Kalimba Anyone?

Ahnko Honu

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In the past couple years I discovered the kalimba. Super easy to play, and very affordable. 3 are pictured but I currently own 4. I find it very pleasing. I own 1 solid wood, 1 solid acrylic, and 2 hollow wood examples. The hollow wood models have the best volume.
 

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Yes, I play kalimba, and I love kalimba. Problem is, I love so many instruments, but I count my blessings that I'm cursed this way. I have 8, 17, and 21 tine kalimbas in C. I also have a 15 tine kalimba made for G. My 8 is currently tuned in minor pentatonic. It's fun to just improvise on it. A couple of the 17s are tuned Cm. I also have this beauty. It's fully chromatic. This one looks complex, but the layout is intuitive. I'll explain if you are interested.
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Yes, I play kalimba, and I love kalimba. Problem is, I love so many instruments, but I count my blessings that I'm cursed this way. I have 8, 17, and 21 tine kalimbas in C. I also have a 15 tine kalimba made for G. My 8 is currently tuned in minor pentatonic. It's fun to just improvise on it. A couple of the 17s are tuned Cm. I also have this beauty. It's fully chromatic. This one looks complex, but the layout is intuitive. I'll explain if you are interested.
View attachment 146526
Yes, please explain, I’m interested! I’ve just bought a kalimba (it hasn’t arrived yet), I know absolutely nothing about them but the one I’ve ordered is cheap and basic.
 
Sure, my pleasure, @TheBathBird.
You're not going to believe how intuitive it actually is. The lower 17 tines are tuned to C, in diatonic fashion, just like a standard 17 tine kalimba. The upper middle 4 tines are tuned below C, extending the kalimba's lower range to be like the range of a 21 tine kalimba. The remaining upper tines are tuned to be the sharp of the tine positioned directly below it. That's it.
There is no learning curve to play this 34 tine chromatic kalimba! I simply love it. It's my kalimba soul-mate.
 
Sure, my pleasure, @TheBathBird.
You're not going to believe how intuitive it actually is. The lower 17 tines are tuned to C, in diatonic fashion, just like a standard 17 tine kalimba. The upper middle 4 tines are tuned below C, extending the kalimba's lower range to be like the range of a 21 tine kalimba. The remaining upper tines are tuned to be the sharp of the tine positioned directly below it. That's it.
There is no learning curve to play this 34 tine chromatic kalimba! I simply love it. It's my kalimba soul-mate.
That sounds great, I didn’t come across anything like that in my brief foray into kalimba research. I think I see a kalimba rabbit hole opening before me…
 
I bought a cheapo 8 key kalimba kit (all the metal parts) from ebay about 6 months ago... but I still need to get around to making the wooden body for it... yeah I know its just a simple little wooden box that I could make in an hour or so.
Finishing it will be on my new years resolution list, along with several other unfinished projects I have!
The joys of lacking motivation and poor concentration!!
 
In the past couple years I discovered the kalimba. Super easy to play, and very affordable. 3 are pictured but I currently own 4. I find it very pleasing. I own 1 solid wood, 1 solid acrylic, and 2 hollow wood examples. The hollow wood models have the best volume.
Yes, the hollow body kalimbas are generally louder than the board ones. I have a few board ones that sound really good. My 8 tine is a Mountain Melodies model, hand made in the USA. They even make their own tempered tines. My 15 tine Gecko in G sounds rich with its fatter tines and lower pitch. Both are board kalimbas. And, my pictured 34 tine model is awesome and a board model too. I've also found it rare to have a dead tine on a board model.
 
Yes, I play kalimba, and I love kalimba. Problem is, I love so many instruments, but I count my blessings that I'm cursed this way. I have 8, 17, and 21 tine kalimbas in C. I also have a 15 tine kalimba made for G. My 8 is currently tuned in minor pentatonic. It's fun to just improvise on it. A couple of the 17s are tuned Cm. I also have this beauty. It's fully chromatic. This one looks complex, but the layout is intuitive. I'll explain if you are interested.
View attachment 146526

What a beauty. Do you have links to where you purchased your Kalimbas? I'm a relative nOOb to kalimbas, but I love them. Compact musical instruments appeal to me. I also have a bunch of harmonicas, and a Ohana pineapple Sopranissimo. I do like my solid board kalimbas especially during quiet alone times, very relaxing. Mahalo for your feedback.
 
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Well my kalimba arrived on Saturday and what with NY’s eve stuff and family chaos I’ve hardly had a chance to look at it, but I did have a very quick go this morning and I can tell it’s going to be a lot of fun. There are a couple of dead notes, which is probably unsurprising given how cheap it was, but not enough to spoil my enjoyment. However I’m already eyeing up chromatic kalimbas like the one @Renaissance-Man mentioned, so I guess KAS is going to turn out to be a “thing”…
 
Hi all

Which electric pickups do you like with kalimbas, or do you get them with pickups installed?



I have portable glockenspiels that play well without amplifier.

 
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I had one of those bell kits quite a while back. How do you amplify yours?

Apologies. I meant to write *without amplifier* because the bells cut right through the mix.

If amplifier is needed I’d use a microphone like those used for drum kits.

Based on your idea, I’d probably amplify the kalimba using a ukulele pickup. I’ve had good success with this brand:


cheers
 
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When I get around to putting my 8 key Kalimba together what tuning do you all recommend using?
I've looked online and 1 page I found listed 9 different tunings... Help!?!?!
 
Sure, my pleasure, @TheBathBird.
You're not going to believe how intuitive it actually is. The lower 17 tines are tuned to C, in diatonic fashion, just like a standard 17 tine kalimba. The upper middle 4 tines are tuned below C, extending the kalimba's lower range to be like the range of a 21 tine kalimba. The remaining upper tines are tuned to be the sharp of the tine positioned directly below it. That's it.
There is no learning curve to play this 34 tine chromatic kalimba! I simply love it. It's my kalimba soul-mate.

OMG, that's so cool? What's it called, just in case somebody may have caught a contact dose of KAS? 🤣

And what do the numbers on the tines represent? They aren't what I'd have expected based on your description.

Thanks! I guess. 🤣
 
OMG, that's so cool? What's it called, just in case somebody may have caught a contact dose of KAS? 🤣

And what do the numbers on the tines represent? They aren't what I'd have expected based on your description.

Thanks! I guess. 🤣
It's a 34 tine chromatic kalimba, made by Seeds. Pisces is the model. The tine numbers only denote consecutive tones. Tuned in C major, 1 is C, 2 is D, etc. The numbered tines are laid out on alternating sides. Look at the picture for clarification. The wonder of this layout creates triads with adjacent tines. For example, 1 3 5 are adjacent tines, and in C major tuning that's a C major chord! Isn't that exciting?

My previous explanation was geared to an audience already familiar with a diatonic kalimba. I was explaining how this kalimba expanded upon a diatonic kalimba.
 
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