Homemade Musical Instruments — Didgeridoo — Didgeridoos — Didjeridu —  Didjeridus

- a set of tunable didgeridoos -

This page will show you how to build and play a homemade musical instrument based on the Australian Didgeridoo. It includes: 1) Virtual Didgeritubes you can hear right now; 2) directions on how to build a 5-note set of Didgeritubes; and 3) information on building and playing an 8-note set of Didgeritubes. So take a couple of minutes, hear the Virtual Didgeritubes and learn how to make this instrument!

Virtual Didgeritubes

Our Virtual Didgeritubes play the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th notes of the Major Scale. It's called the Pentatonic Scale (see below).  To hear melodies based on the Pentatonic Scale, see the video on the right, My Five Favorite Fractions.

As you will hear, the longer the tube, the lower the pitch the shorter the tube, the higher the pitch.  

Click the Play button below to hear the instrument. The sounds are produced by buzzing your lips into each tube.  If you would like to make this instrument, just follow the directions below.

Building a 5-note set of Didgeritubes

Begin by getting approximately 8 feet (250 cm) of class 200 - 3/4 inch PVC sprinkler pipe.

  Inches Centimeters  
Eb 22 1/8 56.2 1
F 19 3/8 49.4 2
G 17 5/16 43.9 3
Bb 14 3/8 36.6 5
C 12 13/16 32.5 6

Wrap electrical tape around the top of each tube.

1) Cut the tubing into the five sections listed on the left.

2) Wrap a 4-inch strip of electrical tape around the top end of each tube.  Notice that the midpoint of the tape is positioned at the top of the tube—as shown on the right.

3) Using your index finger, push the outside portion of the tape into the tube, so that it sticks to the inside wall.

4) Wrap two 15-inch strips of duct tape around the set as shown below.

5) Before you try playing the instrument, practice your buzz!  Press your lips lightly together, and produce a buzzing sound by making your lips vibrate.  Try buzzing higher, lower, louder, and softer—try buzzing your favorite song.  The better you are at buzzing, the better your instrument will sound.

6) Lightly press your lips against the one of the tubes and buzz.  To produce a fuller sound, take a bigger breath and buzz more air into the tube. 

If you would like to build an 8-note set that plays many more songs, see below.

Building an 8-note set of Didgeritubes

Phil and his daughter, Sarah, have created a special resource on building and playing Didgeritubes that includes step-by-step instructions. Just like our homemade water bottle xylophone, glockenspiel, panpipes, fraction tubes, and melodic tube drums, our Didgeritubes are tuned to play an 8-note scale in the key of C. 

Building instructions are at Didgeritubes.pdf.  In case you'd like to build a larger set, the instructions also include an addendum for Science Olympiad, detailing the measurements for a fully chromatic 27 tube set.

For sheet music written in treble clef, and play-along music tracks, check out Phil's Music for Homemade Instruments page.



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