To bring us together while we’re apart, BUMS Inc has released a new range of t-shirt designs through BUMS Bazaar. Here’s just a few of the 2020 range.

Several 2020 designs in the new range are available on a wide range of dark-coloured t-shirts.

For a short time only, we’re offering discount prices on the entire 2020 range.

Throughout June and July, you can order these t-shirts for $20 each or less. (Regular price around $25 per shirt)

Remember postage costs extra.

Within Australia,

  • Regular Post costs $10 per order (Allow 3 business days from date of dispatch.) 
  • Express Post costs $17.01 per order (Allow 1 business day from date of dispatch.)

So gather your friends, and order together to save money on postage.

Order a BUMS t-shirt today, and wear it with pride!


Here’s how to order

1. Go to BUMS Bazaar.

2. In the ‘Products’ menu, click on the BUMS 2020 menu item.

3. Click on the t-shirt design you’d like to order.

4. In the new window, set the t-shirt quantity, colour and size options. Check that the total has calculated correctly.

5. Click ‘Add to Cart’.

6. Check the details in the ‘You have just added’ popup box.

7. Click ‘Continue Shopping’ to add more t-shirts to your Cart. Or, click ‘Checkout’ to view your Cart.

8. If your order is correct, click ‘Checkout’.

9. Add your name, email address and billing and shipping addresses.

10. Read the Terms & Conditions, then check the Terms & Conditions box.

11. Click ‘Proceed to Shipping Methods’.

12. Select your shipping method and add instruction if necessary.

13. Click ‘Proceed to Payment’.

14. Select your payment methods (credit card or bank transfer).

15. Click ‘Proceed to check order information’.

16. Click ‘Complete Checkout’.

17. Enter your payment details.

18. Check the ‘Pay amount’. The click ‘Pay amount’.

Should be plain sailing from there … happy shopping at BUMS Bazaar!

PS Suggestions for t-shirt slogans welcome. Email your ideas to .

How can bands practice in “iso”?

If you’re an individual uke player, now’s the time to work on your playing, singing and performance skills. But if you play in a band, it’s impossible to practise properly without the other band members.

BUMS Inc community bands, The CAGE and NUMB BUMS, have been trying different ways to keep their band communities together. Both have used ZOOM, which has been good for seeing familiar faces and sharing experiences. But due to time lags, it doesn’t work if you want to play as a group. The best we have managed is for one person to lead a song, while every else is muted. The lyrics and chords can be displayed so you can play along with the leader, but no one hears you.  And of course, open mic is another option.

Band leaders, Ian Phillips and Bec Lochel from The CAGE, have recorded their ZOOM sessions and made them available to CAGE members via their closed Facebook group, so they can practice along with the recording. Whilst it’s better than nothing, the sound quality is poor.

A YouTube Solution

NUMB BUMS have tried a different solution.  It started with a request from Chris Slater, the bass player in NUMB BUMS and Ukulele Saints. He wanted a recording to play bass with. We initially tried using an audio recording on a phone but have now come up with a better solution using YouTube.

We have set up two private YouTube channels for NUMB BUMS and Ukulele Saints. Members of the band then make video recording on a phone or tablet and post them on YouTube site. So far 15 songs have been added to the practice pool and these are available to financial BUMS members who are playing in NUMB BUMS.

The process works like this. A band member or a combo chooses a song and records on their tablet or phone as a video. This is the same as performing a song to lead at the BUMS Online jam. Videos are often over 200 MB in size, and they are usually condensed (for example, using free software called HandBrake) so they are easier to move around and upload. John Low has been editing the videos by tidying up the beginnings and ends, adding titles and so on.

The songs are uploaded to the relevant YouTube channel and tagged as “Unlisted”. This means they are not searchable by the general public and can only be accessed by people with the logon/password details.  But we can provide others with the link for an individual song without providing login details for the YouTube channel.

The recordings are for practice purposes only, but enable the band members to play performance songs in the usual key and tempo used by the band and with a similar arrangement. It’s not as good as the real thing, but hey, what is at the moment?

Using a private YouTube channel was developed as an interim solution during the COVID-19 restrictions. But it seems like one of those ideas that might have legs after the crisis is over.

Whether you’re new to uke or branching out, baritone might be the answer.

