6 Popular Kalimba Thumb Piano (Buying Guide)

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. 

How to play?

It 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. 

Before you can play the kalimba and even practise 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. 

  

Different types?

There are many different types of the thumb piano, those made with a ply, hard, softwood board, coconut shell, base metal keys, or superior steel sprung keys. From 12cm to a large 20cm, the number of notes is another factor. Ours range from 5 to 8 and are tuned to the western scale. These could be a suitable gift for a kid or for a beginner-professional musician. 

Top 5 most popular thumb pianos 

1. Wooden Kalimba (full size)

full size kalimba

Simple yet effective, featuring a wooden board and simplistic design, suitable for a beginner child or professional. This one is full size (17 or 21 keys), and as it has the key notes marked on each tine, you can play almost any song depending on your skill level. This solid mahogany wood kalimba also comes with a tuning hammer, thumb protectors, and a sleeve to protect it from scratches, etc. This is the ultimate thumb piano kalimba and is the winner in the kalimba world. 

 

2. Coconut Thumb Piano (7 Notes)

small coconut thumb piano

This one is a little different, and is rather unique. The coconut thumb piano is made from natural produce and comes in assorted dot painted pattern designs. Each one is approximately 12cm, but this does of course vary. This one has 7 notes which makes it much less intimidating for beginners, allowing you to relax with your kalimba without the worry of knowing too much what you are doing. It has a beautiful sound and each one features different colours.

 

3. Medium Coconut Thumb Piano

16cm balinese coconut piano

Our most popular, this coconut thumb piano has beautiful carvings on it, and is approximately 16cm. With an upgraded wooden top, it comes in assorted designs and make for a fantastic gift. This 7 note is also suited to beginners, but would also be a great element to bring into the music studio!

 

4. Pocket Kalimba

pocket kalimba

Just as the name suggests, this small beautiful kalimba is approximately 7cm, yet it still has 8 notes, and fits in your pocket. It has the notes on it so that you can play like a pro, on the go. It is compact, portable, and sits perfectly in the palm of you hand. You could say that it's child size, but we think that its the perfect size. It's cute to say the least, it's an absolute charmer that any musician should have. 

5. Large Gourd Kalimba

20cm large coconut thumb piano

Showcasing our large gourd kalimba, that is approximately 20cm diameter. This one has 8 strong robust steel keys and is suitable for a beginner adult. It combines the dot painted design with the wooden top and is a statement woodwind instrument that delivers a stunning natural look.

 

6. Vietnamese Dan Bung Thumb Piano

Vietnamese thumb piano

Featuring a round handmade thumb piano with steel sprung keys from Vietnam. It has hand-painted flowers to the side, with an effective working soundbox. These thumb piano kalimba are sourced from many countries such as Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia and more places but are shipped from our warehouse in the UK. This is more of a music instrument collectors item as not many of these are made and our quantity is limited, if you like the look of it, you should get it before its gone!

Recommended Accessories

thumb piano kalimba accessories

If you haven't got these 3 items already, you definitely should get them. As they are all helpful in one way or another. The little hammer will help you tune your instrument without hurting your thumbs on the metal tines. The kalimba stand will give you a place to put your kalimba when you have finished playing with it.

They also look amazing in the studio and will further protect your instrument. A storage bag is a must if you are planning on taking your instrument out with you, but also will protect it for when you want to put it away.

Tuning hammer | Kalimba Stand | Storage Bag

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