Mouth Piece design
Mouth Piece Design to me is the most overlooked aspect of didgeridoo building. I would say it is the most important aspect in all didgeridoo crafting and especially for building a good Drop Octave or Multiple Drone didgeridoo. By redesigning your mouthpiece you can make ANY didgeridoo into a drop octave didgeridoo. If you can master your mouth piece design, the low octave will be as easy to play as the regular done for a player that is comfortable with the technique. On didgeridoos built for the multiple drone technique the mouth piece greatly enhances the ease of hitting the many additional drone notes.
I shape the opening to be Oval and on the far ends of the oval the wood protrudes outwards so it conforms to your face for a better fit ( in other words they have a concave surface shape and oval opening). One problem with big mouthpieces is that they are difficult to get a good seal on because our faces are round and not flat, so we have to push our faces against big mouthpieces to get the outer edges to press against our face. This new mouthpiece design helps eliminate that problem and make frontal playing overall easier. The oval shape prevents the problem of the top of the mouthpiece smashing against your nose and constricting your breathe because it is vertically shorter. so in general the larger the mouthpiece the more oval and the smaller the mouthpiece the more round. i am a strong believer in playing out of the front and think it is the best way to play to master this new technique (although i have seen side players play these mouthpieces comfortably, I dont think it’s ideal). In general it is more difficult to play the low frequencies from the side. The front allows for more subtle control of the lips which also makes the front more difficult to control.
Mouth Piece Dimensions For Oval shape,
if you want to make it round width is all that matters
Inner diameter: Width 1.37-1.5 inches
Height 1.25-1.37 inches
Some of the images below illustrate using dowels to attach an external mouthpiece and this is not necessary. To start with, attaching an external mouthpiece is only necessary if you are hunting a specific drone key. If Tuning is not a question you can simply carve the desired shape directly into the mouthpiece you are working on. As for using dowels for strength; through experience i find there is not much benefit if any. When you drop a solid wooden didge onto a hard surface chances are it is going to break somewhere. Solid didges may crack, instrument with extensions may break off. In theory a good wood glue dries stronger than the wood itself and I have broken instruments with and without dowels holding them together ( when you make didgeridoos full time and travel often you tend to have a few accidents:) I do not feel that dowels on the mouth piece end make much difference in strength due to the small amount of surface being attached. I do feel they benefit on the bell end but that’s another story. Most importantly didgeridoo are not intended to be built like furniture and if treated like musical instruments no problems should arise. So what if I want to use my didge to pole vault over the gorilla enclosure’s wall at the zoo and battle a silverback with the power of a yeti? Luckily 99% of damages to most didgeridoo are easily fixed by someone with a common knowledge of wood – that’s is a nice contrast to breaking the neck of your guitar.