Launching The Ukulele Rockers Online School!

Ukulele teacher and BUMS Inc performing member, Erin Harrington (AKA Miss Elm) recently launched The Ukulele Rockers Online School designed to help you use ukulele to unleash your creative superpowers.

To celebrate the launch, Erin is offering all BUMS Inc newsletter subscribers 20% off her two new courses:

  • “Becoming a Ukulele Rocker” for beginners (tuning your uke, 4 different strumming styles, playing basic scales, basic fingerpicking, playing basic chords and chord progressions)
  • Hit the Ground Rocking” to help intermediate for players to advance their ukulele skills (moving past the 3rd fret, changing chord positions easily, intermediate fingerpicking scales and drills, advancing your strumming, creating rhythmic sounds).

There are a limited number of discount coupons available, and the Coupon Code “BUMS” will only be valid until 30 October 2020.

So get in quick!

Visit the The Ukulele Rockers website to join the course. (https://theukulelerockerscourse.teachable.com/)

Type “BUMS” in the payment section. Then click on the ‘coupon’ button when you register to buy a course.

Become Part of The Club

An extension for all ukulele players wanting accountability, personalized guidance and inclusion in Erin’s VIP group.

If you want to learn how to become a member of Erin’s Ukulele Rockers Club Online, email for a discovery call.

Follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/theukulelerockers

Queensland Government Eases Restrictions in Stage 3- July 3 2020

We are all breathing a sigh of relief with the latest news from the Queensland Government which allows for further easing of the restrictions on business and on gatherings. READ the latest public health directions to stay COVID safe for Stage 3: Going out, travel, recreation and gathering in Queensland and Stage 3: Businesses, activities and undertakings

The key points are:

  • From midday 3 July 2020, you can gather in groups of up to 100 people in homes and public spaces.
  • You can travel anywhere in Queensland for any reason, except to remote communities (designated areas). There is no limit on distance. You can stay overnight anywhere in Queensland for as many nights as you like.

ALL physical distancing and health practices still to be followed:

  • staying at home if unwell
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and use alcohol-based sanitiser
  • avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes
  • wherever possible keep at least 1.5 metres away, two big steps, from people you don’t live with.

All businesses can now:

  • have one person per 4 square metres on their premises.
  • businesses with a floor space less than 200 square metres can have one person per 2 square metres, up to 50 people at a time.

Your management committee along with BUMS jam leaders and our community band leaders have met (gotta love Zoom!) to discuss how BUMS Inc will manage our events as we transition out of our time apart. Out of this meeting came BUMS Inc COVID-19 Operating Guidelines for members.

UPDATED 7 JULY: DOWNLOAD BUMS COVID SAFE GUIDELINES V2  BUMSInc_COVID-19_OperatingGuidelines_v2.0

What Stage 3 means to  the BUMS Community.

Your health and safety is our highest priority. We need to consider that many members fall into the high risk category, as well as what is required to maintain the social distancing, cleaning and disinfection protocols before we return to jams face to face.

As BUMS love to sing as we play there are further considerations. Singing is a very effective way of spreading COVID-19#. Consequently, in addition to the above rules and safety protocols, if there is to be singing, it is highly recommended that participants also:

  • not face each other when singing.
  • there must be 1.5m between each singer/player
  • Under Stage 3, singing is permitted with the same distancing requirements listed above ***

*** https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/132704/places-of-worship-factsheet.pdf and extra info:  When and how can choirs sing again without becoming ‘super spreaders’? https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2020-06-14/how-can-we-resume-choir-practice-without-spreading-coronavirus/12344812

BUMS Inc also recommends that if a spike in active cases occurs in South East Queensland, then face-to-face events should be cancelled immediately.

Many smaller groups have notified us that they have started to return to practise and jamming together. If this is happening at a venue like a pub or bowling club, it is expected that the venue will be following COVID safe practices. Please check with your venue what you need to do to stay compliant.

