We only sell “musical quality didgeridoos”. This means that tonal qualities and playability are the priority when we choose our instruments. We only represent recognised didgeridoo makers .Many of the countries top instrument makers are represented by Spirit Gallery , many exclusively (see section 4)
Many of our didgeridoos have a beautiful natural finish .Spirit Gallery also has many didgeridoos that have subtle art while others with quite intricate artwork. Once again, sound quality and workmanship is the priority. We don’t keep pretty didgeridoos that “do not work “or just look nice .
There is absolutely no reason why a didgeridoo can not be both a wonderful piece of art as well as a serious instrument. In fact, many didgeridoos were traditionally decorated.
Sadly, the Australian didgeridoo market is dominated by mass production, fakes, poor quality (regardless of whether they are technically authentic or not) or beautifully decorated didgeridoos where playability, workmanship and quality of instrument is not a concern.
Good quality didgeridoos that have been crafted with a certain level of workmanship and with reasonable tonal qualities can start at as little as $150AUD-$250AUD - at the more affordable end of the market.
Anything less than this and you can start to expect an inferior product. The time it takes to cut, dry, work, seal, decorate a reasonable quality didgeridoo simply can not be done for much less than this without comprising the integrity of the instrument.
In the mid range price of $300AUD- $700AUD you can expect to find a good quality instrument that has been crafted with time and patience and can be considered a serious instrument for a keen enthusiastic player.
At the upper end of the market for an instrument crafted by the countries top couple of makers or for those special or collector didgeridoos including some traditional Arnhem land yidaki or for what are often called “ concert class” instruments you could pay in excess of $1000AUD.
This may seem a lot for a “hollow log” but if one saw the careful selection process , time , patience skill and work involved to create one of these fine instruments, that are each unique and hence unable to be reproduced- it would not seem so unreasonable. Many instruments at the top end can be much more expensive than the best didgeridoo- what is the price of a very high quality guitar, djembe or trumpet?
The Australian market being dominated by fakes, little didgeridoos and non musical quality or average quality didgeridoos (whether authentic or not) creates the impression that one can buy a good instrument for $50AUD or $100AUD- this is simply not true. The best didgeridoo for under $100AUD is a piece of plastic PVC pipe from the local hardware store, cut to about 1.2metres. It is with practising with this pipe one can decide if they would like to pursue the instrument and move onto a proper quality instrument
Many people often ask us if we have “smaller” didgeridoos and we have to kindly tell them that these are not considered serious instruments. These type of "instruments" if played at all have a high squeaky pitch and are physically uncomfortable and hard to play.
The didgeridoo has an standard length of about 1.1-1.8 metres of which approximately 99% of all instruments fall in between. You can not cut an instrument to half its intended length or down to 90cm and expect it to function in the same way and create warm beautiful tones. There are rare exceptions of good quality instruments at the smaller heights of approximately 1 metre and perhaps even slightly shorter, but these are far and few between and may actually command a higher price because of their uniqueness and rarity and would only suit highly accomplished players.
Once again it is due to the high visibility of all these 90cm-1metres didgeridoos around Australia, particularly in souvenir stores, that creates the impression that this is a standard size. It is very difficult to find what would be considered a serious instrument at 1 metre but many places including recognised didgeridoo stores or Aboriginal galleries continue to sell them as beginners didgeridoos or smaller instruments.- probably just for commercial reasons
Our highest quality instruments are supplied by the following makers- many exclusively in Australia
- Nathan Burton
- Kristian Benton
- Bruce Rogers
- Heartland Didgeridoos by Tynon
Many of the above makers have their own websites and information about them can be found all over the internet, YouTube and the like. Feel free to do your own research- don’t take our word for it.
We also have a great range of affordable quality instruments, primarily from the likes of Alastair Black and Earl Clements. These two craftsmen , in our opinion, produce the most affordable type of instrument without comprising on quality and hence represent the best value for money for a good entry level didgeridoo that is still a quality crafted instrument .
Finally, our traditional instruments come from IDIJ Australia. IDIDJ is Australia’s didgeridoo cultural hub for traditional Arnhem Land instruments. These instruments represent the highest level of cultural integrity .They been hand picked, field collected and well documented. Many have accompanying video clips of the instrument being played in a traditional context in Arnhem land and represent some of the finest traditional craftsmen in existence today with some collectable instruments from deceased makers.
