Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Building a Gourd Resonator or a Gourd Kalimba:
A Great Place to Purchase Gourds

WELBURN GOURD FARM, located inland of San Diego, CA, fortunately did NOT 'burn well' in the catastrophic wildfires that plagued California this past fall. They have more gourds than you can shake a stick at. If you can't go there in person, you can order gourds from them over the internet.

In addition to purchasing gourds, these folks can give you great tools for working with gourds and great ideas for turning your gourds into beautiful personal expressions, in addition to what we are doing here: building a gourd resonator.

Here are some rules of thumb for gourd sizes when placing a kalimba inside a gourd. Remember, you need to fit your hands inside too, so if you have large hands, go for the larger sizes:

Gourds under 12 inches diameter cost about a dollar an inch or less, but gourds with diameters greater than 12 inches start to become very expensive.

If you are building your own kalimba, remember that the size of the gourd will determine the lowest note that will sound good on your kalimba. A 6 or 7 inch diameter gourd will play a 196 Hz G (i.e., the low G of a Hugh Tracey kalimba). If you want to go an octave lower to a 98 Hz G (i.e., the low G on a guitar, 6th string 3rd fret) you will need a gourd twice as large, or 12-13 inches in diameter- that's a HUGE gourd!