Is kalimba easy to learn?

YES! It's one of the easiest instruments for a beginner. Anyone with a hint of musicality can understand how a well-tuned kalimba works and discover how to play a few simple melodies in minutes without any handbook, teacher or YouTube tutorial.

Need a little help on choosing the right kalimba? Here is a little kalimba buyer's guide made just for you.

Where should I start?

Step 1: Follow the instruction booklet in the box. It will help you get started.

Step 2: Once you know the basics, find the kalimba tabs you like online, then play the corresponding number or letter, you will have a beautiful melody in no time.

Where can I find more kalimba tabs?

Simply search "kalimba tabs" on Google or YouTube, you will find thousands of easy tabs and tutorials online.

What should I do with the coloured stickers?

All the notes are already engraved on the kalimba keys (both in number and in CDEFGAB). So, you don't need stickers to identify notes. However, apply stickers is a good idea for beginners. It will help you find the notes faster. Stickers can be applied as below.

Does the kalimba need tuning?

All the kalimba is already Pre-tuned in C, and you can play it right away when you received the order. 17 keys kalimba can be tuned into other keys for the more advanced player, and please check the tuning part in the instruction booklet.

Do I play the kalimba with nails?

Kalimba can be played with fingers or nails but play with nails is recommended. Grow nails on the thumbs will help you play it easier, and the tonality of the kalimba is brighter when playing with nails.

Why do the end tines sound a bit muted?

It's a common problem for the box-shaped/hollow kalimba, especially for Kalimbas under $60. However, it's more due to the structure of this instrument rather than a quality issue.

First, kalimba intentionally designed its keys to a 'V' shape, making a big echoey sound in the middle and a crisp shorter sound at the end. It allowed musicians to play it with different tone colours and dynamics. Second, the end tines sound muted because it is far away from the soundhole, and the length of the tine doesn't leave much room for vibration. 

There are many solutions to this problem 

Before purchase

  • If you like clear and long-lasting endnotes, it might be better for you to choose flat-board kalimba over hollowed kalimba. Flat board kalimba has much better endnotes, and the sound quality is more precise than hollowed kalimba.
  • However, hollowed kalimba has many advantages. They have a more extensive and fuller sound than flat-board kalimba. Most importantly, when you open and close the soundhole with your fingers, hollowed kalimba can make the super cool 'Wah-Wah' sound.
  • If you prefer hollow kalimba, maybe choose a kalimba that a lower keys. Kalimba in A major or G major has lovely end tines. 

After purchase

  • Move the problem tine left to right, wiggle it a bit might slightly improve the sound. It won't fix it totally, but it helps.
  • Tune the whole kalimba 1 key lower, from C major to B major

the original tuning from left to right is D B G E C A F D C E G B D F A C E,

B major tuning is: C♯ A♯ F♯ D♯ B G♯ E C♯ B D♯ F♯ A♯ C♯ E G♯ B D♯