Spirit Gallery is the local hub for didgeridoo players with many of the finest local Sydney didgeridoo players regularly found in the store. We also cater for many first time didgeridoo buyers who are looking for an instrument they can learn with and is suitable for them, but who may need some advice to help to steer them in the right direction (and way from all the souvenir didgeridoos found around us).
Being conveniently located in the Rocks, downstairs from the Sydney Visitor Centre, makes it easy for interstate and international customers to visit us. In fact ,half our instruments end up leaving Sydney.
Finally, not everybody intends to be a serious player and despite sound quality being the priority on all our instruments we have some fantastically decorated didgeridoos that would also make standout display pieces .Many people like then fact that the didgeridoo is also a piece of art in addition to being an instrument and something you can proudly display whether or not you pursue the playing side.
Yes 99% of our didgeridoo are termite hollowed. More importantly, they are hollowed properly by termites. Termites don’t take music into consideration when eating through a log and therefore create many bad didgeridoos where the walls are to thick, have heavy spots or inconsistent wall thickness creating flat and muffed tones. This is where it is up to the skill of the maker to choose a didgeridoo that has been hollowed out in a manner that will allow it to be crafted into a good instrument and why mass indiscriminate cutting of logs with a chainsaw on the back of a truck rarely creates a quality instrument.
Some of the ironbarks, particularly the Burton Master Blasters have been opened up on the inside slightly to improve the sound (after initially being termite hollowed).
We are currently experimenting with a talented local didgeridoo maker named Brad Hagelstein who is using the split and hollow method on native Australian Eucalyptus, which may or may not have been initially termite hollowed. This didgeridoo making technique has been commonly used in other parts of the world with great success but never really replicated to a high standard here in Australia.
Finally, the only non Eucalyptus didgeridoos we keep are hemp didgeridoos. The hemp didgeridoos are made here in Australia in a complex and fascinating process where fine powders are mashed into a paste and sprayed with a thick consistency around a mould and left to dry/shrink over a few weeks creating an extremely strong durable natural fibred didgeridoo.
We also stock the didjeribone by Charlie McMahon. The didjeribone is a lightweight plastic slide didgeridoo which allows u to demonstrate the whole range of notes available on a didgeridoo . It is also great for travelling and when not extended only measures 950mm.
This is purely down to aesthetics as it does not really effect how the instrument sounds. Many didgeridoo players who already own instruments are not concerned about the artwork or want the price to reflect nothing but sound quality. Similarly, some people may feel a natural didgeridoo is more a symbol of an instrument and shy away from decorated instruments . On the same token many players enjoy artwork on their instruments particularly the traditional styles found on yidakis from Arnhem Land.
Even natural didgeridoos can have their own distinct beauty with a variety of finishes available including barks finishes, high gloss, matte finishes, natural knots ,sap marks and a variety of naturally occurring elements
Artwork is also an attractive option for somebody who is unsure if they will pursue with playing side of the didgeridoo and wants to make sure they also have something that is attractive and unique and can be displayed
8- Is it true your didgeridoos have been played in theSydney opera house
Yes they have. William Barton who regularly performs at the Sydney Opera House and is the regular didgeridoo player for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra uses our didgeridoos when he visits Sydney to perform. We actually have a couple of Nathan Burton private collection didgeridoos in the store room in safe storage for when he visits.
Our traditional instruments (yidakis and magos) come from IDIDJ Australia. IDIDJ is Australia’s didgeridoo cultural hub for traditional instruments from Arnhem Land.
Guan Lim of IDIDJ is Australia's foremost expert on traditional Arnhemland instruments and essentially runs IDIDj as an anthropological and philanthropically group that documents and records all aspects of traditional didgeridoos. He did his doctoral research in Arnhem Land and has an 18 year relationship with didgeridoo making families and communities in Arnhem Land.
He currently sources all our traditional instruments. These are meticulously hand picked for their artistic and sound qualities, field collected and properly documented with cultural integrity a priority. Many of these instruments have been used in traditional ceremony or represent truly collectable pieces from some of best known traditional craftsmen.
Spirit Gallery is proud to be the exclusive retail outlet in Australia for IDIDJ yidakis and magos
You can find further information about IDIDJ at www.ididj.com.au
On this website there are many places you can learn more about the didgeridoo and how it is played Starting with our didgeridoo resources page and continuing on into our blog. Even watching didgeridoo demonstrations in our product page can be off assistance and we also have a YouTube page where you can also see instructional and playing tips- follow the links from the homepage.