In February 2020, two very brave baritone ukulele beginners came to Mini Absolute Beginner Ukulele Bootcamp. We’d never had baritone players attend a Bootcamp before, and were a bit concerned about how well the Bootcamp format would cater for them. But they soldiered on, using a chord chart that they’d brought with them to adapt the materials as we taught.

The enthusiasm and determination of our two Bootcampers inspired me to create colour-coded teaching resources for music teachers who want to add baritone to their school ukulele ensembles. In addition, I hope this article helps ukulele players decide which ukulele is best for them.


Apart from the uBass, the baritone ukulele is the largest and lowest sounding ukulele. It’s the ideal gateway between guitar and uke as the notes of the baritone uke strings are D G B and E — the  ‘top’ four strings of the guitar. Please note that strings 1-4 are closest to the ground as you hold the instrument to play. Think of the strings like the floors of a high rise building — the 1st floor is closest to the ground floor.

To decide whether baritone is for you, consider:

  1. the sound — more mellow than soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles
  2. the size — more comfortable than smaller ukuleles for taller people with bigger hands; more comfortable than a guitar for smaller people
  3. the note range — longer neck with extra frets, there’s no need for a low G string.
  4. the timbre — a different ‘musical voice’ in your ukulele ensemble.

Note that the baritone standard tuning is different from soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles as it is tuned five semitones below standard ukulele tuning.

If you are totally new to string instruments and ukulele workshops and jams, you might wish to start by using with a standard-tuned ukulele. Otherwise, take the initiative, and know some basic baritone chords and take along a chord chart. In addition, purchasing a baritone ukulele method book is a good investment. Method books usually provide basic theory, chord charts and beginning songs to practise.

Jams are a great way to learn. But remember to bring your chord charts.  Jam sets usually start with 3- or 4-chord songs and progress to more complicated tunes.  The easiest jam songs are aimed at standard-tuning beginners. Therefore the handiest sets of chords are Am, C, F & G7 (key of C); C, D & G (key of G), and A, D and E7 (key of A).

The experience of playing straight through a song at speed adds a different element to the skills you develop at home. Besides, all of those other ukes around you help you stay in time, and make you sound amazing.

Baritone-Playing BUMS

Once jams resume talk to some of our regular baritone players. You can ask jam leaders to introduce you to any baritone players in attendance. Sit with them if possible. BUMS members are happy to help if you have any questions.

Garry Collins —  “I started playing baritone when we formed the instrumental group ‘The Brisbane Uketet’. It gave an extra dimension to work within our arrangements and playing.” (Garry is a former member of Performing BUMS and The Brisbane Uketet, runs BUMS Inc baritone workshops, attends Coorparoo and Northside jams.)

Garry provided workshop participants with Baritone Ukulele Basics notes. Thanks for making them available, Garry.




Di Davis  — “I chose to play baritone ukulele because I like the richer tone and the versatility provided by the longer neck (more frets). In addition, it adds another dimension of timbre when playing with smaller groups.” (Di performs with Spare Parts & The CAGE, and attends Coorparoo & sometimes Northside & Ferny Grove jams.)





Erin Harrington — “I love playing baritone for it’s full jazz sound. It’s a great contrast to my other ukuleles when I feel a certain song needs a deeper sound. Moonriver sounds particularly wonderful on baritone for example.” (Erin performs as Miss Elm, offers online ukulele lessons including beginner baritone, and sometimes attends Coorparoo jams.)




Chan Hoo — “I Love singing sentimental songs and the Baritone is the right 4 strings instrument for it.
(Chan performs with Flukey and for patients at the local hospital, and attends Coorparoo, Northside & Westside jams.)





John Low — “I like the ‘low-end grunt’ the baritone adds to the rhythm section of a couple of bands I play in — and I find the size is more comfortable for me.
(John is the NUMB BUMS band leader, performs with Ukulele Saints, and attends Northside and Ferny Grove jams.)





Getting Started

Now, if you’ve got your uke already, let’s get a piece of the action. The late Mike Lynch will get you started.

Chord Shapes

Baritone chord shapes (the places you put your fingers) are the same chord shapes used for soprano, concert and tenor ukulele. They just have different names.


