NeaL Brooks is a multi-instrumentalist who has combined two of his favorite instruments: bass and didjeridoo. He had tried a variety of ways to do both at once, but all with unsatisfactory results. In September of 2003, he attended Victor Wooten’s Bass/Nature Camp in Tennessee.
NeaL says, “Victor has a music lesson known as Two Through Ten which helped me realize that the didjeridoo is more than just a musical instrument. It’s also a great tool for developing those musical skills and senses which cannot be effectively taught through books. With didj, you mainly have one note to work with. How can you make that one note more interesting?”
At Victor’s camp, NeaL met another musician who also shared his interest in unusual instruments; one of Victor’s brothers, Roy “Futureman” Wooten. When NeaL mentioned his efforts to play didjeridoo and bass at the same time, Roy said, “Maybe if you found some way to mount the didjeridoo onto the bass?”
“I knew right away that Roy’s idea would require a lot of time and work, which didn’t appeal to me at all.” NeaL laughs, “But after trying a few other ideas, I realized that Roy’s suggestion was the only approach which made sense, especially from an audience’s perspective.”
NeaL decided that he wanted the didjeridoo and bass to link together but be easily separable. Another didjeridoo player, Tim Whittemore of Big Blow and the Bushwackers, suggested a paper mache construction for the didjeridoo. “Tim e-mailed to me a detailed explanation of his own techniques and experiences with making paper mache didjeridoos.”
NeaL didn’t keep track of how long it took him to make this first one, but he worked on it a little at a time over the course of a year. His first bass-mounting didjeridoo is tuned to a low B and molded to perfectly fit the body of his Tacoma CB-10 Thunderchief acoustic/electric bass. NeaL says, “It’s definitely the best acoustic/electric bass guitar on the market. I’m making more paper mache didjeridoos in different keys, all molded to fit my Tacoma. Maybe someday I’ll try to mold one to fit my upright bass or solid-bodied electric basses. I might even make these for other people, once I get good at it.” For now, NeaL plays bass and didjeridoo, as well as a few other instruments, for a variety of projects. << Sound Sample Coming soon >>