The CAGE, Oct 2018

On Saturday October 27, several bands of BUMS came on board to play at QPAC in order to help facilitate Brisbane’s Open House Weekend.

The Cage, Duke Ukem and Hypnotonics were drawn out of a ballot to perform.

The CAGE undercover at QPAC. Photo: William Lam

The day turned out to be grey, wet and rainy and several changes had to be made at the last moment.  However, this grey day did not at all dampen our spirits.

The Cage were first up and as it was too wet and too many of them to be out on the stage, they were moved to the undercover of the restaurant area they performed personally, (without microphones or even a bass player) to the cafe consumers and to the passing crowds.  This just set the scene of what was to follow …

With the rain still coming down and in true BUMS spirit, Duke Ukem and Hypnotonics performed on the stage and in the rain.  It may have appeared they were performing to an empty crowd … but with chairs now being used as umbrellas, the crowd was up and dancing on the green amidst the glum conditions.  One only had to look up at the walkway above leading to QPAC itself to see it filled with the passing crowd who had stopped to hear us play and it was great to see some fancy jigging up on the walkway too.

What a great morning this turned out to be!

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.