Echo Tree: The Didgeridoo Craftsmen - Didgeridoos with Edge
"If the earth had a voice it would be the sound of a Didgeridoo"
Before you buy or play a Didgeridoo learn more about this amazing Australian Instrument

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Didgeridoo Quality
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Key or Note I
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Sound Quality I
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Resonance I
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Volume I
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Backpressure I
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Mouthpiece I
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Artwork I

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Yidaki,
Didgeridoo, Didjeridu, Didjeridoo, Digeridoo, Dijeridoo, Didgeridu, Digeridu.....

However you spell it we have a d
idj for you!

At Echo Tree our focus is on quality.

Each didgeridoo we make is individually checked, not only at the end of its creation, but also at numerous stages during the crafting process. Every didgeridoo is also tested, graded and priced according to its musical timbre and that's why Echo Tree class their didgeridoos as musical instruments first and foremost.

Echo Tree didgeridoos are made from high quality Australian timbers that have been seasoned for a minimum of two years under controlled conditions.

Every instrument made by Echo Tree has been keyed to a specific note. This key is recorded in the free 20-page booklet supplied with each didgeridoo and in the Echo Tree master records.
"Echo Tree Didgeridoos Carry a Lifetime Guarantee"
 
Timber Quality and Cracking

Didgeridoos are often made from unseasoned and/or inadequately prepared timbers. It is extremely important that your instrument is properly seasoned and finished to eliminate this singularly most detrimental factor, which affects sound quality. An important note regarding the properties of timber is its unpredictable nature over time. Even well seasoned timber that has been professionally treated has an unpredictable nature. This is particularly relevant in regards to the types of timbers used for the crafting of didgeridoos. Although the problem of minor cracks can appear in any timber product over time, this can be minimized with proper preparation, treatment and finishing.

Echo Tree guarantees all their didgeridoos against any defective workmanship for the lifetime of the instrument. All possible measures have been made to prepare, treat and preserve our timbers. To be fair to our customers we must state that Echo Tree cannot realistically forecast the future behaviour of the timbers we use, but we can promise realistic and fair backup support for all our customers.

Technical info
Any cracks that occur anywhere along the length of a didgeridoo will reduce both the quality and volume of the sound it produces.

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The Musical Key or Note

A musical instrument must be tuned to a specific key or note if it is to be played with other music. This also applies to the didgeridoo even though it is a fixed length instrument.

It is interesting to note that besides length, a number of other factors affect the key that any given didgeridoo will produce.

Changes in air temperature, pressure and humidity as well as the player's lip, mouth, throat and lung sizes all have a small effect on the final note a didgeridoo will produce. The exact characteristics of the didgeridoo change with the day and player, making it a truly unique and individual instrument.

"There exists no other musical instrument which so closely relies on nature to create it's unique sound characteristics. An authentic Termite hollowed didgeridoo is not only unique because it was formed by nature, but also because there are no two exactly alike"

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Sound Quality and the Tone

The human ear responds to musical sound in an interesting, perhaps peculiar way. 'Pure' notes; i.e., notes that are produced without overtones are not as enjoyable to us as more complicated, 'full' notes, containing many overtones. Pure notes, in reference to wind instruments, are produced by a smooth bore. E.g. in the case of a piece of PVC pipe, or bored out piece of timber, whereas full notes are produced by an irregular, contoured bore as in the case of genuine termite hollowed didgeridoos.

In authentic termite hollowed didgeridoos, there are many channels and irregularities running up the center of the didgeridoo. These have been formed by nature in a completely individual and random way in each didgeridoo. The sound produced by genuine termite hollowed didgeridoos is unique and complex in ways that are not yet understood. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of overtones are produced by the irregular contours of the inside of the didgeridoo and this is what gives the didgeridoo its remarkably subtle, full and earthy tones.

Technical info
Sound quality is severely and adversely affected by the presence of any air leaks anywhere along the length of a didgeridoo. Improperly finished and/or seasoned timber will often cause this problem. Besides these detrimental problems, there are a number of other factors, which also have an effect on the quality, and character of the sound produced by a didgeridoo.

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Didgeridoo Resonance and Sharpness

These two didgeridoo attributes are often mutually exclusive because they are predominantly governed by the inside bore diameter of the didgeridoo, although in some cases both are present in larger bore didgeridoos. Such a didgeridoo - one with a full, all-encompassing resonance and the ability to deliver a sound that would make you think was going to break glass is rare but certainly not impossible to find.

Both these didgeridoo attributes have their advantages and disadvantages.
A large bore, warm, resonant sounding didgeridoo will fill a space with a sound and feeling that can almost be touched. The didgeridoo is capable of creating a mood of solemnity and reflection where the sound is experienced through the sense of 'feel', both on a physical and emotional level.

Such a didgeridoo is not as easy to play to fast rhythms and because the didgeridoo's warmth and softness can be lost to perception when combined with other instruments at a constant level through the duration of a tune.

