Most people find it easy to start with plastic pipe. It' reasonably inexpensive, washable, durable and really pretty good sounding. My local hardware store was happy to cut it to four feet in length for me and just charge me a 4/10ths of the cost of the ten foot sections that they sell for $5.98. However a larger home building supply place will usually sell this same pipe for under $4 for a ten foot section. I generally recommend using schedule 40 PVC white plastic pipe which is 1.5 inches in diameter. This pipe is commonly available. Here are some possible pipes you can easily find to use to construct your didjeridu :
|Material||Diameter||Advantages, comments and tips|
|Scd. 40 PVC||1.25"||No need for mouthpiece, easy to circ breath on, hard to vocalize through|
|Sch 40 PVC||1.5"||Nice full sound, need to narrow one end with beeswax or adaptor|
|Sch 40 PVC||2.0"||Lots of beeswax to make mouthpiece, great for vocals, takes a little more air|
|ABS||1.5"||Same as Schd 40 1.5, thinner walled, lighter, good sound, more toxic|
|ABS||2.0"||See ABS 1.5 and Schd 40 2"|
|200psi PVC||1.5||Good one, as thin walled, not as toxic a mater as ABS, cheap|
You can spend about an extra two bucks and get a 1.5" to 1.25 " female/female reducer coupling can be used for the mouth end and your work is basically done, your ready to blow. If you use 2" diameter pipe, you can get a 2" to 1 " female/female reducer coupling. If want to spend even less and have little softer more natural feeling mouthpeice, you can acquire some good beeswax and make a beeswax mouthpiece.
Break off a comfortable-sized piece of beeswax and roll it in your hands until it is warm and pliable (you can put some in a zip lock baggy and put hot water, lay in hot sun or even place on a dish in the microwave for a couple of minutes, I have used all three methods) or flame to help soften it, and smear it on the flat edge of the node at the mouthpiece end, building up a mouthpiece of your desired shape (I prefer a rounded circle , experiment on own here) a layer at a time or roll into a snake and mold around the top.
_____________________________________________________________ /| \|_____________________________________________________________ ^ mouthpiece (Beeswax or reduction fitting) A quick trip to the hardware store and you can get enough pieces to put together didjeridus. Buy a few joints, some pipe and a even a ready to slip on mouthpiece as shown below. You can even get pieces to connect different sizes of pipe together so you can have a bell. And you can just connect elbow to elbow to elbow together to make a spiral shaped didj as in the one on the right hand side of the table in the picture below.
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First, select a good piece of bamboo - fairly well-cured (don't pick a piece that seems green - they'll be more prone to cracking) and without any visible cracks. Cut it to your desired length (I recommend between 3.5 feet and 4 feet for beginners).
Using either a straight-backed hand wood saw (e.g. a mitre saw) or a power table or mitre saw. You might want to score around the outside of the bamboo lightly with your saw first to reduce splintering it.
Cut the mouthpiece end of the didj right at a node in the bamboo.
Cut the other end of the didj right above a node (leaving the inter-node space on the didj, and cutting the node off).
At this point you need to clear out the nodes from the bamboo. It is important to not leave any significant pieces of nodes blocking the airway, but the goal is NOT to have perfectly smooth sides either, as the nodes add a certain quality to the sound. If you knock the nodes out until the passageway is round and fairly clear at each node, that should good. You can use a piece of steel rebar (the kind of steel bar they use for re-enforcing concrete - you can purchased a five-foot piece at a hardware store to knock the nodes out. Depending on the length and inner diameter of your piece of bamboo, you may also be able to use a broomstick.
Once you have your didj cut to size, you may wish to smooth the edges of the cuts - a pocketknife to round the edges, and a piece of medium-grit or fine-grit sandpaper is but one way which works very well.
At this point, depending on the piece of bamboo, you may be done - if you have a nice thick node at the mouthpiece end, and the inner diameter is not too large, and you round the edges out nicely, you may not need a beeswax mouthpiece at all.
If you do, which is likely, you'll need to acquire some good beeswax. Break off a comfortable-sized piece of beeswax and roll it in your hands until it is warm and pliable (you can put some in a zip lock baggy and put hot water, lay in hot sun or even place on a dish in the microwave for a couple of minutes, I have used all three methods) or flame to help soften it, and smear it on the flat edge of the node at the mouthpiece end, building up a mouthpiece of your desired shape (I prefer a rounded circle , experiment on own here) a layer at a time or roll into a snake and mold around the top.
_____________________________________________________________ /| \/ \/ Mouthpiece node node /\ /\ \|_____________________________________________________________ ^beeswax mouthpiece
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