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​​MICHELE OGILVIE

To commission or purchase a one of a kind, Urban Didj didgeridoo, please contact Michele Ogilvie to discuss your interests, or check out the SHOP link to see what's available.  Sales transactions are conducted through PayPal. Shipping is arranged according to destination. 

URBAN DIDJ • SOUND PAINTINGS

MAKING A DIDGERIDOO

The Bell Cap

The bell not only enhances the aesthetics and durability of the overall piece, it adds a degree of amplification as well.  It is also possible to shift the tuning of the instrument by adding layers of wood bell caps. Some performers will clip an amplification mic on the end of their bell caps.


I like to design the bells of the my didges using firs and hardwoods. The firs offer an unpredictable and amazing grain pattern. I also like to use mahogany, red oak and black walnut for their closed grain and depth of color. I use a jig, or scroll saw to rough out the basic shapes. Next the interior of the pieces are beveled, smoothed and sanded. The pieces are then glued and clamped together to form one bell. The bell is attached to the didge using bamboo dowels and wood glue. At this point, I use grinders and files to integrate the shape of the bell with the stick. 

This was a great harvest. All of these sticks were collected in the CA desert. 
It is glued and clamped about every two inches. 
Chisels and carving tools are used to hollow out the pieces.  This would be considered a thick-walled instrument. It will have a deeper voice.
This stick was coated with a specially formulated garnet shellac paste before joining. A lot of artists prefer to add epoxy after joining. I am experimenting with variations in sound qualities that result from using different bore materials such as fiberglass, resin, claystone, wax and shellac. 

The stick is split in half with a machete in order to assure a good fit when the pieces are re-joined. 


FINDING THE SOUND 

Hearing the first sounds of each didge is one of the most rewarding things about making them. The voice is buried deep within the root, and it is an act of fate and trust to begin the journey of discovery. Much work has to be done, before a drone can be played. It begins by splitting the stick in half, hollowing it out, gluing and clamping the carved halves back together. There are many ways these steps can be accomplished. Each serious didge artist has spent many years, and lots of trial and error perfecting their skills. The thickness of the walls, the length and diameter of the stick, the size of the bell and type of mouthpiece all add up to the personality of the finished piece. The key note, tones, harmonics, and trumpets are ultimately dependent upon the craftsmanship and eventually the skill of the player. There will never be two didgeridoos alike and it can take a lifetime to perfect the skills required to make a concert quality instrument.