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artwombat
03-04-2014, 03:42 PM
UKULELE Karaoke
Don’t Laugh it is FUN

By Mango Chutney

Enter stage right; Ukulele Karaoke.

Youtube videos have made Ukes (Tiny Tim Hawaiian small 4 string guitars) more popular than ever and groups are popping up everywhere.

For example; BUMS (Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society) will loan you a Uke and give you ˝ hour of instruction then let you play in their JAM sessions. Yes folks, ˝ an hour of tuition and no musical experience and you are playing along with the mob - Karaoke style.

Not only but also, you can strum along, then with experience you can add some chords to your repertoire then some fancy strum cycles and if you want more you can pick the individual strings to play your favourites, from folk tunes to Rock and Roll and any other musical genre under the cotton pickin’ sun.

It is a weird marriage of a basic stringed instruments with computer technology and the internet.

Ukulele Karaoke is plan “A”.

Then there is plan “B”.

Plan “B” is like aerobics or zumba or dance classes, where there is a lead person up front and everyone follows the lead. So we can all watch the experienced uke player and we strum along.

And of course there is a Plan “C” and plan C is where you go solo.

You could say that,

Uke Karaoke is the sing along for people who can’t sing or read music.

What is the cost?
Ukes start at $25 and go to $ hundreds but the general rule of thumb is parents buy the cheapest for their kids and spend more on themselves. You can, of course, enjoy Uke Karaoke with the cheapest uke and you can buy them in fun colours but the bulk of the dearer ones that are sold to adult beginners cost up to $200.

Electronic Tuning Aid
You can buy an easy to use clip-on tuning screen for $15 to $30.

What else do you need
You can free download almost everything uke from the internet.

Dress the part
Men can dress cool and fruity in a black tee and jeans or go for the other cool look - Hawaiian shirt and shorts. Or hippy style for folk music or the urban cowboy look for C and W or as a serious musician with the penguin look.

Form a Group or join a Group
You can do either, here are some starting points for your research http://www.brisbaneukulele.com/ http://www.strictlyukulele.com/ http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/

Naming your own Group
BUMS is an acronym for Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society so that one tells it all - where, what, and that they are out for a bit of fun, and there are other fun named groups using acronyms.

Q and A
Yes, they all have nylon strings
Yes, they come in different sizes and the bigger sizes have more room for fat fingers. “Soprano” is the popular smallest size and the next size up is “Tenor”..
Yes, you can get a solid wood, battery powered, electric uke for under $200 with earphones.
Yes, you can quieten a uke, you do it by jamming a pair of socks in the big hole.
Yes, you can buy an outdoors Uke made from high-tech ABS plastic from China and a more expensive outdoor uke from the USA.
Yes, ukes can be made in novelty shapes and made from things like cigar boxes and frying pans. A popular novelty shape is the “Pineapple Uke”.
Yes you can buy a banjo uke.
Yes, you can buy coloured ukes and ukes with artwork and inlaid mother of pearl, the decor options are endless.
Yes, you are allowed to buy more than one uke.
Yes ukes are happiness on a stick and it is hard to be miserable while wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

Cross- Generational Appeal
There are uke Youtube videos for everybody even Row row row your boat and even a master of the uke plays Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody which gets a standing ovation. Sit through his little intro then wait to be amazed. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xljakz_ted-talk-jake-shimabukuro-plays-bohemian-rhapsody_music

The end

© C.J.Griffin 2014

Author’s Note
This article is the product of research and at the time of writing I am not a ukulele owner, player, or member of any ukulele playing group. So I apologise for any inaccuracies, errors or misconceptions and

bazmaz
03-05-2014, 07:55 PM
Is this an advert?

artwombat
03-05-2014, 08:57 PM
Not an add

Booli
03-06-2014, 01:35 PM
I am sorry if this is an obvious question, but I don't really understand the original post to this thread, is this a joke? A satire?

Forgive me, as I'm not trying to be difficult, but if this is for real, I am having a really hard time understanding just what it is that your writing about, it's very confusing the way you have presented it.

