UPDATE 05.19.2010: We're on MAKEblog!!!!1
i've built two didgeridoos, with extension pipes to change the pitch. With a 2nd player, we'll be able to play chords together.
I had been thinking about buying a didj for a while, and came across some ideas to build one out of inexpensive PVC with interchangable sections. This idea appealed to me for many reasons, one which is that I really don't know what note I will like, so this gives me an option to try out several. Another is that I once visited Hernan Battiato for a little jam session where he showed me how his alpine horn has a couple extra sections to add to the base horn to let him change the pitch. So after that it was always in the back of my mind that interchangable pipes would be cool. PVC's color is very boring (white), so I scouted youtube a bit for designs and found one that I really liked.
- didgeridoo on the cheap (PVC)
- two players (two base units, lets us play chords)
- many add-in pipes to select from a range of notes
- attractive aboriginal paint job
I painted mine to match his
Getting the pipe lengths...
SpeedOfSound = 340 m/s = 13385.826 in/s
Freq = (2^(n/12)) × 440 Hz (where n=0 for A4 (440hz))
Length = (SpeedOfSound / 2 * Freq) + interior radius of tube
Note | Freq (Hz) | Length (in)
G | 97.9988 | 69.29572751 ((13385.826 / (2 * F) ) + 1)
G# | 103.8261 | 65.46278389
A | 110.0000 n=-24 | 61.84466364
A# | 116.5409 | 58.42968569
B | 123.4708 | 55.20635615
C | 130.8127 | 52.16397453
C# | 138.5913 | 49.29255146
D | 146.8323 | 46.58211425
D# | 155.5634 | 44.02381029
E | 164.8137 | 41.60888638
F | 174.6141 | 39.32976165
F# | 184.9972 | 37.17849479
G | 195.9977 | 35.14786375
G# | 207.6523 | 33.23139194
A | 220.0000 n=-12 | 31.42233182
Made the mouthpiece from reduction fittings
The 1->3/4 piece is good for the highest notes,
The 1->1.5 is good for the low notes.
The pipes were made using 2" PVC pipe, and 2" couplers
After much measuring and sawing
Removed glossy finish from the tubes using sander
in hopes that dye or paint would adhere better...
Quick sketch of the paint I want to do...
White end piece will serve as a bumper against the ground. White so it wont degrade in appearance from paint chipping.
Worried about chipping paint, I started looking around for the best way to color PVC plastic in a permanent fasion.
I saw a webpage saying you could permanently dye PVC using RIT fabric dye. Great! no paint to chip (or so I thought). So I got a couple bottles of "wine" (deep red/burgandy) color. Found a big box, and put plstic drop cloth in it to make it water tight. filled it up with hot water, poured in the dye and put in the tubes (carefully so they wouldn't splash). Waited 24 hrs...
well. the tubes didn't get dark at all.
I now have a PINK didgeridoo. YUK.
further, the cleanup on the dye was crazy messy. i mean, what do you do with all this super staining red liquid...? down the drain it went. 1 bucket at a time, bailed out and carried through the house (closest drain)...
Ok, time for the backup plan. Krylon Fusion plastic spray paint. And some clear Laquer to protect the finish.
In my ever constant worry about chipping paint...
Added a bumper to the horn end of the base tube (the part you rest on the floor while playing).
Should protect it from chipping/scratching up the red paint...
The white bumper is made from a 2" coupler that I sawed in half
Time to paint the stripes on the didj (remember I'm copying this design).
tape for masking the stripes...
...paint for painting the stripes.
Painted the black part of the stripes...
Well, that's a lot of stripe painting. was a lot of work, but these are really looking good... I love the base color, how mottled it looks. Just like a bing cherry. Organic is quite a proper look for this instrument...
Finished painting the white part of the stripes...
My thought had always been to mark on the tubes what note they were. I thought I would engrave the text using a CNC machine, but gave up that idea for something simpler and more organic... a white paint pen.
So today, I went to the art store and acquired a white oil-based paint pen.
Sharpie paint pen
Finished labeling each tube with it's note.
The 2 base units say "base" on them.
Finished off the tubes by applying a few more coats of clear laquer. This should make the Acrylic white/black stripes stronger and resist scratching.
fun project, easy to cut the tubes and get instant gratification blowing sounds into them... the paint was the hard part, and the dye idea was a disasterous dead end. in the end, I think I have a nice set of pipes to play with, and I can't wait to play didj-chords with a 2nd person.
from what little I've played on them, they don't really sound like a real didj, at least, the ones i've heard in person and on youtube all have a much grittier ever changing sound. Most of that is me. I don't really know much technique beyond getting a sound, at the moment. So hopefully I can coax some of those sounds out in the future.
need to learn to play :). I can blow sounds, and do a little circular breathing, but there's some techniques yet to master. and... I still want an alpine horn like Hernan's...
Time to organize the pipes, there are too many, and the cardboard wine box with dividers I had them in was looking ratty.