Everywhere I look • Is cheap any good? • GANGgajang
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We are becoming used to software geeks, but this piece of creativity is on a site populated by hardware geeks. Full instructions are provided for building a tiny electronic ukulele with strings that buzz when you touch them. There's a demo video of it being 'played' too.
If you ever had an electronics kit as a youngster, or like fiddling around with resistors, plywood, wire and soldering irons, this could be the project you've been looking for.
The reality of cheap ukuleles
I noticed that JB-HiFi, the huge Australian company which supplies a rapidly increasing range of consumer electronics, CDs, DVDs and now musical instruments, is currently having a sale on ukuleles, most of which are Monterey brand and most of which are $27.
I have seen a few of these instruments around and they have an ok sound but I wanted more information about them. Australan online retailer Ukulele Place has posted this in-depth comparison between the cheap Montereys and Aierisi, another Chinese-made 'entry-level' uke with a price tag of around $150. It is as much an education about the finer points of ukulele construction and finishing and how they affect playability, as it is about what you get for your money. Aierisi is one of the brands the reviewer sells on their site, but they assure the reader that because of the price point, the Monterey isn't a competitor, and the article comprises useful information, not a trashing of one brand over another, plus there are lots of photos.
Love a good quote...

Bill Gates recently picked up the ukulele. And Warren Buffett is a huge ukulele fan.
I even got to strum a few chords with Francis Ford Coppola. It blows my mind that these people, who have everything in the world they could want, have picked up the ukulele and found a little bit of joy
Jake Shimabukuro
Another Resonate reader brought my attention to a song called Waiting in the Wind by Australian band GANGgajang who formed in 1984 and had a number of hits. The band say the name is a combination of the sound of a guitar being strummed and them being essentially a 'gang'. The founding members had previously played in well-known bands such as The Angels and have been writers and producers for many successful Australian performers.
Waiting in the Wind has a good, happy feel (Bm, G, D, A throughout) but I ended up doing a songsheet for their better known one, Sounds of Now (This is Australia), which was a huge hit and has been used in numerous PR and advertising campaigns.
The songsheet is in the same key as the original and I've shown optional chord shapes for the E, D and G so you can mix to suit whatever your fingers will cooperate with. You might notice I keep toying with the songsheet layout - I think this one's getting close to most practical and useful!
In some sort of serendipity, a few days ago GANGGajang released their first single for ten years and were interviewed about it on ABC Radio Melbourne. You can see the clip of Circles in the Sand on their site - the band were given permission by the traditional owners to film it at Uluru and the song itself is about connection to the land and the people who have inhabited this particular land for tens of thousands of years.
At some other end of the scale to the first item, is this video put together by the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum (there really is such a thing) featuring 1917 footage from the Ford Motor Company of a ukulele maker putting one together. Three and a half minutes of glue, string and blocks of wood, a VIP, a player with a great triple strum and interesting info underneath - it seems Henry Ford was a ukulele fan too!
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