The opening in the red gourd shakere is optional. While it isn't required, and you may find the uncut gourd more appealing (by all means skip to pyrography) however, the hole is accoustically significant. Also a top opening makes it possible to use your shakere as a drinking bottle. No kidding.
The hole at either end allows the woody gourd to act as a resonance chamber, amplifying and enriching the sound. If you want to retain the stem (it might appeal to you) you can cut a hole in the bottom with a drill and keyhole cutter instead. That is where the hole is on the Humble Drummer's shakere.
Openeing and cleaning the gourd
We are going to saw the end off, remove the seeds, clean the interior, and make it suitable for holding water/drinks.
You will need
your cured, cleaned, colored bottle gourd
optional: baking soda
tools: reciprocating handsaw, hacksaw or other saw, you may also want a drill
Decide where you want to make your cut, then cut off the end. I wanted to leave enough of the top bulge in the gourd stem to make holding the shakere natural. I made a straight cut, but this is according to your asthetics. I've also seen angled cuts and intend to use a double cut to imitate an open mouth on some other projects.
Now you will need some pea gravel. I suppose you could buy it, I get mine right off the street or out of a parking lot. Pea gravel is found where water washes small rocks and sand to the edges of streets and parking lots. If it has a high ratio of sand, you will want to sieve out some of the sand, the rocks do the most of the cleaning.
Shake out as much of the seed matter as you can, if you have big unks of stuff, pull them out with your fingers or a tool. Plant the seeds or discard.
Pour in a cup or two of pea gravel and a cup or two of water. Shake it, Shake it some more. Hey you are already playing your shakere and it isn't done yet. Find a rhythm and keep shaking. Talk to the spirits about what you want to do with the shakere and keep shaking.
Now pour it all out. Rinse a couple of times with water.
Will the gourd also be used to hold water/liquids for drinking? If so, repeat the pea gravel step many more times and with a file/sandpaper, smooth out the bits of the inside of the gourd you can reach.
Now fill the gourd with water and stand it up. Does it leak? That would be bad news if you are continuing to this step. If it does not leak, ad a tablespoon of baking sode. Let sit for 2 days. Drain. Let site for 2 days. Fill with water. Let sit for one hour. Does the water taste like the bitter gourd? If yes, repeat the baking soda phase until the bitter taste is done. If no, dry the gourd thoroughly. Several days.
The Previous Step
Coloring the Gourd (step 2)
The Next Step