The way it's written here, if this was a service that was for sale, I would not give ANY money based upon this description as it sounds really fishy to me the way it's written.

If this is supposed to be some kind of invitation to start learning the ukulele, I am not inspired, and in fact almost angry after reading it.

Why?

Because to me, it reads almost as borderline pejorative and sort of ridiculing the ukulele, but not quite enough to actually be offensive - maybe that was your intent?

Please understand, I am not trolling, I'm just giving an honest observation.

artwombat - Maybe you should clarify your intent for posting this information.

ksiegel
03-06-2014, 03:37 PM
It looks like a quick newspaper article for what we'd call "The Weeklies" here in my neck of the US. A local tabloid paper that is free, and is distributed at grocery stores and coffee shops.

It is used to fill space, and give a little info - the writer probably gets $10-20 for writing it.

Looks harmless. Read the last line again.




-Kurt

artwombat
03-06-2014, 05:07 PM
Thanks for the posts and the interest.

Congratz to those who picked me as a pro-writer.

I write for recreation but I am a qualified Journo.

I enjoy research and writing and I prefer unfamiliar subjects so that I can learn along the way. If I think it might interest someone else, I post it in a forum.

The "art" with researched writing of short pieces is not what to put in, but what to leave out. So what I do is find a "niche" or a different viewpoint and work that through as a theme and therefore some info automatically drops out. These pieces are not news, so they do not have a place in newspapers.

Journos include their sources for credibility, hence I used "B.U.M.S" but I have no connection with them.

I have offered it in here as a different viewpoint because I am sure that nearly all the usual suspects (regular readers of this forum) have established a viewpoint, but not the Karaoke/aerobics themed viewpoint that I have written.

I have not ridiculed or demeaned ukes, even if I burst someone's bubble.

Writing about something does not change the facts, even if the information therein is wrong. What it does do is give someone else the opportunity to correct outsiders misconceptions.

My thread is not an advertisement nor do I have any connections with any quoted organisation and my intent is selfish gratification as a recreational writer, nothing more and nothing less.

If it made you happy or angry, from my point of view, it is better than "ho-hum, so what,who cares"

Thanks for reading.

artwombat
03-06-2014, 10:04 PM
B.U.M.S. (Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society) via Facebook have asked if they can use my Ukulele Karaoke piece on their Web Site and I said yes they can use it how they choose to.

Booli
03-06-2014, 10:16 PM
artwombat - thanks for your writing back here...

If you want to really understand anything about the ukulele first-hand, which will significantly improve both your understanding of the instrument, as well as the accuracy of your writing about it...

...might I kindly suggest that you pick up an inexpensive, yet decent uke of your own for $50-$100?

As a ukulele player and enthusiast myself, your content seems that you are repeating certain popular misconceptions that would be easily resolved should you have an instrument of your own to learn on and play.

When these misconceptions are sprinkled in with some elements of truth, is dilutes both the content and the context of what you have written above.

Imagine reading an article that is about the iPhone, but the writer has never ever used, or even held one in his hand, and the story is written from a distance, based upon 3rd-party sources - this has little value to the reader.

Having your own ukulele would be an 'investment', not only to improve your writing, but also will provide you with a joyous pastime. Even if you have no previous musical experience, it does not matter, as the ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn how to play.

You can post a message here on the forum under the 'Buying Tips' section (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?37-Buying-Tips) (<--this is a link which will open that for you), which if your question is specific enough, you will receive lots of helpful suggestions from many members here who have traveled down this well-beaten path before you.

Alternatively, if you are too shy to post a message since you are new to this forum, it might help you to read through some of the very helpful threads that other members have created where this same question has been asked countless times before.

You can also attend a local ukulele group jam session near you to see what all the excitement is about. This section (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?21-Regional-Get-Togethers) (<--this is a link which will open that for you) of the forum can help you find one nearby. You can attend even if you do not have a ukulele yet, and you will still be able to see and understand what it going on, and maybe someone there will have one to lend you that you can hold and play yourself - who knows, you might love it!