  • Standard ukulele D chord shapes are used for baritone A chords.
  • E chord shape on the ukulele is used for B major.
  • F major shape on the ukulele is used for C major.
  • G shapes on the ukulele are used for D chords.
  • A chord shapes on the ukulele are used for E chords.
  • Bb chord shape on the ukulele is used for the F chord.
  • C chord shapes on the ukulele are used for G chords.

Play many of your favourite songs in the key of G with just four chords.

Incidentally, you can use your usual ukulele songsheets, and just replace the chord diagrams.


First 4 Chords

Four of the easiest chord shapes on the baritone uke are C, D, G and G7.

So playing songs in the key of G is a good starting point.

1st 4 chords

Your first four chords.

Bad Moon Rising Songsheet

Get out your old songsheets, and try some of these popular songs.

  • Bad Moon Rising
  • Blowin’ in the Wind
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • Cecilia
  • Chasing Cars
  • Cold, Cold Heart
  • Folsom Prison Blues
  • Free Fallin’
  • The Gambler
  • King of the Road
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
  • Old Time Rock & Roll
  • Twist and Shout
  • You Are My Sunshine

After you’ve mastered your first four chords, move on to:

Finally, for still more chords, download a chord chart.

Fun for Fingerpickers

Enthusiastic fingerpickers, here’s a colour-coded baritone fretboard to help you find the notes.

Baritone Fretboard

Now, download some TABS, and pick a tune or two.

Other Resources



Across the world, ukulele players Zoom into action. Locally, BUMS Inc community bands, The CAGE and  NUMB BUMS use Zoom for band practices.

Since lockdown, BUMS Inc member Geoff Dancer has zoomed into lots of ukulele action.

“I started using Zoom with the Irish Session Group, and a group called The Shantymen. I also use it for the In-house Ukulele Jam led by Shirley-Ann Rowley, Gypsy Jazz Workshops presented by Anu Grace, and the Ukulele Picking workshops organised by Salli Chmura. And I’ve used it for other on-line meetings that aren’t music-related.” explained Geoff.

What is Zoom?

After 9 years of video conferencing, California-based Zoom, claims to be “the leader in modern enterprise video communications.” They promote Zoom as “an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems”. In short, Zoom provides video conferencing via the Internet.

For many years, Australian universities and Queensland’s Schools of Distance Education have used Blackboard and Collaborate for their online courses. However these platforms are expensive, while Zoom is free.

Generally, the free version (labelled ‘BASIC’) is limited to 40 minutes (unless they generously extend it). The Zoom online meeting environment features sound, video, online chat, and the ability to project material for others to view. In addition, Zoom is committed to customer ‘safety, security and privacy’.

You can download the Zoom application from the Zoom website.
The website also has training videos, including Getting Started with Zoom Meetings and learning guides to help anyone get started.

Feeling a little overwhelmed?

Help is on the way …

Geoff put together a comprehensive set of notes about how to get the best out of Zoom.

“Based on my experience in Zoom sessions, and information from Zoom discussion groups, I expanded my own knowledge of how to improve performance. I thought other BUMS members might also find my notes useful.”

Zoom Performance Notes for Ukulele

Geoff’s notes discuss the questions:

  • Have I Got Enough Internet Capacity (bandwidth)?
  • Do I Need to Upgrade My Zoom Account?
  • How can I maximise audio and video output in Zoom?

Thanks Geoff! These notes are invaluable! Great work!

Back to Work

It took Vic a couple of weeks to get over the initial shock of being out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then after a couple of weeks enjoying taking it easy, he’s back at work, offering guitar and ukulele lessons.

Lesson Opportunities

One-on-one and group master classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced players.

Vic guarantees that he can get you to the next level of playing.

There’s even sessions for the whole family.

Vic’s Introductory Offer

Vic’s offering a FREE lesson to all those wanting to get started.
You will not believe what you will achieve in your first lesson.

For more info please email:

Vic Kena YouTube

Kanile’a ‘Ukulele Featured Artist


Stay connected with your uke friends.

In response to the challenges presented to our community as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the BUMS Inc Committee has created a special Extraordinary Associate Membership for the balance of the 2020 financial year.

The good news is its FREE!

This gives our many visitors to our regular jams, and new players the opportunity to be approved for BUMS Inc Associate Membership.
We’ve even simplified the joining process. All you need to do is complete the online form and submit.

