Tutorial for a Gourd Rainstick
by Kasin Hunter
In June, 2001 I conducted a workshop for the SAGA on making Rainsticks from gourds. Bill Hunter volunteered his evening and videotaped the event. Much of the following are pictorial grabs from that workshop.
Rainsticks are musical instruments in the group of self-sounding instruments called
idiophones. The sound from a rainstick comes from the impact of tiny hard objects like
rice or beans striking an internal matrix of wooden sticks. Click on the music run picture
below to hear what a rainstick sounds like, then press BACK to return to this page.
(Instructional text by Kasin Hunter.)
If you need a player for the sound,
Here is the url for a free Quicktime player.
To make a
Rainstick out of a gourd, you will need the following items: a hard-shelled gourd,
thin masking tape - 1 inch or thinner, string, saw, plier with wire cutter edge or a pair
of nippers, fruit skewers, fill (to be discussed later), glue like Tacky Glue, a #2
pencil, a Dremel or drill, a drill bit (to be discussed later), Plaster of Paris
Below is shown from left to right: a cut gourd, extension cord, gourd seeds and pulp,
a mini-jig saw, masking tape, Dremel drill, package of fruit skewers.
There were questions the night of the workshop about what size skewers to use. I use
fruit skewers found in table top supply stores, discount stores, and the like. Here is
a picture and a paperclip to show thickness:
Here are some gourd shapes to choose from for your rainstick. The snake, the bottleneck,
I like using the club or large, straight snake gourd.
Wash gourd; soak in water/bleach solution to loosen the skin; peal skin with copper
scrubber or straight-edged knife.
Cut the gourd approximately 1/4 from the end. A SAGA
member is using my mini-jig - a small jigsaw - to cut open her gourd.
Clean out all fibre and seeds. The better
it's cleaned, the better sound you'll get.
|This is a vital step |
to the sound of the intrument.
|Inspect the insides well for any
leftover fibre or seeds.
To clean out the innards, you can use a bent coathanger, a horse hoof scraper, a bent
piece of metal flashing, shaken small pebbles -- whatever will clean well and reach the
bottom of the long gourd.
To page two.