The Ultimate Guide To Kalimba

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The kalimba is a fascinating instrument that’s been around for thousands of years. Once you learn how to play it, you’ll be able to make beautiful music with very little effort! This guide will show you everything you need to know about this awesome instrument, including what it is and how to play one.

What is a Kalimba?

A kalimba is a type of African thumb piano. It’s made up of a wooden soundboard with metal tines, which you play by plucking the tines with your fingers or thumbs. The kalimba has a range of about an octave, so it can be played solo or in groups to create music that sounds like harp or xylophone music.

How to Play the Kalimba

The kalimba is a simple instrument that can be played in many ways. You can play it with your hands, feet, and mouth, or even knees! Here are some tips on how to play the kalimba:

  • Play with the tips of your fingers on the keys (like piano). This will allow you to get more volume out of each note as well as ensure that all notes sound clear and distinct from one another.
  • Try pressing down hard enough so that all four tines vibrate when playing a single note; this will give it more resonance and make for better overall sound quality.
  • When using both hands simultaneously on two different octaves of keys (one octave higher than your left hand), try not to press too hard or else there won’t be enough space between each key for them all to vibrate fully!

Different Types of Kalimbas

In the world of kalimba, there are many different types. Some are made from wood, while others are made from metal or plastic. The most popular type is the thumb piano (also called a mbira or mbira dza vadzimu). This version has steel keys that you press down with your thumbs to play music on it it’s basically like playing a xylophone!

There’s also another kind called a “harp kalimba,” which has a longer body than other versions and more strings running from end to end along its length. If you’ve ever heard someone playing stringed instruments like guitars or violins before, then this may sound familiar; but instead of using bows or fingers to pluck each string individually (like most stringed instruments), harp kalimbas use handsets which means they’re easier for beginners!

How To Find Your First Kalimba

When you’re just starting out, the best way to find your first kalimba is by visiting a store that specializes in musical instruments. You can also check out online retailers like Amazon or eBay for used kalimbas. If you have no idea what kind of instrument would be best for you, don’t worry! We’ve got some suggestions:

  • The traditional African style has a wooden soundboard with metal tines attached to it. It’s typically played with two hands and produces a deep sound that’s rich in overtones (that means lots of different notes at once). This type is often referred to as a thumb piano or thumb harp because players use their thumbs to pluck each note individually; however, some people play them using all four fingers instead.
  • The modern western version has plastic keys which are pressed down onto metal reeds inside an enclosed box casing called an “enclosure.” When pressed together they produce sound similar but not quite as full-bodied as those made by traditional instruments; however, they’re easier to carry around due to their smaller size making them ideal candidates for traveling musicians!

If you want to learn how to play this interesting instrument, this guide will help!

The kalimba is a great instrument for beginners because it’s easy and fun. You can learn how to play the kalimba in a few minutes by following the steps below:

Get yourself an affordable kalimba from Sonodrum or another online retailer (here are some examples). Make sure that it has more than one note at a time this means it will have multiple bars on each side of its keys instead of just one bar per key like most other music boxes do; otherwise, your playing will sound very simple!


If you’ve never played a kalimba before, we hope this guide has been helpful. We’ll be adding more information about the instrument in future posts. If there’s anything specific that you would like us to cover, please let us know in the comments below!

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