A New Shell on our Favorite Little Instrument

Yes, we said shell… we know the saying is “spin”, but we are talking about a shell. literally. 

The Conchalele is truly a new idea and a unique way to make a Ukulele. A combination of the basics of any Ukulele combined with a perfectly sized Melon or Diadema shell to produce a sound completely tropical, light, and fun.

Each instrument is custom made based on the shell’s specific geometric shape and reverberation… meaning you have a one of a kind instrument.

So what inspired  the mind behind Conchalele to undertake the rather daunting task of creating this new instrument? What does he compare the playability and sound too? Check out the interview below to find out more! 


Interview with Bobby from Conchalele


StringVibe:  How long have you been playing the Ukulele?

Bobby: Since I was 12 years old… over 55 years!

Where did you get the idea for the Conchalele?

 After playing every string instrument I have found, and having a home full of string instruments, I wanted to hear a new sound.  Finding a very large shell living in south Florida, I decided to put strings on it to hear what sound it would make, if any….   I discovered it has a natural mellow sound and natural reverb created by the fibonacci mathmatical design of all beauty.

How would you describe the sound and playability of the instrument? 

The playability is equal to Martin and Gibson standards.  I mentored in luthier skills from maestro talented mentors. My first mentor is Francis Chilcoat of West Virginia, then with Ukulele builders in the Hawaiian Luthier Guild of Honolulu, Hawaii.  The sound varies from shell to shell but always has a mellow and reverb effect to the tone.  Amplification brings out the tonality very clearly..

Do you need to be an experienced player to appreciate the uniqueness of this instrument?

No!  The Conchalele is a camera magnet and everyone that sees it stops to take pictures.  It even stops traffic when seen in public.  (That’s how it became the official string instrument of the Conch Republic)  There is now a petition for it to become the official musical instrument of Florida…  The Florida Governor’s office has welcomed the petition…..  Florida does not yet have an official musical instrument…..  Musicians and music lovers are always fascinated to see and hear the sounds it creates.

Anything else you’d like our readers to know about the Conchalele?

The Conchalele is a tropical island sound that blends with steel drums and yet being electric with LR Baggs pre-amp and under the saddle pickup, can jam the blues, jazz, rock, classical, and country.  Great reverb for calypso instrumentals too.

Thanks for checking out our website and Facebook page.  www.conchalele.com Thank you for your interest and please call if you have questions,

Thanks Bob!!!

There you have it! 

When we first saw this instrument we knew it was something we had to share with our audience… such a unique new idea and one that is made with the highest quality and perfect sound in mind. 

If you like this idea we strongly suggest you jump over to their website and check out more information on these instruments! We’d also love for you to check out the rest of our interviews!