Monday, September 22, 2014


Circular breathing is a blowing technique used in playing some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption. The technique is by breathing in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth using air stored in the cheeks. It is used extensively in playing the didgeridoos.

Circular breathing is a blowing technique that would scare didgeridoo beginners. Didgeridoo is a wonderful wind instrument where circular breathing is employed while playing with it. Keep on practicing and of course this will be a boring session but not to give up. You may refer to some established didgeridoo websites where they professionally explaining and demonstrating the blowing techniques. With a little continuous effort, circular breathing technique will soon be mastered and you will feel very happy as you have done a very essential part in didgeridoo playing. When I was at my early stage of learning to circular breathing, I got really frustrated and I almost gave up playing didgeridoo. My son could circular breathing really good in just a short time, what a challenge. I soon restarted again and found out that circular breathing was not as difficult as we might think.  

Circular breathing is a technique whereby the didgeridoo is blown with the air from your lungs, slightly before all the air are being used up, quickly inhale through the nose and reserved the air in your cheek. Used the reserved air at appropriate time and this will appear as a continuous stream of blowing. 

The picture below illustrates the technique of circular breathing. First, blow the air from your lungs and then inhale air through the nose and reserved it in the cheek and blow it out. Again, use the air from the lungs and the process restarts again in a continuous manner. Simple, isn’t it? Remember the old saying “practice makes perfect”.  

To practice circular breathing, I would suggest you to record the sounds produced in you cell phone (the most available recording device), study the sound and repeat the cycle until you’re really satisfied of what you’re doing. Played the recordings to your friends and let them comment. Do not hesitate when the comments will not please you. This is the challenge to a beginner didgeridoo player. Further explanation on circular breathing is shown in the graphic below.

A – Blow the air from your lungs
B – While blowing, inhale in air through the nostrils, reserved the air in the cheek

C – Blow the air from the lungs, repeat the cycles

Due to unexpected technical problem, the graphics failed to be uploaded on this page. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

3rd Annual Didgeridoo, Percussion & Buskers Gathering 2013

3rd Annual Didgeridoo, Percussion and Buskers Gathering will be held on June 1st, 2013, at Teluk Chempedak, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. If you missed the previous gathering, please reserve a day on the  upcoming event.
If you intend to go to the event, please wear in green. Other colours is OK but green is preferable.
The location of the event is at GANDOM TC SURF SOCIETY (JUST BESIDE HYATT HOTEL)


15.00 - 18.30:  Get-together, ice-breaking,    
                        didge mini workshop and etc.
18.30 - 20.00  Break
20.00 - 23.00 Move on to TC Square, busking time

Please bring along some refreshments 'cos available stores will not be easily reachable.

OK, see you there

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


KUALA LUMPUR 20/1/2013: Street entertainers (buskers) were told Sunday to apply for permits if they wanted to perform in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Socio-Economic Development deputy director-general Datuk Mohd Amin Nordin Ab Aziz said they could do so through DBKL's Culture and Sport Division.
He said several discussions had been carried out with the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture to identify guidelines that the entertainers had to abide by.
"We do not want just about anybody to perform and foreign nationals are not allowed to do so. "And, the buskers must be above 18 years old," he told reporters, here.
Information, Communication and Culture minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim on Friday said, a location at the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, here, had been provided to enable street entertainers to carry out their practice. - Bernama
Above are the statements issued by the authorities as retrieved from local news portals.  What say you, buskers? Street busking is a mean of expressing yourselves. That is what I understood. Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places. The performers doing a show for tips and gratuities offered. In the late 70’s, it was when I spent my time in Europe and my best spot was in the Underground Tube, in London. Buskers were all around the tubes and most of them were musicians. I would stop and enjoyed the music that pleased my ears. I could still remember when one of the busker was playing “I shall be released”, a Bob Dylan’s piece. Bob Dylan was my idol at that time.  I was in a hurry to catch the next train to my destination, but could not proceed when hearing the song that I loved so much. When the song ended, only then I moved away, of course after putting some money in the guitar case. That was some of my experience in appreciating music played by the buskers. Didgeridoo music was not in buskers dictionary at that time.
Now look at another extract from the news portal.

