Home made ukulele — from match-sticks!

The Horsham Times reported, on 2 December 1932, that some people take recycling too seriously.

Mr. Donald McDonald made a ukulele from used match-sticks, complete with ivory bling from a hair clasp.

It took 200o match-sticks to complete the project. I hope Mr. McDonald wasn’t a smoker.

A more recent attempt (and a pretty good looking one) may be seen here.

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Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 7:46 am  Comments (4)  
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Post, post impressionist art on ukuleles — from 1917

Robert Edwards was an illustrator of magazine stories, but was dissatisfied with this lucrative lot. He took up futurist art, but this led to cubism and post, post impressionism, which, as the reporter for the The Sun (15 July 1917) said, would have led to drink and desolation.

What saved our bohemian of Greenwich Village from this dismal fate? The ukulele! And not any ukulele, but hand-made box ukuleles (and ukuleles of other peculiarly proportioned prisms), which he decorated with futurist art works. He took his first creation to a local restaurant and sang a song. A fellow customer asked regarding the ‘fiddle’ he was playing, and ended the brief conversation with the offer to buy the object for $25 (about $1250.00 in current coin) — SOLD! — and our suffering artist never looked back.

Mr. Edwards and his ukes

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Historic Ukulele — Rats of Tobruk

A ukulele belonging to Corporal Harold Smith, who was one of the Rats of Tobruk, was found after his capture and presented to his parents, according to the Perth Daily News of Wednesday 21 April, 1943.

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The ukulele had been decorated with three drawings of rats together with the word “Tobruk”. Members of his unit from officers to privates wrote their names on any spare wood of the ukulele, totalling some 200 signatures. Ned Ducker was the one who recovered the uke and returned it to East Fremantle.

Published in: on March 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ukulele versus guitar — all for a girl

Front page news for the Perth Mirror on 8 October 1938 — the old story of one pretty young woman, and two young men.

The young woman, who was a fine musician, was taken to a dance by one of the two. On the way home, the other fellow rushed up and angry words were exchanged. There was a bit of pushing and shoving at first, but then the ukulele came out and it was vigorously applied to the rival’s head. In reply, the other fellow produced his guitar, and the battle was on.  After the splinters and dust cleared, there remained on the field of honour only the two bruised young men. A third hopeful had come by and escorted the young woman home.

Sic transit gloria mundi

Published in: on March 10, 2012 at 6:51 am  Comments (2)  
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Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain — Brisbane 29 Feb, 2012

I had the privilege of seeing the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, live in Brisbane last night — from a front-row seat.

It was a very fine performance from exceptional ukulele players (and singers, and whistlers). I was a little surprised to see that most of the UOGB used plectrums (Plectra?)  instead of the finger method during the evening, although there were some nice examples of finger strumming from time to time.

I enjoyed the entire evening, but I was particularly impressed by the five players of one ukulele (each additional player adding meaningfully to the melody produced on the uke), and the Russian take on ‘Leaning on a Lamp-post’ as George Formby never did it.

Those of us who brought our ukes along got to play Beethoven, and I took the extra opportunity to wear my “Doesn’t Play Well With Others” T-shirt.

If you get the chance to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, I recommend that you take it.

Published in: on March 1, 2012 at 8:36 pm  Comments (4)  
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Cigarbox Ukulele Number Four

I’ve used Tasmanian Oak for the neck, as it comes ready squared and sized (just need to shape). Maple is so much more expensive.

I think it still sounds ok.

Published in: on March 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm  Comments (4)  
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