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Old 2007-11-06, 06:12 PM   #1
Chexjc
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How To: Make a Didgeridoo :)

The Didgeridoo: The didgeridoo is an ancient aborigine instrument. Nowadays it's more common in Australia and Australian music (as many of you Australians may know). It is essentially a tube. The higher end didges are made of eucalyptus and other woods. The lower end didges are made of PVC . Don't let that fool you though, PVC didgeridoos are easier to play, louder, cheaper, and can sound just as good. Visit the Digeridoo Store to listen to some clips.

There are a number of online tutorials. Search on Youtube for "How to play the didgeridoo". The playing technique is simple though. It's like blowing into a trumpet, but MUCH looser and relaxed. Once you've accomplished the basic drone, it's time to make funny animal sounds and growls . Learning to circular breathe enables you hold out the droning sound for as long as you want. Supposedly circular breathing is a good treatment of sleep apnea and snoring. It's also a lot of fun when you want to annoy the hell out of your roommate, family, or neighborhood.

Anyway, I made my own PVC digeridoo for about $25.

How To: Make Your Own Didgeridoo

Go to your local home improvement center (Lowes, The Home Depot, etc) and visit the plumbing section. You're going to need a long piece of pvc piping and some fittings to make the mouthpiece and bell. I used a 5' by 2" piece of pvc. The length and width of your didge determines the frequency at which it will drone. For a beginner, I'd recommend something like 2" by 50-60" (you can cut it to whatever length you want). You want the bell, or bottom end of your didge to be as big as possible...I attached a 2" to 4" fitting (see pictures). The size of the mouthpiece is personal preference, but ideally you want the opening between 3-4 cm. I asked for the help of an employee in finding these pieces.

Mouthpiece

Bell

The whole thing...


These (4) pieces totalled about $7.

Then I bought some sandpaper (100 and 220 grit), pvc cement, some plastic primer, and some textured stone resembling paint.

These are rough estimates:
  • Sandpaper - $3
  • Primer - $5
  • Paint - $9
  • PVC cement - $3

Sandpaper

Primer and Paint

PVC Cement


I only used the 220 grit to smooth out the mouthpiece, everything else was sanded with the 100 grit.

After sanding, apply two coats of primer in a well-ventilated area (follow instructions on can)

Then, apply as many coats of paint as desired (follow directions on can)
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Old 2007-11-06, 06:13 PM   #2
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Here are some pictures of my finished product:






In the end, you have a fun, unique instrument for less than $25 or less.

Happy Didging
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Old 2007-11-06, 07:12 PM   #3
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One of my good friends and I are both euphonium players (a low brass instrument). Her sister bought her a REAL didgeridoo. I remember her bringing it to high school one of the last days of her senior year. Just about everyone in the band tried it. Our band director played with it all day, running into orchestra and choir lessons, rumbling the room with the thing, then quickly ducking out. By the end of the day, the mouthpiece smelled rank, and almost felt...soft.

I think I remember playing it last time I visited her.

These things are a lot of fun. I just might make one, thanks for the tutorial!!
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Old 2007-11-06, 07:23 PM   #4
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My friend has a real one from Australia...they're pretty sweet instruments.
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Old 2007-11-06, 08:38 PM   #5
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You're welcome.

I wouldn't say that a pvc didgeridoo isn't a "real" digeridoo, as it does the exact same thing as all the different types of woods. The term "genuine" would be more appropriate.

Yea, they can start to smell, but one advantage of pvc is that it can easily be cleaned.

One alternative I forgot to mention about the moutpiece is that a lot of people mold beeswax to the end of the tube to form a mouthpiece. I personally don't like the feel of beeswax...it gets all warm and leaves you with a waxy stache

If anyone makes one, post pictures here.
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Old 2007-11-06, 10:23 PM   #6
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mit esp?
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Old 2007-11-06, 10:43 PM   #7
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i know someone who has something that looks like that but its not a didgeridoo
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Old 2007-11-06, 11:11 PM   #8
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Didges are great.
The first one I had was a cheap D key bamboo. It soon cracked and then I made some from 1 1/2'' ABS plumbing pipes. I just cut it the right lenght and use a beewax mouthpiece. There is a list somewhere to find the exact lenght to cut the pipe for each key. It works fine, and you can also ''mold'' them into whatever shape you want.
For three years now I mostly play my eucalyptus didge I bought from the didjshop. Its sound is really awesome. I payed it a few hundred bucks, but personally I think it's worth it. The sound is so much richer, overtones are clean and it's a great piece of art by itself.
Two years ago I also got a didjbox. In fact I have a plastic didjflute. It's really fun to play because of the variation made possible with the 5 notes, and I can take it anywhere (not like a ''real'' straight 1,5m didge).

Happy didjing!

-Vince
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Old 2007-11-07, 02:55 AM   #9
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You said D key dig.

Any tips for adjusting the key?

Is there a mathmatical formula for how much to chop off (by width) to change the key?

Thanks!!!
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Old 2007-11-07, 03:40 AM   #10
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www.unicycle.com
www.banjo.com

I forsee... www.didgeridoo.com selling tons of Didgeridoos.
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Old 2007-11-07, 04:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyTheMountain
You said D key dig.

Any tips for adjusting the key?

Is there a mathmatical formula for how much to chop off (by width) to change the key?

Thanks!!!
This page has information about lengths, frequencies, and keys.

My 65" by 2" didge is in the key of G#. You can use a guitar or guitar tuner to get a desired key by slicing off small bits of the pipe at a time.

Also, notice Jeff Groves playing the Didgeridoo in Defect.
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Old 2007-11-07, 11:05 AM   #12
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Why not just order one from an Australian website that sells them???
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Old 2007-11-07, 05:34 PM   #13
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I have seen where people take a propane torch to the PVC to melt it a bit and give it a more organic look. They just heat up some sections carefully and when it is almost at it's melting point they can bend/deform the pipe a bit. Looks cool.

Good job, I have never seen a bell bottom on a didg though.
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Old 2007-11-07, 05:39 PM   #14
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My sister has one. I tried to play it, but it had fallen down a couple of times and when you blow it gives out a rattling sound. Thanks for the tutorials. I need to learn circular breathing
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Old 2007-11-07, 05:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazmat
Why not just order one from an Australian website that sells them???
Well the shipping alone would cost more than $25. I may buy one in Australia when I'm there next spring semester.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo
I have seen where people take a propane torch to the PVC to melt it a bit and give it a more organic look. They just heat up some sections carefully and when it is almost at it's melting point they can bend/deform the pipe a bit. Looks cool.

Good job, I have never seen a bell bottom on a didg though.
I bought one at a street fair that was melted like that. They heat the end and stick a bottle in one end to create a bell.

Really? They usually start at the top around 2" and end up around 4" at the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triball
My sister has one. I tried to play it, but it had fallen down a couple of times and when you blow it gives out a rattling sound. Thanks for the tutorials. I need to learn circular breathing
Yeah, it becomes a lot more fun when you learn to circular breathe. I expected it to take a long time to learn but I learned it in 3 days.
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