Despite what you might have read or heard, there are MILLIONS of ukulele jam sessions, happening every day, all over the word!

Globally, the ukulele is MORE popular than guitar.

By your post it seems that maybe B.U.M.S. (Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society) is local to you - so why not find out if they have any ukulele groups, and when they get together to go see how it works? Maybe you should start one?

One last idea - being that you are a professional journo, maybe you can use your credentials and resume to persuade one of the ukulele makers to send you an instrument 'for review' that you can have in your possession for like 30 days or something.

Do a story of 'My experience as a complete beginner with the ukulele' as the subject, or something related - I'm sure millions of people will want to read it.

When you publish your article, the ukulele maker may offer you to keep the instrument as a 'thank you', or ask you to return it, but in that 30 days, there are lots of thing that can happen, it's all up to you, and how motivated you are.

Maybe this is a good starting point for you with regard to all the above: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?69058-Info-Thread-Entry-Level-Ukuleles

Using these suggestions can only improve your appreciation and understanding of the ukulele.

The only variables are:

A) if you are committed to pursuing the truth, as opposed to relying upon obsolete and misconceived ideas that are mostly inaccurate as of 2014. (you have to do your own research, hands-on)

B) how much of an interest and commitment you have, or are willing to make.

The ukulele is waiting for you, to be discovered by you first-hand. Maybe fate has brought you here, just for this purpose?

Good luck on your journey!

-Booli

artwombat
03-07-2014, 12:54 AM
artwombat - thanks for your writing back here...

If you want to really understand anything about the ukulele first-hand, which will significantly improve both your understanding of the instrument, as well as the accuracy of your writing about it...

...might I kindly suggest that you pick up an inexpensive, yet decent uke of your own for $50-$100?

As a ukulele player and enthusiast myself, your content seems that you are repeating certain popular misconceptions that would be easily resolved should you have an instrument of your own to learn on and play.

etc as above

-Booli


Thanks Booli.

You have made a great suggestion or two, thank you. I have already received an invitation from BUMS https://www.facebook.com/BrisbaneUkulele. (Colin Griffin)

Journalists do not always write from first hand experience because they cannot be expert on everything they write about (that is why good journos quote their sources). Besides that I get a kick out of researching something new to me and not rehashing old pieces into new. Some journos specialize in sports or planes or politics or the arts but they too have to write on aspects of their specialty without first hand experience. They also have to keep editors and advertisers happy (they pay the wages).

To be fair, my knowledge base is huge on many things, but not expert on all things.

My two sons showed no musical interest growing up but they want me to have a go with a uke now. One son took up the guitar as an adult and taught himself to read music and then did some writing and had a couple of bands and played base guitar, nothing big time but he did win best base guitarist at a Brisbane Battle of the Bands. His bands were highly paid but not for their music only for their day jobs. His sons are getting a proper musical start and one has a trumpet and the other is still on the recorder and they are both getting piano lessons.

My other son did not do anything musical (41yo now) and recently bought a Banjo then got a job off-shore 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off on the equator on an Island just north of New Guinea, fly in fly out, and of course the Banjo cannot go too and he will have to entertain himself.

So I decided to have a look at ukes for him (he did not ask me to).

I solved the conundrum with my engineering background (I did 28 years in mega-factory industrial automation then 18 years as Senior Inspector of Environment including noise complaints before retiring).

The answer was of course a ABS plastic Uke, ABS is an engineering quality plastic and as tough as old boots and not affected by harsh environments. This uke might not be better under normal circumstances but the quality should not change when it is booted around in soft luggage in small aircraft and major airlines plus transfers every 2 weeks (the journey from Brisbane takes all day) and of course in high ambient temps and high humidity and low temps and humidity at altitude in small aircraft.

Nothing much stands alone and knowledge crosses over the disciplines, and I know from experience that nothing much is what it seems to be.

