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Electric Didgeridoo

February 12, 2010 2 comments

I finally managed to record a little bit of didge with piezo-mouthpiece pickup attached. Actually the instrument is a yidaki from North-East Arnhem Land and the pickup is a simple doorbell buzzer that you can find in electronics stores for about 1 euro.

Fishing through the questions that Dubravko had sent me and that I had promised to reply I realised that the next two questions were actually waiting for me to make this video and write this piece. The moment is auspicious and thus;

Question 5. Why do you use an amp, and don’t straightly go to the mixer?
Actually, I now go through a mixer. One can plug the pickup directly into an amplifier however it does not necessarily give a great sound due to the high (greater than 1MegaOhm) impedance. I have found that if you plug it into the high pickup of an electric guitar amp the results are not bad. I guess I should make a video of that too..

The actual setup in this video is – cheap pickup into Soundcraft mixer with gain at half maximum – zoom b2.1u at insert point of mixer – mixer output to SR Jam 150 amp. The mixer and amp have equalizers in neutral positions while in the zoom the high and low frequencies had 0dB gain whilst mid frequencies were boosted. All gains in the pedal were also at mid positions. The only effect used is chorus.

Unfortunately the sound quality of the video is not fantastic as I was in a bit of a rush when recording. The actualy sound is quite decent with this setup though with some more tweaking I am sure that it can be considerably improved.

Question 6. What kind of changes did you get with varying pickups? Is there a point of putting a high quality pickup?

The photo below is of a pickup on a mouthpiece extension similar to that used in the above video. This pickup is a K&K pickup and has a somewhat smoother sound than the cheap pickup. It requires more gain due to the smaller size of the disk, 22mm compared to the cheap one that comes in at 28mm. This pickup is used in the recording of the piece Metamorfosis that you can listen to on my myspace/martinoloughlin
I am sure that there is a point in using high quality pickups. The immediate problem that I have with this solution is that I also believe that the 28mm pickups are more adapted to the didge than the 22mm ones but I do not know of any manufaturer who produces professional (musical) quality pickups of that diameter.

Piezo-pickup mouthpiece extension

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Categories: Instrumentation, Yidaki