Kalimba FAQs

Kalimba Beginners always have thousands of questions. Students who just bought a kalimba thumb piano will also have many questions. I have selected representative kalimba FAQs. Here are the answers for you one by one.

Q: What Is A Kalimba?

A: The kalimba is a traditional African musical instrument and is known by different names in different parts of Africa. The “kalimba” is the name given to the instrument in Kenya, the Congolese call it kalimba, in Zimbabwe, it is called Mbira, and there are other names such as Sanza and Thumb Piano.
The body is the main part of the kalimba instrument. It is usually made of wood, but also of acrylic and sometimes of other materials, and it is the part of the kalimba you will hold.
It is usually played by holding the body of the kalimba in both hands and using the two thumbs to press the tongue-shaped strips and play the kalimba with the force of the bounce. This way of playing gives the Kalimba its nickname of African thumb piano.
The thumb piano is small and portable and is used for singing and storytelling in a circle at sunset and at dusk, and by some natives on long walks.

Q: Is The Kalimba Easy to Learn?

A: It is easy to learn compared to other instruments. You just need to pluck the keys that correspond to the numbers in the score and it will make a beautiful ethereal sound. It is better to learn with a basic knowledge of music theory, but it takes time to practice.
Read More: Is it difficult to play A kalimba?

Q: Should I Buy An 8 Notes Kalimba Or A 17 Notes Kalimba for Beginners?

A: Many people think that a 10 notes kalimba should be taken as a first try. 8 note kalimba is small and has an inflexible sound, which is very different from a 17 note kalimba. If you consider for the child to play, using him as a toy can be considered 8 tones.

Q: What if I Can’t Read The Notes?

A: The kalimba tab is a simple number tab or kalimba specific tab, you just need to familiarize yourself with 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, kalimba only 17 notes, the relative playing will also be simpler, is not need the foundation of the notes.
Read more: How to play the kalimba in 5 minutes?

Q: Do I Need to Keep My Nails to Llay The Kalimba?

A: You can play with or without thumbnails. Usually, the thumb has 2-3mm nails to make the sound crisper and more convenient when playing the slide, so your fingers don’t hurt.

Q: Does It Hurt to Play The Kalimba?

A: Your hands do not hurt when you play the correct way, but like many instruments, your hands will get sore from frequent practice. You do not need to play very hard, sometimes it is counterproductive. It is recommended that you leave your nails on to play.

Q: Do I Always Have to Tune My Kalimba?

A: When a new instrument is shipped, it will be tuned and inspected, but because of the bumps on the road, the sound may be inaccurate. After playing for a period of time, some of the tones may deviate, and sometimes you may need to change the whole kalimba to another key. How to Tune A kalimba?

Q: Can A Kalimba Be Engraved?

A: It is generally not recommended to not engrave a kalimba, because the engraved panel will become thinner. It is easy to have problems in the future. The tone will also change after engraving.

Q: What Is The Electric Box Model?

A: It is a piano with a pickup. Pickups can only be connected to professional sound cards, acoustic instrument speakers. Ordinary computer audio can not. Kalimba pickups do not require the use of batteries and do not add a lot of weight to the instrument. Generally, consider the performance and then buy the electric box.

Q: How Do I Choose The Right Wood for My Instrument?

A: Mahogany is lighter in color, lighter in body, and has a crisper, brighter sound, a bit louder compared to KOA. KOA has slightly more sustain, a heavier body, and more subdued sounds.

Q: What Are Kalimba Stickers Used for?

A: If you’re new to the world of kalimba, you might be wondering what are kalimba stickers used for. Kalimba stickers are a great way to help beginners get started with their thumb pianos. The goal of these stickers is to help you navigate the keys, and ensure that you always know what you’re doing and which notes you’re playing. This is especially important if you are a beginner and if your kalimba thumb piano has 17 keys.

Q: Are Thumbnails Required or Not?

A: When you’re first learning to play the kalimba, it’s normal for your thumb skin to hurt. (Even if you’re playing with your nails.) But don’t worry, this is normal! As you play more and more, your thumbs will develop small calluses; and then larger ones. It’s important to remember that these calluses are built on top of the skin—not inside it. If the pain feels deep inside the thumb or finger, stop playing immediately and seek medical attention.

Q: Is A Kalimba Easier To Learn Than A Guitar?

A: Learning to play this instrument is not difficult at all. If you’ve never played a musical instrument before, it will be easy to learn how to play the kalimba in 5 minutes. You don’t even need to learn music theory to play kalimba.

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