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The Making of Didgeridoos.

 
 
Bush camp where didgeridoo wood is colected
Bush camp where the wood is collected for didgeridoos. Learn more about didgeridoos and the Australian Bush land.

How Didgeridoos are Made

The didgeridoo is still made in the traditional way by using specific eucalyptus trees that have been naturally hollowed out by termites. Termites nest in the trunks and branches of these trees, eating the wood from the inside out.

These specific trees are carefully selected from the Australian bush for their suitability and are crafted into a didgeridoo. Our practices of collecting wood from the Australian bush follows environmentally friendly codes; click here to learn more about didgeridoos and the Australian environment.

The bark is removed from the tree and any debris from the inside is taken out. To make the didgeridoo play well it needs to be cut to a certain length. The ends are then chiselled out to enhance the sound. The wood is then allowed to dry for a period of time to avoid the splitting of the timber. After the wood has been cured the didgeridoo is painted, burnt, or carved.

Didgeridoo History

The didgeridoo is a traditional and ceremonial musical instrument of Aboriginal groups throughout northern Australia. The story of the instrument’s origin is not accurately known. Some research dates its emergence to be as recent as 1000 years ago, but other estimates suggest the didgeridoo was in existence at least 20,000 years ago. Dreamtime stories trace its use back to the creation of the world and this understanding is still supported by Aboriginal Elders today.

The didgeridoo was used in ceremonies to provide a rhythmic accompaniment to singers and dancers in a performance. Traditionally, an Aboriginal musician would go into the bush and listen to all the sounds of nature. These sounds were then played back on the didgeridoo with as much accuracy as possible.

Didgeridoo Art

Aboriginal artwork traditionally conveyed stories of past and current interests. Many animals within the local area are used within the artwork.

There are two main styles of Aboriginal artwork: the ‘ cross hatch’ style of Arnhem Land in the north and the dot painting style of the central desert region.


Byron Wing, stripping the bark from the wood.

Cleaning the ends of the didgeridoo.

Checking for debris inside the didgeridoo.

Sanding the didgeridoo for a nice finish.

A rack of beautiful bell didgeridoos ready to be put in the dryer.

Dean painting didgeridoos in our shop.
Blank Didgeridoos from the forest
Blank didgeridoos from the forest.

sanded didgeridoos

more didgeridoos in shop
didgeridoos in shop
Didgeridoos in our shop ready for painting.  Dean is in the background painting.
More didgeridoos in our shop that are just waiting to be painted and played.

Why our didgeridoos are Environment Friendly

As noted in the ANU Forestry website article, Didgeridoo - An Unusual use of a Forest Resource, Darryl makes his didgeridoos from two local hardwood species, bloodwood (eucalyptus trachyphloia) and black mallee (eucalyptus viridis). Small diameter stems (120-150 mm) are harvested in a sustainable way from state forests and private agricultural land. These species grow in open woodlands on dry sandy loam soils; in areas of high natural fire frequency; and in association with termite species that naturally destroy the heartwood of the stems for food and space for their colony. For these reasons, the growth habit of these species is usually in the form of mallee or lignotubers (small and multi-stemmed), with hollowed-out stems (by the termites). This tree form makes it ideal for didgeridoo making as up to ten instruments can be made from one tree. Because these trees grow from lignotubers under the ground, new limbs can grow back readily, as they would after a severe fire. In this way, the tree is not destroyed but pruned and encouraged to grow back thicker and healthier.


This is our workshop and store in Yass,
NSW, Australia.

 

Termite eaten blank didgeridoo
This stem has been partially hollowed out by termites and will become a beautiful piece of musical art called a didgeridoo. If you look carefully, you can see light coming through the opposite end of the stem.

Darryl Anderson with one of his didgeridoos

Darryl Anderson with the end product - beautiful handmade didgeridoos of exceptional tone and quality. The artwork at the back was painted on the outside wall of The Didgeridoo Man shop in Yass by artist Max Reid Warradji.

Read the Article to learn more about Darryl Anderson and how he started making didgeridoos.


Attention international wholesalers
The Didgeridoo Man is seeking to extend its wholesaling business through international distributors.
We travel internationally and may be available to meet with you.

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