On receiving your application our secretary will send you a welcome email with your invitation to join our private BUMS Online Facebook Group. The group is to support and help our members, with all things ukulele for including sharing songs, performances from home, discussions, reviews, and tutorials. This is where all of our BUMS Online Big Uke Jam and any other events are streaming from.

As we all negotiate and come to terms with all the current changes, our hope is you can check into the group, enjoy a song, be inspired to try something different and take some time for yourself. You can share photos, videos and files (PDF of tabs or a song sheet) and only our group members will see them.

The ways we interact with our community have changed for the near future, and BUMS mission is to help our members and community stay positive and connected.

Read more about BUMS Inc Memberships HERE

BUMS Inc on Facebook 

The flood and the drought!

Over 20 people registered for the February Mini Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp, and 8 people were on the waiting list. Making sure no absolute beginner missed out was our priority. We asked people who felt that they’d mastered C, F & G7 to relinquish their places to absolute beginners on the waiting list.

The result? Fortunately, there were several generous ‘beginners’ gave up their places to ‘absolute beginners’. Sadly, one person decided not to learn ukulele, a couple sent unavoidable last-minute apologies, and several were unexplained no-shows. Unfortunately, that’s common with free events.

A grand total of eight people (including two very brave and well-organised baritone beginners) attended the February Mini Absolute Beginners Bootcamp. The unprecedent last-minute dropout rate at first seemed a little alarming … but upon reflection it was good news.

Many early Bootcamp registerers jumped in very early. Knowing they had hit their straps, jamming before February, was very heartening. Thanks to the wonderful January and February beginners’ sessions run by Donna, Linda and Erin those new to ukulele in 2020 were off to a flying start.

Bootcamp’s a Bargain

But our February Mini Bootcamp group was amazing. They whizzed through four hours work in two, and had a great time doing it.

As with most Bootcamps, we surveyed participants after the session to find out what they thought.

Kim summed up the feedback we received from most participants.

“I absolutely loved the session. The leaders were warm, welcoming and well-prepared.  The lesson flowed and allowed time to practise skills as well as play songs. It was a wonderfully uplifting and joy- filled experience, and I’ve been raving about it ever since.”

Gary pointed out the advantage of learning in a smaller group.

“We were a small group of “newbies”, therefore, it wasn’t as intimidating as a room full of people would have been. We were all made welcome and were relaxed. Although we were a small group, we had three people helping us, which meant that we all received assistance when it was needed. We were also encouraged along the way. I was amazed that after such a short period of teaching, we were all actually playing and singing songs together! I was elated that I could do this and wanted more.”

Bootcamp Take-Away

February’s Bootcampers shared some things they valued from the session.

  • It’s about having fun, and not to worry.
  • Learnt so many new chords and played songs in such a short time.
  • The ‘teacher-student’ ratio.
  • The benefits of using a neck strap.
  • Learnt the basics of how to read music.
  • Social learning was more fun than anticipated.
  • Made friends with people with similar interests to practice with and attend jams.
  • Learnt how to strum.
  • Using the Z chord.
  • Practice is the key.

What Beginners Want!

We asked what Bootcampers felt they needed moving forward. Bootcampers want. Like many Bootcampers, they found that once home alone, it wasn’t quite the same. So they said they want:

  • A beginners’ jam!
  • Chord diagrams placed on songsheets, so they don’t scroll off the page by the time you need them.
  • Tips on how to remember chord changes and progressions.
  • Learn to fingerpick.
  • Followup Beginners’ Bootcamp sessions.
  • More options for baritone players.
Mini Absolute Beginners Bootcamp

February 2020 Mini Absolute Beginners group at Bulimba BCC Library.

Performing BUM, John Low, 2020

Practice Rulz? Experienced performing BUM, and NUMB BUMS band leader, John Low gives us rules for effective ukulele practice!

Effective practising

Know what you need to practise and why.

Firstly, what NOT to do with your valuable practise time. Don’t just sit down for 30 minutes with your uke and play pieces of music you may enjoy playing. While there will be some benefits to doing that it may be a long time before such practising results in an improvement to your general playing.


Note that repetition is the path to improvement. But only if a correctly played passage or executed technique is repeated more often that an incorrect one. Therefore start off practising at a speed that allows you to play correctly and only then increase the speed. Don’t waste time practising your mistakes.