If you are hosting gatherings at your home or in public spaces (like parks) please review and follow the BUMS Inc COVID SAFE GUIDELINES V2  (updated 7 July)  BUMSInc_COVID-19_OperatingGuidelines_v2.0

In particular for activities and events, organisers should:

  • ensure attendees pre-register (name, address, e-mail and contact number).
  • maintain an attendance register of organisers, performers, presenters and attendees. Download a printable BUMS Inc Contact Tracing Register form.
  • hold events outdoors, if possible
  • ensure appropriate ventilation for indoor events, e.g. open windows and doors, or use air conditioning
  • provide hand sanitiser and encourage attendees to bring their own.

Please note: Contact information must be kept for volunteers and attendees for at least 56 days. This must include: Name, family name, address, and mobile or landline contact phone number.

In addition, attendees are encouraged to:

  • run the COVIDSafe app on their mobile phones. More info & download HERE
  • clean their hands, instruments and equipment before and after events
  • use only their own instruments, microphones, etc.
  • sanitise shared equipment (e.g. mixing desk, speakers & stands) before and after events.

Moving Forward

For as long as the Queensland Government COVID-19 public health rules apply, for each event or activity, the BUMS guidelines will be:

  • reviewed (and if necessary, updated) Last updated 7 July
  • displayed at all venues used for BUMS Inc activities and events
  • sent to attendees who have pre-registered.

Currently all of our jam leaders are in contact with our various venues to determine when BUMS Jams are welcome to return. We do not have any firm date yet when that will happen. Check the News & Events Page for the latest event information that we have received.

For the time being all official BUMS jams will continue to be streamed in our private members Facebook Group- BUMS Online. Find out how you can join HERE.

Thank you to all of our members for your patience and to all our busy BUMS community leaders who have shown amazing resilience, creativity and community spirit keeping us entertained and connected.

If you or a group you belong to are returning to meeting or rehearsing please email details to Jo Kunde via .

EOFY MEMBERSHIP GIFT

It’s the end of the financial year and that usually means that it’s time to renew your BUMS Inc Membership. However we find ourselves in strange and discordant times, and so a decision was taken by your management committee, that all current memberships will be extended until 31 December.

One of the big perks of being a BUMS Financial Member is free entry into all of our jams and the eligibility to join one of our community bands. As social distancing and current Covid-19 restrictions are keeping us from gathering for jams and practices, 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.

This means ALL current financial members and extraordinary associate members will keep all the rights and privileges they currently hold even if we get back to jamming before the end of the year.

BUMS ONLINE

All BUMS members are invited to join our private Facebook group called, you guessed it, BUMS Online! The group has grown rapidly to support and help our members with all things ukulele including sharing songs, performances from home, discussions, reviews, tutorials, and our popular live-streaming jams. We currently have 295 members active online and there is lots happening!

We are up to our eighth Big Uke Jam Online on 1 July 2020. Jam #8 features sets from Mama Juju & The Jam Tarts, David Hethorn, David Pedler & Lyn Lucas, Caroline Haig, Adrian Board, and Spare Parts with Max Borchardt as MC.

If you use Facebook and have not yet joined BUMS Online come and check it out https://www.facebook.com/groups/BUMSmembers

If you are not a current financial member (Jul 2019- Dec 2020) you can join as an extraordinary associate member to be accepted into the BUMS Online Facebook Group. All you need to know HERE.

PLEASE NOTE: BUMS Online is a safe, supportive space for our community and is moderated. You MUST be either a current financial member OR an extraordinary associate member BEFORE being accepted as a member of the BUMS Online Group. Non-members will be declined. 

FINANCIAL MEMBERS PRIVILEGES

For those who have paid their dues current financial members (Jul 2019- Dec 2020) also still have
• The right to vote at general meetings. AGM scheduled for October 2020.
• To nominate for positions on the society’s management committee.
• Eligibility to be promoted on our ukulele performers and ukulele teachers web pages.
• Eligibility to sell your old uke via our website or social media when you upgrade your instrument.

RENEWALS IN 2021

The New Year will be a new start for BUMS. ALL memberships will be due for renewal and the extraordinary associate membership period will end.

The good news is that there will be a reduced fee of $25 for this Jan 2020 – Jul 2021 period.