Malaysian street performers learn didgeridoo from friends Down Under

KUALA LUMPUR: Mention the word “busking” and the image of a person strumming a guitar and singing by the sidewalk comes to mind. Avid buskers Amar Muhammad Ramli, 26, and Abdul Azim Mohd Zain, 19, however, favour the didgeridoo, a metre-long instrument resembling a long hollow pole, which is native to Australian aborigines.
“Some of my friends were in Australia to further their studies and learnt how to play the didgeridoo there. “They brought it here and taught it to us,” said Amar Muhammad, who took a month to master the instrument.
Amar Muhammad and Abdul Azim were among 200 groups of buskers who wowed the crowd during the day-long BN Youth Buskers Fest at Suria KLCC Esplanade on Saturday. Most buskers performed with the guitar and the duo's music caught the attention of many passers-by.
G’day mate: Set Patah performing at the Suria KLCC Esplanade in Kuala Lumpur.
“The didgeridoo is made of bamboo. The size of the instrument differs based on the chord. “Many people are surprised to see that the didgeridoo is hollow inside, without any notches like those in wind instruments,” said Amar Muhammad, who is a design architect.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bell Bottom Glass Didgeridoo
It was about 8 months since my last entry, I was quite busy then and now I’m back with some fresh articles especially to those didgeridoo enthusiasts out there. In my absence I manage to fabricate a glass didgeridoo with a little improvement than the one I made earlier. It is known as Bell Bottom Didgeridoo.

Didgeridoo Bell bottom are didgeridoos where the lower part of the didgeridoo is very much wider than the size of the whole length of the stick.  It is basically a didgeridoo with an added sound box. The main advantage of a Bell Bottom Didgeridoo is the amplification it generates, allowing you to produce more voluminous sound with less effort. Bass notes and lower tones particularly benefit from this, and playing techniques using voices and roars come out stronger.
Bell Bottom Glass Didgeridoo

In fabricating a bell bottom glass didgeridoo, the bottom end of the tube is heated up in a big and vigorous flame, when the glass has soften, the tube should be slightly pushed inwards and this will make the glass become thicker. The next process is flaring the thicker end of the tube. While still in the flame, a carbon rod is applied to the softening glass and by slowly lifting up the rod against the wall of the glass, a flare will then emerged. The glass becomes thinner while flaring is being formed. This is reason why the glass should be thickened before the flaring process. This technique is also being applied in the making of the base of flower vases and wine glasses.  The glass tube has to be rotated while flaming and flaring to maintain an even heating around the tube and will produce an even and well made flare. The flaring technique will produce a didgeridoo with a wider end and may look like a trumpet. Another technique is by sealing the end of the tube (to prevent air from escaping out) and when the glass has soften, blow at the other end of the tube until it swells up and becomes a big bulb. A hole is then made by flaming the tip of the bulb until the glass becomes really soft and a hard blow will make the glass to balloon and shattered out. Again, by using a carbon rod, flare is then made.  Easy ha.    

Fabrication of glass didgeridoo is not an easy thing to do. You need to have some knowledge and skill in glassblowing. I don’t have much difficulty in fabricating the didgeridoo because I had the opportunity to learn glassblowing from master glassblowers at University of Ghent, Belgium somewhere in the late 70’s.  To the master glassblowers, Rene, Hector, Etienne, Freddie and Jan, I thank you all.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012


A PVC didgeridoo is the simplest and the cheapest didgeridoo that can be made easily in your backyard.  Take a visit at your local hardware store and there you will find plenty of PVC tubes in various sizes and colors.  For making PVC didgeridoo, a tube with the diameter of 38mm and length of 182.9cm (6 feet) is a good size to start with. I have done on a bigger diameter tube but you will need big amount of beeswax for the mouthpiece. The length of the tube will determine the pitch of the didgeridoo. The overall length (plus the mouthpiece) of about 132.08 cm (52”) will tune at C. At 41.609” (105.687cm) the tune will be at E.  The tube can be cut shorter (a bit at a time) until you get the tune correct. I tuned the tube with a digital tuner and that makes the job much easier. Don’t worry about the tune at this moment, get on practicing the drone and enjoy the sound. 
The store man will help you in cutting the length you’ve chosen. All you need to carry back other than the tube is a few pieces of coarse and fine sand papers, one or two cans of spray paint of different colors and that’s it. The cut edges may  be trimmed by scraping the ends of the tube using a kitchen knife (penknife) and then further smoothing can be done by using sand papers. The blowing end of the tube is made by fixing an adapter joint (some called it bushing or fitting) as the mouthpiece. I would still prefer and recommend you to fix beeswax as the mouthpiece. I would assume that a didgeridoo without beeswax is not really a didgeridoo yet. Beeswax is not always available when you need it, PVC joint (fitting) is the best choice. At present, the price of beeswax in Kuala Lumpur is around RM60 – RM80/kg. Beeswax from local honey bees farm can be easily distinguished by the light brown color of the wax. Imported wax is darker. 
A kind of glue is used to securely fix a PVC tube to another. The PVC glue produces a very strong smell and I would suggest you to look for a suitable joint size so that the joint can be fixed to the tube without using any glue. A PVC joint is made with rounded smooth edges and it won’t hurt your lips and that is one of the functions of the mouthpiece
When the mouthpiece had been fixed, the tube is ready to be blown. A plain tube will look better if you take some effort to paint it. The smooth surface of the tube should be sand papered for the paint to   stick nicely and permanently. You are free to express your heart out on the painting. Let the painting to dry naturally. The next step is to apply a coat of ‘clear spray’. This will give a shine on the didgeridoo and will look more attractive. 
A properly made PVC didgeridoo will produce a beautiful sound and it will be difficult to differentiate from an expensive didgeridoo, this will all depend on your blowing skill too. 
If I were to make a PVC didgeridoo, I would prefer my didgeridoo to have a slight bent at the end of the tube. It will look nicer if compared to a plain straight tube.  For bending the tube you will need a hot blower or you can just heat it over a naked flame. I don’t prefer bending over the flame because PVC will get burn marks and leaving an ugly appearance on the tube.  When hot blower is used, heat alongside the end of the tube. When the tube softens, bent a little bit and then stop. Let the tube harden, then heat at a place slightly away from the bent that had been made earlier. The same step continues until desired bent is archived. Excessive bending will make the tube to sag at one side.  Another method of getting a good bending is to fill up the tube with sand. When bending is being done, the sand will prevent the tube to collapse during bending and maintaining an even internal diameter of the tube.  So, that’s it.  
As you noticed in the photos, my newly made PVC didgeridoo is fitted with a rubber cone at the end of the tube. This is what they called a bell didgeridoo. A real bell didgeridoo is made from a tree trunk by maintaining the base of the tree and it may not look beautiful but the sound is wonderful. The guy who is blowing the tube is a didgeridoo player from Selangor (a state in Malaysia) named Mirol. He was accompanied by a mini djembe drummer. The harmonic sound derived from the fusion of didgeridoo and djembe drum is so melodious and uncontrollably your feet start tapping as the music flows.    

