to the roof then a week later they are gone, and we are talking hundreds of them,” Darren said. "We put an average of 40 ukulele straps on per week.”

Stephanie Ney said she was excited but not surprised at how popular it has become.

'It's instant gratification,” she said.

"You can literally learn to play the four classic chords in about half an hour and you have the rest of your life to explore.

"We also have a really funky, rock and roll vibe. We play all sorts of songs, not just the traditional ukulele songs that spring to mind.

"We do learn everything from David Bowie to Jason Mraz and lots of others. It's so much fun, it's like having a portable karaoke machine.”

It's not just for those with a musical talent either.

People of all ages, and of all musical abilities, can play together.

"The youngest member we have is nine, the oldest is almost 80,” Stephanie said.

"We have families that come together, people looking to have fun and learn a new skill, others who just want to try something new.”

Sawtell Ukulele Group is hosting a beginners workshop July 15 at Sawtell CWA Hall 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

All welcome to come along, no experience necessary.

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