Don’t worry we’ll let you know all about it in December. BUMS Membership would make a great Christmas gift!

Membership fees help BUMS Inc to

  • maintain our performance and audio visual equipment,
  • hire venues for jams,
  • offset the costs of concerts and workshops so members receive discounts,
  • and run our biennial ukulele festival, SPRUKE.

BUMS is planning to support our ukulele community and performers with some exciting events, concerts and workshops as soon as it is safe for us all to gather again.

Due to its success, the BUMS Online Members Group is expected to also continue and will become one of the perks of continuing BUMS membership.

Life Members 2020

Congratulations to Keryn Henderson and Ian Phillips on being awarded Life Membership of BUMS Inc in recognition of their outstanding and dedicated contributions to the BUMS community and activities.

Keryn Henderson
Many committee roles since 2012 including Treasurer, Secretary and Gigmeister, works behind the scenes on many projects including website development, newsletters, SPRUKE festivals, BUMS policies and the DropBox music library, created and runs ukulele Bootcamp for beginners.

 

 

 

Ian Phillips

Performing member in The CAGE and A Hint of Rosemary; President 2015-2017, Coordinator of The CAGE, organiser of UkeFest (for primary school children) in 2016, created ChUKES (a community band for young players), organiser of Coorparoo Big Jam, song leader at jams and BUMS Online, singing and musical mentor to BUMS bands.

 

As Life Members Keryn and Ian enjoy all the benefits of our regular members including free entry to all of our large monthly jams, eligibility to join one of our community bands, and the right to nominate for committee positions and AGM voting priviledges. As well as all of these their membership fees are waived for life and they receive a certificate of appreciation.

Keryn and Ian join six other BUMS Inc Life Members and you can read more about them here.

Ukulele in the Park @ Parkinson

I’m one of those people that comment on posts on Facebook — and then sometimes regret it!

You know, commenting on topics like, vaccines, for or against or Rugby or AFL, or even more disturbing, should I have dinner out tonight?

Well, some weeks ago I saw a post on our local residents Algester/Parkinson Facebook page asking about ukulele. The questions was about starting a local group. So I answered. Sure, I play. How can I help? A few random posts on the page asking if anyone was interested in learning, and we were off and running.

Ukulele in the park

Angie’s uke converts practising in the park.

Tuesday 9 June was our 3rd meeting. We meet in a lovely little park with a rotunda in a very quiet neighbourhood in Parkinson.

I have become the accidental teacher with anywhere between 8 and 15 enthusiastic learners. All absolute beginners — but some picking up the concept quicker than others.

Generally, I print five 2- or 3-chord songs for the group, and they contribute a gold coin donation to cover printing costs. For people seeking advice about upgrading their ukuleles, I suggest the local music store at Browns Plains. To help them widen their repertoire, I also encourage them to use YouTube and purchase the Ukulele Club Songbook.

We’ve now morphed into two little groups, and I have enlisted another player to help with the “very” beginners while I coach the more “advanced” beginners.

For an hour and a half, so much is learned, played and enjoyed that you can only smile at the joy the ukulele brings. I’ve been privileged to meet some wonderful people who  have come along and joined in during the COVID19 isolation, and experienced community and friendship through ukulele.

I’ve set them a goal — by the end of September, have six songs ready to perform in a local venue.

Stay tuned for an update of where and when so that you can come and cheer these great people on.

Angela McGrath

Maree Reedman

The 100 Days of Ukulele Challenge is a ukulele journey with a difference.

Budding singer, songwriter and ukulele player Maree Reedman tells us how she wrestled with the challenge.

Maree shares her  journey.


Performance Anxiety

Fear clamped all the way from my stomach to my throat as I waited to go on stage at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival open mic. I should be alright. I’d practised the song. But it was the biggest crowd I had seen — over a hundred people. I walked up to the mic, my heart beating faster than a rock song. When I sang, it was like a strangler vine had taken over my vocal chords. I couldn’t control my voice. It was much higher than it should be. The crowd was kind and sang with me. But to this day, I remember the man who made a face and turned away.

