"First Look Inside" by Mark Holdaway
Tablature for Alto Kalimba

With a tally of over 170,000 views to date,"First Look Inside" qualifies as my first YouTube hit single. This song has introduced many people to the kalimba and Kalimba Magic.

Some time back, I made the tablature for this song available, but this was in bite-sized phrases in a series of Kalimba Magic Tips.

Since I continue to get requests for this tablature every week, I thought I'd publish the full tablature with this article - in both KTabs* AND PDF formats.

While the YouTube solo version is a good performance, "First Look Inside" can also be arranged for multiple instruments. You can hear two different arrangements of this tune (one solo, one not) on my CD Two Thumbs Up, which you can purchase from the Kalimba Magic Shop. (I'd be oh so happy if you bought a CD!)

Here is Betty Edwards' review of Two Thumbs Up: Destined to become a classic in the world of kalimba. The sixteen tracks of this CD evoke such a joyous spirit, it is impossible not to find oneself smiling and feeling, well, happy! Familiar themes of the Beatles and Bob Dylan blend seamlessly with the string of pearls that are Holdaway's original compositions. Truly inspired!

All three of these performances, the YouTube video and the two tracks on Two Thumbs Up, are somewhat different from each other and, meanwhile, they are all different from the tablature. In part, this is because I am a sucker for improvisation. Some of the best things I have ever played have been improvised, and I must admit that often the further I get from a plan, the more I feel at home. That said, "First Look Inside" is one of the songs that I actually feel has a correct way to play, with about 10,000 (and counting) wrong ways.

So some of these differences originate with the occasional errors that inevitably creep into a performance. When I am playing in front of an audience, I like to consider an error just a diversion away from what I had planned to do, and often this is a totally plausible path to take. So instead of immediately jumping back to the plan, I say, "What the hey? I'm up for a joy ride!" and I follow the new path. This acceptance of the error can lead to wonderful results and no one need ever know that an error started it all, UNLESS the unexpected path leads me to a river that I cannot cross or a large boulder in the middle of the road that I stub my toe on. THAT will sound like an error. So as long as I can avoid the uncrossable rivers and impassable boulders, nobody ever has to know this was an unintended path, which was as new to me as it was to the audience. Errors can be microscopic or they can be huge, but I thank God for all of them.