Practising could be divided into three main categories:

  • Working on techniques
    • chord changes
    • strumming/rhythm patterns
  • Learning new material
  • Consolidating and preparing

Working on Techniques

Chord Changes

If you are working on improving a technique associated with chord changing, say a chord change from Bb to Eb, start by playing 4 or 8 beats on the chord of Bb, repeat on the chord of Eb then repeat the whole process. Use simple down-strums and practise at a tempo that you can play without error or pauses no matter how slow that tempo may be. Only when you can regularly and consistently accomplish the chord change should you consider increasing the tempo or reducing the number of beats between chord changes. Then you can consider the chord changes within the context of a piece of music you may be attempting together with the rhythm patterns that the piece may impose.

Strumming & Rhythm Patterns

If you are attempting to master a particular rhythm or strumming pattern, in the beginning concentrate on the rhythm and don’t complicate things by introducing chord changes. Stay on one chord until you’ve ‘got’ the rhythm. Only then try to keep the rhythm while you change chords using a simple progression (I use C Am F G7 as my first port of call). Then move onto more complicated chord patterns in the context of the piece you may be attempting.

Learning New Material

If learning new material, identify problems in the first play-through and solve them one at a time. Trying to solve more that one problem at a time is not an effective way to utilise your practice time. Solve one problem then move onto the next one. Where possible practise difficult passages or techniques in context. In other words incorporate the chords coming before and after the problem area as you become more proficient.

Consolidating and Preparing

If you are preparing for a performance (at a jam, concert, ‘open mic’), and you play through a new piece without error once, don’t imagine you’ve ‘got it’. If you can do that a number of times in succession without error, not only in the solitude of your own practice area but in environments where other things might be going on, you are probably getting there. Performing brings its own pressures, and if you are in that space, the aim is to get it right every time. Finally — don’t ignore the ‘easy bits’ when you practise. They have a habit of causing grief, especially when you start to relax towards the end of a piece.

Good luck, and happy strumming, picking, tapping and/or singing.
John Low


UPDATE 16 March- The survey has now closed THANK YOU to all who took the time to share their thoughts.

The BUMS committee want your feedback on how BUMS is being run, and how we can make the society more relevant to you. An email  linking to the survey was sent to current financial members on Friday, February 21 at 3:30 PM.

SUBJECT: BUMS Members Survey Feb 2020


The survey takes less than 4 minutes to complete and your answers are anonymous, unless you request further information from us. Your input will help us plan events like workshops, concerts , and social get togethers. It will also help us decide where to focus our attention and energies.

Financial Members please check your inbox for the BUMS Member Satisfaction Survey 2020. Check your spam folder! IF you did not receive the email and you are a current financial member please let Jo know via

Time is running out to let us know what you think- You have until this Sunday 8 March to complete!

Thank you for taking the time, we really appreciate your input, and look forward to an exciting 2020.

Happy BUMS at our Bluegrass Workshop in 2019



Applications to perform at the 9th Annual Central Coast Ukulele & Folk Festival (August 28th-30th 2020) are now open!

Download your application form here.

Applications close on 30 June 2020.

Central Coast’s 9th Ukulele and folk festival will be held entirely at The Diggers at the Entrance, Central Coast Hwy, Long Jetty.

There will be several stages running performances. Workshops are available all weekend.

The Dinner show on Friday 28 August is a ticketed event. We have some brilliant acts both international and local ready to perform for you.

Tickets are purchased at The Diggers by calling (02) 4332 3399 to book a table. Two course meal, plus tea coffee and chocolates. This has been a popular evening and fantastic way to start our festival.

The Central Coast -a beautiful coastal region snuggled between two big cities. It has rainforests, lakes (Tuggerah Lakes, Budgewoi, Lake Macquarie and Lake Munmorah) and beautiful beaches. Long Jetty is 97.2 km from Sydney (1hr 24 min) on the M1 motorway. The nearest rail station is Tuggerah and the bus service runs regularly to and from The Entrance to Tuggerah station on the northern line. Long Jetty is one hour south of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. Accommodation is available at the Ibis Hotel connected to the club or at the many accommodation hotels, resorts and motels around the Entrance. There are also many brilliant camping and van parks grounds within close proximity.

Come and enjoy the live music and the beautiful Central Coast.

For more information, email Liz on