That was a few years ago. I’m not a natural performer. I don’t thrive on people’s attention. I don’t love parties. And yet because I love playing the uke, I keep trying to find a way to become more confident on stage. I’ve improved since then, and I’ve never felt that level of fear again. I’ve done more open mics and busking, and even entered songwriting competitions where I’ve had to perform my song.

Taking on the Challenge

Day 10: Choir Girl by Cold Chisel

Then I saw this year’s 100 Days of Ukulele on Cynthia Lin’s Patreon page. She launched the challenge a few years ago, from another internet-based art idea, #THE100DAYPROJECT. Now she hosts it every year in a private Facebook group.

Ukulele musicians are invited to post a song daily. There are no rules, you can do a song whenever you want.

But I have always been fascinated by hardship and the personal growth that it yields, so I wanted to do it the traditional way: one song, every goddamn day.

 

Getting Started

And yet, should I wait until I was better? I hadn’t figured out my iRig pre-amp yet. What was I going to do about sound? A friend said, “For God’s sake, just record yourself in the bathroom.” And so I did … for my first song.

I’ve posted over seventy songs. I joined Facebook and uploaded to YouTube. In the beginning, I spent hours setting up my recording space — the best spot for the amp and the mic and the music stand and lighting (my study faces west and doesn’t get much natural light).

Day 61: Waiting For You To Come Home (Original)

I’ve had technical glitches and reno-across-the-road problems that have wrecked recordings which took so long to make, and have even driven me out of the house in search of a quiet place to perform.

Day 71: If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot/Johnny Cash

In the beginning, knowing I had to record, I had that familiar churning in my guts. But it’s just part of my everyday routine now. I smile at the camera. I laugh like a madwoman when I make mistakes. Sometimes I sing like I’ve always wanted. And every day, people give me positive feedback.

The Outcome

I still chafe against perfectionism. Sometimes I can’t make the song sound like I want it to. I don’t have much time to learn or rehearse or arrange. It is a wicked, fantastic behavioural experiment for my high standards that I have to post something every day no matter what.

I still get envious of the performers whom everyone loves and who are better than me. But I’ve made friends all over the world, and I remember what another participant wrote: It is beautiful where we all are at this very moment.

What is YOUR ukulele journey?

People take up playing ukulele for lots of reasons – for fun, as a challenge, to meet new people, to stimulate their brain cells, to keep up with their kids and grandchildren.  Why did you pick it up?

You might have started playing a $35 ukulele in your back bedroom, or by attending a beginners’ class somewhere.  Once you got over sore fingers, there are many different directions to take with the world’s friendliest musical instrument.  We plan to ask you — our members — to tell us about your journey and what the uke has done for you.

Steps along the way

Here are some examples on steps you might have taken or could take.

  • Attend a live BUMS jam or try a jam you haven’t been to before.
  • Attend workshops run by BUMS, at festivals or by private teachers.
  • Access YouTube videos to improve your skills – fingerpicking, strumming, playing melodies.
  • Upgrade your instrument to sound better and play more easily.
  • Play for your family.
  • Practise so you can do an open mic at a jam or on BUMS Online.
  • Join a BUMS community band for regular practice.
  • Perform in public.
  • Join in BUMS Online jams and tutorials.
  • Find a ukulele buddy or buddies to play with.
  • Take singing lessons.
  • Learn how to use internet resources create song sheets with lyrics and chords.
  • Form a band with other BUMS.
  • Learn to use a microphone.
  • Amplify your uke.
  • Record yourself and edit your videos.
  • Try a different style of ukulele – banjolele, baritone, ubass, or an eight string or a six string uke.
  • Develop on percussion skills.
  • Run workshops for other musicians.

There is a no doubt that ukulele brings people together to have fun.  Just look round at all the smiling faces at a jam (Can you remember back in February?).  There are few other musical instruments where players join in like this.

What do you get from playing?  What’s your story, and what has ukulele done for you?  Write us your story or get in touch with Peter Grace to chat about your journey.  We’d love to hear from you.