That said my knowledge of noise is very high but I did not rate as an expert (environment complaints only), my readings stood up in court but we used expert analysis from world experts when we had to. I belong to a Men's Shed (you might like to look them up) and we do a lot of woodwork and wood machining to add to my engineering experience One of our members sons who is a neighbor of ours makes guitars. So help is never far away. (I like to keep a stable of experts that I can call on)

So despite me not having a trained musical ear, there are a lot of assessments I can make on an item like a Ukulele.

I still play organised sport, and I understand attitudes and structures that make clubs and associations work (or fail) so that is always a bonus and I am impressed by the success of BUMS.

I have always limited my club membership to 3 at any one time and at the moment I am only active in 2 organisations the Men's Shed and Lawn Bowls. I sold my historic motorcycle and my motor-home is up for sale and the price of fuel and tolls has stopped me going to Archery (pretend hunt in the bush).I still have a Harley Davidson look-alike and the road registered racing car I built and 3 kayaks, and I still paint art and draw. My last major project was a ventriloquist figure and my current Men's shed project is a take apart row-boat made from plywood and fiberglass.

So mate, I am not prone to sitting around twiddling my thumbs but I do have room for one more club and BUMS might be in with a chance.

Booli
03-07-2014, 01:24 AM
It sounds like you are on the right track. Nobody can be expert at everything - no worries mate! :)

There are a few less expensive ABS plastic ukes you might want to look at:

Woodi ($29)
Korala Explorer ($99)
Outdoor Ukulele ($99)

These are all being manufactured currently. I invite you to use the search function here at the top right side of the forum window and see what others think of them.

For ruggedness and 'just throw it in a bag and go' it seems to me that the 'Outdoor Ukulele' is the one to get, and for $100 might be the best investment if you are looking at a harsh environment, but it requires a slightly different style of play than almost all other ukes, and you would do well to read the discussion threads here on UU to see what the consensus is.

You can also find them easily via Google search. I think the Korala is only available from the UK currently, and the easiest place to buy the Woodi soprano is ebay, and the Outdoor, they sell direct from their web site.

You mention the musical experiences and interests of others, and your approach to writing, yet I do not see if you've said anything about YOUR OWN interest for music or an instrument.

Do yo have any interest for the ukulele for yourself?

Maybe have a look at these videos:

Jake Shimabukuro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln8zyW-2-Eo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB3RbO7updc

James Hill
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yRY74cYXcI

John King
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=935ExOpT5bI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr_Zhy5zkus

Sarah Maisel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkKdN2MdaI8

Lyle Ritz, Jim & Liz Beloff
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBfh2BLdPQw

Corey Fujimoto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AldUuEI_qbQ

artwombat
03-07-2014, 10:20 AM
Thanks for for the tips Booli I will check them out.

To answer your question I rate my natural musical ability to 3 out of 10 because I have always avoided dancing and I basically cannot sing outside my head and I admire people who play but I have never really had a go.

My other issue is I am over 70 year old and developing muscle memory could be a problem because I have recently had a heart pacemaker inserted. The pacemaker is not the problem but why I need a pacemaker could be a problem. I need a pacemaker because my central nervous system is breaking down (sort of short circuiting and getting generally confused which is mostly age related) resulting in wrong heart beats per minute, poor blood flow and the high risk of clotting. (stroke)

So I will give it a go, it will be an interesting experiment.

I am about to write another piece on controlling nuisance noise from ukes (and other musical instruments) that you might find interesting. I have had a lot of direct experience via training and complaint investigation and ..... (I will not give the plot away here.)

Noise is not understood by anyone other than experts and the experts do not help by making their explanations too technical and bore everyone to death. I hope to make my explanation helpful.

Thanks again for the tips.

