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 Post subject: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 19.05.2009, 15:08 
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Joined: 17.03.2006, 21:22
Posts: 1002
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Just out of curiosity: if you own a traditional instrument who's bore was originally untreated - have you sealed / treated its bore and how did it affect its sound or playability?


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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 19.05.2009, 15:27 
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Joined: 17.08.2008, 09:42
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Location: California
I have a Djalu that I bought from Ben Hicks; Ben had already treated it with tung oil before it got to me.

Although I can't comment on the difference in sound, I can say that it's my best sounding stick; a sentiment shared by pretty much everyone who hears it in comparison to my others. It's by far the brightest sounding of them all.

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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 20.05.2009, 07:27 
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Joined: 18.03.2006, 13:53
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Location: Bantry, Ireland
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in comparison to my others. It's by far the brightest sounding of them all

Is it the only instrument you have with a treated bore? That would explain why it sounds brighter.

Do you consider a bright sound to be an advantage in general?

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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 20.05.2009, 08:15 
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Joined: 17.08.2008, 09:42
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Location: California
SeriousJohn wrote:
Is it the only instrument you have with a treated bore? That would explain why it sounds brighter.

Do you consider a bright sound to be an advantage in general?

It's the only oil-treated instrument, yes, though I have a Chad Butler didge that's epoxy-coated -- it's not nearly as bright as the Djalu, but it's also a major 6th lower in tone. My other two didges are both natural.

I'm not sure I have the experience (I've not even been playing a year) to make a reasonable judgement about whether a bright sound is an advantage. My gut reaction would be to say that generally it's not an "advantage" -- it's just a difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 20.05.2009, 14:10 
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Joined: 17.03.2006, 21:22
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Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Anyone else? I'd like to hear from someone who has for epoxied a bore of a traditional instrument and how that has affected the sound. Was it a dramatic change or compareable to the change from a dry to a wet bore? The reason for asking is that we (Serious Sticks) don't have any first hand experience on this and all we know is anectotal and going back to one or two people who have made the suggestion years ago that it "kills the traditional properties" of an instrument.

We could of course just go ahead and epoxy one ourselves to find out but we're not that desperate yet :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 20.05.2009, 19:49 
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Joined: 19.03.2006, 03:03
Posts: 113
Location: SW Lower MI/USA
A couple of years ago I had three termite hollowed didgeridoo's shipped from Australia, purchased direct from the Aboriginal crafter (not from the Northern Territory). All had untreated bores. Two of them were playable, but had a very muffled sound. The bores were not hollowed out enough to be decent players in my opinion. The third one was an ok player with very low volume.

The first two, I believed I had two options... re-work the bores, or epoxy them to see if they would improve. I took the easy way out and epoxied them. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say they went from about a "2", to maybe a "3". Slightly brighter, and a bit less muffled. Still not what I would consider "players".

The third stick developed a crack which exposed a larger area that had almost an egg-shell thickness to the wood. The attempt to fix the crack resulted in the whole area (that was too thin) to come apart. You guessed it, I fixed it, and epoxied it inside and out to strengthen the very thin wood. This stick also had a bit more of a brighter, slightly less muffled sound. And, no I don't believe the volume increased any if at all after it was epoxied.

I'm giving more info than asked for, because these were never great instruments that I could say were improved or not improved much.

I can say that in all three cases, epoxying the bores did allow a bit more of the harmonics to come through. I never bonded with any of the three that I epoxied, so I can't say if it killed the personality or properties or whatever.

I'll also add that now, I would not epoxy a traditional instrument unless it was a last resort.

Allan


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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 20.05.2009, 23:07 
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Joined: 22.01.2007, 21:04
Posts: 55
Location: portland
Over the years, I have Epoxied around a dozen Eucalypt sticks. None were Yidaki, just generic bigger bored Euc's. All had some form of major damage before I got hold of them, so not a lot to offer on how much they changed. The consensus from the feedback I got, is that they were crisper/brighter than before the repair. Hard to know if that is partly due to cracks that may have been present and unnoticed before the repair. Most of these also had new wooden mouthpieces installed, which could have changed things a bit. No one mentioned radical changes.

I have oiled 3 untreated Yidaki and a half dozen other Euc's. The only difference to my ears, was that they played as if they were already warmed up and full of saliva/moisture. The playability and tone were not altered in any discernible way, certainly no different than how they would sound after 15 minutes of vigorous playing.

I am in the process of repairing a Boxwood stick from Heartland. Will be re-coating the bore after fixing all the hairline cracks. I am going to use thinned, melted beeswax as that is what the original maker applied. I am curious to see how/if this changes the stick. I am going to play it for awhile once the cracks are sealed, then spend more time with it after coating the bore. I will let you know if I learn anything new!

When my split style sticks receive the interior coat of varnish, epoxy, or oil, they do change and sometimes dramatically. Epoxy brightens the tone and raises the pitch. How much depends on the type of wood and the shape of the bore. Also how thick the epoxy is. Epoxy can be thinned, or applied in several thick layers.

I wish Ben was still posting, as I bet he has had to Epoxy one or two at some point.


-Jeff Lohr

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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 22.05.2009, 11:54 
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Joined: 17.03.2006, 21:22
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Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Thanks guys!

Jeff, let us know how the hot, melted beeswax thing works out. I'm curious about that as well. I do think as well that oiling a traditional instrument brings out similar tonal qualities as playing an untreated one for a certain time. This is why we only offer to oil instruments on request and I do it as well with my personal instruments that are painted in acrylics. Oiling an ochre painted instrument is always trying one's luck.

And based on what do you decide whether one of your instruments should be varnished, oiled or epoxied?

I guess, epoxying a yidaki does not only alter its sound properties but also the other features that are the longer the more important to me like resistance, elasticity, attack etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 22.05.2009, 20:17 
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Joined: 22.03.2006, 20:18
Posts: 195
Location: California USA
Another thing to remember about epoxy treatments is the effect that it can have on bore diameter and therefore pitch.
The ratio of mouth end/throat diameter to mid and bell end diameter has a lot to do with both the subtle harmonics of the fundamental and the pitch of the drone and to a lesser degree, the overtones.
A thick coat on the walls makes a greater change proportionately speaking, to the narrower mouth end than to the wider bell end. Therefore, the ratio increases and the pitch goes up.
I sometimes take advantage of this by allowing a thicker coat to puddle up in the upper section to move up as much as 15-20 cents. I should add that I have only done this on a split and hollow. I've never epoxied a trad stick :wink:
Alternatively, if the pitch is already where you want it, you have to be careful not to allow that to happen.
Hope this makes sense.... it wasn't as easy to 'splain as I thought it would be :roll:
robert


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 Post subject: Re: Bore treatment
PostPosted: 06.06.2009, 02:19 
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Joined: 18.04.2007, 23:34
Posts: 211
Location: Essex UK
I have all of my trad sticks oiled with Tung oil (Acrylic and Ochre, no probs, just need to be a bit more careful) cos I'm too scared to play an expensive dry instrument in case it cracks. In my opinion there does not seem to be much, if any, difference between oiled and dry(once warmed up) to my ears. They still seem to improve (as do dry ones) once wet though. The only difference is that I can blast away without too much concern about them cracking, bit I still keep in the right conditions as much as I can. I have some non trad but aboriginal didges that are danish oiled I think and they are definately much "brighter" sounding than an equivalent key in a trad instrument.

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