Ever wondered about ubass? Experienced musician and performer, Cath McCourt, summarises the ubass experience.

Playing ubass is the most satisfying instrument. You’re the rhythm, the beat, tone, soul and sweet melody, especially when you’re in a room full of ukuleles, the bass mellows them out.

 Ubass? What’s that?

The ukulele bass is the largest instrument in the ukulele family, and similar in size to a standard baritone ukulele. It’s tuned the same as a bass guitar, double bass, or the four lowest-pitched strings on a guitar. The ubass has the scale length of a standard baritone ukulele, but it’s scale length is shorter than the typical electric bass guitar.

One appeal of the bass ukulele is its ability to produce a big sound despite being much smaller than a bass guitar. Although at about 75-80 centimetres in length, it is still pretty big compared to most ukuleles.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Bass Ukuleles gives a good description of types of ubass, and some ubass features. (strings, octave range, pickups and frets).

The Bass for You

The ubass body type affects its appearance and sound. Bass ukuleles look like a giant ukulele, or a baby bass guitar. The sound of a hollow body bass ukes resembles the upright bass, while a solid body bass uke sounds more like an electric bass guitar. Remember to choose the body type that best suits your style of music.

The Kala Ubass is around $600 and has the sound of a double bass from the thick rubber strings.  Kala also make electric ubasses with metal wound strings that sound more like an electric bass for around $800. The Mahalo Ubass is better value, just over $325, and they are a great little acoustic instrument. Check out ubass options at Morris Brothers Music Store at Stafford.

Learning Options

Now to put all that into practice you can learn a lot from Youtube and online face-to-face lessons. When watching YouTube videos about uBass, it helps if you use good quality headphones.

The advantage of pre-recorded online lessons you find online is that you can revise lessons whenever you want and how often you need.

Former instrumental music teacher, Rod Iffinger advises,

“If you are a beginner I recommend buying an introductory bass guitar method book, e.g. the Hal Leonard method with the CD/DVD. THE TUNING AND NOTES ARE THE SAME AS A BASS GUITAR. You can also record yourself playing uke on your smartphone or tablet and then work on your bass skills by playing along with yourself. You can experiment with different bass lines in the comfort of your own practice space.

Start off just playing the tonic of the chords in the song, once you are comfortable with that, start including other notes of the chord e.g. tonic and dominant (1st and 5th notes of the chord) and then experiment with passing notes and developing your own riffs. As you develop seek opportunities to play bass with ensembles that you belong to. The bass is an important part of the group. It drives the group rhythmically as well as providing  a harmonic foundation for the strummers and singers.”

However, for the offline experience, hopefully later this year, BUMS will conduct more bass sessions to round out your bass experience. Meanwhile, you can certainly plug in your ubass and play along at BUMS Online hosted in Facebook.

Once jams resume, you might like to buddy up with one of our more experienced ubass players.

Visit our BUMS Inc ‘Playing Ubass‘ web page to find out more.


Brisbane (& surrounds) Based Players

Mick Angeles

When I started my recording studio, MARS Productions, (Mick Angeles Recording Studios) formerly MicaMusic Productions Studios, I had my brother playing bass on recordings. He decided he didn’t want to do it anymore, so I bought a 5 string bass and started playing bass myself. Being a lead guitarist, I tended to overplay bass lines in the beginning. So I cut back but maintained the diversity. I taught myself ukulele attending BUMS jams, and loved the solid deep double bass sound quality of the ubass when it’s set up properly. I bought a ubass (three now), and use them regularly in my studio.”

(Mick played ubass at BUMS Northside and Coorparoo jams, at clubs in Hervey Bay, Townsville and Bundaberg and at SPRUKE, Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival and Bony Mountain Music Festival. He alternates between ukulele and ubass when he performs with his band DUKE UKEM and when he fills in at gigs with Hypnotonics, Kine Kool, Ol’ 55 member Keith Pavy and numerous other musicians. Check out Mick’s COVID Lockdown Show on Facebook, and play along.)

