Introduction: Wooden Chocalho

A chocalho (show - kai - oo) is a Brazilian instrument used in Samba music, particularly Batucada and Sambe De Enredo. The instrument is played by shaking it back and forth and pumping the arms up and down. The chocalho is a very loud instrument, especially when played in groups. They are typically used as a support instrument to help back up the caixas and sustain the rhythm in the bateria.

There are two main types of chocalho: one involves a metal frame surrounding groups of jingles, and the other employs a wooden handle with jingles attached to the outside. This instructable will show you how to make the wooden variety.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

This project is fairly easy and inexpensive. It does require some basic woodworking knowledge.


Piece of wood - I recommend a hardwood like maple. I used a 1.5" x .75" piece

Nails - I used 6d 2" flat head nails. Just make sure they fit loosely through the jingles and that the jingles don't fall off.

Tambourine Jingles - Mid-East Mfg sells two types of bulk tambourine jingles. I used the nickel plated brass jingles.


Measuring Device

Step 2: Preparing the Wood

1. Cut the wood to length. I used a 20" piece which fits 7 rows of jingles, but you could use a longer or shorter piece. Just keep in mind that the instrument should be comfortable to play, so don't make it too long.

2. Drill pilot holes. You need to measure and set where your holes are first. Make sure you have enough space between them so that the rows of jingles don't hit each other. Be sure not to use a drill bit that is too big for the nails. Drill the holes through the shorter edge of the wood. I drilled them them in the same location on each side.

3. Sanding and finishing(optional). It is a good Idea to round the ends of the wood to make the instrument more comfortable to play. You can get as fancy as you want with this step, including finish sanding, staining, and other finishes. However, you should do all wood finishing before you attach the jingles.

Step 3: It's Hammer Time!!!

Now you can attach the jingles. I used three pairs of jingles per nail. Make sure the pairs of jingles are facing each other. They should look like three little flying saucers stacked on top of each other.

Put the nail through the jingles and hammer it into your pilot holes. Don't hammer them in all the way though, because you have to put nails on the opposite side and the jingles need to move freely.

After you finish one side, flip it over and do the other. This side will be a little bit trickier because you have to balance the piece on the nails you just attached.

Step 4: Samba!!!

Now you're finished! You play the instrument by shaking it back and forth in rhythm. Here is a video of some people playing chocalho:

note: watch the two guys on each side, they seem to have more experience than the girl in the middle.

Now go play some Samba!!!