How to Play a Conch Shell Horn

By Contributor
Play a Conch Shell Horn

How to Play a Conch Shell Horn. Conch shells are beautiful decorative shells generally found in the Caribbean. Most people know that when you place your ear to a conch shell, you can hear the ocean. However, by learning how to play the conch shell you can hear something else entirely. Conch shells have been used ceremonially as instruments in Mayan culture, Hindu culture and many other places around the world.

Find a conch shell that is in very good condition. Your conch shell must have no holes in it (other than the tip of the shell, which will be your mouthpiece) or else it won't make a noise.

Create a mouthpiece for the conch shell by sawing off the tip of the end so that you can more easily fit your mouth to it.

Using a screwdriver and a hammer, carefully knock the center core out of the shell through the mouthpiece if it has not already been removed.

File down your mouthpiece to get rid of the saw marks. Make sure not to make the hole too big, since you can't make it smaller after having filed it down.

Sand the hole using sandpaper around the edges after filing it.

Finish the mouthpiece using pumice on a rag. A shell with a smooth mouthpiece is much easier to play and a lot friendlier for musicians who are brass players and need to use their lips again later.

Blow into the horn to create the shell's original pitch. If you have never played a brass instrument, you create noise by holding your lips taut and buzzing them together.

Alter the pitch with your lips by tightening or loosening your embouchure. You can also alter the pitch by inserting your hand into the shell. This will change the sound quality and the sound you produce.