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Our Didgeridoos

 

1- What makes your didgeridoos different

2- What does a good didgeridoo cost and why

3- Why don't you sell 3ft or 90cm small didgeridoos

4- What makers do you represent

5- Who is the typical Spirit Gallery didgeridoo customer

6- Are all your didgeridoos termite hollowed eucalyptus

7- What is difference between a plain or decorated didgeridoo

8- Is it true your didgeridoos  have been played in the Sydney Opera House

9- Why are your yidakis different and where are they sourced from

10- Where can I learn more

 

 

1- What makes your didgeridoo different

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.
 

2- What does a good didgeridoo cost and why

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
 

3- Why don’t you sell  3ft  or 90cm small didgeridoos

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
 

4- Which makers do you represent

 Our highest quality instruments are supplied by the following makers- many exclusively in Australia


- Kristian Benton
- Bruce Rogers
- Heartland Didgeridoos by Tynon 
-Crooked Stixz by Adam Henwood
-Brad Hagelstein
-Tristan OMeara
- Earl Clements
 
 
These makers would easily make a top 10 list of craftsmen in the country  (if there was such a list) After scanning the country over the last 5 years for all notable didge makers we think we have found them all. There are basically only  one or two more makers Spirit Gallery would like to represent but have been unable  to do so as they are not producing instruments at the moment or may be committed elsewhere.

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.
   

5- Who is the typical Spirit Gallery didgeridoo customer

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.
 

6- Are all your didgeridoos termite hollowed eucalyptus

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.
 

7- What is difference  between a plain or decorated didgeridoo

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.
 

9- Why are your yidakis different and where are they sourced from

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 
 

10- Where can I learn more

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.