Blair Marks

BUMS Audio System Workshop

The workshop was held at the Coorparoo Bowls Club on 10 November 2018 from 10:00 am until 12:30 pm, under the guidance of BUMS audio-visual wizard, Blair Marks. The workshop was attended by approximately 20 or so geeky ukulele players keen to be inducted into the magical world of how to make more noise and make it sound nice.

The workshop got off to a entertaining start with Blair demonstrating how to roll a cable without kinks and knots appearing when the said cables were unrolled (or ‘thrown’ as Blair referred to it). It looked very easy when it was demonstrated, but all sorts of strange things happened when the participants were each given a cable to practise with.

The workshop then moved on to microphones with a rundown of the different types including omni, cardioid, hypercardioid and condenser, their sensitivity and the various configurations where they are used.


There was also a quick demonstration of how to setup a microphone stand and the various issues that should be considered including the layout of the cables to minimise occupational health and safety issues and to make it easier for the performer. Sprinkled in amongst this part of the workshop was some basic acoustic theory.

We were then introduced to the world of the mixing desk and its basic operation. The system currently in use at the Cooparoo jam uses an iPad (or similar) based interface to give digital control using a wireless digital mixer.

The particular unit demonstrated was the Mackie Master Fader (the Master Fader App which is available free for Android, Mac and PC control) A number of workshop participants downloaded the app during the workshop. Digital mixing accommodates everything from the most simple mixes to complex applications involving massive processing. One major advantage of digital mixing is that it’s scalable and customisable. 

The balance of the workshop involved putting the system together and trouble-shooting including the control of feedback. The use of effects, such as reverb, were also covered at this stage. When the audio system had finally been assembled, the various cables (whether vocal or instrumental) were clearly labelled and ‘loomed’ together to make future setups less complex.


Finally, it was also decided that a roster would be drawn up with two persons each month being nominated to assist Blair in the set up for the Cooparoo Jam. The aim of this exercise was to ensure that BUMS had a core of members familiar with the set up of the audio system who would be able to step in to ensure it was always available even if Blair was not. If you have sound experience please contact our Gigmeister, John Henderson, to be added to the roster (

All those attending thanked Blair for his clear explanation of the sometimes complex issues involved in audio system configurations, agreed that it was a very valuable exercise and that a more advanced workshop should be considered along with one addressing video issues.



Russ' workshop
Samual Grays

On Saturday afternoon Coorparoo Bowls Club came to life with the sounds of the Ukulele Death Squad. Reuben, Julian, Eamon and Ben, the four members of the South Australian band, sang and played original and cover songs with their own unique style and shared their skills with percussive rhythms.

The band led two workshops. Skills taught were likened to tools that can be used to build variety and dynamics within a song. Everyone was involved immediately and enjoyed playing the different parts. Participants left equipped with new skills, some good ideas and with homework to practise. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon – well done, Ukulele Death Squad!

Julie Sharpe

AJ Leonard and Jenny Rowlands made a great team at their recent workshop and concert at Samuel Gray’s. While Jenny was bopping along on the cello, AJ led us through an array of exercises involving a variety of strumming patterns and techniques. We tried a variation on the basic strum with a quick thumb upbeat followed by a downward fan stroke. We finger picked a simple riff to a twelve bar blues. We then moved on to playing a ballad rhythm with triplet downstrokes, octave slides and double stopping. Although it sounds very complicated AJ and Jenny did a great job of leading us through all this and the end result was fantastic. Finally we moved onto playing a bolero rhythm, D dud D dud (x2) then dud dud putting this strum into practice in the second verse of Ukulele Heaven. Apart from getting our heads around this complicated strumming pattern, we were also thrown in the deep end with some less familiar chords which were surprisingly easy to play if you could remember them!

Following the workshop, AJ and Jenny presented a short concert which included a medley of the Doors and an assortment of Christmas songs from their new album.

Both the workshop and the concert were extremely inspiring, and I learnt many new techniques to try out in the future. The combination of ukulele and cello was great. It was especially effective when Jenny played the cello like a double bass. Samuel Gray’s was an ideal venue for this event, and everybody seemed very happy with the new ideas they came away with from the workshop.

Salli Chmura

Julie, John and Keryn have been busy this year, and would like to thank all the wonderful people who came along to make Bootcamps so much fun.

Over 30 budding players enjoyed the Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamps run in April and May.

April 2018 Absolute Beginners Group

Then around 20 more fronted up for Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp in September.

September 2018 Beginners Group

The most common question at the end of each bootcamp is ‘When’s the next bootcamp?’ So keep an eye on BUMS Inc newsletters for advance warning of 2019’s Ukulele Bootcamp offerings.

Vic Kena is a Brisbane resident, of NZ origin and a professional musician for over 30 years. He is the first artist in Australia or New Zealand to be asked to join the Kanile’a Ohana as a sponsored ukulele artist, (Kanile’a are one of the top 5 best ukulele brands in the world) and is keen to assist them and promote both the Kanile’a brand and the ukulele.
Vic celebrates this honour by hosting a one night only Ukulele Extravaganza.
This night is designed for all ages, whether you play an instrument or not and encompasses all the elements of a ukulele festival in one night. There will be a uke jam; open mic; workshop; guest artists from Cairns & Alaska USA, plus his own stellar group to finish the night with a concert filled with impressive highlights featuring songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Sultans of Swing, Hotel California, The Devil Came Down to Georgia and many others.

Oct 13th 2018

Bulimba golf club. 103 Quay st. Bulimba

Evening starts 6pm til 10pm

Adults $30 Students 12yrs & under free. 

Partnered with Brisbane Ukulele Musician’s Society Inc (BUMS Inc)


Seating is limited. 

Please for all enquiries.
Vic plays outstanding guitar, has played with performers like Keith Urban, and is the heart of 7pce Australian Ukulele Show who performed at The Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2017.  He routinely performs around Brisbane as Wild Card Trio; Wild Card Duo; The Kenas, and is in a number of tribute shows. He is an accomplished performer with an extensive repertoire.
Bohemian Rhapsody

Sultans of swing

Kealoha Tenor Guitalele

Tribal dot-paint design with black ABS resin body

A guitalele, also called a kīkū, is a guitar-ukulele hybrid. It’s a cross between a classical guitar and a tenor or baritone ukulele, and is a ¼ of the size of a guitar. Created by master ukulele designer Zhang Xuemin, this vintage guitalele is the perfect instrument for playing anywhere! It replicates the warmth of traditional wood instruments using quality ABS polymers, precision molds and superior manufacturing. It’s a very playable, great sounding, affordable instrument that never needs adjusting.


– Lightweight ABS/Polycarbonate construction
– Tenor ukulele body size
– Scale length 17.25 inch
– Dimensions 70 x 23 x 8 cm (L x W x D)
– Width at nut 48mm
– Guitar style machine heads
– Pinned guitar style bridge
– Silk & steel strings
– Tuned to ADGCEA just like a standard guitar with a capo on the 5th fret

Valued at $80

Tickets 3 for $5 or $2 each

Tickets will be on sale throughout September & October at Coorparoo, Ferny Grove, Northside and Toowong Jams.

The prize will be drawn 7 November 2018 at the Coorparoo Jam.