Friday, December 23, 2011


Batik didgeridoo

As I mentioned in the earlier post, I would like my didgeridoo to have a Malaysian taste on it. Yes, it’s batik motif. Batik is well known in the region such as Indonesia, Malaysia and some neighboring countries. Malaysian and Indonesian batik can be easily distinguished by its motif and colour. Well, I am not a right person to elaborate more on batik. I just want to do some experiments, painting batik motif on didgeridoo. There has been discussion on the net on pro and con of Aborigines motif being done by people outside Australia. I may agree with some facts and I prefer to be on the safe site, come out with your own motif, and that will save you all the trouble.

Making background colours

A didgeridoo is a didgeridoo. No matter how it is painted, it is still a didgeridoo. A didgeridoo is a work of art, so, it will be better to produce a didgeridoo with your own motif and be known by the identity. 

Painting the motif and redo  background tones

A strip of batik motif on the didgeridoo is called ‘bunga pucuk rebung’ which means, bamboo shoot flowers. I never know that a bamboo shoot produces flowers at a very early stage. Has someone seen a bamboo shoot flowers before? My first try on making the motif does not look like a real batik at all. Anyway, I am satisfied with it for this is the best effort that could be done. The next didgeridoo produced will be painted with a better batik motif and hope to get assistance from local batik designer.

A batik motif on didgeridoo, is it batik?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Didgeridoo Physics

Didgeridoo making is not as simple as you might think. You need to know some basics in physics to ease the process of fabricating a playable didgeridoo. OK, look at the process of building a simple PVC didgeridoo, just cut a piece of  PVC tube, smooth the edges and that's it.  No, it's not that simple, a playable didgeridoo is an instrument which is blown with a certain musical key and this is what music is all about. Bear in mind that didgeridoo making is not a just cut and paint process.

To make a didgeridoo from hollow materials such as PVC or plastic tube, the most important  thing to consider is the length of the tube to be cut. A certain length of the tube will produce a specific musical key. It is easy to calculate the length of the tube to produce a  musical key because the tube has an even thickness throughout the length of the tube. In my reading, there are some discussions on choosing a preferable size of the tube (inside diameter) for making a PVC didgeridoo. I could understand that it is not really a matter how big or how small is the tube, the length is the main concern. The explanation is, the width or the size will not affect the musical key but it just amplifying the sound produced when blowing through the tube. The theory does not apply to the genuine didgeridoos produced by the Australian Aborigines where the didgeridoo possesses an irregular inside diameter because it has been naturally hollowed by termites. This  makes the original termite-eaten didgeridoo so unique and produces very interesting sound characteristics.

Well, I am not an expert on physics and I may not be able to elaborate much on this subject. I would suggest  you to visit any site on the net that explains in details about didgeridoo physics. As in my case, I tuned the newly made didgeridoo by using a tuner which is available in any music stores. I welcome any comments on  this subject, especially from Mr. Rob, Australia.