Melodic Gourd Instruments



From this page, you can see and hear some non-percussion gourd instruments I've made.  Percussion instruments from gourds are well understood and widely known.  The purpose of this page is to show some unusual uses I've made of gourds.

I also discuss how hard each is to make and anything else that might help you decide whether to tackle one.  I don't give tutorials for each, but you can use the contact link at the bottom for help and I'll do what I can.

From the recordings, you can hear the sound quality each instrument produces, but in some cases you may need to overlook the quality of the playing, since I like to build instruments I've never played.

The gourd as sound board

Gourds as resonators is a familiar use, but they also make great soundboards.




Appalachian Dulcimer



Brass and woodwinds







Gourd resonators

Box resonator

Helmholtz resonators

Traditional resonator


Making them work together

Orchestral instruments have been built to be played together.  Their volumes are compatible with each other, and they can be tuned to the same pitches.  This is not always the case with folk instruments, which are often quieter, since they are designed for the player's satisfaction, not for an audience.

To make gourd instruments that work together, I have tuned to standard pitches, usually in the keys of C and F.  Volume is more difficult, since gourds only grow so big.  But I have had success with the pairs below.

Mandolin and clarinet

Xylophone and flute

Flute and dulcimer



Growing musical instruments


While gourds are growing can be manipulated in ways that tailor them to specific musical needs.  Two examples are discussed here:


Growing Bugles            Growing Helmholtz resonators



There are two kinds of people who make stuff: those who follow directions, and experimenters.  This page is for experimenters.  If you're going to experiment with one of the following, it might be worth your time to learn what I've tried that doesn't work:

Reed instruments

Cedar marimba bars

Grounding bar kalimba

Gourd tongue drum

Friction pegs in gourds


Questions? Comments?


Please share if you make one!