Jim Bills

“Trained as a classical pianist, I’ve always had a bass clef in my musical life. When inspired to play a string bass, the physical size of an upright bass was a blocker. I investigated some novel bass instruments like the Kona Walking Bass (no longer available). But then I heard Joe Souza demonstrate his newly-designed Islander by Kanile’a PAKO  at NAMM 2013.  The ability to deliver so close to the sound of an upright bass sold it to me.   So I acquired PAKO off the wall at the Kanile’a shop in 2014. She’s FRETLESS.

Whenever PAKO appears, the initial mirth of bass players changes to outstretched hands within a few notes, and I often have difficulty re-establishing ownership. Like ukulele, ubass can be simple, or complex at virtuoso level. I’m always willing to play at jams, but there is now a long queue of keen bass players for BUMS jams, and then there are other ukulele to play as well!

(Jim played bass for fortnightly sessions at Sheltered by Grace Homeless Shelter with Vic Kena, at the Scratch Bar and Coorparoo Jams, and filled in a time or two with Stephen Sandilands. He also performs with Kine Kool.)

Ross Clark

“Bari-uke was my first instrument (in 2009 – I was a very late starter), and soon after that guitar. But I’d always been interested in what was developing overseas with low-end uke, so when the u-bass came to Australia, I got one, and loved it straight-away. I quickly inveigled my way into The Performing BUMS (under Pres Bruce Uhlhorn); our band had the only u-bass at both the inaugural Melbourne Ukulele Festival and the inaugural Cairns Ukulele Festival! Others took notice, and now most groups (wisely) have one. I’m now mostly a guitarist and tenor-ukulelist, but am developing a more melodic way of playing bass; the small body-size of my beloved “Choogle” enables a variation on fingerstyle to work well.”

(Ross was the inaugural ubassist in The Performing BUMS. He now occasionally plays ubass in his duo Daylight Moon with Helena Bond, who also plays it sometimes. Ross is currently writing/arranging some songs for voice and solo u-bass and leg-bells.)

Carol Dudley

I first heard uBass played in 2015 at Coorparoo and Toowong jams (remember those??). Intrigued by the lovely deep sound, I noticed that when I listened to groups playing, it was the bass part that I heard. After learning the fretboard position of a few notes, I played very simply at first — mainly just the root notes and a few passing notes. I began taking my ubass to weekly jams of the Logan group HUGs, but stopped after a few months. When Ian Phillips asked me to stand-in as bass player for The CAGE in 2018, I played and practised more regularly and began to extended myself.

I learnt to read tabs because I have no knowledge of musical theory and can’t read music either. Watching YouTube instructional videos or bass covers of songs was a great help. I’ve since played the bass for The CAGE at jams and a couple of festivals, and I was very pleased when The Ukey Beats invited me to be their bass player. Practising for The CAGE and The Ukey Beats fills many, many happy hours of my week. I absolutely love it and can’t wait to get back out there, playing in those groups!

(Carol attends Coorparoo, HUGS and Westside jams, and performs with The CAGE and The Ukey Beats.)

Len Farina

After starting in BUMS on a tenor uke over 5 years ago, I undertook Cath McCourt’s Bass Classes as I was interested in learning to play bass. She is a fantastic musician who inspired me to be the founding member of the Spare Parts ukulele band in which I could play bass. Spare Parts has performed at numerous BUMS Northside and Coorparoo jams and at SPRUKE 2019. I love playing bass and always strive to pick up new patterns to improve my bass playing. I encourage anybody interested to take up bass playing.

(Len plays ubass for Spare Parts, and attends Northside and Coorparoo jams.

Karen Henderson

Having played double bass since my teens in small jazz combos and symphony orchestras as well as piano and organ, I have always loved the important function of the bass in music and enjoy playing the bass in ensembles. I was drawn to the ubass 10 years ago when we formed our Dukes of Uke Club. I love the woody timbre and being a theory nerd, I enjoy teaching bass lines, techniques and style to our uke classes at Binary Music in our Studio and on Zoom every week.”

(Karen plays ubass in the Redland City Ukuleles, the Swing Time Jazz Club, and changes to the ubass for pop and rock numbers in their local Redland Sinfonia orchestra.)