Didgeridoos with a sharp sound usually have a small diameter bore, and thus lack the fuller base sound of the larger didgeridoo bore. The sharpness of such a didgeridoo is heightened by its absence of a full, resonant base characteristic. This allows the didgeridoo to 'cut' because of its sharper sound and when the didgeridoo is combined with other base instruments, has a similar effect that a lead guitar can have. Another advantage of smaller bore didgeridoos is that less air is required to play them. This makes small-bore didgeridoos more suitable for a beginner; or player who wishes to make rhythms, which would require lots of air on a larger, bore didgeridoo. (As will be explored later, didgeridoo backpressure also affects ease of playability, particularly for a beginner, meaning that not all small bore didgeridoos are easy to play - even if they do not require as much air to operate).

Such a didgeridoo lends itself to being played faster than a didgeridoo in the same key of a larger bore.

Echo Tree's custom made didgeridoo service caters for the creation of an instrument with specific sound characteristics, shape, backpressure, volume and many other variables. Our master craftsmen personally selects and creates the didgeridoo you ask for.

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Volume

The volume of sound that didgeridoos produce is very dependent on individual shape. If the center hole decreases in size anywhere along the length, the didgeridoos potential for volume is reduced. The best shape for greatest volume is conical, with the bottom section of the instrument 'flaring' more rapidly-like a megaphone, where the end or 'bell' finishes with a significantly larger diameter than the mouthpiece end. A bottom end diameter of 200mm and larger will make a good difference in volume as opposed to a similar didgeridoo without such a large conical finish.

Curves and conical shapes also affect key, and can cause quite unpredictably different results than what might be expected.


NOTE:

Volume has nothing to do with sound quality and excessively loud didgeridoos can sometimes become an annoyance-to everyone, including the player! Consideration in regards to transport and protection should also be taken into account when thinking of purchasing a 'large bell' instrument as damage to it can occur much easier. With the modern advantages of amplification, didgeridoos with good tonal qualities, but not necessarily loud in regards to volume, can be a better long-term choice.

Technical info
Amplification can help to add a fullness to the smaller bore didgeridoos, particularly if levels are adjusted, so it is not so much that 'base is better', but rather, what the didgeridoos intended use is to be.

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Backpressure

An instrument with excellent backpressure is one whose backpressure characteristics are 'middle of the road' - not too high and not too low. A good backpressure didgeridoo is easiest for a novice to learn on because it 'falls' into the note easily, without effort and will keep the player's lips vibrating within the 'frequency band' created by the backpressure characteristics. This means that a new player will be able to maintain the note of the instrument easier and for longer. The 'frequency band' or how far the note can be 'bent' or altered up and down from the note of the instrument, is narrow on a good backpressure didgeridoo. This means that although such an instrument is easy to play, its key cannot be as readily 'bent', something that adds to the versatility of a player's repertoire-herein is the advantage of a lower or higher backpressure instrument.

A good backpressure didgeridoo is easy to play while a lower or higher backpressure instrument is slightly harder to master, but a little more versatile. A poor backpressure instrument would be one, which is too high or low on the backpressure scale to be practical for playing.

Finally, it is better to look at all these factors; resonance or sharpness, low or high volume, and low or high backpressure, as attributes of the personality of a didgeridoo and not as one attribute being better than the other. A player's individuality will also affect the final character of the sound produced by each instrument. The choice you make should be based on what you want from your instrument. And remember that you will probably never get everything you want any one didgeridoo, because they are like people-each completely individual and rarely perfect in all the ways you would like them to be!

Technical info
In simple terms backpressure is the amount of air pressure asserted back onto a player's lips by the standing wave or base drone/harmonic of a didgeridoo.

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The Didgeridoo Mouthpiece

A poorly formed mouthpiece on a didgeridoo will make the playing process extremely difficult and virtually impossible for the novice to learn at all. If the diameter is too large or small, or the shape is poorly formed, a good didgeridoo can become almost impossible to play. The type of wax used to form the mouthpiece is also a significant contributing quality factor.

It is highly recommended that all bees' wax mouthpieces are kept protected when not in use. The mouthpiece protectors supplied by Echo Tree with each purchase serve a dual purpose. Not only do they provide physical protection against impact, but they also provide thermal protection by insulating the bee's wax against heat if the didgeridoo should be accidentally left in the sun or some other location that is too hot. Another useful advantage of the protector is its ability to prevent marking on walls, caused when the wax makes contact with a wall.

Technical info
All didgeridoo mouthpieces, whether wooden or dark bee's wax are individually hand moulded to user-friendly specifications by our craftsmen. We have also taken special care to ensure that our bee's wax mouthpieces properly seal and adhere to the timber of our instruments.

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Aboriginal Artwork

Traditionally, the style of artwork, which appears on the didgeridoo, is that of the Australian Aboriginal. As popularity for the artwork from this culture has increased, many copies and fakes have appeared. This has been particularly true in regards to the artworks placed on ornamental or 'tourist' didgeridoos. Besides the fact that there is so much mass produced non-genuine indigenous artwork on the market, there are also ethical concerns involved.
You can view genuine examples of Aboriginal artwork in our Buy a Didgeridoo section.

Echo Tree wishes to unequivocally state that all indigenous style artworks on our didgeridoos are genuine hand painted indigenous creations, hand painted by certified indigenous artists who have been required to prove the authenticity of their indigenous origin by the NIAAA (National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association). The display of the NIAAA label is your assurance of authenticity.

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We are always interested in feedback about our didgeridoos and supporting products, and welcome your contact. feedback@echotree.com.au
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