Hands plucking kalimba instrument

As children, many of us grow up learning musical instruments. From the guitar to the violin, we all learn one instrument or another. However, as we go through our teenage years, many of us give up on our musical ability. Whether we fall out of love with the instrument, begin prioritising alternative activities or simply want to focus on our social life, we all have our reasons for doing so. How do you want to get back into music whilst doing something different to everyone else? You can consider playing the kalimba.

Also known as the thumb piano, the kalimba is a small piano-like instrument inspired by the traditional Zimbabwe instrument, the mbira. It has a very distinct sound and is now played all over the globe. Where can you buy one? You can buy a beginner or professional kalimba online. There are many digital stores you can buy a kalimba from, many of which will provide you with a high-quality instrument.

Our Recommended - Professional Kalimba [17 note]

top pick 17 note professional kalimba

This 17 note mahogany kalimba is perfect for a beginner or professional. It is everything you need to get started on your kalimba journey and will provide the ability to play your favourite songs. On top of that it comes with a tuning hammer, thumb protectors, and a case to keep it safe. We have compared many types of kalimbas to make this easy for you and have chosen this one based on the manufacturing, the style, and the price. For more information on choosing a kalimba see below. 

Features

  • Made from solid mahogany wood
  • Suitable for beginner and professional 
  • Comes with lots of accessories
  • Perfect gift

Manufacturer

Kalimbas are traditionally from Zimbabwe, Africa and are made from Kiat wood which is a traditional African hardwood. One of the most popular kalimba brands is a chinese company called Gecko and each instrument is mass produced. To ensure your instrument is unique, we highly recommend doing a little research before purchasing.

Types

There are three main types of kalimbas. They are treble, celeste, and alto.

  1. The Treble kalimba has 17 notes
  2. The Celeste model is board mounted, and has clear high notes. In comparison to the other types it sounds more delicate like a music box.
  3.  The Alto has 15 notes which is exactly two octaves. The kalimba is usually in the key of G. 

Material

A traditional kalimba is made from African hardwood (usually kiaat). Alternative options include coconut, gourd, bamboo, spruce, sandalwood, mahogany and more. All of which will provide the instrument with its own unique sound. 

Notes / Tines

Depending on where you shop, a kalimba should have 6, 8, 12 or 17 tines based on your skillset. If you’re completely new to the instrument, look for a lower number of tines. Many kalimbas will come with their own manuals which will help you to quickly pick up the instrument. Before you know it, you’ll be able to play with 17 tines easily!

Price

When it comes to buying a kalimba, the price is one of the most important aspects. You can pick up a budget instrument made from coconut or gourd for as little as £6. If you are looking for something more midrange with 17 keys, a case, tuning hammer and other accessories you will be looking at around £22. An electric kalimba is more high end and could set you back £60.

Kalimba Resources

Music

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