Rod Iffinger

Playing bass is fun, challenging and versatile with lots of opportunities to play different styles of music. Oh, and it can be highly addictive! My first foray into bass playing came many years ago at uni. I studied brass (trumpet and horn) but I was also required to learn a string instrument. So I spent a year grappling with string bass in group lessons.

Some years later I bought a bass guitar. Once again it was a struggle playing a full-sized bass with a 34-inch scale as arthritis affects my finger mobility. Then I discovered the ukulele and fell in love with it. And when I saw a bass ukulele for the first time I knew that I was onto a winner. I bought a solid mahogany ubass, and started learning how to play it. Not long after that I bought a second one, this time a solid body which looks like a scaled down bass guitar. One of the most useful things I did was to attend Cath McCourt’s two-day workshop.

(Rod Iffinger plays bass with The CAGE, A Hint of Rosemary, other groups and with his music students.)

Cath McCourt

Being a musician most of my life, I realised that playing guitar had two parts — the high strings are the lead/melody, and the lower strings are the bass. You might say I was an accidental bass player, when our bassist didn’t turn up one night and so I put the knowledge I had learnt into that performance on bass. I found it was meant to be!

(BUMS Life Member, Cath McCourt played ubass at performances and uke festivals with The BUMS Big Band, The Bottom Line, Anything Goes, Mama Juju and the Jam Tarts, Hypnotonics and most recently as a member of The Inconvenience Store, with Terry Sasaki & Tony Richardson. Cath plays ubass at several BUMS jams, and prior to COVID cancellations, led the WE BUMS jam at West End. As one of our most talented and experienced bass players, Cath often runs bass workshops for BUMS.)

Marg Monaghan

Initially an enthusiastic soprano and tenor uke player, pain in my hands began to make playing a little difficult. I gave the ubass a try, and was instantly hooked. YouTube helped. I even took some lessons from a young man who was a little confused about this tiny bass instrument. Most of my bass learning took place when I played with NUMB BUMS and Duke Ukem. Mick Angeles would show me a riff. I would video it, then practise until I had it. Eventually, you reach a point where you have a basic understanding of the ‘shape’ of most songs and can adapt to play along.

(Marg played with NUMB BUMS and Duke Ukem, and at open mics with The Ukey Beats at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival at Kenilworth. She’s also been an occasional set leader at Wavell Heights, Coorparoo and most recently on Facebook for BUMS Online Jams.)

Paul Morris

Paul Morris from Morris Brothers Music Store is an experienced musician who has played bass guitar in bands. Paul noticed that ukulele beginners struggled to keep up with the pace and complexity of songs at some BUMS Inc jams. So he decided to launch a beginners jam at Ferny Grove. He took up ubass to accompany Linda Gough leading sets at the jams. Ferny Grove has moved beyond being a beginners jam, but keeps the goal of catering well for beginners alive through the hour-long pre-jam beginners group run by Donna Farrell.

(Paul attends Northside and Coorparoo jams, and plays ubass for set leaders at Ferny Grove jams.)

Peter Sercombe

Well having never played any musical instrument in my life, I thought I had better join in and keep Sue company playing a uke. But the uke really wasn’t for me. Then Will Whitaker showed me the ubass, and I persevered to become a fairly basic bass player. I’ve improved a bit over the past couple of years, and I guess I’ve done a few things right, as I was the initial bass player for The CAGE, A Hint of Rosemary, the Toowong Jam, and now our Westside Jam at Rosemount. Of course, Sue picks up my occasional!!! wrong notes.

(Peter enjoys coming to Coorparoo Jams, and plays ubass at the Westside Jam.)

Chris Slater

“I wanted to expand my ukulele experience, and to this end I was given a bass ukulele for my 70th birthday. I enjoy the deep sound of the bass and the challenge of working out and researching the various patterns, riffs and runs for new songs.”

(Chris plays ubass for NUMB BUMS and Ukulele Saints at community events and ukulele festivals. He’s a regular at Ferny Grove and Northside Jams.)

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!

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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.