kalimba faq

What is a kalimba?

Nowadays there are so many different types of music instrument showing up in the market trending, and when I first found my passion for playing the acoustic guitar and keyboard. I didn't even know that kalimbas existed, after all, I never saw these at school in my music class. So skip many years ahead and these are being used all over the world for there unique, beautiful calming sounds. A kalimba also is known as a thumb piano, or mbira is essentially a woodwind musical instrument consisting of a wooden or other material board with attached staggered metal tines. 

Do kalimba's have sharps and flats?

    What you are referring to is a chromatic kalimba. A chromatic kalimba is tuned to the chromatic scale which uses flats and sharps instead of being tuned to regular C. Although, it is also possible to achieve sharps and flat notes with a specific tuning.

    Can you get an electric kalimba?

    electric kalimba img

    Yes, you can and they are awesome. If you do get one, it's worth noting that you will also need an amp to connect it up to. This is the electric kalimba that we recommend.

    How much do Kalimba's cost?

    A kalimba can range from about £7 for a small budget instrument to £169 for a luxury german made kalimba that is made from a drum and has stunning resonance.

    Is a Kalimba easy to learn?

    it’s considered an easy instrument to learn to play and you can learn very quickly. Although to play the instrument to its full potential just like any other music instrument, to play it professionally you will need to practice for years. It's often thought that you can't play a kalimba unless you have long nails and this is a myth.

    How do you record a Kalimba?

    studio microphone recording kalimba

    Place a studio microphone near your kalimba, plug in headphones, and listen to the audio whilst you play. Adjust the positioning of the microphone or the instrument until you are happy with the sound. For recording your kalimba we recommend a budget studio microphone such as the Rode NT1A as it is affordable but will also give you a clean sound.

    This will however need to be hooked up to an audio interface that has phantom power for you to be able to record it but the quality will be top-notch. If you want to go cheaper you could settle for a USB mic but the quality will be inferior. 

    Where can I find Kalimba tabs?

    We have a ton of free kalimba sheet tabs on our website, and we are always adding new ones so check them out now.

    What is the easiest song to play on kalimba?

    This is of course debatable but I would say that the easiest song to play on the kalimba is twinkle twinkle little star. The song uses only a few notes and can be broken up into only two parts, with the first parts being notes C, C, G, G, A, A, G and the second part being F, F, E, E, D, D, C.

    Can you play any song on the Kalimba?

    As long as you have enough keys, you absolutely can. If you can learn it, you can play it. There is a special technique that I use to be able to learn any song on the kalimba, and it is highlighted right here in this video.


    What are the best Kalimba music books?

    Kalimba song book

    1. Kalimba Songbook: 50 Easy Classic Songs
    2. The Big Kalimba Songbook: 100+ songs 
    3. Kalimba Songbook: Christmas Songs
    4. Kalimba Songbook: Hymns & Songs of worship
    5. Kalimba goes Classical: Melodies of the Great Masters

    Do you need a tuning hammer?

    Whilst it could be beneficial, you don't need it. This is dependant on the person. For example, I have tried using a tuning hammer and I found that it was difficult to use, especially considering that some keys are not easy to get to with the hammer.

    Instead, I use my fingers to push the metal notes back and forth to adjust the pitch when my instrument goes out of tune. That being said, it is not uncommon for other people to struggle to tune their kalimba with their fingers as it can make them a little sore. I would say that if you are a DIY'er and want to save a few quid then go for it. If not, then get yourself a tuning hammer.   

    What kalimba is suited to me?

    If you have no prior experience, we would recommend a kalimba that does not have too many tines as it can help you get used to the instrument without you feeling overwhelmed.

    If you do have some experience then you will want to go for one that has a full scale of keys that comes with a tuning hammer so that you can custom tune your instrument. If you would like more information before purchasing one check out our buying guide on the most popular thumb piano kalimba.

    What are kalimba stickers for?

    There are many different types of kalimba stickers but usually they all have the same goal. They are mainly used to help familiarise you with the instrument so that you find it easier to navigate the keys ensuring that you pluck the right notes. As a beginner kalimba stickers are a similar concept to writing the note names on piano keys. Whilst you can buy the stickers, they are not needed.

    How to play the kalimba?

    A kalimba is played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs. As long as you have the right notes, you can play any song on it that you would like. Although it will take some practice, just as any instrument takes time to master. They have been known to relieve stress, due to the tones being so soothing. 

    How to tune a kalimba?

    Before you can play the kalimba and even practise it, you should ensure that it is tune. If you have one of our coconut thumb pianos, then you will be able to follow our guide in tuning your own instrument. 


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