Icelander53
03-07-2014, 12:57 PM
I hope you have some success because it's a world of fun. I started at almost 61. My little piece of advice is just stick to learning a handful of common chords and practice moving through them smoothly and adding some very basic up and down or other simple strumming and let that be the initial goal. Then start playing some songs you really like and just sing along and slowly play them. That's as far as I've gotten and I'm having a blast. I had no idea that would be enough in itself. Don't get me wrong, I'm working towards more but if I get no further it's all well worth my time and efforts.

artwombat
03-07-2014, 09:13 PM
Thanks Icelander the world of Ukes is very inviting It will be good if I make the cut (as the golfers say).

Booli
03-07-2014, 09:41 PM
My other issue is I am over 70 year old and developing muscle memory could be a problem because I have recently had a heart pacemaker inserted. The pacemaker is not the problem but why I need a pacemaker could be a problem. I need a pacemaker because my central nervous system is breaking down (sort of short circuiting and getting generally confused which is mostly age related) resulting in wrong heart beats per minute, poor blood flow and the high risk of clotting. (stroke)

Sorry to hear about your health issues. Aging is not fun. I'm turning 45 on March 10 and regret the whole aging process thing, I want to turn it off. Ha ha.

Remember, it's never too late to start learning ukulele.

I've found that playing my instrument in fact lowers my blood pressure, maybe it will help with your heart rhythm too. The ukulele might inspire the pacemaker to find a better pulse to send to your heart...you know from the vibrations that come from the ukulele...

Also, along the lines of 'use it, or lose it', learning a new skill, even at 70 just might jump start enough brain activity to help your memory and other cognitive functions by forcing your neural pathways to stay active, and the same thing applies for the muscle memory or manual dexterity.

Whatever level of function you have in your hands, as long as you have no pain, will make playing the ukulele easier, the MORE you actually play.

But if you have nerve pain or muscle pain (like peripheral neuropathy or fibromyalgia or even arthritis) it can be difficult or painful to enjoy playing.

Also, please keep in mind if that for whatever reason you end up not beginning the ukulele yourself, as a player, there's still plenty to enjoy from watching videos or listening to other ukulele players. If you start with those links I gave you and then just keep going to the videos in the sidebar that youtube suggests for you, eventually you will see lots of the greatest ukulele players in the world, and you can never see them all, I tried! Ha Ha - but there are more professional musicians playing the ukulele, and out in the spotlight right now than ever before in history, and it is a marvel to behold, which we can do from the comfort of own home via youtube.

Something else, I never saw anywhere here on Ukulele Underground that you HAVE TO play to participate, I mean there's lots of focus around playing (and the whole rest of this web site are video lessons given by our brother Aldrine Guerrero to teach everyone to play), but there's also lots of content here in the forums about appreciation (like the section for Links and Videos (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?6-Links-and-Videos) <--click this to go there), so you can still be a part of the community even if you do not play. I mean, you should feel welcome here no matter what, and join whatever conversation might interest you.

It's fun for me, and I learn something every single day by participating here. Maybe you can find some satisfaction that way as well?

artwombat
03-07-2014, 10:43 PM
Thanks Booli for the great encouragement. I ordered 2 ABS Bugs ukes about two weeks ago but the importer has not delivered to the local music store yet I chased up the store but next week I will chase up the importer. If he can't deliver I will have to order from the US as you suggested.

Lots of things about to happen here and everything as they say is up in the air.

GfDenis
05-07-2014, 11:42 PM
Artwombat, what are you favorite tracks?

GfDenis
05-08-2014, 02:19 AM
Thanks Booli for the great encouragement. I ordered 2 ABS Bugs ukes about two weeks ago but the importer has not delivered to the local music store yet I chased up the store but next week I will chase up the importer. If he can't deliver I will have to order from the US as you suggested.

Did you try to order them directly? In such a way, they can be delivered right to your apartments.

artwombat
05-10-2014, 12:18 AM
Thanks all,

I bought a Lanikai Pineapple 21P and I can manage 7 chords. Strumming is a prob with hardly any finger nails.

But that said I have amused myself for hours and I rather enjoy doing an ad hoc monotone dialogue rather than sing.