Friday, August 25, 2006
Bringing Back the "A"

Remember what I said when we first started down this long and winding road, that the tine wasn't actually dead, but the box was dead at that particular note? I could retune the high A tine to G, and it would ring true. Or I could tune the high G on the opposite side of the kalimba to A, and it would get swallowed up. No, nothing was wrong with the tines, it's the kalimba box.

And I also discovered that if you push down on the face of the box with your thumb while playing, you can get part of the "A" back.

Kalimba with dowel rod

In the photo above, you can see how I slipped a custom-cut dowel rod into the kalimba to provide a bit of support to the face wood. This doesn't fix things 100%, but it helps substantially. Look at the power spectra for the glissando of the D, F#, A, and C notes for 0.0 - 0.1 seconds:

Supported kalimba: 0.0 to 0.1 seconds

Then for 0.1-0.2 seconds:

Supported kalimba: 0.1 to 0.2 seconds

Then for 0.2-0.3 seconds:

Supported kalimba: 0.2 to 0.3 seconds

And for 0.3-0.4 seconds:

Supported kalimba: 0.3 to 0.4 seconds

The "A" is still weak, and does fade faster than the other notes, but after 0.3-0.4 seconds, it is significantly better (about 30 dB, or a thousand times more power) than without the dowel fit inside the kalimba.

If YOU have a kalimba with buzzes or dead notes, drop me a line. For a few bucks, I'll take a look at it, and chances are, I'll be able to improve your kalimba significantly.

You may be asking yourself: "What about the brand new kalimba I bought from Kalimba Magic last month? What does ITS spectrum look like?" Stick around and I'll show you NEXT WEEK!