My first wooden didgeridoo and how I bought it. At the end of the first week playing the didgeridoo, plastic pipes needed to be replaced with a ‘real’ wooden one! Having done my research, confident that I knew what I wanted, money in pocket, off I went. I was destined to meet my first didgeridoo at a music shop called ‘Adaptatrap‘ which is in Trafalgar Street in Brighton.
Didgeridoo at Adaptatrap
Adaptrap (not that I knew this at the time) is a music shop selling instruments from around the would, mainly percussion as Les, the owner, is a drummer and started out by repairing and making drums. This grew more than playing and eventually he ended up with a really good shop! If you go to Brighton, be sure to have a look at Adaptatrap, it’s halfway up the road and has bright red paint on the outside.
On this particular Saturday morning, it was my first visit to this particular shop, eager and bright eyed I went in thinking to myself “At last I get to see and play a real didgeridoo”. I was nervous, why, I don’t know, perhaps I didn’t want to make an idiot of myself trying to play and failing. Needn’t of worried as I meekly asked after didgeridoos from the man behind the counter.
Les had over the years encountered many like myself, budding musicians wishing to try their luck at something a little more alternative. He explained a little about what stock he had and was more than happy to show me and let me have a go. Indeed, Les was quick to admit that he is not the worlds best didge player and that the best didge was an individual choice and so encouraged me to try them all.
Kid in a candy store or what! With no other customers in the shop I began to go through the didges one by one. Not that I knew then, they were a selection of Bloodwood didgeridoos brought into the country by an Australian aboriginal fella called Pete. I quickly narrowed the selection of didges down based on how easily I could achieve a drone. A couple were impossible to get a sound, several were difficult to play, a few more sounded okay but not anything that got me excited.
Then there were three.
I could not make up my mind, this one then that one, then the other one, it was impossible to make a choice. I kept asking Les his advice and he said it was up to me! AAArrrggghh! decisions decisions. In the end I selected a didge – as much because when Les played it, it was the nicest sounding one of the three.
The didge was a bloodwood (a type of Eucalyptus (its colour and grain remind me of conkers)), and knowing nothing about looing after a musical instrument, let alone one the size of this didgeridoo, I asked what care I needed to take of it. Les suggested oiling the bore with boiled linseed oil – and this I dutifully did (a short while later). I also asked about the mouthpiece as I not encountered these before, it a had a beeswax mouthpiece which Les explained all about. Having arrived at a decision I relaxed and started to take in some over the other instruments in the shop.
I was on a didge mission and nothing was going to stop me so I filed some of the cooler looking instruments away in my mind under the title ‘Look them up later’. Les told me about a local chap called Phil Jackson who had done a ‘How to Play’ CD. This I bought and narrowly escaped buying several other instruments. Out with the cash, deal done, time to go home and proudly play my new authentic wooden didgeridoo.