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Buy a didgeridoo yes, but not just any! Finding a good didgeridoo maker is a real headache: most have very little visibility and if you don’t know too much about the didjeridoo community you are unlikely to find what you are looking for. For your convenience, here is a selection of 5 top-of-the-range crafters. First of all, let’s break down the Australian myth that all didgeridoo crafters are out there. Of course, most of them are in Australia. However, keep in mind that Australian crafters are not so much about quality as they are quantity. Indeed, in this distant country, the didgeridoo is mostly seen as a souvenir for tourists. You know the didgeridoo that you find in a corner of the living room, does that ring a bell? 😉
You will therefore discover that in France, we have a lot of chances too! Good discovery !
CrooKedStiXz was mainly known in France thanks to didgeridoo-passion which sells its instruments. Its arrival on the European market is rather recent, but believe me these didgeridoos are excellent. In fact, I hardly ever play with these didgs anymore. I find that everything is there: the balance between clarity and warmth of the sound, the playability has no faults, the finish is impeccable, they are beautiful and above all they live! And not to spoil anything, Adam Henwood (the crafters behind the CrooKedStiXz), is a kindness and a rare listening. To take an example, when I contacted Adam, he was only making thin, long, tapered didgeridoos … Not really my cup of tea …! So we took the time to talk and he quickly agreed to expand his air columns, while moving towards instruments more inspired by the cylindrical shape (see also: 4 essential criteria to understand the psychology of your didgeridoo!). Since then, Adam has offered didgeridoos more suited to the French game … And that’s not all crafters who have this flexibility!
Adam Henwood in full production!
Bob Druett (Australia)
I met Bob during my trip to Australia in 2007/2008. I spent 4 months in his workshop making my own instrument with him. Bob, in my opinion, is the pioneer of high-end contemporary didgeridoo. He was the one who knew how to give the instrument its letters of nobility. No one before Bob, had dared to push the finish and the precision at this stage. He also influenced many other crafters of didgeridoos such as Robbie Hantelman or Alexis Rousselle. Its instruments are of formidable precision. Having seen it work, I can assure you that what Bob can do, few crafters in the world can. Bob’s didgeridoos are often open-air column (mean cylindrical) didgeridoos, with clear overtones. Their weight is relatively important in order to develop a strong presence. Unfortunately, since the years 2009-2010, very few instruments leave Bob’s workshop. To get one, you will need to either find it second-hand (very rare) or move to Australia! (motivated friends hello!)
“L’exil” 2020, a piece in which I play my D didgeridoo craft with Bob Druett.
Didgelement | Christian Guéret (France)
Christian Guéret is a French crafter who lives in the Grenoble region. He started selling his didgeridoos in 2009. He uses the sandwich technique that Alex developed, but bringing his own approach to it. Chris was able to mix the aesthetics of Bob’s eucalyptus trees and Alex’s sandwiches. But to stop there would be to reduce its know-how. The didgelement are excellent didgeridoos with a very good sound balance. Chris also developed the Evoludidgs, which are didgeridoos so the first part is unscrewable and interchangeable. We can then go from an E to a C or even a B. He has been one of the major players in the evolution of didgeridoos in recent years in Europe and we can only pay tribute to him. If I play Alex’s didgeridoos, Zalem plays the Didg-Element. To each his own school! 🙂
Zalem Delarbre playing an Evoludidg from Didgelement.
Stix | Robbie Hantelmann (Australia)
Many players know Robbie Hantelmann and his Stix much better than Bob Druett. Yet in the early 2000s, it was from Bob that Robbie learned how to make didgeridoo. Subsequently, different personnel finally separated them, each continuing their journey on their own. I have to say I’m pretty mixed up with Robbie’s didgeridoos. First of all, you should know that there were two eras of manufacturing. The first (around the years 2006-2010) had much better didgeridoos than the second (from the years 2011-2012). Indeed, the first Stix benefit from a much better finish than those marketed from now on. The ambiguity comes from the fact that Robbie makes some very good didgeridoos (I have one at home) and others that are of little interest. It gives the impression that he doesn’t really know where he is going. Where from other crafters you can almost buy with your eyes closed, a Stix will require some knowledge to choose a good instrument. In any case, Robbie has his place in this article because if you find a good Stix, believe me you will not be disappointed!
Be careful, I am not talking about the “Robbie Hantelman” range, which includes entry-level instruments, therefore by definition leaving the high-end category.
Sanshi from didgeridoo-breath presenting a Stix.
Alex-didg | Alexis Rousselle (France)
Although I now prefer to play other instruments, I have played Alex’s didgeridoos for several years. We started our collaboration in 2006 for the recording of my first album “Terre inconnue”. Alexis Rousselle lives in Lille, where he is from. He has been making didgeridoos since the mid-90s. He was the first crafter of didgeridoos to seriously develop the sandwich technique from dry wood panels. His didgeridoos are of great acoustic precision, with a clear and precise sound. Over the years, its range of didgeridoos has grown and become very varied …
Julien Pinot playing an Alex-didg during the Didg-to-didg 2015.
Do you know of any other didgeridoo crafters?
Of course this list is not exhaustive and I do not claim to know all the crafters of didgeridoo that the earth carries! Also, I like clean sounding didgeridoos, so I will definitely tend to easily introduce you to crafters who tend towards these qualities. 🙂 You should also keep in mind that it is possible to make your own didgeridoo (see also: How about making your own didgeridoo ?!). And if not, do you know of any crafters who could complete this list? Share your good addresses!