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.

Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 7:46 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Incredible work! Just amazing what some people can do!

  2. Hi Michael,

    Greetings from England, U.K.! I googled a listing that said, “Mr. Donald McDonald made a ukulele from used matchsticks,” To say my curiosity got the better of me would be an understatement.

    I linked to the page and read the article with great interest especially the comment at the end of the piece and I would like to say—- Thank you very much for the nice comment and link to my late father’s matchstick ukulele.

    It’s amazing to discover another matchstick uke made a mere 52 years before my father’s. How did you find this article? Was a photo published? I wonder if the Ukulele is still around. It would be great to see it. I have my father’s entire collection including five instruments he created during the 1930s, the first one being the matchstick violin and bow built in 1936.

    At first glance as I read the article I assumed The Horsham Times was an English newspaper. This really would have been unreal, because my father made his ukulele in his home town of Brighton in Sussex and the town of Horsham, Sussex is only 15 miles (24 KMS) away.

    Recently, I uploaded some new photos of the matchstick ukulele on my flickr photostream

    I thoroughly enjoyed browsing the website and greatly admired your cigar box Ukuleles (do we have a match here ;-)) and you certainly play a mean uke!

    I will send an email for a copy of your book. Unfortunately, like my father before me I can’t play or read a note, but my son has started to learn the uke. So I am delighted to support Youngcare and I know your book will be of great assistance to him. Were all winners!

    Thanks again.

    Warm regards,

    Tony Hall

    • Hi Tony,

      Thanks for liking my posts. I’m also happy that you appreciate my link to the pictures of your father’s match-stick uke. It’s an amazing piece of work. Is it possible to get a sound sample?

      I use Trove, a website of the National Library of Australia that has a huge collection of scanned pages of historic newspapers available for viewing online.

      Ukulele might be a good father and son activity…

      All the best,

  3. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your reply and for pointing me to Trove. Unfortunately, there are no sound samples; it’s only been played on one occasion. Two years before my father passed away he heard his instruments played together for the first time since he made them. The “Match Quintet” performed live on BBC television and towards the end of ‘Jambalaya’ the banjo player switched over to the ukulele.

    It can be seen being played but you can’t hear it in this video footage on YouTube. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=w2VNdDV6Vzo
    Go to segment three at 6mins & 57secs. Don’t blink though 😉

    I would love to hear it played by someone with your ability. Pity you don’t live in Horsham, Sussex! What tune would you play? A member of UU suggested I learn to play Light My Fire… If only!



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